Joined: 14 September 2006
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Joined: 14 September 2006
Maan stood in the main hall of Khurana Mansion, dressed head to toe in black, greeting guests as they arrived. They all came to celebrate his birthday. Initially Maan had been against another party – as if the mockery at the Teej functions had not been enough. However, Dadi Maa insisted and far be it for Maan to deny anything his Dadi Maan wanted. She reasoned that they celebrate his birthday with full flair because it was his first birthday after he'd gotten married.
Married. What a joke!
His entire family kept telling him that after his accident he'd lost a year and a half of his life. Of course, it was the year and a half that he had found, fell in love with, and married Geet. They threw pictures and videos in his face to make him believe it, yet he could not. His mind had maybe, on some level, admitted to the fact that he was in fact married to Geet. It was the only thing that explained why his family was so drawn to her and so in love with her. It was the only thing that explained how his family seemed to stop functioning at her disappearance. However, his heart – his heart couldn't accept the fact that she was his wife, that anyone was his wife. His heart couldn't accept the fact that the mangalsutra she wore around her neck and the sindoor that adorned her forehead were all in his name.
He simply couldn't warp his head around the fact that he, Maan Singh Khurana, had given himself to someone considering his past. After the heartbreak he'd endured he had sworn off women. He hated women, he hated love and he definitely hated marriage. He had promised himself that he would never let anyone close enough to his heart to make him feel those powerful emotions again. Yet here he was, married – happily married they said. Of course, it didn't help matters that his so-called wife was none other than Geet.
From the minute he'd come home she had crawled under his skin and irritated the life out of him. He hated the fact that his family was so dependent on her and so in love with her. He hated the fact that she waltzed around the house like she owned it. He hated the fact that he couldn't tell if her love and care for his family was an act or truly genuine.
As if on cue, something glittering caught his eye. As he turned his head towards the stairs, his eyes locked on her descending figure. She was dressed in a simple orange saree, her hair left loose in curls, and kept her makeup and jewelry to a minimum. Under the shining lights of the room she looked absolutely regal.
These past few weeks he had made it a point to not look at her. From the glances he'd seen of her he knew she was attractive. He also knew that if he really took the time to study her, he'd discover she was beautiful and he couldn't let that happen.
He watched as she made her way towards Dadi Maa, greeting people and chit chatting as she went. It was only when Dadi Maa had pointed in his direction and she'd looked at him that he looked away.
He frowned and mentally cursed himself for getting carried away like that over her. He had made a plan to keep away from her during the party lest he be roped into doing things like dancing and cutting the cake with her. All of which, he had no desire to do.
Of course his plan went down the drain as Dadi Maa approached him with Geet in tow.
"Maan beta," she called.
"Ji Dadi Maa…" Maan answered.
He looked at Geet through the corner of his eyes as she came and stood next to him in the spot where Adi had stood only seconds ago.
"Aap dono yahaan guests receive kijiyeh, hum khaane ka intezaam dekh kar aate hai," Dadi Maa said.
"Aap taqleef kyun lehti hai…main dekhti hoon," Geet said almost instantly.
Geet was just about to step away when Dadi Maa called out ot her.
"Nahin beta, hum dekh lenge…aap yahin rukiyeh…Maan ke saath," she said.
He saw Geet turn her head to the floor and caught a slight blush that crept onto her cheeks. Dadi Maan gently stroked Geet's cheek before disappearing towards the kitchen, taking Adi with her.
So Maan stood with Geet by his side as guests, business associates and other family members continued to come. While he greeted everyone with a handshake, he noticed she greeted everyone with her hands folded together and a smile.
Everyone handed him either a bouquet of flowers or other various gifts. Initially he didn't know where to put them.
"Dijiyeh…main rakh deti hoon," he heard her say softy.
Turning to her, he saw her extend her arm out causing her bangles to chime at the sudden movement. He hesitated for a moment but eventually put the items in her hands. As her finger tips brushed against his hand, he felt static run through his body.
He thanked the powers that be for sending another wave of guests which spared him from thinking about her feather light touch against his skin.
"Happy Birthday Maan beta," he heard an elderly lady call.
"Thank you……" he said uneasily.
Maan stared at the lady, unable to place her.
"Namaste Aunty," Geet said.
"Namaste Geet beta," the older lady said. "Kaisi ho?"
"Main tik hoon. Aap bataiyeh…aab Kiran kaisi hai?" Geet asked.
Maan stood there confused as to how Geet was having a conversation with this lady and who Kiran was.
"Pehle se behter hai…magar abhi bhi thodi kamzoor hai," the lady said.
"Aur Piyush…complication ke vaje se usse kuch hua toh nahin naa?" Geet asked.
Maan could hear the concern in her voice as she spoke.
"Bhagwan ke kripa se woh ek dum tik hai…saach mein Nani banne ki kushi ki koi mol nahin," the lady said beaming.
With that comment Maan figured that Kiran had to be the lady's daughter and Piyush was her grandson.
"Sorry Aunty hum nahin aa paye," Geet said. "Hum aana chate the magar…"
"Aare beta koi baath nahin, vaise hi tumhara Maan bhi tho abhi abhi hospital se vapas aaya hai," the lady as as she turned to Maan.
Maan gently smiled at her as he caught the blush deepen on Geet's cheek when the lady and referred to him as Geet's Maan.
"Nadira, finally aane ka time mila," they heard Dadi Maa call.
Just seconds later Dadi Maa joined them and immediately embraced the lady in a hug.
"Kya karoon," the lady began, "Bache ko chodke aane ka maan hi nahin kaarta."
Dadi Maan and the lady laughed whole heartedly.
"Aab tum batao Geet…" the lady said.
"Kya?" she asked confused.
"Yeh hi…," the lady began as she winked at Dadi Maa.
Already, Maan wasn't sure he was happy with where this conversation might be headed.
"…tum Savitri ko kaab par Dadi banaoge?" the lady finished.
Maan closed his eyes and fought everything he had to not groan out loud at the lady's insinuation. He knew what she had been about to say when she winked at Dadi Maa but he hoped he was wrong. As he opened his eyes, he was shocked and confused by what he saw.
Usually, at comments like this, he'd seen the woman in question blush, begin to fidget with their hands etc. Also, in situations like this, the future grand-parents in question would only add to the teasing and insist on becoming grand-parents sooner rather than later.
However, that was not the case.
Instead blushing and fidgeting, Geet was the polar opposite. He watched as suddenly her face looked pale and her body became rigid, almost cold. He usually warm and expressive eyes were cold and blank.
He could have sworn he had even seen the glistening of tears when he heard Dadi Maa give a nervous and uneasy laughter.
"Baatein toh chalta rehga Nadira…pehle kuch kha lo," Dadi Maa said.
Dadi Maa put her hand on her friends arm and began to walk with her towards the dining area where the food was set up. When she left, Maan didn't miss the sad, knowing glance she gave Geet, or the subtle squeeze she gave to Geet's arm.
What was going on?
He stood silently, his eyes on Geet as she stood with her eyes closed and looking as if she was having trouble breathing. She finally opened her eyes and looked at him, her breath catching as she did so.
"Main…main abhi aayi," she said.
Without another word, Maan watched as she disappeared into the crown. He didn't have time to think about it because another wave of guests came in distracting him.
Maan couldn't help himself as he scanned the crowd for her. He didn't know why such an insane comment had upset her so much. He figured it was because she knew that having children was not a possibility for them anymore. Maybe it was because she knew that if she had a dream of becoming a mother, he wasn't going to be the one to fulfill it for her. Maybe it was because a dream she'd had came crashing down on her because the reality she faced now as different from the reality she'd chosen when they had gotten married.
It wasn't until fifteen minutes later that he'd seen her again. She came down the stairs again, accompanied with her sister, Nandini. He watched as Dadi Maa met then at the bottom of the stairs. She asked Geet something while cupping her face tenderly. Geet nodded her head and gave Dadi Maa a weak smile. Dadi Maa took her into a hug and they simply held each other for a few seconds. Then, someone called to Dadi Maa making them break the embrace. After a few more words to each other, both Dadi Maa and Geet went in separate directions to entertain their guests.
As he watched her mingle with their guests, he noticed that her smile didn't quite reach her eyes like it usually. Also, it didn't go unnoticed by him that Dadi Maa, Lucky, Dev and Nandini kept a close eye on her just like he had.
While he stood talking to Mr. Chopra, an old client, a waiter spilled water all over his clothes. Excusing himself, he headed to his room to get cleaned up. Once there, he noticed that his coat was far too wet to wear out again, so he simply took it off and decided to go to the party dressed in his black shirt and slacks. He was just fixing the cuff on his shirt while walking down the hall when he heard voices from behind a pillar.
"Geet yahaan aa," an unknown voice called.
Finally, Geet along with another woman dressed in a blue saree appear in front of him. When she turned her face, he recognized the woman as Mrs. Payal Kapoor, the wife of an old family friend's son.
"Uff, kya hai Payal…tu itni utavli kyun hai?" Geet asked.
Even from the distance that he stood, Maan could see that the light had finally returned to her eyes. Whatever she was upset over had been forgotten and it gave Maan an odd sense of peace.
"Geet…aaj main bohot kush hoon," Payal said.
"Woh toh dik hi raha hai," Geet said, "Aab batayegi ke kya baath hai."
"Geet!!!" Payal squealed.
"Dekh Payal, mujhe bohot kaam hai…jaldi bata varna…" Geet threatened.
"Main Maa banne wali hoon," Payal finally said.
Maan held his breath to see what kind of a reaction Geet would have to that news. An hour ago when the topic was babies was brought up, Geet had become a different person, a sad person – a person that Maan didn't like seeing.
"Payal!," Geet squealed as she enveloped the woman into hug, "Congratulations!"
Maan breathed a sigh of relief as Geet remained just as up-beat and happy as she had been at the beginning of the conversation.
"Vaise tujhe toh yeh baath chilla chilla ke kehni chaiyeh," Geet said teasingly.
"Chup!" Payal admonished, "Abhi toh sirf family aur kuch friends ko bataya hai."
Maan watched as the girls simply smiled at each other.
"Main tere liyeh bohot kuch hoon," Geet said hugging Payal again.
"Thank you," Payal said.
"Kaisa lag raha hai Mrs. Payal Kapoor?" Geet teased.
"Geet main bata nahin sakti ke Maa banne ka yeh ehsaas kaisi hai," Payal said holding on to Geet's hand. "Tujhe bhi bachoon ke bare mein soochna chahiyeh."
With that, Maan watched as the smile disappeared from Geet's face as the blankness took over her eyes and her body became rigid again.
"Aagar mujhe pata hota ka Maa banna itni amazing hai toh saach mein…main teen saal intezaar nahin karti," Payal said.
Maan saw Geet look way and give a completely fake smile to Payal as the woman continued to babble on.
"Kya chal raha hai yahaan par?" Maan heard Dadi Maa ask as she joined the duo.
"Dadi woh…woh…" Payal stuttered blushing.
"Congratulations beta, mujhe Hema ne bataya ke aap kush khabri sunane wali ho," Dadi Maa said patting Payal on the head. "Kush toh ho naa?"
"Main mehsoon kaar sakti hoon ke mere andar ek nanhi si jaan hai…aur woh ehsaas……shayad duniya ki saabse pyaari ehsaas hai," Payal said. "Hai naa Dadi?"
As Payal spoke about the feeling of having a child inside her, a slight movement caught Maan's eyes. Since her bangles glittered in the light, Maan saw Geet's hand find its way up to her stomach as she balled it into a fist grabbing the sheer fabric of her saree in the process.
"Umm…woh…Payal beta tumne kuch khaya hai…iss halat mein zyada dehr tak bhooka nahin rehna chahiyeh," Dadi Maa said. "Nandini…zaara isse aachi tarha se khilana…"
It was then Maan noticed that Nandini had been passing so Dadi Maa instructed her to look after Payal making sure she ate properly. As soon as Payal and Nandini were on their way, Dadi Maa put a hand on Geet shoulder.
"Geet beta…aap tik toh hai naa?" Dadi Maa asked.
Maan realized he wanted to know the answer to that question more than he thought he should.
"Geet beta…" Dadi Maa called again when Geet didn't respond. "Geet beta……"
It took Dadi Maa literally shaking her to get Geet to respond. Geet turned and looked at Dadi Maa for a few seconds before bringing her hands to her face. From where Maan stood, it look like she was wiping tears, but he couldn't be sure. Then, before he could think of anything else, he saw Geet turn and run in his direction.
Unintentionally, and completely automatically, he stepped into the hall from behind the darkness causing Geet to come crashing into him. Instinctively, his arms wrapped around her slender waist bracing himself as her body slammed into his. When she pulled back, her hands were resting against his arms to balance herself.
When she looked up at him he saw tears swimming in her eyes. From the closeness, Maan could see pain, sorrow and grief in her chocolaty eyes.
"I'm sorry…I'm sorry…" she said as she pushed against him to get to her own two feet.
He stood looking at her as she tried to balance herself while holding onto him.
"I'm sorry…I'm sorry…" she repeated.
She blinked causing the tears to cascade down her cheeks, one landing on his hand.
"I'm sorry," she said again, as she ran off.
"Geet!" Maan called.
She didn't stop, she just kept running.
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Joined: 14 September 2006
"Aare aare…Geet Bhabi ke bina hum cake kaise kaat sakte hai?" someone yelled.
Maan, who had been feeling sorry for Geet just a while ago, was back to being seriously annoyed with her. She had up and disappeared from the party – again – and now he had to wait for her to come and joint them again so he could cut his cake. On top of it all it bothered him that he continued to worry about her. The fact that it bothered him, annoyed him even more.
He was about to call out to Dadi Maa to see where Geet was but he saw Nandini approach her. He watched intently as Nandini whispered something into Dadi Maa's ears, something that didn't really settle well with her because a sadness and worry took over her expression. Dadi Maa whispered something back and soon Nandi was headed back up the stairs.
"Maan beta aap cake kaat lijiyeh," Dadi Maa said as she joined them.
"Paar Dadi…Geet ke bina………" someone began.
"Woh kya hai naa ke achanak Geet ki tabiyat kuch tik nahin hai," Dadi Maa said.
"Kuch serious toh nahin?" Maan heard Lucky ask.
"Nahin nahin…baas din bhaar itna kaam kiya uppar se ussne tik se kuch khaya ya piya bhi nahin…issi liyeh…aab woh araam kaar rahi hai," Dadi Maa said.
It was explanation enough for all the party goers, but not for Maan. Something was up and he knew it. Geet had left crying and Dadi Maa expected him to believe that it was because Geet wasn't feeling well.
"Dadi Maa…kya hua? Geet tik toh hai naa?" Maan asked about an hour later after all the guests had left.
"Haan beta…woh tik hai," Dadi Maa said.
Now Maan was absolutely sure that something was up because when she answered, Dadi Maa didn't look him in the eye.
It was into the early morning hours of the next day and Maan was restless. A part of him wanted to go and find out what the hell was going on his own house and what the issue was with Geet's sudden hot and cold persona. However, another part of him was adamant about keeping as much distance as possible from his "wife". The fight between the two opposing ideas in his mind was keeping him up.
He figured he'd get some fresh air, so at 1:30am, he was trudging the halls of his home headed towards the garden. As he walked down the hall towards the stairs, he saw Nandini knocking on Dadi Maa's door.
"Nandini…," Maan called.
Nandini jumped at the sound of his voice.
"Itne raath gaye…tum Dadi Maa ke kamre mein kya kaar rahi ho?" he asked.
"Jijaji woh…main…," Nandini stuttered.
"Joh bhi kaam ha…subha karlena…abhi tum sonne jaao," Maan ordered.
"Magar woh…" Nandini began.
Just then, Dadi Maa's door opened as she stepped out.
"Kya hua?" she asked, slightly dazed.
"Dadi Maa woh…" Nandini began but suddenly clammed up.
Maan watched as she looked at him from the corner of her eyes and then back at Dadi Maa.
"Maan beta aap itne raath ko kya kaar rahe hai?" Dadi Maa asked.
Suddenly caught off guard, Maan didn't know what to say.
"Woh main…umm…paani…paani lene jaa raha tha," he lied.
"Oh…toh phir jaiyeh," Dadi Maa said.
He frowned at her reaction but didn't let her see it. He simply smiled and walked away. He had every intention of letting them do what they wanted to do and keep all the secrets they wanted to. As far as he was concerned, the less he knew the better.
"Dadi Maa…woh Geet Didi," Nandini said.
With that one comment, all of Maan's intentions to stay away had gone flying out the window as he found himself following Dadi Maa and Nandini to the east wing of the house.
The east wing of Khurana mansion was particularly for storage but also housed many guest rooms as well as the servant quarters. He made sure that neither Dadi Maa nor Nandini knew of his presence behind them by staying in the dark shadows.
They approached one of the corner rooms of the corridor, and when Dadi Maa opened the door Maan was surprised by the sobs he could hear coming from within.
"Geet beta," he heard Dadi Maa call.
For a second the sobs died down, but only moments later they started back up, stronger than before.
Maan didn't know why it bothered him so much that she had been in a cold and dirty room crying by herself.
"Nahin rote beta," Dadi Maa said as Geet continued to cry. "Bhagwan ke aage hum kya kaar sakte hai?'
"Magar kyun Dadi Maa kyun…usne kissi ka kya bigada tha?" he heard Geet ask.
The pain in her voice, pricked at his heart, yet he tried to ignore it.
"Aagar aap aaise toot padenge toh Maan sawal karega…aur unke sawal ke jawab nahin hai humare paas," Dadi Maa said.
Maan couldn't make any sense of the comment Dadi Maa had just made, but as he thought of possible answers, he heard the door creak as Dadi Maa came out, her arms around Geet's shoulder, followed by Nandini.
"Nandini beta, tala laga doh," Dadi Maa said as she walked off with Geet.
He watched as Nandini put the lock on the door and made sure it was closed before turning to leave. Knowing that the only way he could know what was going on was by getting into that room, Maan groaned. Realizing he had groaned out loud, he quickly slipped way from the other hall before anyone could know he had been there.
He tossed and turned for hours – two hours to be exact – but sleep evaded him. He couldn't seem to wrap his head around what had happened throughout the evening and later on into the night.
Every time someone mentioned Geet and her having a baby in the same breath, she would suddenly shut down and retreat away from everyone else. It was as if he could see her physically putting up a wall and distancing herself from everyone as she escaped into the confines of her own room.
He understood that having children was something that most women wanted, and he knew on some level that Geet too had wanted the same from their relationship. However, he couldn't understand why the simple mention of Geet having a child could upset her so much. She couldn't have honestly expected them to start family planning, knowing the fact that he didn't even remember her as his wife.
So many questions were running rampant in his mind that the volume of his thoughts didn't allow him to sleep. As Maan lay in bed, one thing became very clear – he would find the answers in the room where Geet had been crying.
Sitting up on the bed, Maan began to think of how he could get his hands on the keys for the lock Nandini had placed on the door before leaving. He seriously had no idea because it was never an issue for him. In the past, he could just call Nakul or another servant and tell them to open the door for him. Since clearly Dadi Maa and Geet were trying to hide something from him, he couldn't very well go around asking for keys to rooms they didn't want him to see. As faithful and loyal as Nakul was, he had a seriously loose lip.
Crossing his fingers, he got out of bed and headed over to the east wing hoping that he'd find the key hanging from a hook on the wall or something like that. He made sure he was quiet, not making a single sound just in case anyone else was up at this hour. He wanted answers to his questions and he knew that if someone knew what he was up to, they'd either deter him or give him answers they thought he needed to hear instead of what the truth was.
As he approached the room at the end of the wing, he saw the door was slightly open, only an inch or so. Pushing in the door, he walked into the dark room. He feeling the wall like a blind man looking for a light switch to illuminate the dark room when he heard a sniffle. He froze, his hand out stretched and touching an electrical panel, as he listened for any other sound. A few seconds later, he heard another sniffle only this time it was accompanied with sobs.
He knew that there was only one person that would be in here – the same person that had been in here crying a few hours ago.
"Geet………," he called as softly as he could.
He knew that she was the one in the room because as soon as he'd said her name, she became quiet.
By now, his eyes had adjusted in the darkness, and with the little light that came in from the window, he saw her huddled on the window sill, sitting with back to him. As he stepped closer he saw that she had her knees drawn up to her chest, and in the moonlight her tears shined against her cheek.
"Geet………," he called again.
Though her sobs and cries had disappeared, he could still see a stream of tears slipping from her eyes and down her cheeks.
Before he knew what he was going, he saw himself reach for her and place a hand on her shoulder as he tried to get her attention.
"Geet…," he said.
This time, she angled her head up towards him. Even in the faint light that came through the window, Maan could see that her eyes were red and swollen from crying for who knows how long.
He didn't have a chance to say anything else because the next thing he knew, Geet stood and threw herself at him wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her head against his shoulder. He felt her tighten her hold around him as sobs wracked her body. Then, almost simultaneously, she began sobbing again – gut wrenching cried that pierced his heart.
What Maan did next shocked even himself. Without any thought, and almost instinctively, he found his own arms wrapped around her holding her close to his body as one hand gently stroked her head to calm her as she wept. Though he couldn't remember ever being this close to Geet, having her in his arms just felt right. It just felt like she was the one that belonged in his arms.
"Kya hua Geet…tum roh kyun rahi ho?" he asked.
He noticed his voice sounded a bit shaky as he spoke.
"Kyun Maan…Babaji ne humare saath hi aaisa kyun kiya?" she asked in between her sobs. "Kya bigada tha humne unka ke unhone humari kushiyaan chin li?"
He felt her tears soak through his shirt giving his skin a cold sensation as she balled his shirt into her fists, as if hanging on for dear life.
"Geet…" he began a short while later, "…tum bachoon ke baath ko lekar itna udas maat ho…tum chaho toh baacha godh leh sakte ho."
He thought it was the appropriate thing to say at the time. He knew that she was upset and the loss of her dreams of having children, because there was just no way he was going to have a child with anyone – even if that person was is so-called wife. The next best solution was to adopt because Geet clearly had love to give and there were a lot of children in the world who needed that love.
It was the best solution, or so he thought until Geet suddenly stepped out of his embrace. The look of confusion was clearly etched on her face. His comment had also stopped the tears from forming as she looked at him, trying to decipher what he'd just said.
"Godh lena…yeh aap…" Geet began but stopped.
"Dekho Geet," Maan began, "Humari shaadi…humara rishta…kya hai…kya nahin hai…mujhe nahin pata…lekin main itna zaroor janta hoon ke mujhe koi baacha nahin chahiyeh…issi liyeh, aagar tum chaho toh ek baacha tum godh leh sakte ho."
He watched as shock registered in her eyes and her mouth formed the shape of an 'O' as a hand covered it. The hand slowly slipped lower, grasping onto mangalsutra so tightly that he could almost see her white knuckles.
"Kya…kya aapko saach mein kuch bhi yaad nahin?" she asked, in a whisper.
Now it was Maan who stood confused. He knew that she didn't expect an answer for the questions she'd just asked. Only, the question felt less like a question and more like an accusation.
"Geet…" he called.
In the time it took him to utter her name, new tears sprang to her eyes before she turned and ran off, the sounds of her payal's growing faint as she moved further and further away from him.
He stood in the dark for a few moments, in silence before reaching over to turn on the light. With his back toward the interior of the room, he noticed a piece of paper on the floor by the entrance. As he bent down to pick it up, he figured it was something that Geet may have dropped in her haste to get away from him. When the item came into contact with his hands, he knew it wasn't just some ordinary piece of paper. This paper had a glossy and smooth texture to it.
Frowning, he slowly turned the paper over. He started at the image in front of him because initially, he had no idea what he was looking at. However, slowly yet surely, realization dawned on him and he finally understood what he was holding in his hands. As he looked at the image which he held in his hand his breath caught and an unknown, yet somehow familiar pain gripped his heart.
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Joined: 15 March 2005
Me here babeji!!! yay! finally!!!!wow this was soo intenense!!! im like omg!!! aww... poor geet crying to herself... gosh men are soo damn nosey!! they just cant keep away! u know wen girls need alone time... men should give... instead they become jasoos over here... and it gets them no where!!!
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asmi123, sna004, myramabin, meravigiliso, sanu3108, kooliio, jnawaz, hopehot, -Mishu-, punam2712, Loquacious_Aash,
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