Posted: 10 June 2012 at 1:38am
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"Why hasn't he even read my email? Why? I know he would be very busy, but it's been more than a week. I don't understand. When I was working on the Chopra project, he talked to me all the time, wanting to know how things were going. Now he doesn't even care to find out what my plans are for the launch party. It just doesn't make sense. Maybe I should talk to Dadima."
Geet didn't feel like discussing her concerns with Savitri over the phone, so she had to wait until she arrived home from work that night. While the two had dinner together, Geet told the older woman her problems, especially her concern that she had not received Maan's input about her ideas for the launch party. She was well aware that this party was very important, as it would represent the official start of KC's partnership with Chopra Industries. Upon Savitri's insistence, Geet explained what her plans were for the party, ideas that were met with great much admiration.
"Do you really think that my idea is a good one, Dadima?"
"Of course, Geet. It's perfect. It's such a unique idea, and I don't think that any launch party hosted by KC has ever had this kind of theme before."
"But what about Maan, Dadima?"
"Oh, I wouldn't worry too much about him, Beti."
"Dadima, do you know, I just don't understand him. He hasn't responded to my email. He won't take my calls. When I call the hotel, they alway ask to take a message, but he never gets back to me. I don't know what else to do. Maybe if you talk to him for me..."
Savitri laughed at Geet's ernest entreaty, saying with wry tones, "You seem to be under an impression that I have the power to make my stubborn grandson do anything. The reality is far different. Maan hardly ever does anything I ask without being willing to do so, and those few times when he does, I usually have to blackmail him with my health. If I phone him and tell him to talk to you, he is only likely to be more stubborn in his silence."
"But then, what can I do, Dadima?" came the plea.
"Geet, your plans are wonderful. I think you should go ahead with everything. maan is scheduled to come back the day before the party. You can discuss things with him then."
"Alright, Dadima, I'll do as you say. But I'm still worried. Maan must be really angry with me for something, but I don't know what or why he won't talk to me."
Savitri contemplated Geet's words for a moment, before saying, "Yes, it's possible that he is angry with you," causing Geet to lower her head sadly. "But I think that is unlikely."
When Geet looked at Savitri in confusion, she explained, "You call him 'dusht danaav' for a reason. When has he ever been angry with you and not yelled at you straight out?"
"Never," Geet replied, not even having to think about the answer.
"I couldn't say what is going through Maan's head right now, or why he won't answer you, but I don't think it is because he is mad at you. I don't know if this will help you understand Maan any more, but I want you to come with me. I have something to show you."
Geet followed Savitri out of the dining room and up the stairs to a hall where she had never been before. The hall was long and wide, with several pictures decorating it's walls. Geet could see a picture of a younger Savitri, with a handsome middle-aged man and a young man who looked a lot like Maan dressed in graduation robes. There was another picture of that same man in wedding attire, next to a young woman who could only have been Maan's mother, with another photo close by where the woman was smiling, holding a small infant.
"Maan has always lived under the burden of great responsibility," commented Savitri sadly, while Geet continued to look at the various family portraits. "Ranjeet and I tried our best to give the children a normal childhood. I changed from Dadi to Dadima when my bahu died after giving birth to Dev, and we had Padma to help take care of their needs when they were younger, but when Suresh passed away only months after Maan's twelfth birthday, that was a huge blow to our family. I'm afraid that Maan didn't take it very well, and when my husband had his first stroke six years later, Maan had already left his childhood long behind. I'm not trying to make excuses for my grandson, Geet, after all, he is an adult now. But maybe you can understand that things haven't been that easy for him, and find it in yourself to not think so harshly of him."
"Who is this little girl?" asked Geet, when she saw a small photo of a teenage Maan holding a small child on his lap as she ate ice cream.
"That's my granddaughter, Anvesha."
"I didn't know you had a granddaughter, Dadima. How come I've never met her?"
"Avensha goes to St. John's International Residential School. It's a boarding school in Chennai."
"Chennai is awfully far away for school," commented Geet, puzzlement clear on her face.
"She just started her first semester of 12th there in June and before that she was visiting a friend's home in Mumbai. That's why you've never met." Savitri paused for a moment and then looked at Geet with a little apprehension. "Geet, you are a good girl, and I know you would never think badly of Annie, but what I'm going to tell you may shock you. Annie is my son Suresh's youngest child by an unknown woman. While he was away one of his business trips, he had an affair with this lady, and when Annie was born, the woman contacted him and gave him their daughter before disappearing. It wasn't long after that, that he suffered liver and kidney failure. Annie wasn't even a year old when she lost both her parents, and Maan felt it was his duty to take the place of her father, even though he still needed a father himself. Anyway, considering her parentage, it was difficult for Annie when she was younger, so we eventually decided to send her away to school. It was actually Annie herself who chose St. John's, otherwise she might have been closer to home. Maan wanted to send her to a school in Chandigarh, but Annie proved herself a true Khurana with her stubborn insistence on making her own choice."
Geet took in all this explanation silently as she continued to look over the pictures. When she came across a picture that had Maan, Dev, an older Annie and an unfamiliar young man, Geet questioned Savitri cheekily if she had another grandson hiding somewhere. Savitri moved to stand next to Geet, putting her hand out to lightly stroke her fingers across the young man's face, a certain sorrow evident in her eyes.
"No, I don't have another grandson hiding somewhere, though Vicky has ben as close to me as Maan and Dev from the time he was a small child. Vicky is Padma's son, only two years younger than Dev, and he's been part of this family from the time we hired Padma as the children's caregiver. He worshiped Maan when he was a toddler, always wanting to run after his 'Maan bhai' and do everything just as Maan did."
"Why do you sound so sad, Dadima? What happened to him?"
"Vicky has been missing for almost six months now, I think. Maan tried everything he could to find the boy, involving the police, even leaving himself to go search. That was actually the reason that he was in Hoshiarpur, because he thought he might find some clue about Vicky's whereabouts there. It's so frustrating not to know what happened, or if our Vicky is alright. His mother and sister don't even seem to worry about where he might me or if he is even...I can't say it, it's too distressing. I just hope that one day he will come back home to us."
After telling her about Vicky, Savitri pleaded fatigue and went to bed, but Geet knew she was just upset about the missing young man. Looking at the unfamiliar face, Geet wished that there was something she could do. It wasn't until almost an hour later that Geet remembered Raminder Sahni. When she had called to tell him that she didn't no longer needed his help to find Channi, he wouldn't even dream of hearing an apology for wasting his time. All he wanted was that she should tell him everything that happened, and then made her promise that she would come to him if she ever needed help in the future.
Thinking that it might be possible that Raminder Uncle would be able to find Vicky, or at least find out something about what happened to him, Geet decided to give him a call. She felt it was the least she could do to help take away that look of sorry from Savitri's face, after all the older lady had done for Geet. Unfortunately, when she called, Geet found out from the assistant that Raminder Uncle was out of town, busy with a case. The young woman had to be content with extracting a promise from the assistant that he would have his boss call her back as soon as he possibly could.
Sorry for the long wait. I actually had a bit of writer's block because I decided to change the timing of how I wanted to reveal some information and when, which meant I had to rethink the story plot a bit. The most obvious bits of information were Geet getting to know about Vicky and Annie. But hey, look right below this, and you will see another update to make up for the long wait.
Edited by laxmi2010 - 10 June 2012 at 1:55am
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