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Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
Maan sat silently in the car, slightly annoyed at the soft sniffles that he heard coming from the girl sitting next to him. He suspected that she was trying to hide the fact that she was crying, but she wasn't doing a very good job. He didn't even understand why she was crying. How could she feel sad to leave a family that treated girls the way they had treated her? Females were such strange creatures. So illogical and emotional. That was one of the reasons he had intended never to marry.
The irony was not lost on Maan that that was the reason he had eventually agreed to this marriage. Savitri had been terribly worried for the fate of this girl if left in the hands of her angry family. She nearly broke down when she explained how the elder Handa had hit the girl in full view of everyone, just for defending them. To Maan, the logical response was to report the Handa's to the police for domestic abuse and let the law handle the matter, but Savitri had not agreed. She had been insistent that he marry the girl, and become quite over wrought when he refused. Eventually Maan had given in, as his dadima's health was not good, and in the end it was more important to him to keep her happy than to keep his single status.
But, the end result of caving to the emotional blackmail was that Maan had now wasted hours of his valuable time on this stupid marriage to a strange girl, who instead of thanking him for taking her away from an abusive family, seemed to be morning their loss as badly as any bride ever had. Maan hated weeping females. What good did crying ever do them? Better to sit and think what to do about the situation, than to cry useless tears. But females never thought like that, and Maan was stuck next to one, all thanks to his useless brother.
Maan had told Dadima and Nani that it was pointless to get Dev married in an attempt to settle him down, and he had been proven right. Devendra Singh had never cared how his actions affected others, and the same was still true now. Maan was done with him. This was the last time that he would ever take responsibility for Dev's actions. He was tired of always cleaning up after him. He was always paying money for him, as Dev had long back used up his entire inheritance. From now on, Dev was on his own. Neither would Maan give him money, nor would he help him in any way, ever again.
Geet was trying very hard to control her emotions, but it was difficult. She was sad to be leaving her maika, even if the only person she would really miss was her mother. It was still the place she had grown up, the place where she had made all the precious memories of time spent with her papa. She was also scared about her future. Here she was, just married to a stranger, and she had no idea what he thought about her, their quick marriage, and what his expectations were. She didn't even know what his name was.
If only he said something, anything, Geet would have an opening to ask all her questions. He didn't speak one word, and that fueled Geet's nervousness even more. Geet tended to be very talkative, but usually only at school, where she was with people her own age. At home, she was expected to never speak to a male member of her family, except when they spoke to her. The only exception had been her papa, and this man was certainly not her papa. She had no idea what he would do if she spoke first.
Even if she did find the courage to speak, she didn't know how to ask the most important question. What exactly would their married life be like, and more importantly, was he expecting to assert his husbandly rights regarding their Suhaag Raat? If he did, he was in for a rude awakening. Geet had no intention of submitting herself to a virtual stranger, even of he was her legal husband. Though she had been more sheltered than many city girls, she was by no means ignorant about what went on between men and women. The thought of being physically intimate with someone she knew nothing about, let alone didn't love, was sickening.
Yes, she was well aware of how attractive the man sitting next to her was. She even thought that many girls from school would have envied her, and jumped at the chance to be his bride, precisely for that reason. They would have swooned over him, just as they did over their favorite Bollywood heroes, blushing happily at the thought of being kissed, caressed, and more. Geet had a different view on the matter. In her dreams of married life, the few times that she'd seriously thought about it, her life partner was someone she knew very well, who she could talk to like she had with her father, and who cared for her the same way she cared for him. If these things weren't there, no physical relationship was enough to make up for that.
Geet was too unnerved by resent events to feel comfortable looking at his face, but she did glance over and noticed how large and strong he seemed. She realized that if he was insistent, there was no way she would be able to over power him. That realization increased her anxiety, and her hands started to shake in reaction. She did her best to control the shaking by folding her hands in her lap, even as she tried to regain her calm. Geet silently spoke, reminding herself that he was Savitriji's grandson. There was no reason to assume that he would treat her badly, or try to force her against her will. She looked down at the hands she was clenching tightly, and saw her mehendi in the faint like of the moon. She remembered when it was applied, and the drama she had gone through in order to not have Devji's name written without anyone being aware. She had somehow hoped that it would be a sign of her marriage not taking place, but that obviously wasn't the case.
Just as all these thoughts were simmering in Geet's mind, she noticed that the car was beginning to slow down. This was unexpected to Geet, because she was under the impression that they would be driving directly to her sasural. Although, now that she thought about it, she was not sure exactly where that was, if her husband lived with the rest of the family, or not. Regardless, they had only been traveling for a few minutes, so they could not have even left Hoshiarpur yet. When the car came to a complete stop, her husband opened his door and started to get out.
Without thinking about it, Geet burst out with a, "What is going on?"
She got no reply, but the slamming of the front car door caused her to jump a little. The groom stood patiently, apparently waiting for her to exit the car also. It was such a weird thing for Geet, to see them stopping like this, with no idea what was happening, that she just sat there, unmoving. This didn't seem to sit well with her groom. Geet felt him grabbed hold of her arm, and she was pulled gently, but firmly, out of the car.
Looking around to see where they were, Geet saw a few familiar places and thought that they had stopped at Bajwara Khurd. She saw the other car the was carrying Savitriji and Sonaliji pulling up also. She wondered if they knew what was going on. Geet had just made up her mind to go ask them, when she felt another tug on her arm. Before she quite knew what was happening, she felt her self being pulled back towards the car, and her ghoonghat being lifted.
It wasn't until that moment that Maan had realized he had yet to get a clear view of his "wife's" face. He thought it was ridiculous not to at least know what she looked like, so he took the opportunity to raise her veil and see her face in what little light the moon offered. She was extremely beautiful, but not in anyway that was easy to describe. He was pleased to see that her tears seemed to be over, but he could also see the questions in her eyes, eyes that were more expressive than he was expecting. He hardly cared to tackle that problem, as he wasn't expecting to meet her often. He would let his dadi and nani do the honors of giving her the explanations she wanted. With his curiosity satisfied, he was impatient to get back to Rewari and his work.
As her husband let her go and pulled back, Geet couldn't stop her face from contorting in confusion. When he reached down and began untying the knot that connected them, her eyes widened. He then walked to the other side of the car, her eyes followed his movements, even as she commented, "Kitna ajeeb hai voh!" (How strange he is!)
If he heard her words, he gave no indication, and Geet's attention was diverted when she heard, "Geet beti," coming from both of the older women.
Geet walked over to them and asked, "Kya ho raha hai? Hum yahan kyun rok rahe hain?" (What is happening? Why are we stopping here?)
"Hum ghar jaa rahe hain. Gaadi mein beitho. Tum harmare saath aa jaaegi." (We are going home. Sit in the car. You will come with us.)
Geet stared at Savitri, not quite taking in the full meaning of her words. Glancing back over to the car she had just gotten out of, she asked, "Lekin, voh kahan jaa raha hai?" (But, where is he going?)
"Geet, voh Rewari wapas jaa raha hai. Voh vahan kaam kar raha tha," explained Savitri. (Geet, he is going back to Rewari. He was working there.)
"But, Auntieji, I don't understand why he would separate from us here. Rewari is far away. Doesn't it make more sense for him to go with us to Chandigarh and then take a flight to Delhi?"
"Well, Geet, his work is extremely important. He's working on a contract for the government, and he doesn't want to deal with any more delays." Savitri explained this, and then her eyes lit up as she said, "Oh, and Geet, don't call me Auntieji. Call me Dadima, and Sonali is Nani. This is what Maan calls us, and now that you two are married, you should call us this also."
Geet was quick to catch that Savitri called her husband Maan. She was happy that she finally had a name to go with the face, but still felt very confused. There were several things about this situation that didn't add up. For a brief moment, she was very concerned. She thought about the recent situation that had happened in Jalandhar. A girl had been married to an NRI from American. The couple had gone to Mumbai to take a flight back to American, when the husband had abandoned his wife. After some time it was found out that the husband was not an NRI, but a resident of Delhi, who had demanded a large dowry for the marriage. This was too late for the girl, who had committed suicide, unable to face the situation she was in. For a brief moment, Geet feared that she too might be in a similar situation. Then she remembered that even though the groom was a stranger to her, both Sonali and Savitri were well known to her family. Her original proposal from Devji had been facilitated by a friend of both the families. Geet felt better as she realized that her own situation was different.
"Sir, I've informed Ranjeev that we will be heading for Adampur shortly. He will have the helicopter ready and waiting for us."
Geet heard the words of the soft voiced man who had accompanied Maan with disbelief. The airport at Adampur was military only, and though she had heard some talk of it being opened to the public, nothing had happened yet. As Geet was ushered into the car by Sonali and Savitri, her mind churned out a million questions. What kind of man had she married? Who was this person called Maan, who was so important he had a helicopter waiting at Adampur, a place off limits to the average Indian citizen? What work in Rewari was so important that he would leave his wife for it on their wedding night?
That last question brought Geet to her senses. What did she care what he did? She didn't want a wedding night. Hadn't she just been worrying to herself about his intentions? Now it was obvious that if he was leaving, he didn't intend for them to have a Suhaag Raat, at least not right away. Geet felt immense relief at this realization. As their car drove away, Geet looked back and saw her husband getting back into his car. The sight made her think about how strange Babaji was at times. She felt like he had answered her prayers, not in the way she had asked, but in a way that still gave her what she wanted. At least, she hoped that was true.
To get to Chandigarh from Hoshiarpur, they were looking at a drive of almost three hours. It was late at night, and Geet was quite tired, but she couldn't go to sleep. She finally figured out one of the things that had been bothering her. She didn't understand how Savitri could be Maan's dadi, and Sonali his nani. She was sure that she had heard Devji call Savitri, Nani, and Sonali, Dadi. She took the opportunity of being alone with the women in question, to ask them about the inconsistency. The next half an hour was spent in Savitri and Sonali explaining some of the relationships in their family.
Geet learned that Maan was the son of Savitri's son, Suneet Khurana. His mother, Rohini, was Sonali's niece. As Sonali had always been like a mother to Rohini, Maan called her Nani. Dev, was the son of Sonali's son, Eshwar, and Savitri's daughter. After hearing all this, Geet felt like she understood the family relations better, but she still didn't understand why they were going to Chandigarh, well Kharar actually, as she understood that to be the place of the Singh family ancestral home. Savitri explained that her understanding was correct, but that Savitri and Sonali had been very good friends, like sisters, from their childhood. Savitri had gone to live with Sonali and her family when her husband died, and Maan had also grown up there.
By this time Geet was feeling extremely tired. She tried to keep her eyes open, but the events of the day had finally taken their toll on her. When Savitri and Sonali saw her eyes start to close and her head droop, then stopped speaking and helped her get comfortable. Geet drifted off to sleep, while the two ladies spoke in whispers to each other. They discussed the remarkable events of the day and also what they would do about their new bahu's future.
The next thing Geet knew, she was being shaken awake and told that they had arrived. Geet moved into an upright position, moving her neck to get rid of the stiffness. Looking out the side window she could see that they had entered through the gates and were passing some smaller structures on the property. Large trees blocked the view to the main house, and it wasn't until the car turned the corner, that she got a glimpse of the magnificent Singh home.
Soon they were parked at the entrance, and exiting the car. As Geet walked up to the large building, she felt very small. By Hoshiarpur standards, her family was wealthy and their haveli was one of the largest in the city. It was nothing compared to the Singh residence, which seemed so massive, it could be mistaken for a palace. Lit up in preparation of their arrival, contrasting with the night sky, it was an impressive sight.
Upon reaching the front door, Savitri performed the aarti, while Sonali and the servants looked on. Savitri then directed Geet to step inside and kick over the small pot of rice that was waiting. Geet did as directed, all the time feeling very strange. She remembered when her bhabhi's grah pravesh happened. All the family were there to welcome her bhabhi and Brij veerji. Right now, going through this important rasam with no groom, Geet felt very alone. She tried not to show it, and followed meekly when Sonali requested her.
Soon they came down a hallway, where there were red hand prints on one wall. One of the servants brought forward a plate filled with red liquid, which Savitri then held. Sonali directed Geet to place her hands in the color and leave her print on the wall. At this point Geet could no longer keep silent. She questioned how all these important rituals could be done without the groom present. Savitri looked at Sonali, silent communication seeming to happen between them, before she spoke.
"Maan yahan nahin hain, to kya hua? Ab yeh aapke ghar hai. Hum sab rasmon karenge. Maan aa jayege, jab voh kar sakte hain. Tab tak hum uske bina sab kuch karenge." (Maan isn't here, so what? This is your home now. We will do all the rituals. Maan will come when he can. Until then we will do everything without him.)
Geet couldn't say much against Savitri's wishes. She obediently placed her hands in the red color and put her hand prints on the wall. When she was finished, Sonali pointed out that her own hand prints were right next to where Geet had left hers. Without thinking, Geet asked Savitri where her hand prints were.
Savitri laughed and said, "Geet, this is my home now, but it wasn't when I was a knew bride. I placed my hand prints at the wall in my husband's home, back in Delhi."
Geet felt embarrassed and tried to cover up the gaff by yawning. Upon seeing the yawn, both Sonali and Savitri insisted that Geet go to bed, as it was very late. They escorted her to Maan's room, while the servants brought Geet's bags. They spent a few minutes helping Geet get settled, before leaving her to make herself ready for sleep. Once alone, Geet couldn't help but explore the room she would now share with her husband. There wasn't much to explore. It was quite bare, with only a few pieces of furniture, a large wardrobe, and a bed. There was also an attached bath, which surprised Geet, until she thought about how wealthy the family seemed to be.
Her exploration finished, Geet took off her jewelry, heaving a sigh of relief. The jewelry was quite heavy, as were her clothes. She took a very quick shower and then changed into her night suit. She hesitated to get under the bed covers, because it felt like she was intruding in someone's room. However, she quickly gave herself a pep talk, saying that she certainly wasn't going to sleep on the floor, so she would have to sleep on the bed. With the light turned off, Geet slowly got under the covers and curled up. She tried to relax and let sleep overtake her, but it was difficult. Nothing would change her feelings about the Suhaag Raat, but lying in the big bed, all alone, away from her family, she was almost wishing that Maan was with her. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she tried to fight the feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
Yes it is April 1st, but no, this is not an April Fools post.
The Singh mansion, only not at night.
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