Joined: 14 October 2006
On the same night in Dev's house
Nandu kaka had arranged for a couple of men to offload Sameera's things from the truck and move them into one of the guest rooms. When Dev and Sameera returned from work that night Nandu kaka handed Sameera the key to the room and asked her to check whether all her things were properly arranged. Sameera assured him that she needn't do so, for she trusted his abilities. Dev then took her to her room. It was a large air conditioned bedroom on the ground floor. It had a double bed at the centre, side tables with bed lamps on either side of it, a dressing table on one side of the room and a reading table and chair on the other. The front wall had a plasma T.V. mounted on it. One of the side walls had a ceiling to floor wooden built-in wardrobe. The other wall had a French window leading out to the sit out. The room had an attached bathroom, complete with a bath tub, shower and western closet. Sameera protested that the room was too big for her and insisted on being shown a smaller room.
Dev looked at her in amusement and said, "Well, there are no small rooms in this house, Sameera. I chose this room for you because, besides having a good view of the garden, it is the room farthest away from mine. You see, this room is on the ground floor at the rear left corner. My room is on the first floor on the front right corner. So you can live here in absolute peace and quiet."
reluctantly nodded her head and said that she'll freshen up and meet him in
fifteen minutes. After a quick shower Dev took her around the house, explaining
that now that she was a co-occupant of the house she needed to be aware of her
surroundings. Besides her room and the room which stored her household
articles, the ground floor had two other bedrooms, one of which was his
parents' room which was locked. The hall, the dining area and the kitchen were
also on the ground floor. A large spiral staircase at the centre of the hall
led up to the first floor. This floor had two more bedrooms, one of which was Dev's.
Next to his room was a library with many books on a wide range of subjects
including literature, history, philosophy, economics, finance, science and
technology, fiction and autobiographies. The room had four comfortable chairs
and a large round table at the centre. On one side was a PC with internet
connectivity. Opposite to the library was an entertainment room which had a
pool table and home theatre. After showing her all the rooms, Dev escorted her
to his room. As he had remarked, his room which was diagonally opposite hers on
a floor above, was the farthest room from hers. The room was full of framed
photographs of Dev with his parents taken at various stages of his childhood
and youth. There was a picture of Geet and him taken on one of his
birthdays. Feigning ignorance, Sameera enquired about the girl in the picture. Dev
told her that she was his childhood friend, Geet. They were very close till
circumstances broke their bond of friendship, he lamented. Sameera could make
out from his countenance that he genuinely missed Geet's friendship.
Nandu kaka called them down for dinner. Sameera asked Dev where Nandu kaka lived. Dev said that he lived in the outhouse at the back of their residence. Although he had been asking him to move into one of the rooms within the house, Nandu kaka felt more comfortable in his own place. Over dinner, Sameera brought up the topic of his relationship with Geet.
"Dev, if you and Geet were such close friends, how come you never told her about your relationship with Annabel?" she asked curiously.
was surprised by the question and asked her what made her think that he had not
told Geet about Annabel. Realising that she had blurted out more than she
wanted him to know, she quickly recovered to say that she presumed Geet was not
aware of Annabel, for if she was, she would have not agreed for the wedding in
the first place. The unfortunate incidents that followed the broken engagement
could have then been averted. Dev nodded his head and admitted that his silence
on this matter had proved fatal for Mohinder uncle. In retrospect he realises
his folly in not sharing details of his life with his close friend. While he
did not realise that Geet could have harboured any feelings for him beyond
friendship, he could not bring himself to talk about Annabel for a reason. He
felt that Geet who was a conservative girl would not be able to digest the fact
that he was living with his British girl-friend before they got married.
eyes widened in surprise at this new piece of information and she very nearly
choked on her food. 'So Dev was in a live-in relationship with his girl-friend
before he married her?' she thought. Alarmed to see her reaction, Dev stretched
his hand forward and patted the top of her head to clear the food from her wind
pipe and he held a glass of water to her lips. When
she regained her composure he said that this was exactly the reason why he did
not reveal anything about his relationship with Annabel. If a live-in
relationship can cause such a reaction from a girl who was as modern and broad
minded as her, how much more it would have affected a girl like Geet, he asked.
Sameera silently admitted to herself that it would have definitely been
difficult for Geet to accept it. She asked him why he did not tell her
anything at least after they got married. He replied that they had got married
only a couple of days before they left for India and Dev thought that he will
introduce his wife to her in person after he returned to Mumbai. The events
that followed did not give him the opportunity for it. Geet was so
embittered after the death of her father, for which he too was indirectly
responsible, that she refused to see him or hear his explanation. He wouldn't
blame her for that, he added. He would have done the same had he been in her
Sameera did not know what to say. Dev made some bad choices but he was not a bad person, just a victim of circumstances. She could not help sympathising with him, particularly when she could clearly see in his melancholic eyes, a remorse for his deeds and a deep yearning for reconciliation with his childhood friend. She resolved to bridge the chasm between the two friends but she knew she has to wait for the right opportunity to do so. After dinner they wished each other good night and went to their respective rooms.
next morning Sameera got up early, had her shower and dressed up for work. Just
as she entered the dining hall she caught sight of Dev clad only in his navy
blue boxers, coming down the stairs. He was vigorously rubbing dry his still
wet hair, calling out to Nandu kaka and asking if his breakfast was ready. Her
mouth fell open seeing his semi-nude state and she hastily closed her eyes
Realising that he was no longer the sole occupant of his house so as to
blissfully parade in this state of half undress, Dev turned red in
embarrassment. He hurriedly tied the towel around his waist and ran up the
stairs to his room. After ten minutes he came down fully dressed in his
business suit. Taking the seat opposite Sameera at the dining table, he looked
down shame facedly and apologised for his improper attire in the presence of a
lady. He assured her that she will not be subjected to such displays in
future. Sameera tried hard to suppress her smile and pretended to concentrate
on her breakfast to prevent further embarrassment. Dev took the cue and quietly
had his breakfast.
Before leaving he called Nandu kaka and gave him some money, asking him to get some fresh vegetables. Turning to Sameera, he asked her if there is any vegetable she was particularly fond of. Sameera shook her head and said she likes all vegetables. He then told him to get radish, lady's fingers and tomatoes. Asking Sameera if she was ready to leave, he escorted her to his Mercedes to start of another day at work.
At the office, Sameera received a call from Maan asking her to meet him for lunch at a restaurant near her office. Sameera informed Dev about her luncheon appointment with an old friend. Dev wondered whether it was a male or a female friend but was too polite to ask. He couldn't help feeling a pang of jealousy, although he tried to shrug off the feeling.
Maan was waiting for her at the restaurant. One look at his face told her that the guy was fuming within. She braced herself to face the barrage of questions which will be hurled at her. She barely took her seat when he started off his tirade.
"Just what do you think of yourself, leaving the chawl without so much as a word?" he asked angrily.
"I did inform your wife that I was moving," she said calmly. "I tried your number too but it was constantly engaged."
"Yes, you informed Geet on the day you left. I am sure you were aware that you had to leave much before that, were you not? Why did you not tell me you were being evicted from the chawl? I would have spoken to the members and asked them not to throw you out."
"Maan, you no longer live in the chawl, so under what authority would you be allowed to interfere in the chawl's dealings? Moreover, the condition that I return back by 9.30 p.m. every night was something I could not follow, given my erratic working hours. So I decided to leave the place instead of vitiating the situation further. I searched for an accommodation but could not find one, try as I may. Finally I decided to move into my boss's residence as a paying guest till I find an alternate place to stay."
"Could you not have asked me to look out for a place for you? Would I not have done that much for you?"
"What difference would that have made? Maan, it is very difficult finding a place if one is a single working woman with unpredictable working hours."
"You could have stayed with us till you found a place."
"Don't you have your hands already full taking care of your business and Geet? Why would I want to trouble you further?"
"You call this trouble?" he raised his voice in indignation and realising that they were in a public place, he lowered it down.
In a voice which betrayed his hurt he said, "I am disappointed in you, Sameera. I thought we were friends. What are friends for if they are not there to help each other out in times of need?"
"You call me your friend, Maan. Then don't you know me by now? Don't you know how much I detest asking for help or receiving it? Don't you know that I value my independence a lot and would not wish to compromise on it unless I had no other choice? I would have come to you if the worst case scenario was to be left on the streets but my boss offered me a paying guest accommodation. Under the circumstances that was my only acceptable option. "
"So you would rather stay as a paying guest with a boss you barely know than stay with a friend you know since childhood?"
"Maan, I would have only cramped up your apartment had I moved in with you. And I do not know how long it will take for me to find an alternate accommodation. What if I could not find something for months on end?"
"I could have put you up in one of my hotel rooms."
"And my furniture and other household articles?"
"I would have found a place for those too."
"And how much would I have to pay you?"
"Pay me? Are you crazy? I will not accept any money from you," he said with finality.
"That is precisely the point. You will not allow me to pay and I will not agree to be a free rider, even if the person is my friend. So where does that leave us? With my boss, I have a strict business deal. I pay for my boarding and lodging. So I don't feel indebted to anybody."
Maan continued to sulk. Sameera placed her hand on his and gently pressed it.
"Look, Maan. I know that you mean well. You are highly protective of the people you love and care about. I appreciate that but I don't need your protection. We are very similar in that way. We both value our independence too much to give it up. We like to be in control of the situation rather than let the situation take control of us. That is why we would have been total misfits if we had got together, as both of us would have tried to dominate and take control. It is good that destiny intervened and brought Geet to you. The two of you fit like a glove. God bless you both and the three little ones you are expecting. As far as I am concerned, let me make my own choices, let me lead my life as I think best. I am not saying that my choices are always right but if they go wrong, I will have only myself to blame and no one else. I am too rigid to bend now, Maan. If you value our friendship I think you will respect my wishes."
Maan realised that what she said was true. As a true friend he needed to respect her wishes. He cannot impose his views, his wishes on her. He nodded his head and called the waiter to place their order. While having their lunch, Maan asked her who her boss was.
Sameera hesitated for a moment before saying, "Dev Singh."
"What?" Maan sputtered out his food and looked at her incredulously.
Sameera nodded her head solemnly and said, "You heard me right."
"You mean you have moved in with Dev? Are you out of your mind? What did his family have to say to that? What about his gori wife?" he asked in a high pitched voice, inviting a kick on his shin from Sameera to remind him where they were. He looked around and seeing a few heads turned in their direction, he lowered his head.
Sameera then gave him a short life history of Dev, ending it with his divorce.
"You have moved in with a divorcee, then?" Maan persisted, clearly annoyed with his friend's choice of residence.
"Stop saying that I have 'moved in' with Dev. You make it sound like I have gotten into some illicit relationship with him. I have merely moved into one of the many rooms in his house - a room which is farthest from his, if I may add," she said, her lips twisting in a smile.
"What will Geet say if she comes to know with whom her dear friend is staying?" he asked. "The woman would not even look in his direction when we briefly saw him at the airport on our return from Bangalore."
Sameera looked at him apprehensively. "Maan, promise me that you will not tell anything to Geet just yet. I myself will break the news to her soon enough. Before that I want Dev and Geet to meet and have a heart-to-heart talk. I am sure if she hears him out she will forgive him."
"So why are you so keen to bring about a rapprochement between the two childhood friends? Have you by any chance fallen for the guy?" he asked jocularly.
Sameera's cheeks flamed up but she quickly masked it and pretended to be cross with him. She hit his hand and said in a sharp tone that there was nothing between Dev and her. All she wanted to do is to help clear all misunderstandings between Dev and Geet so that they can renew their bond of friendship. Having such a wonderful relationship with her own childhood friend she wanted the same for Geet too. Maan smiled at that and pressed her hand in acknowledgement. After they finished their lunch, he settled their bill and she took leave of him saying she needed to get back to her work.
"So, is this Dev a hard task master?" he asked curiously.
"No, he is not. He is quite a sensible, sensitive and generous master," she retorted.
"So there is something brewing between the two of you," exclaimed Maan. "I have not heard you praise anyone so much."
Sameera hit his shoulders hard as she hurried out of there before he could catch sight of the deep flush spreading across her face. Maan smiled at her retreating back but then sobered almost immediately, wondering how Geet will take the news of Sameera working for Dev and living in his house.
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Joined: 09 November 2010
Joined: 14 October 2006
Opti......That was Fab
I myself have met people like Mrs.Shukla...who are nothing but pests..What ever you try to explain....it will never get through their heads..They live in their own sense of reality..They show their bitterness towards life ..by spoiling others....
Franch oil...I used it too....Not that effective ...atleast doesn't smell as bad a castor oil. ....My hubby says stretch marks are women's battle scars
I wish Geet could appease Maan's mind regarding Yash's plan and Alibaug project...Poor guy...
Have never used Franch oil or any other oil when I was carrying but was luckily spared of the stretch marks maybe because my stomach did not stretch much although I delivered a 3.1 kg boy. Geet does not know what Yash has actually planned but she knows that the plan is devious enough for Maan to not allow it to go further. Since Anwesha badly wants to punish Arjun, by hook or by crook, Geet is playing along for now.
Joined: 14 October 2006
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Joined: 18 September 2010
Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 22 December 2007
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