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Tum Kaun Ho?
A Maaneet Fan Fic
Apr. 5, 2011 4:21 pm
Geet looked at the letter given to her by JD's teacher again, biting her lip in concern. She wasn't sure exactly what to do with it and the information it contained. She didn't want Dadi to worry, since she had recently had to start taking medication for her blood pressure. Geet was sure that the news would just needlessly worry her. After all, they really couldn't do anything about the situation. At the same time, Geet couldn't control her own feelings of worry.
She was so lost in thoughts as she stood by the main staircase, that Maan had to call her twice to get her attention. He had seen her worried face from the second floor and was concerned for her. He was afraid that she was remembering the past. He knew from experience that anniversaries of unpleasant times were the worst to get past. He had done his best to distract her from those painful memories that were sure to crop up this time of year, but maybe he hadn't succeeded.
"Geet, what's wrong? What is that you have?" Geet didn't reply to Maan's questions, but held out the piece of paper to him instead.
Maan took a look at the paper, and even though the information it explained was serious enough, he was glad that it had nothing to do with what he thought was upsetting Geet. The letter from the administrator of JD's preschool was to inform them of some incidents last Friday and yesterday, regarding a 2008 Black BMW with tinted windows had been spotted parked near the preschool. The police had been notified and started an investigation, but at the moment there is no more information about the incident. The preschool wanted to inform parents so that they would be aware, and could take any extra precautions that they deemed necessary.
"So this is why you are upset?" Geet nodded. "Well, I agree that it is a bit of a concern, but I don't think that we have to worry about JD. I mean, either you or Dadi pick him up, and the staff wouldn't let him leave with anyone else."
"I know, but..."
Maan took Geet in his arms, asking her gently, "But what?"
Geet played with the buttons on his shirt a bit before replying, "They don't know you. What if someone comes and takes JD away by pretending to be you?"
"Geet, do you realize how unlikely that is? If someone showed up claiming to be me, JD would instantly know it wasn't me."
"But what if they got close enough to do something to him? I'm just so worried about his safety after reading this letter. I don't want anything to happen to him."
"Nothing is going to happen to JD, but if it will make you feel better, I'll go with you tomorrow when you drop him off at school. That way the staff can see who I am, and won't get fooled by any impostors, ok?"
"Ok," smiled Geet, who gave Maan a quick hug and kiss on the cheek.
"You didn't snow this letter to Dadi, did you?" asked Maan.
"No, I didn't want to worry her."
"I agree. There's no need to worry her for something that won't really affect us. Now, forget all that and come with me."
Maan took Geet's hand in his and started pulling her to the hall. Geet followed meekly in the beginning, but soon realized that he was leading her to the garage. That didn't make any sense to Geet, for he hadn't said anything about going out, and he was usually still working at this time. Actually, now that she thought about it, it was strange that he had found her like he did a few moments ago. Even now that they were officially together, the soonest he ever left the office was 5:00.
"Maan, what's going on?" asked Geet, yanked on his hand to make him stop.
"We're going somewhere. Come on." Maan resumed pulling her towards the garage.
"Just somewhere. It's a surprise."
Geet slipped her hand out of Maan's grasp and refused to go any farther. "You didn't say anything to me about this before, and what about JD?"
"What about JD? Dadi and Nakul are here to look after him. You never had a problem with leaving him before."
"Maan, I have never left JD home in the afternoon before. I am always here. It's okay to leave him with Dadi after he's asleep because there's not to much for her to do, but when he's awake? That little boy had so much energy, and you know that Dadi's health is a little worrisome right now. It's bad to put the burden of supervising JD on her, even if Nakul is here. Anyway, I have to start getting dinner ready soon, so we're not going anywhere, and that's final!"
"Acting like a wife already, and I haven't even asked her yet," said Maan under his breath.
"What did you say?"
Looking at Geet's determined expression, Maan said, "Fine. Dadi and JD will come with us, but we're still going."
"We'll eat out tonight, a nice family dinner night out. Problem solved."
Apr. 5, 2011 4:58 pm
"Uncle, what place is this? I've never been here before."
"JD, this is Four Flaggs Shopping Center," answered Maan as he pulled into the large parking lot and began looking for a place to park.
"Why did we come here? Are you going to tell the surprise now?" JD looked at his uncle expectantly, even as he was pulling his toy lion's ears.
"That's a great question JD. The answer is, that your GT is here to get her driver's permit so that she can learn to drive a car."
"I'm going to WHAT?"
"GT is going to drive a car? Cool!"
"Maan, what are you saying? I can't possibly...What are you thinking?"
Maan had parked the car and gotten out. He walked around the Geet's door and when he opened it for her said, "What I'm thinking is that it was fine that you didn't know how to drive when you spent most of your time in urban Chicago, but out here in the suburbs it's more convenient to know how to drive."
"But Maan, I...I don't know anything about driving."
"Don't worry, Geet. To get a permit as an adult you just have to pass the written test, and that's really easy. It doesn't take very long because it's all on the computer. Anyway, just think of this. Once you've got your permit I'll teach you how to drive. It's a perfect excuse to spend time alone." Throughout his persuasive speech, Maan had slowly pulled Geet closer, wrapping his arms around her waist and eventually touching her nose with his.
Maan and Geet would have totally lost themselves in the moment, if Dadi hadn't cleared her throat, causing them to jump apart in embarrassment. "I don't think you two need any excuses to be alone. Whenever you get together you two seem to be alone, even if there is a crowd of people around."
"No, Dadi," protested Geet, who was blushing very bad. "It's not like that at all."
"Oh, it isn't. So, it was my imagination that on the ride here JD and I had to amuse ourselves because you and Maan weren't paying attention to anything but each other." JD just grinned to see his grandmother lightly scolding his uncle and GT.
"Alright, Dadi, you've had your fun, but time is getting short. The office closes at 5:30 so we need to get going. Geet, Dadi will go with you to keep you company. JD and I will amuse ourselves. Give me a call on my cell when you're done, okay?"
Dadi gently led a nervous Geet into the Divers License Office while Maan took JD's hand and went to have a look around the shopping center.
Apr. 5, 2011 5:25 pm
Maan heard the ringing of his phone and answered it quickly. "How did it go, Geet?"
"I got my permit. You were right, the test wasn't that hard, but I had to wait a while because they were pretty busy. Where are you and JD?"
"We're at PetSmart. JD insisted that it was the only interesting place to go into, even if it didn't have lions. Then he had to show every person he met his toy lion."
Geet laughed, knowing that Maan's description sounded just like JD. "Ok, Dadi and I will meet you both in a few minutes."
As soon as the four met each other on the sidewalk in front of the shops, JD began excitedly to tell what he had seen in the store. He talked about the birds and the fishes and that they had all kinds of snakes and lizards and everything, but no lions. Dadi laughingly asked if he thought lions could be bought at a pet store? JD knew they couldn't, but thought they might have some lion toys or books. All through his chatter, Geet and Maan walked behind him and Dadi, holding hands and smiling at his childish conversation. They were almost back to their car when Geet suddenly pulled on Maan's hand to get his attention.
"Maan look!" she exclaimed. Maan tried to look in the direction she was, but what he saw didn't make sense. She wasn't trying to give him a hint, was she? Did it even make sense?
"Healthy Babies Happy Families?" The store name came out a little higher pitched from Maan's mouth than usual.
"No, don't be funny. I mean the restaurant. You said that we would go out to dinner as a family."
When Geet mentioned the word restaurant, Maan's eyes moved to the next store front and he saw a sign that said Himalyan Indian and Nepali Cuisine. "Oh, no. No, no, no. I thought that we would get some pizza. Cici's is right over there."
"Come on, Maan. We haven't gone to Mt. Everest yet and I really, really, really want some Aloo Tikki. Please, pretty, pretty please!"
JD laughed at the way Geet was asking Maan. "GT you're so funny. You sound like me when I want a cookie."
Maan tried to dissuade Geet but she was persistent. Dadi was naturally on Geet's side, and when Maan tried to convince JD he would like pizza better, JD turned on him also. JD wanted to do what his GT wanted to do. With everyone against him, Maan had to agree to their choice and the family went inside the restaurant together. Maan didn't want to order, and JD didn't know how to read the menus, so Dadi and Geet conferred, poring over the options available. They finally settled on a Vegetarian Thali and Non Vegetarian Thali, which would give them a wide variety of dishes that they could share. Geet also made sure to order two servings of Aloo Tikki, as well as some Mango Lassi for her and Apple juice for JD. Dadi chose Pineapple Lassi and Maan got a Coke, the only thing which he ordered for himself.
When the food arrived, Maan couldn't believe how much there was. He asked Geet if she was trying to make them all blow up like balloons. While JD laughed at this funny image, Geet just shook her head and told Maan that they would take leftovers home with them, not try to eat it all in the restaurant. Dadi just smiled at there little arguments, for she could she the care for each other shining through their eyes. After they had all started eating, JD asked a question.
"GT, in those India movies you watch, why does everyone feed each other? Nobody does that here. Only little babies need someone to feed them. Oh, and sick people too." Dadi and Geet smiled at JD's question, while Maan just rolled his eyes, hearing his nephew ask another why question.
Since the question was directed at Geet, she answered. "JD, in India part of the culture of eating food it to show someone how much you care about them by serving them their food. People in India also believe that sharing food and feeding each other is a way to help families and friends stay together."
JD thought for a moment, then asked, "GT, will you feed me?"
Geet couldn't keep the loving smile off her face as she answered that she would feed him. She then took a piece of naan with some dal and held it up to his mouth. As soon as JD finished chewing the food, he insisted to feed Geet. Though he loved to eat with his fingers, he was not used to eating food the traditional Indian way. For that reason, he went with the easy option of picking up a piece of chicken tikka to feed Geet. JD soon demanded the same treatment from Maan and then Dadi. Once he had been fed by everyone, they thought the meal could go back to normal, but JD wasn't done.
"GT, now you and uncle should feed each other."
Geet was shocked at JD's statement, though she really shouldn't have been. He always seemed to ask her and Maan to do things as a couple that they had yet to do. It was like he had some sort of magic intuition regarding them both. Geet could see from Maan's reaction that he was all for JD's suggestion. He knew as well as she, that there was an extra meaning attached to couples feeding each other. Naturally they complied, as it was their little JD's wish, but Geet could not feed Maan without blushing profusely, and Maan could not feed Geet without grinning shamelessly.
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The suspicious car.
So, I've often heard that here in the West, if people eat food with their hands in Indian restaurants, that are looked at strangely, and sometimes down on. I couldn't say if that it true every place, but I think it's a very silly attitude. I'm just going to pretend that the family could eat with their fingers or silverware, which ever they chose, without strangers looking at them weird.
Now, in case, just in case people start asking: when Maan see's the shop Healthy Babies Happy Families and wonders if Geet is trying to give him a hint, he is not wondering if she is pregnant. I repeat, Maan was not thinking that Geet wanted to hint that she is pregnant. He was thinking something else.
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