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Geet woke up very early next morning. She had been called to Dadi at her house.
"Good morning Dadi. Kaisi hain aap?"
"Morning beta. Hum theekh hain. Saari tayariya hogai?"
"Accha, so what have you planned to wear tonight?"
Geet didn't know. She had seen many high society functions at the restaurant and the kind of clothes they wore. She didn't have any such.
Dadi smiled and said:
"Ok koi baat nahin, how about we go shopping? Meri friend ki ek boutique hain yaha mall mein. Aap ko jo pasand aaye le lijie."
"Lekin main kaise…"
"Aap mujhe Dadi kehti haina, to iss hi haq se main aab ko ke rahin hu."
Geet hugged Dadi. The amount of love Dadi shed on her reminded her of her mother.
Maan on the other hand had slept long. He had dreamt yet again about Geet and some sweet moments with her. Just when he was going to kiss her, Nakul knocked on the door waking him up. Angrily Maan went for his workout.
Geet wanted to use the washroom before going out and asked Dadi. Dadi who had seen Maan come down had told her to use the bathroom in his room. When Geet finished, she inspected the room closer. The dressing table had some perfume and she smelled it. 'Yeh to jana pehchana lagta hain. Kaha smell kiya hua hain?' Then she saw something else that caught her attention. It was a BG menu card and napkin. She wondered how they came here. After all BG was only for KC staff. Maybe it was from Dadima, but this doesn't seem her room.
She heard foot steps and turned around. Maan sir was standing in front of her sweating heavily only wearing black exercising trousers. She didn't know what to do and wondered how he is here, that too in this get up. 'Mind you, he does look damn hot' Geet thought, shocked at what her mind had just said. He kept coming closer to her and didn't remove his eyes from hers. Once he was very near her face, he closed his eyes and wanted to lock his lips with hers when she ran away. 'Hey Babaji, yeh sach tha ya sapna? Geet stop thinking about him. Bad enough that see him in your dreams now you even start hallucinating in broad daylight.' She and Dadi left.
Maan opened his eyes when he didn't feel the anticipated lips. He looked around and found himself alone. 'Was she even here or was I dreaming again? He had seen Geet after a whole week and was so eager to have her in his arms' (Liar Maan, you wanted to kiss her not hold her in you arms, his heart said) He shook his head. 'All because of this dream. Now I am even seeing her when she isn't there. Kya Maan, tu to Majnu bangaya.'
At KC, Sasha did last preparations for her launch party tomorrow. MK wasn't in and no one knew where he was. It wasn't like him to neglect his work. She had to find out. Just then she got a call.
"Hello Sasha here"
Sasha thought for a minute and said:
The evening came and the crystal hall was filling in. Geet had long ago changed into the dress she had bought with Dadi. It was an emerald green lehenga with heavy work on the choli but simple lehnga and dupatta. She had straightened her hair and wore an emerald necklace and matching earrings which Dadi had insisted on buying. She never cared much about her appearance but today she felt like dressing up. After all she was going to see Maan sir again. The mere thought brought a slight blush on her cheeks.
Maan walked in and looked around. He had opted to wear a black suit, black shirt with a green tie. Every girl and to his horror even some of the older ladies were drooling over him. He located Dadi who was talking to her friend Sushma. When she saw Maan she wanted to introduce her granddaughter to him but he grabbed Dadi and excused himself.
"Dadi, Geet kaha hain?" Dadi pulled his cheek.
"Itni bechaini? Waha dekhye wo ai" and pointed towards the stairs.
Maan's heart skipped a beat. He knew Geet was beautiful but today she looked mind blowing. He wondered whether it was the dress that made her look so charming or the other way round. She walked towards him.
"Good evening Maan sir." Geet smiled at him with the usual confidence but he did notice the slight blush.
"Good evening GEET." He purposely stressed her name.
"Sir, toh aap ko mera naam patta tha? Phir us din mujhpe chillaje kyun? Aap toh I-don't-know-who-Geet-is ki ratt lagae bethe the. Lekin accha hain. Arre haan jiske pehle aap phooche, main hi BG chalati hu. Waise kya…"
"GEEETTT" Maan yelled and shut her up.
"Take a break. Chalo jaha se" He took her by her hand and led her away. Some men were looking at her and he didn't like it. They went to the middle of the hall and he let go of Geet's hand.
"You are looking beautiful Geet." She blushed again. Maan smiled, the blush increased her beauty.
"By the way, what is going on here?" He looked around. This didn't look like any normal kitty party function. It was more of a fun fair but without children.
"Sir, Dadi, I mean Savitry ma'am wanted something different this year. Instead of the usual buffets I thought it might be interesting to know about food or test your knowledge. I think it is quite boring only eating all the time. Like here" both went to a stall there was a guy sitting on a chair blind folded. He was given a dish to taste and he had to guess the correct name. There were choices between Indian and Italian. The man did well till his fourth dish where he guessed wrong and had to bite into a chilli. Geet cheered.
"Come on sir try it." She said pushing him towards to chair.
"No ways am I going to do such a thing." He said backing off. Now everyone was looking at him.
"Come Maan, don't be a spoil sport. Or are you afraid of the chilli?" Dadi said in a low voice.
"Maan Singh Khurana isn't afraid of anything" he said. His ego was hurt now.
Geet ask for Indian or Italian and Maan chose Italian. One after the other dishes where brought. He tasted them and named them correctly. Then there was the last dish. Maan smiled inwardly. He had recognised this dish by its smell itself. It was the same vegetable lasagne that Geet had served Mr Chopra the other day. It had looked so delicious and smelled so wonderful that he had wanted to take a bite but couldn't.
"BG's Vegetable Lasagne" he said. Geet was delighted.
"Sir, how did you know that I made this?"
"Geet, I recognised it by its smell itself. You served it to Mr Chopra that day."
Geet couldn't believe her ears. Her boss had actually remembered.
"Did you cook all the food over here?" Maan asked. All dishes that he had tasted were mind blowing.
"Only the Italian ones. For Indian food we had to get caterers because I couldn't make so much in so little time. Did you like it?" She had asked again in her innocent voice and Maan fell for her all over.
"Yes. I have never taste something like it. Look, I am sorry Geet." Geet looked at him questioningly.
"That day you asked me the same question and I… it wasn't meant for your food, I was thinking about something else and it slipped my tongue."
"Sir, you are actually nice, do you know that?" Geet replied.
Maan stood there flabbergasted. Even Dadi, who was eavesdropping on their conversation, chuckled.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I always thought you are a wild beast and always yell and shout at people. Now that you say that it makes me realise that you have a gentle side, too."
Dadi laughed out loud as she couldn't hold her laughter anymore.
"Dadi" Maan yelled. He looked from her to Geet and gave her a glare.
"Dadi? Sir you should not say that, she might not like you calling her that." Geet said, oblivious of his glare.
Dadi laughed more. Maan rolled his eyes. This girl really was something.
"Geet, this is MY Dadima. Savitry Devi Khurana, grandmother of Maan Singh Khurana." Geet held her mouth.
"Lekin sir, woh kaise? Yeh toh itni acchi hain aur aap kitne bade dusht daanav."
Dadi was holding on to Maan now. Maan had enough. He couldn't believe he actually liked Geet. 'Ajeeb ladki hain. Main yaha pyaar se baat kar raha hu aur yeh hain ke mujhe sunae jarahin hain.' Dadi calmed down and interrupted before Maan could answer her.
"Geet, why don't you accompany Maan to the bar and give him one of the cocktails?"
Dadi left and Maan showed fake anger by folding his arms over his chest and looking away. 'Arre Geet, yeh kya kardiya? Maan sir ek toh sorry bolrahe the aur upar she tune unko dusht daanav kaha. Ab kuch kar!' She raced off leaving Maan all by himself only to return a minute later with two cocktail glasses.
"Sir, yeh pijie gussa thanda hojaega." She held a glass in front of him but he continued his act.
"Sorry sir, please manjae na." She said that so sweetly adding a puppy face that Maan gave in. After all he couldn't be angry on Geet for long. He took the glass and sipped the drink. He had never tasked anything like it. It tasted of melon and was slightly prickly. The strawberry pieces gave the drink a soul.
"Wow Geet, this taste great. Is main kaunsi drink hain?"
"Drink, matlab alcohol? Chi chi chi babaji, mere kisi bhi khane main ja drink mein alcohol nahin dalta." She made a face like children made when they had to drink milk. Maan grinned at her attic.
"Ok, ok. But this is really great. Tumhara kaunsa hain?" He
looked at Geet's glass which had a creamy liquid in it.
"Mango banana with vanilla cream." She sipped it. Maan took the glass from her and drank it out.
"Sir, woh mera jutha tha..."
"Koi baat nahin, jutha peene se pyaar bartha hain." He winked at her and made his way to the bar.
'Hey babaji, kya kaha inho ne? Pyaar? Yeh toh dusht daanav the na to ab kya hua? Kya yeh mujse pyaar… nahin Geet, aisa mat soch. Pehle bhi Rahul ne aisi hi batein karke tujhe fasaja tha. Mana ke tu unhe chahti hain lekin iska matlab yeh to nahin ke woh bhi… Upar se yeh to Maan Singh Khurana hain na, shayad har kisi ladki ke saat aisa hi karre? Geet tu door hi reh warna phir dhoka khaigi.'
Maan had watched her self talk with amusement. He couldn't hear what she had said but she looked really cute. He then saw her walking off towards Dadi.
"Sir, what would you like to drink?" the bar tender asked.
Maan asked for Geet's cocktails and tasted all of them. He was so amazed by Geet's creations. Never did he think that non-alcoholic cocktails could taste so good. He wished Geet would make them everyday for him. He then made his way to different food stalls trying to locate Italian dishes. It wasn't only him who had tasted the Italian food. It had spread like fire that Geet was an excellent cook and the Italian dishes were all finished before Maan could taste them. He was disappointed. Just then did he hear two old ladies talk:
"Wah Suman, is ladki ke haat main kya jaadu hain. Italian itna accha hain aur maine suna hain ke yeh Indian aur Chinese bhi bohut accha banati hain. Yeh hamare Harshad ke liye kaise rahegi?" Maan was shocked. They were undoubtedly talking about Geet and he didn't like the idea of Geet being with someone else. He looked around for her and saw her on the dance floor…. with some random guy. His blood started to boil. They were only swaying to the slow music but the guy's hands were going all over Geet's back. She was dead uncomfortable but couldn't move away.
Maan told the DJ to change the music and went to Geet.
"I'll take over now" His voice made it clear that this was not a request but an order. The guy left them alone and Maan held Geet for the next song.
A waltz started to play and Maan led Geet.
"Kyun naach rahin this us ladke ke saath?" Maan asked Geet angrily in a low voice, not taking his eyes off that guy.
"Woh achanak aagaya aur Dadi ke friends ne bhi encourage kiya ke main naachu, to..." She broke off as Maan's hold on her tightened.
"To tum aise hi kissi ke bhi saath nacho gi?"
"Please sir" she said fighting his grip, hoping he would loosen up.
"Mujhe kya patta tha ke wo aisa hoga" Geet replied.
"Issi liye har kisi pe bharosa nahin karna chahiye tumhe.
Anyone can come to you, smile, be nice and next you know..." Maan kept
tightening his grip. It was painful for Geet. She let out a small cry and Maan
heard it. When he turned to face Geet, she was all in tears. At that moment the
song ended and Maan let go. Geet ran off towards the exit.
Maan cursed himself and followed her. She was running down the street. He could hear her sobbing. Maan took his car and followed her. He stopped a little in front of her and got out.
"Geet, listen to me. Kya hua, why are you crying?"
"Dekho Geet… I know it is not nice to hear such a thing. You really ought to be careful whom you trust."
"Come I'll drop you home" He pulled her by her elbow towards his car. But Geet got out of his grip.
"Main chali chaungi, Sir."
"Geet" Maan was loosing his patience.
"Look, it is dark and the way is dangerous. So come with me." He again wanted to grab her but she stepped back.
"I know sir, but you were the one who told me not to trust someone so easily. So how can I trust YOU?" Maan closed his eyes in frustration. He had meant those words indirectly relating them to Rahul but wasn't he behaving just like that, too? Being nice and a gentleman and so on. True, he really loved Geet and didn't mean any harm but how was Geet to know.
"Geet, I… I want to talk to you. I …" he desperately wanted her to know what he felt for her but found it the wrong thing to say. She will not believe him no matter what.
"Ok, how about I send the driver?"
"No, I'll manage." Maan lost it and pulled Geet by her wrist gripping it tightly. He shoved her into the car and started to drive. Silent tears started to run down her cheeks. She was in pain because of Maan's tight grips on her wrist. She remembered her mother and a fresh wave of tears rolled down her cheeks. Maan looked at her from the corner of his eyes and found the tears unbearable. He stopped the car and turned to her.
"Geet, kya baat hain? Why are you crying so much?"
"Dard ho raha hain" she said slowly.
"Forget the pain. You should trust people, just get to know them better before you do, ok?"
'Hai Babaji, yeh kya keh rahe hain?' Maan wiped her tears away and dropped her home. He watched her go into the building before returning home.
Meera was already asleep. Geet got some balm and rubbed it onto her wrist which had started to turn from red to blue. She remembered how her mother once had broken both her wrists. She was gone to Delhi for some days. After returning Geet saw the marks. She had cried, too. Geet was quite small and thought it might be the pain. Her mother had hugged her and calmed down. Geet asked if she wants to put something on her wound but her mother smiled and said a hug is sometimes a much better cure for pain.
'Ek taraf Maan sir aisi baatein karte hain jinse lagta hain ke wo mujhe pasand karte hain. Phir wo mujhe daant te hain aur dard dete hain. Mujhe unse door hi rehna chahiya. Aaj haat marora hain, kal patta nahin kya karde.'
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