Joined: 14 October 2006
Sameera stopped by that evening to inform her that her company was happy with the way she handled the situation in Bangalore. She has been offered a promotion as manager and will be taking over the Bangalore branch from the 1st of January. Apart from the salary hike and the position, her main reason for accepting the offer to go to Bangalore was that she will be closer to her mother and oversee her treatment. She had already arranged for the packers and movers to cart her things the next day. She herself will be leaving by the evening flight to Bangalore. Geet was saddened to hear that Sameera will be leaving them so soon but was glad that it is for the betterment of her career and for her mother. She volunteered to help with the shifting and wished her all the best. Sameera promised to visit them as often as she could.
That night when Maan came in, Geet braced herself up to face the consequences of her actions that day. He had a plastic cover in his hand. Although Geet was curious to know what was inside it she held her tongue till he decided to reveal its contents. After he showered and changed, she served him his dinner and told him about Sameera's visit earlier. Maan was surprised that they will be bidding goodbye to her so suddenly. Like her, he too felt sad that they will be parting with a dear friend but was happy that she will be closer to her mother. After they finished their dinner, Maan went in and brought out the cover. He gave it to her saying that it was his New Year's gift to her. Geet opened the cover excitedly and pulled out an aquamarine colour lace saree. She squealed in excitement and put it over her shoulders.
"How do you like it?" asked Maan smilingly.
"I love it. I simply love it. It is beauuuuuutiful," she dragged the word for emphasis.
"Wear it and show me", he said.
"I will, but first I want you
to accept my New Year's gift to you," she said, realising she found the
perfect excuse for her purchase.
He looked at her amusedly, "You have bought me a gift?"
"Why, can I not buy you a gift?"
"You are my greatest gift, darling. I don't want any other gift."
She pouted her lips and asked him if he will not accept her gift then.
Lifting her head so that her eyes would meet his, he gently asked her, "Where is my gift?"
She ran into the bedroom excitedly, took out the hanger which encased the business suit and rushed back. Holding the hanger behind her back, she asked him to close his eyes. When he did, she left the hanger on his lap and asked him to see his gift. Maan slowly lifted the hanger and unzipped the plastic sheath which held the suit. Pulling it out, his jaws dropped. He looked up at Geet with narrow eyes. Geet knew his temper was slowly rising. Before he can question her where she got the money for such an expensive gift, she hastened to say that Mr.Sahoo had bought one of her paintings for his office and had paid Rs.10,000 for it. She had purchased the suit and a couple of ties with it. She hated to lie but she knew he was not yet ready for the truth.
"Why, Geet? Knowing that I don't like such expensive clothes, why did you buy this? Are you ashamed of me? Do you not approve of my dress sense? Am I too unsophisticated for you?" he asked her trying hard to keep his temper in check.
"Why does it always have to be about you and me? I don't care for external appearances. I love you for what you are but we live in a society that pays more attention to such innocuous things than the inner qualities of a person. People notice and judge you by what you wear. They believe that clothes make the man but do not realise that they should not judge the book by the cover. We cannot change their perception, can we?"
"We don't need to. We live for ourselves Geet, not others. As long as you are comfortable with what I wear, why should it matter what they think of me?"
"Maan, you are now the owner of a hotel. The way you dress and present yourself makes a lot of difference to your subordinates, guests and business associates. You will command more respect in such clothes. All this will go a long way in improving your stature in the industry."
Maan looked at her contemplatively. She decided to go for the kill.
"Maan, will you not accept it for me? I want my husband to be the cynosure of all eyes in tomorrow's party." she said and put on a puppy dog face. She knew he will not be able to resist that look. Leaning forward he kissed her gently on the lips and said that he will wear it but only for her, not for anyone else. She gladly agreed and asked him to change into it while she goes and changes into the saree in the bedroom. They then simultaneously changed into the clothes bought by their beloved spouses.
Geet stepped into the hall in her beautiful lace saree. Seeing her, Maan whistled loudly. Blushing at his attention, she lifted her gaze to him and was arrested by his stunning looks.
"My, my, my. Maan you look smoking hot in black!" she exclaimed.
"Do I?" he asked her, pleased to see his wife's admiration of him.
"Yes, I am sure the women at the party are going to seethe in jealousy seeing me in your arms."
"Not as much as the men when they see me in yours," he smiled and slid his arm around her waist, holding her close to him. With his other hand, he lifted her face to him and enveloped her lips in his for a deep kiss. After a while he showed her that he was not only adept in draping a saree but also in removing it, compelling her to match his speed. Soon the two New Year's gifts lay abandoned on the sofa, with the ones who bought them lost in their own world on the bed.
next morning while having breakfast Geet hesitantly brought up the next
sensitive issue. She did not tell him that she had overheard his employees
discuss about him the previous day. Instead she asked him if he had briefed his
employees about the state of affairs in the hotel. He looked at her in
surprise. Answering in the negative, he asked her why did he need to discuss
his problems with them. She then gently told him that as part of the
establishment they too had a right to know about the health of their hotel so
that they do not fall prey to rumours. She asked him to tell them about
how the finances which were in bad shape have improved in the recent days and
to assure them that the hotel is on a much stronger footing now, thanks to all
their efforts. She asked him to encourage them and pep them up so that they
will give it their best. She assured him that free and frank talk between
the employer and the employee will promote greater feeling of oneness with the
Maan was amazed at his wife's insight into human nature. He thanked her for the valuable advice and promised to speak to his people as soon as possible. He dressed up in his suit and got another admiring look from his wife. Before leaving for work he asked her to come to the hotel as agreed by 9.00 p.m. along with Pinky and Adi. She nodded her head and kissed him goodbye. He then dropped in at Sameera's place to bid her goodbye and wish her luck. Sameera complemented him on his new look. He shyly acknowledged that Geet was responsible for it. Sameera was happy that Geet has been such a positive influence on him. He then gave her a warm hug and promised to drop in on her during his trip to Bangalore the following month to attend the conference for hoteliers to be held there.
At the hotel, he first called for a meeting of all the employees and discussed the health of the hotel. His openness was well appreciated by the employees who promised to give their best to make their hotel renowned. He then addressed the group which was overseeing the New Year's celebration. This group which included Maan's trusted mates in the hotel did not include the likes of Mr.Bansal, which only served to fuel the guy's anger and displeasure at Maan. The rest of the day was spent in making sure everything went as planned.
Back at the chawl, Geet, Pinky and Adi assisted Sameera with the shifting. The packers and movers efficiently packed all the things and loaded them in the lorry. Sameera then had lunch with her and they chatted for long hours, desperate to hold on to every minute they could spend together. Geet revealed to Sameera what she has been up to in the past ten days. Sameera's eyes widened in surprise and she asked what Maan's reaction to this was. Geet informed her that she has not yet revealed anything to him as yet. Sameera was stupefied and asked her what she planned to do, for this was not a secret she can hide forever. Geet admitted that she had to tell him the truth but now was not the right time to do it. He is still caught up with his hotel. Once things settle down, she planned to tell him in a week's time before the truth comes out on its own. In the afternoon, they left for the Handa House where Sameera took leave from Rano, Baba and Sukriti after taking the blessings of the elders.
In the evening, Geet dressed up in the saree Maan gifted her the previous night. All the colony residents got together and held a small function for Sameera before she left. Geet presented her a chain which had her picture in the locket. The two friends then hugged each other tight and shed tears. Sameera asked Geet to accompany Maan for the hotelier's conference so that she can meet her in Bangalore. Geet promised to do so. Geet then hurriedly excused herself for the important engagement. Before leaving, she told Pinky and Adi that she will meet them at the entrance of the hotel at around 8.50 p.m. so that all three of them can walk in together without Maan suspecting anything. They agreed. Adi then dropped Sameera at the airport in his bike.
Geet landed at the Taj hotel at Colaba at 5.45 p.m.sharp. As soon as she reached there, she was directed to the hall in which the function was to take place. She took her place at the dais and waited for the function to start.
Meanwhile at the hotel, Maan and his manager was on their way to the Taj hotel to receive the members of the dance troupe. He had arranged for a van and a car to take them to his hotel after their performance at the Taj. When he reached the hotel, he realised that their performance was not yet over. So he asked his manager to wait for them and went around the hotel to survey it. His hotelier brain was always ticking to observe anything that he could learn from the way other hotels are run. Soon he landed in front of a hall outside which there was a board which read.
Promotion of Hindi Pop Album ' ISHQ. Lanching new singing sensation, Geet Khurana.
Maan was shocked to read the board and wondered whether this could be his Geet. Curiously he opened the door to see his wife on the dais with a mike in her hand and a band behind her. The audience clapped loudly in anticipation of the song and the music started playing. Soon his wife's captivating voice filled the hall and reverberated through it.
While one part of him was drawn to the magic in her voice, the larger part of him felt numbed, betrayed, cheated. He staggered out of the hall as the song came to a close and held on to the pillar nearby for support. How could she have kept such a huge secret from him? Since when did she start singing professionally? Was this the reason she was not at home when he returned home early the day they had gone to the movie? He looked down at his suit. Did she buy it with the money she earned in singing? His mind flew to the loan. He was surprised at how the bank manager, Mr.Kanwar sanctioned him the loan without any collateral or margin money. Was she the reason? Did she pay up the margin money? Why did she do this to him after all the trust and faith he placed on her? His world seemed shattered. He thought he had achieved everything in his own merit but now his success seemed meaningless. In short he felt useless and used.
Even in his dazed state he knew he
had responsibilities to take care before he confronted his wife. He called his
manager and asked him to escort the dance troupe to the hotel. He said he will
join them later as he had some urgent work to attend to. In case their
performance finishes before he could reach back he asked him to escort them to
the airport after settling their payment. He then waited impatiently outside
the hall for his wife to come out, his temper rising with every passing
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