Joined: 23 August 2010
Joined: 31 May 2010
Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
When Geet's first day of college came along, she was so excited she had a hard time sleeping the night before. She was also just a little bit worried. Chandigarh was more modern and urban than Hoshiarpur, even though there were plenty of villages in the surrounding areas. At home her family was known and respected, but here she was trying to stay as anonymous as possible. That included not being driven to school every day, which she argued fiercely with Dadima about. Dadima wanted their driver Mohan to take her to and pick her up from college every day. Geet wanted to take the bus, not wanting to be seen getting out of any car, let alone one of the many expensive ones that belonged to the family.
Though she argued very confidently with Dadima, Geet was a little afraid of traveling on a strange bus, filled with strangers, in an unfamiliar city. She hoped that she would be able to get around on her own without problems. Regardless of her personal misgivings, she continued to present as strong a front to Dadima and Nani. She was too excited about having the opportunity to be more independent, to be willing to give any of it up. She loved how she could argue freely with Dadima, without any fear of punishment, and even get her own way.
That was how, despite Dadima's protests, Nani's worries, and Geet's small insecurities, the first day of college saw her heading off on her own. Of course, the ladies didn't let her go without a proper send off. Dadima did the aarti and Geet took both of their blessings before leaving the house early in the morning. She also had to leave with Nakul accompanying her to the bus stop. It was Dadima's condition that Nakul stay with her at the stop, and be there when she returned, not because she didn't trust Geet, but just for their piece of mind. Geet agreed, understanding well that they would naturally be concerned for her safety, even if there was no real reason to be. Geet wouldn't even be surprised if Dadima called the principal just to check and make sure she arrived safely at school. In fact, it was with that thought in mind, as she stepped off CTU bus 35, that Geet got out her phone and pressed Dadima's speed dial. The phone rang a few times before she heard Dadima answer.
"Hello, Dadima," she said happily.
"Geet beti, aap hume kyun phone kar rahe hain? Sab theek hai na?" (Geet, why are you phoning me? Is everything alright?)
"Haan, Dadima, sab theek hai. Ab main school chal rahi hoon." (Yes, Dadima, everything is fine. I'm walking to school now.)
"Itni jaldi?" (So soon?)
Dadima couldn't believe that Geet had arrived in such a short time, but she was happy to get her call. They talked for a few minutes as Geet made her way down the street, Dadima imparting advice and encouragement. She made Geet promise to take good care of herself and call if she had any problems. Geet agreed, not because she thought there would be any problem, but because she didn't want them to worry at home. Though she didn't want them to worry, it did feel nice that Dadima and Nani were worried because they were concerned for her, and not for their precious izzat, like Daarji and Brij veerji. No, they loved and treated her like a daughter and Geet had come to love them both in return.
As she neared the school entrance, Geet said, "Thank you, Dadima," her voice thick with emotion.
"Thank you? For what?"
"For giving me your support. It means a lot to me."
"It's nothing, Beta. I just want you to be happy. Now, go with my blessing."
Geet said her goodbyes to Dadima and then ended the call. Opening her bag, she pulled out her schedule to check one final time. She had an English class first, then History and Psychology finished out her morning. Putting the paper back in her bag, she realized that she was as ready as she could be. The only thing missing was her Papaji. It was painful to think that he couldn't be there to see her fulfilling his dreams for her.
Folding her hands and closing her eyes, she said silently, "Papaji, aaj main apana vada pura karoongi. Mujhe apna aashirvaad deejiye. Babaji, main bhi aapka aashirvaad chati hoon." (Dad, today I will fulfill your promise. Give me your blessing. Babaji, I also want your blessing.)
With those words, Geet was ready to resume her college education. The first week went pretty much as Geet expected. A few people said hello to her and introduced themselves, but mostly the girls stayed in the groups they were used to, unsure about including anyone new. That didn't bother Geet, except when Dadima and Nani would ask if she had made any friends. She could see the sadness on their faces at her negative answer. Geet did her best to reassure them that it was just the first week. Most of her time was taken up with classes and getting to know the campus. They didn't need to worry as she was sure to make friends soon.
Her first opportunity came that Friday. Her morning classes were finished, and Geet was trying to decide where exactly she wanted to go for lunch. Of course she could eat at school and study, but she didn't really need to yet, as none of her professors had given any difficult assignments the first week. She was also craving some nice, spicy aloo tikki from a chatwala, and if she made that choice, she would also have a perfect excuse to do a little more exploring of the areas around the school and even beyond sector 42.
Geet had made up her mind and was just on her way to leaving, when she heard her name being called. She turned back and saw one of the more popular girls at school, Sheila was her name, rushing over to her. Shelia was dressed in tight fitting jeans and a t-shirt with some foreign movie star Geet didn't recognize. She wore high heels, lots of makeup, and couldn't be more different than Geet. Geet couldn't figure out why this girl would want to talk to get, unless it was about a class.
Sheila first asked if Geet had a free period. Geet answered yes, puzzled as to the reason for the question. She explained that she was just about to get something to eat. Then Geet asked if Sheila needed to ask her anything about the history class they had together. Sheila laughed, and rhetorically asked why did Geet think she would need to ask her about the class. Geet shrugged her shoulders and waited for her to state her purpose.
"Geet, tumko pizza pasand hai?" (Geet, do you like pizza?)
"Yeah, a bunch of us like to head over to Pizza Hut to get pizza for lunch. We wondered if you'd like to come with us?"
Geet scrunched up her nose as she responded, "Pizza matlab?"
Sheila's eyes widened at Geet's question. She was unable to believe that Geet was unfamiliar with pizza. She interrogated Geet on where she had lived, sure that she must have lived somewhere very isolated, not to have access to pizza. Geet really didn't know, as she had never been interested in eating foreign food, being perfectly satisfied with the spicy cuisine of her homeland.
Sheila felt that Geet had been deprived of something that no girl should be deprived of. Not heeding any protests, she grabbed Geet's arm and pulled her towards the group of waiting girls. Within a minute, they were squeezed into a few rickshaws and headed to their destination. Geet felt a little odd, but decided that she might as well go with them. Their descriptions of pizza didn't sound too bad, and she thought this might give her an opportunity to get to know them better.
Geet had been to Chandigarh with Dadima and Nani a few times for shopping, and to visit some of their friends, as well as to arrange for her schooling, but otherwise it was a city unfamiliar to her. They passed by building after building, turning corners and traveling quite a longer distance than Geet expected. When they arrived, as the girls hurried along towards the restaurant, Geet caught sight of a large green area some distance away. When she asked what it was, one of the girls explained that it was the football field for the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology. Geet's eyes widened at that response, and she started getting a little suspicious.
When they all assembled inside, Geet saw a large group of boys, one of which rushed over to Sheila and pulled her in for a big hug. Some of the other girls walked up to the boys and gave them hugs or held their hand. Geet's suspicions were confirmed. The girls had come here not just for lunch, but to meet boys. Some of the girls introduced their boyfriends to Geet, as well as a few of the other boys they knew who were there. One guy in particular seemed very interested in Geet.
"Hi, I'm Rahul," he said, holding out his hand as he walked up a little too close to Geet.
Feeling uncomfortable, but not wanting to be rude, she said hello back and shook his head briefly. While the rest of the group were discussing what they wanted to order, Rahul tried engaging Geet in conversation. She barely answered in monosyllables, not liking the way he was looking at her. As soon as she possibly could, Geet excused herself on the excuse of using the bathroom. Then she quickly made her way outside and flagged down the first rickshaw she could find.
Geet was so upset by the whole situation, not so much with the fact that they had gone to meet boys, but it was just the sort of thing she had wanted to avoid. And that Rahul was too creepy! Her own plans for lunch forgotten, Geet angrily made her way to the school's library. She couldn't help making faces as she plopped down at the nearest table, letting her bag fall to the floor.
Looking up in exasperation, she questioned, "Babaji, are all the girls here boy crazy?" just as someone else complained loudly that mathematics was nothing but a headache.
Geet looked over her shoulder at the girl sitting at the other end. Simultaneously they asked, "Are you alright?" and then laughed.
The girl explained that she was having trouble understanding how to do her math work. Geet took a look, and recognized the problems having taken the same class a year before. She explained what to do, and the girl was very grateful for the help. They both introduced themselves, and Geet learned that the girl's name was Pinky and that her family lived in Mohali. Geet explained that she was from Hoshiarpur, but only said that she was staying with some relatives in Kharar, not wanting to get into an explanation of her past. At the end of the short getting to know each other session, Geet's stomach growled loudly, prompting Pinky to offer her some of her chips she had been munching.
As Geet took one, she complained about her plans for having aloo tikki being ruined. "Oh, aloo tikki sounds so yummy! There's a great chat vendor not too far from here."
Pinky offered to go with Geet, and as they walked together, Geet explained the whole situation about how she got dragged along with the group of girls, without even really wanting to go. Pinky understood Geet's upset, especially about the creepy Rahul, but thought that she shouldn't let the experience turn her off from trying pizza. Pinky loved pizza, and as there was a Pizza Hut near where they lived, she was a frequent customer.
"You know," said Pinky conversationally, as the girls had their aloo tikki, "Sheila's name isn't really Shelia."
"No, it's not. She doesn't let anyone even know her real name, but I know, because her mom and mine are friends."
"So, what is her name?"
"But, that's a nice name. Why does she want to be called something else?"
"I don't know. We aren't really friends. I guess I'm not popular enough for her."
Geet didn't think much of being friends with someone only because they were popular. She thought that it was much better to be friends with people who were fun and nice. She didn't think that Sheila fit into that category, but Pinky did. That first afternoon of eating aloo tikki together was the start of their friendship. What ever free time they had at school was spent together, talking and laughing, and of course Geet helping Pinky out with her math. At the very beginning of their friendship, Geet discovered two things that defined Pinky. She was a foodie and a huge Shahrukh Khan fan.
The first thing was something that Geet could identify with, at least as regarding Indian and Punjabi food. The second one was a bit of a difficulty, because Geet had never heard of Shahrukh Khan. This was something that Pinky found unbelievable. How could Geet not know who India's number one film actor was? The day Pinky discovered this fact about Geet, the conversation was something like this.
"Hey Geet, do you want to go see a Shahrukh movie with me?"
"Shahrukh? Who is that?"
"Oh, hahaha! Very funny, Geet. Wait, you're not joking? Don't tell me you've never seen Shahrukh Khan. That is just not possible! You're from Hoshiarpur, not the moon! Didn't you ever go to the movies?"
Geet shook her head, and said, "No, Daarji didn't allow it. He thought movies were a waste of money and he was afraid that the foreign films would have a corrupting influence. I was never allowed to go with my friends and if I had tried to go behind his back, Daarji would have punished me."
"Okay, put they play his older movies on TV all the time, not to mention he's in lots of commercials..."
"No TV either."
"Geet, seriously, I don't mean to be rude, but your Daarji sounds like he was born in the 19th century. I can't imagine not being able to see my dreamy Shahrukh." With that, Pinky pulled out a much loved picture of the actor from her bag and showed it to Geet.
"Oh, I think I recognize this guy. I've seen his picture on some billboards before."
"Geet, this is not some 'GUY', it's Shahrukh Khan! You seriously need some help."
From that time on, Pinky took every opportunity she could to pull Geet away from her studies, and make her watch her collection of Shakrukh Khan dvds. Though Geet was concerned about doing well, her grades never seemed to suffer from the amount of time she spent with her new friend. Dadima and Nani were all for the two girls spending time together. They even suggested that Geet invite Pinky to their house, but she was reluctant. Having kept her marital status a secret, she didn't feel like trying to come up with more lies to explain her situation to her new friend.
Actually, she really liked spending time at Pinky's, as it gave her an opportunity to pretend that her life was that of a simple girl's college experience, and not the complication that it really was. Every time she spoke to her mother, she tried to explain how much she was enjoying her classes, but her mother was only interested in one thing. Was her damaadji there? When Geet would answer in the negative, the next question was, had she spoken with damaaji? Again, when the answer was negative, Geet could just feel the upset pouring through the phone in her mother's silence.
But when she was with Pinky, she felt like she could truly be Geet, a young girl living her life as she wanted. Geet was often a regular at the Marchanda household on Saturdays. She loved spending time there with Pinky's father and mother, who treated her just like a daughter, Pinky's younger sister Ruby was a riot, and of course, Pinky was so fun to be with. Except for Pinky's love affair with Shahrukh Khan, the girls had so much in common, their likes and dislikes so similar, that Geet truly felt like they were sisters. When Geet was around Pinky, she completely forgot that she had been all but abandoned by her pagal husband. However, even that comfort was soon denied her.
"Pinky, I can't tell you how glad that I met someone I could be friends with who isn't boy crazy like the rest of those twits we see every day at school."
Pinky was well aware that Geet was quite disgusted with the behavior of some of their classmates who were less interested in their studies than the opposite sex. However, she felt it was time to share the truth with her friend.
"Geet," she said, slowly, "I'm afraid that I'm just as boy crazy as any girl at school."
"Being a Shahrukh fan doesn't count." Pinky was shaking her head as Geet looked over at her, smiling a small smile.
"I'm not talking about Shahrukh," she answered. Walking over to her bedside table, Pinky pulled open the drawer and took out a photo. She then walked back to where Geet was sitting by the window and handed her the picture.
Geet saw her best friend and a man that looked vaguely familiar, side by side. "Who is this?"
"Your boyfriend?" Geet looked from Pinky, back to the picture and then back to Pinky again. "This picture is several years old. How come you never told me about him before? How come your family never says anything?"
"Well, Adi and I have known each other for over ten years. Our families used to be neighbors. When my parents found out that we were serious, they got really strict with how much time we could spend together or talking on the phone. They even kept track of how often we emailed or texted each other."
"Why, don't they like him?"
"Oh, no, they both like Adi and his parents a lot. It's just that my mom doesn't even want me talking about marriage until after I finish college. I think that's mostly because she's a teacher and education is so important to her, but it's also because he's four years older than I am. I think Mom and Dad didn't want me to get married too young."
"So, how come there aren't more pictures of you guys, like on your shelves or something?"
"Well, that's all related to when my parents first found out and made the limited contact rules. It was my first year of college and I was missing him so much that every time I saw his picture or someone mentioned his name, I would burst into tears. I also moped around the house all the time and was a lot more irritable. Eventually the whole family started not to talk about him when he wasn't in town, and some how that made it a little easier to bare his absence. I guess it's just become a habit now."
"Wow. I can't believe we've been friends for months, and I am only now hearing this."
Pinky gave Geet a bit of a smirk and said, "Well, you should have realized that something was going on. Why else would I be studying accounting when I'm so bad at math, if not because of a boy."
"So, Adi is an accountant, then?"
"Well, not exactly, but that's what he got his B.A. in. Now he works as the CFO for Khurana Constructions in Delhi."
Geet's eyes widened as soon as Pinky mentioned Khurana Constructions and she immediately glanced back at the photo she was still holding. Now she knew why this Adi looked so familiar. He had come with Maan to Hoshiarpur for the wedding, she was sure of that. Now she was finding out that this man who worked for her husband was her best friend's boyfriend. If all that wasn't enough make her crazy, Pinky's next question was.
"Hey, your name is Khurana, and so is Adi's boss. Um, let me see, I think it's Maan Singh Khurana. Are you guys related?"
Geet about choked, but somehow managed to deflect Pinky by answering, "Well, I'm from Hoshiarpur, and I don't know anyone in Delhi, so...Why don't you tell me more about this boyfriend of yours."
At the very moment Pinky was telling Geet all about her relationship with Adi, he was getting yelled at by Maan. It was nothing new for him. He was used to Maan taking out his frustrations on him ever since they first became friends in college. This time he got to listen to how angry Maan was that it was taking so long for the authorities to capture the people behind all the disruptions and crime they had been forced to endure while working on this project. He felt like their time was being purposely wasted. To Maan, it was obvious that it was all the work of some competitor, so he couldn't comprehend why it was so difficult to get enough evidence to stop the attacks on their operations.
"Maan, I understand your frustrations. Let me tell you what I learned when I met with ACP Singh." Maan raised his eyebrows, an indication for Adi to continue.
"This isn't just a case of corporate rivalry or espionage. They are positive that what has been happening here in Rewari is part of a larger case of government corruption that has been under investigation for some time."
That was something that Maan had yet to hear. He wondered if that was the reason that things were moving so slow. Adi confirmed his suspicion. The corruption case involved incidences where crimes were committed on behalf of certain corporations, and then the investigation into those crimes were adversely affected by a number of undisclosed persons in the government. Khurana Constructions was the largest entity to be affected by these crimes, which was something of a break in the case for the investigators. The investigators felt that they finally had a chance to find out how high up in the government this corruption scheme went. That was why they were proceeding with such caution.
Adi knew that Maan was having a difficult time accepting the fact that he couldn't control the situation to suit his expectations. He suggested that Maan should go home and let him take care of the Rewari project. They really had no firm timeline on how things would play out, and Maan's time could be better utilized elsewhere. Maan flatly refused to go back to Chandigarh, but after some consideration, agreed that going to Delhi might be best. He would be close enough to Rewari that he could return easily if needed, but would have other projects close at hand to work on. He also felt like it was time to check up on how things were going at the main office with the two of them gone for so long.
Feeling like he wanted some time alone, Maan decided to drive himself back to Delhi. After informing the staff at Khurana mansion that the would be arriving, he got his luggage together and settled everything into his jeep, ready for the hour and a half drive. He thought the long drive alone would give him a chance to calm his thoughts and get back some of his control. However, things didn't quite shape up that way. It wasn't too long before he thought about why he really didn't want to go back to Chandigarh.
It was all the fault of that girl. She just would not let him alone. Every few weeks she would leave a message on his phone, telling a bit about what she was doing at school and how Dadima and Nani were doing. As if he couldn't find that out himself when he talked to them. And Dadima was no better. Always making sure to mention that Geet did this and Geet did that. Didn't they realize that he had problems that he was trying to sort out? Of course, he conveniently shied away from any thoughts were he might admit that maybe his behavior wasn't quite as correct as he told himself. No, the women in his life needed to realize that he had important things to do and not to bother him with unimportant details of their life.
Ahhh, so it's been a long time since I updated, I know. Actually my summer schedule has changed and I've been trying to get adjusted. Hopefully I'll be able to update a bit more regularly.
Now, 1st I need to give thanks to jazzerette who kindly sent me a pm explaining about what bus Geet would be able to take to college. I appreciate this, even though I didn't give her a reply, but then I hardly ever reply to pms, so hopefully she will forgive me.
Pizza Hut. Why Pizza Hut? Well, I wanted to have the girls take Geet to a non-Indian fast food restaurant, and when I saw on google that there was a Pizza Hut near the engineering college, I figured that it might get a lot of students as customers. You know, my parents actually love to get pizza from Pizza Hut, but I'm not too fond of it myself. Something about the sauce doesn't agree with me.
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