Joined: 28 February 2011
It had been a week since they had returned from that eventful trip. What was supposed to be a business trip for the sake of Geet's career turned out to be something else entirely. Since coming home, their lives had settled into a routine. It wasn't in the least bit a normal or conventional one but it was theirs. It involved Geet helping Meera locate her ever disappearing valuables at the last minute before she had to go see a client. Then followed by a morning dose of Piyu's breakfast shenanigans, Dadi's remarkable comments that solely served the purpose to amuse herself, and of course Maan running off to work before she could even say a single word to him. Geet realized after the third day why he was doing that and planned a way to get him talking again when he least expected it.
It was a lazy Sunday. The sun was shining with all its might but its reflecting heat wasn't consuming. The light wind gave the air a different scent at every turn. Geet figured with the weather being so ideal it was perfect to spend the day outdoors. It was also just the thing Maan needed. A way to connect again, nothing could be better at that than nature. So she made all the plans. Piyu normally wanted to tag along with Maan or Geet wherever they went but today she had other plans too. She had accumulated a large number of friends due to her daily visits to the playground with Dadi and today it was one of their birthday parties. So Dadi offered to take Piyu since she knew the family and also wanted to catch up with them.
So with the whole day to herself Geet decided to spend it with Maan. But since he wasn't a willing candidate Geet had to be sly about it. She asked Dadi the details of his office and left once everything was packed and ready.
His office was exactly how she had pictured it, sleek and modern with a bit of the Hamptons eccentric touch. Once inside the receptionist pointed her in the direction of Maan's office where upon reaching she stood outside mesmerized looking through the glass door. Although she had seen him many times before it felt different today. It could have been because she hadn't properly been able to for a few days. Or it could also be the reason she found her eyes tracing the contours of his face with no guilt or shame. As her mind continued to soak in his features they concluded that he truly was the most handsome man they had laid eyes. Maan also looked up upon feeling watching eyes on him. He was initially shocked to see Geet staring at him and presumed it to be a mirage but came crashing back to reality with Geet's movement inside.
He immediately stood up worried if something was wrong. "What are you doing here Geet?"
Geet noticed he was concerned but knew that would quickly change to annoyance in a few seconds. "That should be obvious Maan. You have been ignoring me and we both know why. But I don't go back on my word so come on, get off this chair. We are going."
He breathed a sigh of relief knowing nothing was wrong then immediately held his head realizing the reason she was actually here. "Geet, I really don't have time. There is just so much work to do. I have to prepare a presentation for our LA client, there are so many contracts to review, and I must also make sure things are smooth in the Delhi office..."
Geet wouldn't hear it though. "Yes, yes we all know how busy Mr. Khurana is but that doesn't mean he can't take a day off and especially on a Sunday. Plus I don't see anyone else in the office."
"Geet, no one else in this office needs to worry about revenue and budgets that eventually sign their checks."
She shook her head thinking he had an excuse for everything so he did not to leave work. "But they do need to worry about the man that does that for them. That means a day off which I mentioned more than a week ago. Now let's go I don't have all day."
Maan figured out she wasn't willing to relent and muttered something under his breath. Geet noticed his less than obvious behavior and only smiled. He was so much like a demanding child at times. She watched him slam the phone after telling Adi to lock up the office since he was leaving for the day.
"I must say if you are going to be a grouch then I might have to extend this plan of mine a day or more…"
Maan gaped at her. "You wouldn't...I mean Geet don't be ridiculous...I'm not grouchy just stressed. You know how it is?"
Geet turned around and exited with him tow like a sad puppy. She inwardly smiled thinking how easy it was to make a man obey at times. They settled into the car Geet came in with James on her insistence letting him take Maan's less than modest Porsche home. "So what's the plan Geet?"
Geet thought a bit while walking to the car and decided to scrap her plan. It was something she realized he might not even like and that worried her. Geet wanted him to enjoy the day not be miserable throughout.
"I initially had a plan but changed my mind about it. Now the new plan is you have to spend the full day enjoying yourself free of work but everything else is up to you."
"Geet, that's not a plan, what do you mean it's up to me?"
"You know for someone of your stature you amaze me at the extent to which you can be clueless in the simplest of matters."
His frustration was slowly rising at not being able to understand her behavior. "Geet! What is this, pick on Maan day?"
She wasn't surprised seeing him get edgy and quickly explained before he got more irritated. "I don't want to take the chance of you being miserable doing something you do not like. I want the day to be enjoyable for you but I'm not really that aware with your likes and dislikes. So I want it to be your choice what we do, where we go, and anything else in between."
Geet didn't cease to amaze him. She spent all this time planning the day and on impulse was willing to wash it away. Maan decided to mess with her a bit also for being this ridiculous. He rubbed his chin in mock contemplation. "I guess then we are going home."
"Excuse me?" Geet almost screamed. She was not going to have him spend all day at home.
"To drop you off of course…you aren't exactly the type I would have fun with. You know what I mean?" He winked.
"Maan Khurana, you didn't just…"
He laughed, "No need for mock anger sweetheart, you know very well I was joking."
Geet replied with normalcy, pretending as if she hadn't noticed the replacement for her name but internally couldn't ignore the hitch her heart made. "Now that you've had your fun, can you decide where you want to go?"
"Yes, we are going to follow your original plan."
"What? Maan, no…"
"Geet stop it. You've spent time organizing everything and I don't want it to go to waste. Plus I really do want to enjoy the day the way you planned it. Okay? Now tell me where are we going?"
She fidgeted her fingers and quietly answered not know what his reaction would be. "I thought we could go to Shelter Island."
He realized what that implied and eyed her attire from head to toe. He smiled while staring at her wedges and questioned. "It's going to be a little difficult hiking in those Geet."
"Not to worry Maan. I packed everything from clothes to gear for both of us. I know it can get a little gritty."
"And you don't mind that?"
"Of course not, I love the outdoors. While I was in the city the most nature you could get was central park which isn't saying much."
Maan was amazed with her. Geet thought she knew nothing about him but she planned something that suited him the most. Geet continued talking the whole ride there. It was a relatively short distance to travel but due to the leisurely paced two lane highway more time was consumed. They reached the south ferry where Maan was about to park the car but Geet insisted otherwise saying there would be too much to carry around. He realized she was right given it was a hiking trip and paid the ferry fee for car rather than only two people.
They changed into hike worthy attire then with their backpacks in tow they began their journey on what the visitor center map called the green trail. It was an exhaustive six miles which would take them nearly three hours but both were game. Maan was initially worried about Geet becoming tired but upon seeing her eagerness to see travel the trail where they could see the shoreline he gave in.
It was a spectacular trail. The surrounding trees and earthy soil scent filled the air, bringing them back to what was real. The leafy branches canopied them blocking the sun so they could remain cool. Everything around them allowed their mind to join with their body. It gave way to put the thought processes of the past and future in a confined space. As they walked all they thought about was where to place their foot next or what creature was making that noise or which flower was responsible for the tender scent. They wouldn't permit their minds to be consumed with undue stress when there was so much to enjoy right then and there. Nature couldn't alone be given all the credit for this though. It was also the fact that they did this together.
They reached the cove at the hottest time of the day where they decided to take a break. It was swarming with people who also came out to enjoy the weather. Not wanting to be around it all Maan and Geet decided to settle onto the green patchy grass at the edge. The glorious rays were warm yet not burning and the crisp wind allowed their sweat beaded bodies to cool a bit. Geet unpacked sandwiches and some fruit while Maan looked on with a discrete smile.
"You know me better than you think Geet."
Geet lifted her eyes to him. "What do you mean?"
"This would be the perfect way I'd want to spend my day."
Geet turned crimson and figured he was only being nice. "Maan you don't have to say that to make me feel good."
"Geet think back, have I ever only said nice things to you?" She remembered their coffee date then the early morning on the beach and realized no. He always had been honest.
She smiled. "Well I'm really glad you liked it Maan. That's all I wanted."
He looked deeply at her face. Noticing for the first time in a while the darkness in her eyes was gone. Instead there was now a youthful glow. He had always thought of her to be a beautiful person physically. And had gotten the pleasure of learning she was the same inside. As the eyes gaze intensified Maan found himself being attracted to her also. She had stretched her legs out and leaned back, supported by her arms arching upwards with her eyes closed and a sweet smile gracing her face soaking in the serenity. He watched unadulterated. For a moment felt as if he was intruding in her moment of peace. The longer Maan kept his eyes on her the more he realized his heart was giving away slowly but surely.
Without warning she turned towards him to ask something only to find him sweetly smiling at her. Geet didn't know why but she felt what her 8th grade teacher called a warm fuzzy with the look he was giving her. She moved the strand of hair that was freely dancing along with the wind behind her ear as a distraction. It worked, making Maan turn his attention back towards the shore and its sounds. They observed the rest of their surroundings in an awkward silence. Neither liked it but didn't know exactly how to erase. Realizing it was getting late Geet suggested they pack up and he only nodded then both started their way back on the trail. Maan thought it would be best to go back to their jovial bickering so he instigated her.
"I'm surprised you keep up so well Geet. I was expecting to have to carry you back to the car after just thirty minutes."
Geet pouted which Maan noticed as they were walking in equal strides next to each other. "Are you calling me a weakling Maan?"
He grinned, "I wouldn't dare Geet. After all you basically control everything these days from what I wear to eat. I wouldn't think to aggravate you enough to harm my own life in turn."
She realized what he was doing and gave a mock glare. "So now you're implying I would risk your life? You know you might not be too far off from that thought if you keep making fun of me."
"Really now, so you would use those doctor skills on me and make sure it be unknown to the world wouldn't you?"
"That sounds a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, what was that saying in the story…one man is in fact two different people."
"Suitable don't you think? Of course I don't mean in terms of good and evil but the fact that people can't be seen with only one perspective. They are multilayered."
"That's true we aren't always what we seem to be. But I think the real sense of dual nature that was implied by the story is also true."
Maan couldn't believe what he had just heard. "Don't tell me that Geet. You really think civilized human nature is the result of society and not man? I beg to differ."
"Only because humans have the ability to create technology and speak beyond the capability of other species doesn't mean we are better than them. We too evolved from no other place but like the one we are walking through." She said while kicking aside a rotting branch.
"I understand where you are coming from Geet but I think the result of what we are now comes from our ability to grow intellectually hence understand right and wrong."
"See that's where I think you are wrong. I believe our behavior is a result of much more than that."
He enjoyed this resolute nature of hers. "I'm all ears so explain your rational."
"Alright then, I don't think deciding between right and wrong factors on understanding through intellect alone. There is more to us than the brain. We obviously have a body but answer this do you believe within we carry a soul?"
"I might not be that religious but yes. I do think a soul is within us."
"Now we're getting somewhere. Okay what else do we know? What happens to us after we die?" Maan looks at her confused thinking how was he supposed to know that.
Geet shook her head seeing him think so hard about a simple question. "I meant the obvious Maan. Our body doesn't last forever. When we die it deteriorates into the earth, but what about our soul? Where does it go? It's a question that is probably beyond anyone on this earth living and dead. In my opinion though I think it's eternal. The physical body will pass to be forgotten but what the person was, their true being will always remain. And there lies the problem."
Maan scratched his head at the end of it all. "Okay I was with you until that last line. What do you mean there lies the problem?"
"The Greek said it best with the saying the body is a tomb. The body is finite while the soul is infinite. Our soul is confined within a body, that in and of itself is unnatural to it, erupting feelings of entrapment and confusion. I guess you could say that's why humans aren't perfect and probably never will be. We can never truly be able to make the right decision every time under such conditions."
Maan was lost in her. He was lost in trying to figure out who she was. Right when Maan thought he had figured out her nature Geet made him realize she was still a complete mystery to him. He couldn't fathom what could have possibly made her this way. Though one thing Maan did know was that he liked her this way. He enjoyed the unintended lessons Geet taught him and the way she would do anything it seemed to make a smile crack on his face.
Geet observed him walk for the past few minutes without saying a word. She called out to him but still wouldn't respond so she shook his arm. "What in the world are you thinking about?"
He only smiled at her. How could he really tell her what he was thinking? "I was just thinking that we are back to perfection again. Never seems to be far from any topic we have does it?"
Geet laughed lightly. "Apparently not…"
They walked along in silence again. Geet noticed him getting lost again in his thoughts. She decided to let him be for a while sped up ahead of him. Maan got to thinking again however this time about what she said. He wasn't the type to linger on thoughts of death or afterlife especially after everything he went through. But Geet's one line stuck with him. Their true being always remains. The more he thought about it the more he understood that she was right. Even though Armaan and Riddhima had passed away years ago not a day went by that he didn't feel them around. As if they were watching over their daughter and him.
"Ouch!" He looked up and saw Geet bent downward attempting to get her foot out. It appeared to be stuck within a tree root that was growing above the soil. He rushed over and helped her ease it out. "Are you okay Geet? Does feel like it's sprained?"
She sat down on a decomposing tree to examine it. "No, it's not. It's only bruised and might swell a bit nothing to worry about."
Maan knelt beside her and took a look at it. "Are you sure? Can you walk? I think we should have it checked by a doctor once we get back."
"Yes Maan, I'll be able to walk it's really nothing and seems you've forgotten I am a doctor." She gave a crooked smile.
Maan nodded smiling at the irony. "I guess this is a sign we should head home."
The strange laugh Geet let out while adjusting her shoe prompted Maan to question what was so amusing. "I was only thinking about what you said." He looked at her funny. "You said home and I couldn't help but think of my old home."
Geet finished tying her shoe and Maan gave his hand to help her up. She took it and again they started walking. "Old home? Can you really consider this place as your new home Geet?"
She gave him a sad smile. "I like to follow the saying home is where the heart is."
"Hamptons have captured your heart already have they?" Maan asked surprised.
"No Maan, it's the not the Hamptons or even a specific place. My idea of a home has always been a bit convoluted."
He again questioned with his facial expressions. And by now Geet was fluent in their language and explained to his inquisitive mind.
"Well I've never really felt as if I belonged anywhere. Like I could call a certain place my own where I felt happy for an extended period of time. Home just became where I was able to find a bit of peace. A place where there was a pinch of more happiness than sorrow." She paused to think of the simplest way to explain without divulging. "New York was my home until everything fell apart. It gave me my career, Meera and I's friendship only solidified further and it made me realize things I didn't know about myself."
Maan wondered what happened to her family. Usually time spent with them creates the first home a person ever knows but not a word was uttered about it from her. The only conclusion he could come to was that whatever happened must be deep for her to not even consider that her heart could have not resided there.
Geet saw him staring at her curiously. She could tell what question was running in his mind. "It's complicated."
He was confused at first then realized she was reading his eyes. "I have time and so do you."
She wasn't ready though. Geet actually didn't know if she will ever be ready to tell anyone about her family. They were the epitome of how a family shouldn't be to each other. The memories the conversation would have erupted would only cause wounds that were yet to even heal bleed more. She looked into his eyes again and saw them saying trust me. She did trust him. There was no question but it was more a matter of her survival. Geet believed rehashing the past now would only be going backwards when she had progressed so much emotionally.
Maan saw her debating what to say if anything about it. It was cruel state for a person to be in. So he eased her out of it by prodding further. "You aren't going to tell me are you?"
She smiled sadly. "No, I'm not..." She slowly drew those three words and paused before completing, "…but one day I will."
He gave out a sigh of relief at the last part before giving his own smile. "I will be waiting for that day Geet." He realized the conversation was again veering towards the serious and tried to turn it around. "So what makes this place feel like home to you?"
Geet sweetly gazed up at him. Wondering whether to be forthcoming or not. Concluding she had nothing left to lose she gave in. "It's not a question of what Maan. It's a question of whom."
That undoubtedly intrigued his curiosity. He wondered if she also was starting to feel the same way. She wasn't saying anything more and he looked at her impatiently. "Why do I feel like you aren't going to answer your own question?" He asked frowning.
At the sight of this Geet decided to tease him a bit. "Now why wouldn't I answer? Let's see…in this place I have my best friend still close to me. I found such motherly love in Dadi and how can I forgot Piyu? She simply brightens up my day." With that said she started walking a bit faster while Maan's speed slightly slowed with what he heard.
Maan was no doubt disappointed she didn't mention him but tried not to show it on his face. Or so he thought. Geet was well aware of Maan's reaction to her response but pretended to ignore it. They reached the car within fifteen minutes and it was all in silence. Maan's disappointment grew with slight anger but he couldn't pinpoint exactly why. He placed their gear into the trunk and went towards the driver side but felt a tug on his upper arm from behind.
"And you…" He turns around to find Geet smiling at him. "You've done so much for me. More than anyone would do for a complete stranger. You trusted me with so much, your family and your deepest secrets. You let me in and became a friend I'll always treasure. How could you not be a part of my home?" She had tears in her eyes thinking of all his selfless acts he did solely for her. Geet would always be grateful for it. She rose on her toes and kissed his right cheek before moving away. She didn't get far though with Maan pulling her wrist directing her back towards him.
Maan saw the sadness in her eyes and it hurt him to see her feel so left out and empty. "You change homes a lot don't you?"
She nodded sadly but tried to put on a brave smile. "My life doesn't seem to like stability."
His arms had their way to her waist pulling her closer to further drown in her eyes which also seemed to become liquid. He thought back to what she said. If she was right, if home was where the heart is then all he hoped was that her home would always be here, with Meera, with Dadi, with Piyu and lastly with him. "Maybe your life was waiting for the right kind."
Maan then closed the tiny gap that lay between their lips gently letting her know what kind he exactly meant. His lips sweetly enveloped hers caressing them to let her know he also felt a similar home. Geet had already learned to master the language of his eyes. And now was learning the language of his lips by wrapping her arms around his neck deepening the glorious kiss. With his every delicate stroke she felt more at place and radiant. It slowly ended for the gradual need of air leaving them to ponder their actions within each other's embrace.
Maan pulled his forehead away from hers and lifted her chin upwards. He softly caressed her cheek. "Though you don't tell me I know you have suffered a lot. I want you to be happy forever. Not taste it and have it be snatched away. I want you to have the peace you deserve. I want you to have a permanent home. So once you know in your heart that you've found it…wherever it maybe and with whoever it maybe with, keep it and trust it….but always remember one thing, this home will always be open for you."
The pool of tears that welled in Geet's eyes started to trickle one by one. Maan's one hand gently caressed her back in an attempt to soothe the aching she felt within while the other tried to wipe every drop of wetness away. His endearing actions fueled her further to tighten the hold around his neck and helplessly sink her head into his chest and weep her hearts content.
Hope you enjoyed it! :)
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