Joined: 14 October 2006
The next day Sameera returned from Bangalore after nearly one and a half months. She dropped in at Maan's place to say hello. Maan was about to leave for work. Seeing her, he sat down with her for a few minutes and asked her how her mother was doing and why did she not turn up by mid-November when she was supposed to. Assuring him that her mother was fine, she explained that when she was about to leave for Mumbai she received a call from her company asking her to stay back and take care of a few things in their Bangalore branch as the manager of the branch had absconded without giving them any notice. Things were in a mess and some urgent consignments had to be shipped to Singapore. So she stayed back to straighten things out and ensure that the consignment reached Chennai as per schedule so that it can be shipped to its final destination. Having finished her task she was back again. She then enquired what the news was back here in the chawl. Giving her a cup of tea, Geet smiled and said that a lot had happened in her absence, both good and bad.
Maan and Geet then gave her a brief rundown of how Maan became a partner in Garodia Hotel. Sameera was elated to hear this and gave Maan a bear hug. Asked when he will treat her, he assured her that he will do so soon enough. They then recounted how Anwesha lost her baby. Sameera was deeply saddened to hear this and enquired how she was doing. They assured her that she was feeling much better now, especially after she saw her baba out of his coma. Sameera's eyes widened in surprise. Geet then held her hand and took her into the bedroom where Khuranaji was still sleeping. Sameera sat next to him and took his hand in hers. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to get up. Sameera gently pushed him back and asked him to relax. He asked with his eyes how she was. She said that she was doing well and was very happy to see him conscious. Maan in the meantime excused himself as he has getting late for work and quickly took Baba's blessing before he left. Geet followed him to the door and kissed him goodbye, voicing her hope that at least the bank he was to visit that day will consider his application favourably, for which he smiled ruefully. The previous day did not bring much luck as that bank had rejected his application outright. Maan was slowly losing hope of ever securing the loan he so desperately needed. There were two to three banks left. If he is unable to get the loan from one of them he will sink along with his hotel. The thought made him shudder as he shook his head and proceeded to the bank.
spent a few more minutes with Baba before she too left as she had to report
back for duty. Geet later wheeled Baba to Pinky's house yet again before
leaving for her mysterious outing. Pinky was aware of where she was going but
was sworn into secrecy.
That night Anwesha called Maan and asked him if Baba can stay with her for a few weeks. She missed him very much and wanted to spend more time with him. Although Maan was initially reluctant to let go of his baba, he realised that it was not fair to hold on to him when he himself was not able to devote more time for him. Moreover, Baba's presence will help her emotionally heal faster. He asked Geet whether she was OK with the arrangement. Geet nodded her head. So he agreed to drop him at Handa House before he left for work the next morning. Anwesha was glad to hear this.
Two days later
was Christmas eve. Maan set out that morning, holding on to the last vestiges
of hope. This was the last bank he will be visiting for his loan. If this one
too declines to give him the loan, he will have to inform Mr.Garodia so that he
can arrange to dispose off his property before any further erosion of value.
He wondered whether he made the worst mistake of his life by accepting
Mr.Garodia's offer. At least earlier he had a regular job. If not in the
Garodia Hotel, he could have found another job in another hotel, especially
with his experience. It would have been easier to have followed the beaten
path. Instead he chose the path riddled with stones and thorns, hoping that it
will lead him to riches which would help him buy all the comforts his wife so
deserves. Now there was the danger that instead of acquiring riches they may be
reduced to rags. While he did not fear facing poverty, he could not bear
to thrust his wife in it. No, if he did not get the loan, he will have to eat
humble pie and admit to Mr.Garodia his inability to rise up to his challenge.
He hated it because he knew that the hotel had potential. He was convinced that if he gets the money in time he can repay
it in less than six months as he had full faith in his own abilities. It was
only a question of having timely liquidity to revive the hotel.
At the bank, he was asked to wait for a few minutes before he can meet the manager. The minutes soon turned to more than an hour. Maan was getting impatient and he finally got up to leave when he was called in by the manager, Mr.Kanwar.
"Mr.Khurana. I have gone through your application and your business proposition. I must admit that I am very impressed. For someone who has been in this field for only a short time, you seem to understand what ails your hotel and how to set it right. The precision with which you have chalked out your strategy for its revival is amazing. I have no hesitation in sanctioning the loan, for I know you will make good use of the funds and repay it in time."
Although Maan was extremely happy to hear this, he was still a little apprehensive.
He hesitatingly said, "I do not have any funds to place as margin money. You may have to give me the loan solely based on my credibility."
problems Mr.Khurana. We will release the funds in a couple of days."
With that Mr.Kanwar got up and shook his hands warmly.
On his way to his hotel, Maan called up Geet to inform her the good news. He could barely contain his excitement as he stuttered and stammered out that he finally managed to secure the loan. Geet was overjoyed to hear this and assured him that now all their problems will soon melt away. He agreed that they will and it is all because he had his lucky charm, his beloved wife by his side, making Geet blush. He then asked her to bring Sameera along for the Christmas eve party at the hotel that evening. She agreed to do so and left for her appointment.
That evening, the guests of the hotel gathered in the banquet hall for the party. Geet was wearing a beautiful indigo blue Mysore crepe silk saree which Sameera had bought for her from Bangalore. Sameera too was wearing a similar saree in wine red colour. Maan who was dressed up as Santa Claus could not take his eyes off his wife. His eyes kept following her wherever she went. Sameera came up from behind him and twisting his ears, she teased him about it.
"What a lecherous Santa you are! Instead of taking care of the kids, you are drooling over a pretty dame?"
reddened but soon recovered to retort back, "Santa is human after
all. He cannot help himself when the woman in question is criminally
hawttt." He emphasised the last word.
Soon the band played the carol
'Jingle bells' and Maan Santa went to his seat to entertain the kids who came
up to him and sat on his lap one after another. He kissed them and gave them
the bars of chocolates he had in his large red sack. One of the little
boys wanted to test whether his beard was real and tried pulling it. Maan was
quick to anticipate his action and averted his stretched hand. He gently
whacked his bottom as he put him down, making the boy giggle.
then joined the band in singing a couple of carols including 'Joy to the world'
and 'Deck the hall with boughs of holly'. As the kids had to go to bed,
the Christmas cake was cut by the youngest kid. After the kids and their
parents left, the party continued till mid night although Maan excused himself
and left with his wife and Sameera by 10.00 p.m. as he had planned to report
for duty on Christmas day too.
They left Sameera at her house and returned
home. After they showered and changed into their night clothes, Geet
asked Maan to wear the Santa mask and cap. Although he was puzzled he did as
she asked him to. She then sat on his lap, held his neck and whispered
into his ear that her Santa had so far fulfilled all her needs. For a
change she wanted to give her Santa what he desires. She then gently bit his
ear, pulled his mask off and bent to enfold his lips in hers in a
deep kiss. Maan's eyes widened first in surprise and then in happiness.
Holding her face between his palms he returned the kiss, measure for measure
and gently pushed her down on the bed. When they finally came up for air, both
of them were panting. Linking her arms around his neck and looking deeply into
his eyes, Geet then proceeded to demonstrate her love and desire for her Santa,
pleasantly surprising him with her zest. It was a merry Christmas indeed for
the young Khuranas.
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