Joined: 14 October 2006
Maan and Geet maintained a studied silence on their way back home. Maan was lost in deep thought as to how to broach the subject of Dev to her without upsetting her all over again. Geet on the other hand was doing her best to forget the entire Dev episode. Words between them were sparse even after reaching home. Baba did not notice the palpable tension in the air as he was his usual chatty self during dinner. Later when they retired to bed, Maan made Geet comfortable on her side and hugging her loosely, he went off to sleep. Geet was awake for sometime before slipping into a restless sleep. In the middle of the night Maan was rudely woken up by Geet's sobs. He got up with a start and looked at his wife's face in the streaming moon light. She appeared to be still asleep as her eyes were tightly shut but she was crying bitterly and mumbling incoherently. He bent down to her lips to try catching what she was saying.
"Papa, I mi.....iss you pa...pa...... Wh.. why....did.... you... .ll...leave meeee? Wh...why pa...pp..pa? If it ha...had not been for my ffff...failed engagement, you...you.... would st..st..still be alive today....nn...no pa..pp..pa? I.... sh..should ha..have said... nn..no... to the proposal. Why did I nnnn..not realise....I ... not lo....love hi....him? I ....I...aaa..am sorry Papa, I aaaa...am sorr..rrry.....fo....or... fo...or be...ing sss....so ....bbb....blind."
She stopped for a few minutes. Maan felt torn seeing his wife's pain and grief. He wiped her tears and was about to lie down again when she started her rantings once again. This time her voice rose in anger.
"Dev...wh..why did you not tt...tell me you...you we...were already married? Wh..why did you let your parents and mine mmmm..make aaaall the arr....rrangements bbb....before ddd..dropping the bbb...bombshell? Wha...what has my Pa...ppa done to you? Oh, wh...why di...did I....I trust you? Wh...why?"
She tossed and turned in the bed, closing her face with her palms as tears streamed down her cheeks. Maan put his arm around her and pulled her close to him for comfort, feeling her pain as his own. After a few minutes she calmed down. Just as Maan thought that her ordeal was over, she let out a sharp cry. This time her sobs were loud and gut wrenching. Her words were slurred and indecipherable, sounding more like a string of gibberish. Maan strained his ears to catch what she was saying and his eyes widened in shock when he realised what her latest nightmare was.
"My ba....ba...bies, de... dead. Aa...allll. Oh, NO. Killed ... I...baad...mo....mother." Holding her by her shoulder he shook her awake.
"Geet wake up. Wake up darling."
Geet opened her eyes and looked at him first in confusion, then in fear and finally in pain. He pulled her up and put his arms around her, holding her close to his side.
"Maan, our babies?" she asked looking around the bed before her eyes finally settled on her protruding stomach. She looked at it with a puzzled expression.
"Sweetheart, nothing will happen to our babies. They are safe. I am there for you sweetheart. I am there for you. I will not let anything happen to them, neither will you. You are a wonderful mother. Our babies are lucky to have you." He kissed the top of her head. Lifting her face, he kissed her forehead, her nose, her lips, her chin, her cheeks and all the time he kept reassuring her that she was a wonderful mother and the babies were safe.
"But Maan I...I... de....delivered the babies and they were all..."
Maan closed her mouth with his palm and shook his head.
"No darling. The babies are still in here." He pointed to her stomach. "They are all well and thriving. You were having a nightmare, darling. Don't worry, it is over."
Geet seemed relieved but was still pretty shaken by the entire experience. Maan knew he cannot postpone talking about Dev. Geet had a lot of unresolved issues which were deeply buried in her psyche. The old wound got reopened after she met Dev that morning. If he does not attend to it now, she will be haunted by her past and the nightmares will be recurrent. In her condition this was not good at all. He had read that pregnant women are more prone to emotional stress because of the release of certain hormones during pregnancy. Rano was right. He needs to talk to her about Dev and hopefully clear the air between them, more for her own sake and those of her babies than for Dev's. Geet was about to lie down again when he gently held her arm and said that they need to talk. She looked at him, puzzled by his grave tone and intent gaze. She nodded and asked him what did he want to talk about.
"Dev," he said abruptly.
She looked at him in disbelief. Why would he want to talk about Dev in the middle of the night? She was about to flare up in anger when he stalled her and asked her to hear him out first.
"Darling, a few minutes back you were having a chain of nightmares, first about your papa's death, then about Dev's betrayal and finally about...," he couldn't complete it.
Shaking his head as if to get rid of the very thought of something harmful happening to his kids, he continued. "Your mother told me that you had met Dev this morning and blasted him for what he did to you. I think you have still not gotten over that, the reason you are having these nightmares about your past, your present and your future. You are holding on to a lot of bitterness and that is not good for you or the babies, dear. I know you are still grieving for your papa. You have still not fully come to terms with his death. Apart from blaming Dev for his untimely demise, you strangely hold yourself responsible for his death. Life and death are not in our hands, darling."
Pointing heavenwards he continued, "Babaji decides when to call us to him; nothing or no one can stop him. The day we were born it has been decided how and when we will go back to Babaji. Your papa died of a heart attack which was triggered by his discovery of Dev's marital status on the day you were supposed to get engaged to him. So you blame Dev for your papa's death. Maybe you are justified in doing so. But have you paused to wonder whether that was the only reason? Pranay uncle too came to know about his son's marriage on that same day yet he did not die, did he? Why did he survive but your father did not? It was because your father was already a heart patient and he was not. If your father had not died due to that incident, he could have died because of some other reason for Babaji had already decided to call him back. Don't you see that? If our time in this world is up we have to go, but if it is not up, nothing can make us leave it, unless we take law into our own hands and kill ourselves. Have we not read of cases where people were literally snatched from the jaws of death? Doctors have saved patients who were practically written off. Those doctors are Babaji's instruments to prolong the lives of the people who are meant to survive longer in this world. Sometime back there was a news item about a bus crash where everyone died except a small six-month old baby. Now why did that happen? How come that baby survived but not the others? The only way to explain this is that the baby's time in this world was not yet up."
"How do you explain the death of people in the hands of terrorists, murderers and assassins?" asked Geet."Does God make these people do these heinous crimes so that he can call people to himself?"
"No, he does not. Neither does he stop them from doing such dastardly acts. He has given each one of us the most precious gift of all, the gift of choice. We can choose how we lead our lives. He does not interfere with that freedom. Of course if we misuse our freedom and deprive others of theirs, we will have to face the consequences of it. But if our time is not up, we may even escape such attacks. Have you not read of people who were not supposed to be at a bomb site, landing at the place seconds before the bomb blew off and others who normally live or work there going out for a few seconds and escaping death? How do you explain these events? I am saying all this not to belittle your papa's death. It is a huge loss to his family. It was a big turning point. But have you paused to think about the flip side of it? Do you think we would have married each other had things gone according to plan? Dev's marriage may have resulted in your papa's death but it also brought about a chain of events which led me to you and I consider myself very fortunate for having you in my life."
"I am fortunate too, honey but I still can't accept what Dev had done to me. I considered him as my friend and he betrayed that friendship by not confiding the single most important event of his life when I was sharing with him the smallest and innocuous details of mine. If only I had known that he was already married I would have declined the proposal. Why did he hide the truth knowing that his family and mine were making arrangements for our union in matrimony?"
"How are you saying with certainty that he knew about the wedding arrangements? Do you know the whole truth?" he asked her.
She wondered what he was talking about. Maan then explained the circumstances that led to all the misunderstandings.
"So you see the guy was not even aware that he was supposed to be marrying you. By the way have you in all your conversations with him mentioned about it?"
She shook her head in the negative."I was too shy to talk about it."
"So you too kept back the most important information of your life from him. Had he known about the wedding arrangements, maybe he would have told you that he was already married."
"But was I not his friend? Why did he not tell me that there was someone in his life? Will he reveal that only if he knows that alternate arrangements were being made to get him married to someone else?"
"I do not know why he did not tell you this before, but I think there must have been a good reason for it, for the guy still values your friendship and regrets losing it."
"How do you know that?" she asked him.
Maan did not want to tell her about Sameera's connection with Dev just yet.
Instead he took out the parcel that Rano had given him.
"Look at this," he said and opening the parcel he handed her the maternity dresses. "Dev had these specially made for you after he came to know that you are in the family way. If he did not care for you, would he have taken the trouble?"
She looked the dresses in amazement.
"Please Geet. Do not shut him out now. The guy has already suffered enough."
She looked at him in confusion. He then hesitatingly told her about the divorce. She was shocked to hear that Dev's life has taken such a tragic turn.
"He can use a friend now and you were his closest friend, darling. Would you still hold on to your grudge against him, knowing the truth? Won't you get past this and renew your friendship with him?"
Her eyes welled up and she nodded her head. He kissed her gently on the forehead saying he knew that his Geet will not let him down. He knew that she was loving, kind and above all very tolerant and forgiving.
As they lay back on the bed, Geet whispered to him, "Maan, I never realised that you possessed so much patience and understanding of human behaviour. I would have never thought a day will come when I would be the stubborn, unforgiving and angry person and you will make me see reason. But here you are, patiently explaining to me where I was going wrong, helping me redirect my negative energies towards positive ones. Thank you darling, for stopping me from hurting myself and others."
"Sh...sh. You don't have to thank me for anything. It is I who should be thanking you for teaching me this patience and understanding, honey. You have made me a better person. It is your insurmountable patience and understanding that has rubbed off me. I would do anything to keep you happy and cheerful always."
Geet smiled at that and after they kissed each other good night, they slept fitfully in each other's arms, their unborn babies wedged between them.
The next morning Geet called up Dev and asked him to meet her at her residence. Any doubts that Dev harboured about
Geet's forgiveness or her willingness to accept him as her friend were
dispelled the minute he saw her greet him with a smiling face, wearing one of
the dresses he had gifted her. The two friends then picked up the severed ends
of their bond of friendship and mended it, promising to never let it break
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