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Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
As she listened to her husband and grandmother-in-law argue, Geet couldn't decide who or what she was more upset about. How could Maan callously stand there and say that what happened to Meera wasn't his problem and he wasn't going to clean up Dev's messes any more? Did he not see how ill she looked? Even Dadima asked him that question and his answer was about the most selfish she had ever heard. Apparently, he felt that if Dev wouldn't look after her, then she should take care of herself. If, she was pregnant, which he doubted, then it was the consequence of her own stupid choices and not his problem.
Geet listened to then argue back and forth until she couldn't take it any more, yelling, "Chup!" and shocking them both into silence.
Before either one could say anything, Geet angrily stated, "Main apne pati ke saath akele mein baat karna chaahti hoon." (I want to speak with my husband alone.)
Then, without wasting any time, she strode forward, grabbed Maan's hand in a viselike grip, and left the room, pulling him behind. To the astonishment of all the servants, Geet continued to pull Maan behind her like a recalcitrant school boy, all the way through the mansion and to Maan's room. When the door was shut, the husband and wife glared at each other, almost as if they were in competition to see who was more furious with the other. Geet could see from his eyes that Maan was even angrier with her behavior than he had been with Meera's situation. She suspected that he wished very much to strangle her, but Geet didn't much care. She had had enough of Maan Singh Khurana's attitude and shabby treatment.
"How dare you?" she asked quietly, knowing that her soft voice would have more effect than shouting at him. "How dare you refuse to allow Meera to stay here? She has no one and no where else to go, not to mention she is carrying the Singh family waaris and your honewali niece or nephew."
Geet saw Maan clench his jaw tight, a vein in his neck bulging from the suppressed fury. His eyes bored into hers as if they had the power to burn her to a crisp with their fiery depths. She knew that he was used to others backing down in the face of that terrible gaze, but Geet had no intention of doing so. She stared unblinking back at him, never wavering in her determination. Eventually he seemed to give up and stiffly made his way to the door. Geet was not going to let him get away without answering for his behavior, so she quickly blocked the way with her body, making it clear that he would have to use force to move her out of the way.
"Do not think that you can escape without giving me an answer," she stated firmly. It was clear that he didn't want to speak to her, turning away and walking over to the window.
"If you think by trying to ignore me that you will be able to conceal the fact you have a stutter, then I will end that misconception right now. I heard you and Dadima arguing, so I am now well aware of that fact." Maan continued to face away from her, his body language giving a clear indication of how uncomfortable he was.
Geet didn't care as she was in no mood to give into his tantrums. "As upset as I am that your...difficulty was kept secret, that is not what concerns me at the moment. I am much more concerned for Meera. I can understand your reservations, considering your feelings regarding Dev. However, Meera is my friend. I've known her since I was ten years old, and I know what a sincere, trustworthy person she is. She is telling the truth and she needs this family's help." When this impassioned speech still produced no results, Geet stalked over to her statue like husband, turned him towards her, looking straight into his furious face.
"I will say this only once. Meera will stay in this house, and no one will contradict my decision, not you, not Dadima, not any one."
That statement finally was enough to goad Maan to speak, who finally questioned, "Where d..d..do you g..g..g..get the right to..to..to ta..lk like this..s..s?"
"Aap se! Aap mujhe iss ghar ki bahu banaya. Mujhe Khurana khaandaan ki bahu banaya." (From you! You made me the daughter-in-law of this house. Made me the daughter-in-law of the Khurana household.)
"Th..that was..s..s..s...uh...only f..for...Da..dima's health, n..not..."
"Oh, please. If you married me for Dadima, then you never should have stayed away for over a year, causing her to worry. And don't try to say anything about your work. That was just an excuse."
"Excuse!" bristled Maan, his face turning red. "My w..w..work is..s..s..."
"Not something that requires your attention twenty four hours a day, every day. Whether you want to admit it or not, we both know that you stayed away so long, would have continued to stay away, so you would never have to talk with me. So that I wouldn't find out about your stutter."
"That is..s n..n..not tr..tr..true."
"It is true."
Maan turned away again, before saying, "In..s..s..stea..d of l..le..veling your st..st..st..upid accu..sations..s..s..s, you sh..should...be th...th..thanking me."
"Thanking you," repeated Geet incredulously. "For what?"
"Da..dima, tol..d me wh..what your f..f..family di..d when Dev left. If..f..f I hadn't a..gr..gr..greed to the m..marriage, wh..what...do you th..think would have h..happened to..to you?"
Geet looked at him like he had two heads before replying, "What does it matter what would have happened to me? I was a stranger to you, someone you didn't even know. If you think I'm going to be grateful to you for marrying me, then you need to think again. If you weren't prepared to fulfill the responsibilities of marriage, then you never should have agreed, regardless of what consequences you thought I might face at my family's hands."
With no response from Maan, Geet made a move to leave before changing her mind. Walking over to stand right in front of him, she said, "Right now all this is the last thing that I care about. I only care about Meera's wellbeing. You wanted Dadima to think we had a fight. Well, now you have the perfect excuse. You want her to leave and I want her to stay. There is no possible way on earth that I would stay in your room now. I will happily have my things moved and tell Dadima that we argued over Meera. At least that is nothing less than the truth."
With her face set, Geet left the room, ready to back up her words with actions. Within just a few minutes, Nakul arrived and nervously requested entry. When Maan let him in, he quietly explained that Geet Madam was having her things moved into the room next to her friend. Not responding, Maan just stood silently, watching as clothes, toiletries, books and other items were packed and carted away. In less than fifteen minutes, Maan Singh Khurana's room in the Khurana haveli appeared as though no one else but him had ever inhabited it.
"Geet, hum aap se kuch zaroori baat karna chaahte hain." (Geet, I want to talk to you about something important.)
Dadima came inside Geet's room, the same room that she had been occupying ever since she saw Meera settled and getting rest in the adjacent room. Nakul had told Dadima how Geet had moved out of Maan's room. He also told her of Geet's request for both her and Meera to be served dinner in their rooms. Geet could tell from Dadima's face that she was upset. Geet felt bad about that, but not as much as she normally would. She was still quite upset at both Dadima and Nani for keeping the truth about Maan's condition from her.
"Geet, I know you wouldn't have taken such a step if you weren't very angry with Maan, but please try to understand him."
"Understand him? Dadima, when he wants to throw my friend out in the street when she is in this condition, I hardly think there is anything left to understand."
Dadima looked confused and then asked uncertainly, "So you...I mean, you're upset because of Meera, not because Maan...?"
"Because Maan has a stutter? No, that's not why I changed rooms."
Geet explained her stance to Dadima, meaning every word when she said, that she could not stay in the same room as a person who would so callously throw her pregnant friend out of the house. The fact that he had not actually done so, and Meera was sleeping comfortably in the next room, did nothing to change her mind. She also clearly told Dadima that though she had no problem with the fact that Maan had a stutter, she was not happy about the truth being kept from her by everyone. Dadima explained that she had felt that it was Maan's place as Geet's husband to explain about his difficulty. The subject was such a sensitive one for him, that Dadima feared what his reaction would be if either she or Nani interfered.
"Beti, I request you to please, don't let this be the end. Please, won't you talk to Maan and try to work things out?"
"Dadima, I know you are worried about both of us and want the best for us. But, I know myself very well. I'm much too angry to talk with Maan rationally right now. After some time has passed, then maybe, but honestly the thing I'm most worried about right now is Meera. Seeing that she is taken care of is my chief concern."
Dadima wasn't happy with Geet's unwillingness to talk with Maan, but she understood her feelings. She also apologized for not telling Geet about Maan's situation earlier. As they were talking, Dadima noticed the object of their discussion lurking out in the corridor. She called out to him, and Geet could tell from the expression on his face that Maan had overheard most, if not all of what had been said between the two women. As Dadima called out to him and left the room to follow after him as he disappeared down the hall, Geet walked to the doorway. Remembering everything that had happened, especially to Meera, she felt her temper rise once again. Taking hold of the door, she angrily shut it tight, literally and figuratively shutting out her husband's presence.
After her conversation with Dadima, Geet virtually ignored Maan. She knew that it would take time for her to calm down enough to deal with the situation rationally, so she wasn't going to force herself on that front. She preferred to focus her energy on her schooling and Meera's health. She didn't like how ill her friend looked, and worried about how the unborn baby might be affected. After finding out that Meera had only seen a doctor once to confirm the pregnancy, she took her for an appointment herself at the next available opportunity.
While Geet busied herself with school, looking after Meera and Dadima, and otherwise running the household, Maan tried to convince himself he was happy with the situation. After all, being rejected for marriage by either parents or girls, five times in your life, hardly gave one a desire to engage in a matrimonial relationship. He had given the girl his name and the right to stay in his family home, nothing more. She had even stopped trying to include him in her life and now he had his room, his work and his time all to himself again, just as he liked it.
And Maan was sure, regardless of what he had overheard her say to Dadima, that his speech impairment was an issue. How could it not be for someone like Geet. Someone who was so verbal and eloquent in her expressions couldn't help but be upset to have a life partner with such an affliction. If by some strange fluke of nature it did not bother her, then the nature of her chosen profession bothered him. Her interest in psychology was bound to lead her to considering possible treatments for his condition. Oh, how he hated that idea! As if stuttering was some disease that could be cured by a pill. He, better than anyone knew that there were some things in life that just couldn't be 'fixed'.
Having reasoned all this out in his mind, Maan went about his life as normally as possible, trying to concentrate on his work, and keep at a distance from not just Geet, but her friend also. With many new projects at work, it was very easy for him to do so, sometimes not getting home until close to midnight several days in a row. There were times he was so busy that he forgot he even had a wife. Yet, every once in a while, Maan would be sending off an email to Adi or one of his other employees, and he would remember those two months of non-stop emails between him, and the young Mrs. Khurana.
Maan had never conversed with a girl, with anyone really, the way he casually had with Geet through those emails. He had even found himself laughing occasionally at some of the things she had written. Never would he admit to anyone, but he had begun to feel that something was changing between them. That they had started to move from being strangers to friends. The sense of loss from the end of that budding friendship was something that Maan had a hard time digesting. It was easier to avoid everyone and drown himself with work, than admit that maybe he had lost something important.
Just a friendly warning. My schedule is going to become more hectic starting Thursday, so I can promise for sure that there will be at least two updates every month. Beyond that, I can make no promises.
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