When women were upset with Shaantanu and left him for a while, the man felt no remorse. The women were not worth the trouble to get to know why he had upset them. Also, sometimes, the man upset them purposely to get rid of them. But this incident was different.
As Shaan detected a sadness in Khanak's voice he yearned to lean in, take her in his arms and tell her there was nothing to be afraid of. But that would neither be right, nor be welcomed. First, because the woman in question was a traditionalist. Second, because she- for some odd reason- felt irked by his presence. And as he replayed their conversation in his mind, he felt that Khanak was a bit more abrupt in her responses that he'd have expected her to be. And perhaps, she wasn't playing a game after all. This is precisely why Shaantanu felt it was unwise to go after her and check if she was alright.
""How dreadful...to be caught up in a game and have no idea of the rules.""
Shaantanu turned around only to find Khanak entering the kitchen through the door.
"Caroline Stevermer," smiled Khanak.
"Huh?" said Shaan, demonstrating his confused state.
"Caroline Stevemer ka quote hai," answered Khanak, and resumed her work regarding lunch preparations.
Shaantanu stood there perplexed. A few minutes ago the woman seemed on the verge of breaking down-angrily or unhappily- and now she was back to being normal. What was up?
Little did he know Khanak had gone to her room to collect and calm herself again and get herself into a presentable condition so that she could go back and complete the task her mother had left her. She had re-read his letter and noticed the envelope much more closely. It held a much stronger fragrance of his, and was without a postage stamp. It was only with a composed mind and a handful of questions that she went downstairs to the kitchen.
When she didn't get a response from the usually talkative Shaantanu, she decided it was perhaps time for her to say a few much needed words.
"I am sorry for my outburst earlier. I just didn't expect to find to here. Or meet you anytime soon," she started.
"Obviously one doesn't expect bin bulaey mehmaan, right?"
Khanak smiled sheepishly as if embarrassed at what she had said, but she would reveal no more.
"Kya Ada Bai ko pata hai ke aap yahan hein?"
"Yeah of course. Uncle hi mujeh airport lenay aye thay and I met aunty when I came home."
"Ohh. Tou kya aap ne Ada Bai ko suprise visit diya?"
"Haan meine socha unhein hi surprise visit de doun. Un ki beti ke saath tou surprises don't go down well," taunted Shaan.
Khanak understood the sarcasm, and her blush indicated to Shaan that Khanak's initial frustration was gone. He eased more comfortably into the conversation and two spent quite an informative few hours in the kitchen while Khanak made lunch.
"Ada Bai ne mujeh bataya kyun nai phir?"
"Simple hai Khanak, humaray parents are playing cupid. Dad ko bhi out of the blue mujh pe itna bharosa ho gaya hai ke apnay aur Chitresh uncle ke project ki details finalize karnay mujeh bheja hai. I mean...pehle tou chotay projects bhi mujeh nai miltay and now this? Something is definitely up."
Khanak laughed at this, but stopped as soon as she saw Shaantanu's confused face.
"Okay..but aap apnay aap ko underestimate kyun kar rahay hein. You've done your MBA from an IVY university."
"There are lots of things you don't know about me Khanak. A MBA degree is not everything."
"And do I you think I should know?"
"Time will tell."
"Ohk..so phir ye bata dejiye ke aap ne letter post kyun nai kiya?"
"Paisa save karnay ke liye, simple."
"Paisa save karney ke liye? Do you want me to believe that you're a miser?"
"Ab itnay motay motay lafz use karo gi tou banda kya jawab de yaar,"
"Hahaha...acha theek hai. But aap ne khud meray kamray mein khat rakha?"
"Nai Manya ko diya tha, aur saath mein kaha tha ke aunty uncle ko bata de ke un ki beti kya gul khila rahi hai. Obviously yaar meine hi rakha tha,''
"Kuch pata hai ap ka. Do you even know what went through my mind when I saw those letters? Snail mail slow thi tou you took things in your own hand?" she laugh in the end in an effort to not sound too serious.
"Yep. But seriously Khanak I don't know you but I know you well enough to know ke you're not comfortable with writing these letters"
Today was a day of surprises for Khanak.
"Acha? How do you know?" Khanak teased, nay challenged him, with her eyes making Shaan love the feeling that she instilled within his chest.
"Mind mat karna Khanak, but tum ne hi kaha hai ke we should be honest. Tumhari tone aur tumharay letters ki tone bohat farq hoti hai."
Khanak knew this was coming, but she still had hoped he'd let it pass. But now that he had brought it up, she believed it was best to answer him truthfully.
"Hmmm...aur bilkul yahi cheez mein aap ke khat ke baray mein bhi tou keh sakti houn na," replied Khanak in a mellow voice.
"Zaroor keh sakti ho Khanak but thora sa difference tou change in language ki waja se bhi ho sakta hai. Somewhere I feel that's not the only reason..." Shaan trailed off, hoping Khanak would pick the cue on her own.
"The feeling is mutual Shaantanu. And if we both feel this way I think it might be because we're both being cautious."
"Jee. Cautious. For you I feel this whole experience is new. Aap pehli baar kisi larki se ek relationship bananay tou nai milay, right?"
"Haan I've met girls before but-"
"But is baar ye girl pehle se hi aap ki family se related hai?"
"And for me: mein pehli baar kisi larke se shaadi ke silsilay mein mil rahi houn, baat kar rahi houn. So we're practically in the same boat. Hum dono apnay future ke baray mein unsure hein and that's why I think we're protecting ourselves by not being all open with each other."
"But yeh weird nai hoga if we simply tell each other about ourselves youn hi."
"Haha..jee you're right. But I guess we'll have to make a start if, as your letter says, you're actually willing to give this a chance," laughed Khanak.
"Hmmm...I guess. But dekho Khanak, let's not get into this with any high expectations, okay?"
"Deal?" said Shaantanu offering his hand of a handshake.
Khanak took a few minutes before she smile her subtle smile and shook Shaan's hand.
Edited by ABlank90 - 25 June 2012 at 6:36am