Joined: 14 October 2006
Meanwhile at Sameera's place.
"I can't love her, Sameera. I
can't love Geet." The desperation in his voice was unmistakable. Sameera
was puzzled by it. Earlier that evening, as he was returning home from work,
she had waylaid him and dragged him into her single room apartment.
She had to settle the issue today she thought. It has been going on for long
and she cannot let her two best friends suffer in this manner. She
realised that the relationship which was forced by circumstances was beginning
to work for the two people involved in it much before they themselves
did. Her joy knew no bounds but she also sensed that everything was not
as it should be, especially after the Independence Day celebrations. There
definitely seemed some change in their behaviour towards each other although
everything seemed alright on the surface. Geet was an expert at masking things
and putting up a happy front but she knew her friend long enough to understand
her unspoken thoughts.
Sameera was generally very perceptive of people although she herself remained an enigma to all. Here it was the two people she loved and cared the most so her antenna was up the minute she sensed trouble. She waited for them to resolve whatever it was between themselves but they did not seem to be making any progress. She knew that Geet was way too simple to be the cause of their problem. If at all the issue had to be sorted out, it has to be with Maan. That is the reason she intervened and decided to question him directly. Maan was initially reluctant to open up when she asked him if he loved Geet. On being pressed on, he finally let out the above plaintive cry.
Sameera reached out to him and held his head in her hands so that he can meet her eye, "Why Maan, why? Is it because you have still not forgotten our past?"
Maan did not answer at first. Sameera repeated the question more forcefully.
"NO", he shouted, "IT IS BECAUSE I HAVE FORGOTTEN!"
Sameera was stunned hearing this. It did not make sense. If he had forgotten about their past together what was his problem in loving Geet? Was he feeling guilty for having forgotten her?
Holding him by the collar, she shook him hard. "Look here, Maan if you feel guilty for forgetting me and wanting to move ahead with Geet, don't be. I have forgotten our past too. You are nothing more than a friend, a very dear one at that. Don't let your past haunt your future."
"Sameera, it is not that I feel guilty for getting past us," he said, his voice laced with frustration.
"Then what is the matter?"
"Don't you see, Sameera, if I can forget a love of ten years in one month, what does it say about my capacity to love and tenacity to hold on to it? The only time I thought of you after marriage was when I was drunk. It doesn't say much about my commitment to love, does it? Is it fair to Geet that the man she loves more than herself is so fickle that he forgot his past love within a month? How can he now ensure he remains committed to her for life?"
Sameera could not believe that this was what was troubling him for so long. "Arey buddhu," she hit his forehead with the tip of her fingers, "You got over me so soon because you did not truly love me although you thought you did. It says nothing about your capacity to love which I know is enormous because I see it in your eyes every time you look at her, a look I never got from you."
Maan looked guiltily away. Sameera turned him back to face her. "Don't feel guilty about it Maan. We cannot help how we feel about people. Love is a matter of the heart, not the head."
She continued, "Maan, in a way it is good that we did not get together because I don't think we would have been successful. You see both of us are too similar in temperament. The reason we sought each other out was because both of us wanted someone to share our problems with but if you come to think of it, it was always a one-way sharing for both of us. You expected someone to listen to your problems and I expected the same but since both of us were so full of our respective problems, we were not really helping each other out. We thought we were because to you listening to my problems made yours seem smaller and for me listening to your problems made mine seem smaller. In other words, both of us were more interested in taking from each other rather than in giving to each other because we were so full of our own troubles to be able to empty ourselves to each other.
This is not the case with you and Geet and this is largely because of the person Geet is. This woman has insurmountable capacity to give and she gives of herself so totally that the other person has no choice but to reciprocate that giving. I can understand it well because it is exactly the same for me too. I want to give Geet all the happiness in the world because she wants the same for me. She gives her love so freely that I can't but love her back. So when you told me that you have to marry Geet I did not think twice about giving you up for her for I knew if there is one person who can keep her happy it is you. I see that yearning in your eyes to please her, Maan. I see the desperation in your eyes to keep her happy. I see the pain in your eyes when you hurt her. True love is about giving and not about taking and I see that in you, Maan when you are with Geet."
"WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE, SAMEERA?" yelled Maan. "I WANT TO GIVE HER EVERYTHING BUT WHAT DO I HAVE? I forced this marriage upon her because I got something from it. I got my sister's happiness but what has she got except a life of poverty? Don't you see that this deal has not benefitted her at all? She is paying for her brother's sins. She has been deprived of comfort and luxury because of me. How can I rest in peace knowing that the one woman who deserves all the goodness in the world is subjected to the drudgery of the world because of me?"
"Maan why are you blaming
yourself for this marriage? Yes, by entering into a deal with Arjun you have
ensured that Anwesha's future is taken care of but don't forget that Arjun
agreed to marry Anwesha only under the condition that you will marry his sister
and hand over the property to him. So he primarily wanted a guy who would serve
his selfish purpose. If you had refused the deal he would not only have ditched
Anwesha but would have got Geet married to some creep who would have signed
away the property for a few lakhs of rupees. Then what would have become of Geet's
Maan had no answer to that.
Sameera continued, "Maan when you told me about Arjun's condition, I knew that you were the best bet for Geet. I knew you well enough to be sure that you will keep Geet happy. So I gave you up not only for Anwesha's happiness but also for Geet's. That woman has been through a lot in life. She lost the two most important men in her life on the same day, one to death and the other to marriage. The one brother who should have kept her best interest in mind was more bothered about retaining power and wealth that he was willing to trade her for it. If the man she marries also does not appreciate her goodness and keeps her happy, that poor soul will be totally shattered. Geet is too good a person to deserve this."
"I know Sameera, she is too good for me, just too good," he lamented.
Sameera was getting irritated with him now. "Stop it Maan. Stop whining. I know you love her as much as she loves you. Tell me, can you really push her away from you?"
"I tried to Sameera. I tried being rude to her. I tried to be heartless."
did what?" Sameera was besides herself with anger now. "You
hurt that poor angel. No wonder Geet is miserable these days.
She is a good actress you see, doing her best to cover up her feelings by smiling always but I know her well enough to read the pathos behind that smile."
Maan looked equally miserable now, his eyes were sunken, his shoulders were slumped and he looked defeated. Her heart went out to him. Putting her hand on his weary shoulders, she said in a more understanding voice, "Maan, you really want this relationship to work as much as she wants it, don't you? If not, why are you working two jobs?"
Maan looked at her in surprise. Sameera nodded her head knowingly. "My colleague's brother works at the same hotel as you. He was telling me that you have taken up that coffee shop job three weeks back since that sports guy has finally quit. What is the need for the job? You earn enough to ensure a reasonable level of comfort and I can see that Geet is managing the finances quite well. Why are you in need of more money?"
Maan looked down and said in a low voice, "I need the money to pay the deposit for a flat with attached bathroom. The Sens are leaving the chawl in a month's time. I want to move into their flat because it has an attached bathroom but since the flat is bigger I need to pay an additional fifty thousand rupees for the deposit."
Sameera asked him quietly, "Was the prize money from the handi breaking also meant for meeting this deposit?" Maan nodded silently. He got about Rs.30,000 after dividing the prize money with the rest of the group which he set aside along with the money he was getting from the coffee shop for paying the deposit.
By now Sameera understood it all. She knew something was amiss when Geet told her that her husband had wanted to break that handi because he was desperate to get the prize money for meeting Pinky's wedding expenses. She was aware that Baba had opened a separate account in his niece's name and had stashed away a good sum for this purpose. Maan was also aware of the existence of this money. So she found it strange that Maan will risk his life for the handi money. While she never doubted that he loved Geet, she did not know that the guy will go to such great lengths to try giving her some basic comfort.
"And you doubt your capacity to love after this Maan? Can't you see that you love her as much as she loves you and you can't live without her? Then why are hurting yourself and the one you love by holding back? Go to her and tell her how much you love her. Put that poor girl's mind to rest. She has been through too much already. Ease her pain and yours." So saying, she pushed him hard out of the house.
The showdown with Sameera had finally removed the cobwebs in
his mind. Maan wiped away the tears which had unknowingly trickled down his
cheeks. After he thanked her and wished her good night, he excitedly hurried to
his wife to grab her in his arms and bare his heart to her.
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