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Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
Geet was able to spend one day quietly at her maika, but only one. Hoshiarpur was as efficient at spreading news as any town. Soon everyone knew that Daarji's granddaughter was back from her sasural for the traditional pag phere. Many of the girls from Geet's college, friends and non-friends alike, wanted to come meet her. It was well known by everyone that her fiance had eloped, resulting in Geet marrying the older brother. What was less well known were the important details of who this substitute bridegroom was, details that the girls intended to pry out of Geet.
Geet had hoped that her family would be apposed to visitors, given the awkward nature of the events surrounding her marriage. However, marriage to an old, wealthy family apparently made up for any irregularities. Geet's tayi thought it would be good for her to spend some time with the girls her age, and as Tayi ruled the female part of the household, Geet had no choice but to comply. Rupinder may also have been influenced by a desire to flaunt the new status of her niece, but she would never admit to such a feeling. After being given permission, the girls filed into Geet's room. It was quite a large group due to the summer break. They immediately began asking questions about her new home, wanting to know what the house was like, how many servants there were, and what the shops were like in the nearby capital. Geet didn't have any difficulty answering those questions. It was only when they started asking about her husband that she had problems.
They wanted to know things like what he did, what his likes and dislikes were, and Geet could answer those questions easily. She had no problem describing his preference for western food and dress, or his workaholic habits. The girls were suitably impressed, but unsatisfied. The majority of them wanted to know more intimate details. Geet's eyes about bulged out of her head when one of the girls playfully asked how the Suhaag Raat was. She blushed in painful embarrassment as the few girls who had attended the ceremony continued to tease her about how handsome her husband was and for her to tell where they would go for a honeymoon. They all thought that her embarrassment was due to shyness, and Geet hoped they would continue to think so. She really didn't know what she would do if anyone found out the truth of her marriage. How would she explain?
Geet was saved by Rajji, the daughter of her father's cousin. Rajji was one of the more mature young women, who seeing the panic in her cousin's eyes, interrupted the interrogation that was quickly bordering on tactless. She suggested that they all go shopping. Well, there was nothing this group of young women liked more than gossiping except shopping. They easily agreed, and Geet was spared from having to answer all their probing questions.
As the girls started exiting the room, Geet leaned over to Rajji and whispered, "Thanks," very quietly.
"Don't mention it, Didi," answered Rajji. She put one arm around Geet's waist and gave her a quick squeeze of support.
The group of girls made the trek downstairs and informed the elders of their plans. Savitri had come for a visit, while Sonali stayed at their friend's home. After meeting the group of girls on the way inside, and inquiring where they were going from Geet, Savitri suggested that Geet should use her car and take as many of her friends as would fit. Many of the girls jumped up and down in excitement at having the chance to ride in such a large and expensive vehicle. Geet made sure that Rajji had a seat beside her, as Rajji was the only girl who wanted to talk about things other than Geet's married life.
Savitri watched as the girls who could, piled into the car, while the rest went outside the haveli gates to look for other transportation. She felt very happy as she saw Geet smile at something one of the girls said. It was good that they had come back to Geet's maika for a few days. There weren't too many young people living near the Singh mansion, and being new, it would take some time for Geet to make friends. Savitri hoped that her bahu would have a good time shopping, while she had a chance to visit with the family. Savitri walked towards the main door and into the house, where a servant said she would inform the family, and for Savitri to please have a seat and a glass of chai while she waited.
Soon Rupinder and Rano came from the back of the house to greet her. "Satsriakal, Savitriji," said both women, with folded hands.
"Satsriakal," replied Savitri, standing up and repeating the guesture.
"Agar aap ko Geet se milna chate, voh bahar shopping chali gayi," Rupinder Handa stated with authority. (If you want to meet Geet, she went out shopping.)
"Hume pata hain. Hum use hamare gaadi mein bheje." (I know. I sent her in my car.)
Savitri saw the looks that passed between the two women and knew that they wondered what her reason for coming was. She quickly explained, "Actually, I just came for a little visit with the family. I hope it's not inconvenient."
Just at that moment, Rupinder was called away by one of the servants who needed help. With her sister-in-law gone, Rano turned to Savitri and said, "Savitriji, main aap se baat karna chati hoon. Please, mera kamra mein aaiye." (Savitri, I want to speak with you. Please, come to my room.)
The two women made their way up the stairs and to Rano's bedroom. Savitri sat down on the sofa and waited. Rano's behavior was very puzzling to Savitri. Her anxious glances and the way she closed and locked the door quickly, suggested that she did not want their conversation to be overheard. But what did her bahu's mother want to speak about, that she didn't want the rest of the family to be aware of? Savitri could not imagine, but she hoped it wasn't something serious. She waited patiently for Rano to speak, determined to stay calm, regardless of what the matter was.
"Savitriji," said Rano softly, not knowing where to start. Geet had mentioned that both the ladies were unaware of the entire truth, and she didn't want to be the one to upset them.
"Savitriji," she said again, "Geet told me that Damaadji is busy with work at the moment and that he is often away from home on business."
"Yes, this is true," replied Savitri, wondering if Rano wanted to complain about the odd pag phere situation.
Very hesitantly, Rano continued. "I was thinking that with Damaadji gone so often, that my Geet will not have very much to do at her sasural. I mean, she has told me that there are many servants who do all the work, so I thought that maybe..."
"Yes..." came the encouragement.
"I thought that you might consider letting her enroll in one of the nearby colleges, to complete her degree. We did talk about this before, and you said that you had no problem, so..."
"Of course I have no problem. I meant it when we talked earlier and nothing has changed since."
"Is that something you can arrange when you take her home?"
"Well, it's the summer break, so I imagine we can get her enrolled. Geet and I will talk more about it later."
"Thank you, Savitriji, thank you."
While Rano and Savitri discussed Geet, she was being dragged to a Chaatwala by Rajji. When they got to the shops, there was a fierce discussion among the girls about where they should go first. Many of the girls tried to convince Geet to spend away her rich husband's money in the dress and jewelry shops. Geet wasn't particularly interested in spending a lot of money, so she declined each of the ideas. Finally, Rajji had had enough of the silliness and stole Geet away while the other girls argued. She grabbed Geet's hand, looked both ways to avoid traffic, and then hurried them both to the other side of the street.
"Chalo, Didi, mujhe bahut bhook lagi hai." (Come on, Sis, I'm really hungry.)
"Rajji, tum hamesha bhook lagti ho. Hamesha hamesha chaat khaati." (Rajji, you're always hungry. Always eating chaat.)
"Didi, don't make fun of me. You know you love to eat gol gappe as much as I do. Here, eat this one," said Rajji as she held a nice, spicy gol gappa in front of Geet's mouth.
Geet smiled as she acknowledged the truth of Rajji's words, and opened her mouth. Rajji poped the gol gappa into Geet's mouth, and then got another for herself. The two girls ate their gol gappe and chatted about unimportant things. Rajji complained that with Geet gone, she would be sure to fail her math classes, because no one was as good at explaining as Geet. Geet promised to give Rajji the phone number of her new home, so she could call and ask questions if she wanted. This lead to Rajji wanting to know what the Singh residence was like, not the silly details the other girls were interested in, but the things that really mattered. Geet told as much as she was able to, without revealing the really situation between her and her husband. Though she didn't say anything, Rajji thought that it sounded like it would be kind of a lonely place to live. She couldn't picture her bubbly cousin being happy in a place like that.
Soon the other girls made up their minds about where to go and went to dragged Geet and Rajji along with them. They visited a clothing store first, checking out all the newest fashions. Geet's wedding caused some of the girls to dream about their own. Much time was spent trying clothes and imagining themselves as a bride. They even persuaded Geet to try on a few outfits, but she wouldn't agree to buy anything. She had plenty of clothes and had received even more for wedding gifts. She was adamant not to buy anything. Next they headed off to look at jewelry. This was even more uncomfortable for Geet, as the girls all knew that her new family could well afford the costly items, and they continually suggested that Geet should get one of the expensive necklaces or earrings. Geet again refused, but did allow herself to get a set of bangles, knowing that Dadi would be disappointed if she didn't get something. Geet was very fond of bangles, but the noise irritated Daarji. At home the women were usually not aloud to wear them, but now that she no longer lived their, Geet would have an opportunity to wear the delicate items.
After stopping at a dhabba for lunch, the group finally split up. Some of the girls had to be getting home. Some of the girls wanted to continue shopping, and some wanted to go for a movie. Geet would have preferred to go home also, but Rajji persuaded her to visit the new electronics store that had just opened a few months previous. Rajji was very keen to go there, as she had been promised by her father that he would buy her a computer if she did well enough in her studies. Every chance she got, she was checking out different computers, and this new store offered many possibilities. That meant that Geet spent about thirty minutes following Rajji around Suraj Computers.
After a while Rajji's interest turned from computers to other things. "Didi," said Rajji as she picked up a display mobile, "you should get your own phone. That way I could call you whenever I wanted."
Daarji didn't think it necessary for a young girl like Geet to have a phone, so when other girls her age started using them, she went without. Geet looked at Rajji blankly for a couple seconds, and then said, "Oh, I don't know. I'll have to talk to Dadima about that. I don't know if she'll agree."
"Dadima? Why would you talk to her? Isn't it Jeeju that you should be asking? After all, he is your husband. Anyway, why would you even need to ask? Everyone has cell phones nowadays. Just buy this one."
Geet looked around nervously before replying, "Well, I can't talk to him when he's so busy at work. It wouldn't be right to bother him for something like this. And I can't just go buy a cell phone. I mean, I don't know anything about them, and I think that families get phones together or something. I'll just talk to Dadima."
Rajji shrugged and put the phone back down. She continued to look around the store and Geet continued to follow her. The background noise of various electronic sounds and the news playing on one of the televisions didn't hinder their conversation until Geet's ears caught one word that held her attention. When she heard the reporter mention Rewari, she couldn't help but turn and listen. It wasn't that she expected to see her husband on TV, but it was the city where he was working, which alone was enough to grab her interest.
"Early this morning there was a large blast on a construction site here in Rewari. The site was the home of a new complex of government buildings, among them a building that would house new CID offices. It is unclear at this point what caused the blast, or where it was located. Authorities have given very little information about the situation, but we have heard that there were some injuries, but the number and severity is something that we've yet to find out. What we can tell you is that the firm in charge of the construction is Khurana Construction Industries, a Delhi based firm. The company is owned by Mr. Maan Singh Khurana, President and CEO of the company. We tried contacting Mr. Khurana, but were unsuccessful."
"A statement was put out by Mr. Aditya Ghosh, the company's Vice-President and CFO. It says: 'Khurana Constructions is fully cooperating with the local police and government authorities who are investigating this matter. To avoid rumors we ask that all inquiries be made to the Rewari Police.' Khurana Construction may want to avoid rumors, but that is difficult to do with a situation such as this. There are concerns that the incident may be terrorism related and that the National Investigation Agency will be investigating."
Geet had originally only been mildly curious, but as the reporter continued she became increasingly interested. When she heard that the construction firm involved was none other than her husbands, she put her hand over her mouth in shock. It worried her that he hadn't made any statement, and she wondered if that meant that he was one of the injured. The horrible possibility that something worse than injury occurred to her, making her go pale. She didn't want to even think of anything like that, but with such little information, it was difficult not to.
Geet's pale face had the ignorant Rajji exclaiming, "Didi, kya hua? Tumhari tabiyat theek nahi hai?" (Sis, what's wrong? Are you feeling bad?)
"Rajji, mujhe ghar jaana hai. Abi!" (Rajji, I need to go home. Now!)
Geet rushed out of the store, looking for the car and driver. All she could think of was to find out if Dadima and Nani knew what happened. She worried about how they would take it if the news turned out to be bad. She knew that Dadima had health problems, and was afraid of how the situation would affect her. Rajji followed along, trying to get Geet to say what was wrong, but Geet couldn't respond. All she could think of was to get home immediately. It wasn't long before the found the car and were on the way home.
When they arrived, Geet rushed inside, calling for Savitri. Rupinder chided Geet for behaving in such an indecent way. Geet ignored her and ran around the house continuing to call for Savitri. She soon found her just finishing a conversation on her phone. She looked at Geet in concern, noticing the pale cheeks and rapid breathing. Geet tried to speak, but found it very difficult. She didn't know where to begin.
"Dadima...Dadima, Maan...Maine suna..."
"Geet beti, calm down. Every thing's alright. I just spoke with Maan and he told me about the situation, but there's no need to worry. He's perfectly fine."
Geet breathed a sigh of relief. Relief that her husband of only two weeks was unhurt, and also relief for Dadima and Nani. Now they would not be troubled by the injury or death of their grandson. Geet asked Savitri what exactly had happened, but she could give little more information than what had already been disclosed by the news. After speaking together for a few minutes, Geet expressed her desire to return to her sasural. She gave the excuse that it didn't feel right to be relaxing in her maika when her husband was having difficulties. In reality, she felt that in the given situation, it would be better for her dadisa and nanisa to be at home. She knew that in spite of Maan being fine, they would still worry for him. At home they would feel more comfortable, and that would help if the situation became more precarious.
Soon, Geet was bidding a quick goodbye to her family, taking the blessing of each of the elders. She didn't want to leave her mother, and almost changed her mind as they hugged like they would never meet again. But then Geet remembered that she was no longer just a daughter, but a bahu now. It was her responsibility to look after her new family, even if it meant leaving her ancestral home. She pulled back reluctantly, wetness running down her face. Her mother wiped her tears and smiled, reminding her that they could speak on the phone, and visit each other when the chance arose. Geet nodded her agreement before sliding into the car through the door held by the driver. With the door shut, and driver behind the wheel, they were off to pick up Sonali. It wasn't until they stopped in front a someplace unexpected, that Geet found out differently.
"Dadima, where is this?"
"Geet, this is Government College. You should recognize it."
"Yes, I know, but I mean, what are we doing here? We should be picking up Nani."
Savitri looked Geet straight in the eye and said, "We are here to get a copy of your records and test results."
When Geet appeared shocked, Savitri asked, "Geet, why was your mother speaking to me about you continuing your education? It should have been you who brought the subject up with me, not her."
Geet closed her open mouth and looked down, embarrassingly playing with her duppata. "Woh...uh...Maine...maine socha tha ki...ki..." (Well...uh...I...I thought that...that...)
"Aap ne socha tha kya? Ki hum dadi nahin, dragon hain? Aap bas hume itne samajh paye?" (You thought what? That I wasn't a grandma but a dragon? You only understood me this much?)
Geet bent her head a little and murmured softly, "Sorry, Dadima."
Savitri lifted Geet's head and responded sternly, "What sorry?" Then she smiled and said, "Geet, I realize that everything has been very strange for you and that you are still adjusting. I just want you to know that you never need to be afraid to speak with me about anything. In fact, I will feel very bad if you do. I'm not a mean saas, like the ones they show on television, so please don't treat me like one. "
"I won't, Dadima," said Geet, leaning over to give Savitri a hug. The two then exited the car and entered the college. In no time they had all the required records and were on their way to get Sonali.
By the time that Geet was once again leaving Hoshiarpur, she felt much better than the first time. Now she knew the place where she was going and the people who lived there. She could also look forward to a resuming of her studies, which gave her great pleasure. The only blot on her happy thoughts was the knowledge that while she was happy, Maan was dealing with a crisis. He may have hurt her with he decision regarding their marriage, but that didn't mean that she wished him ill. She sent a silent plea to Babaji to look after her difficult husband.
There isn't any Suraj Computers in Hoshiarpur that I could find, but I bet there are lots of them around India, as it is a fairly generic name. I just needed a shop that would have a tv playing for Geet to see the news, so I made it up.
For those who may not be aware, here is some brief information on pag phere. It's the last one. Yeah, very bad Maan. He should have gone with them, not left everything up to Dadima. Because of him Geet's pag phere turned into more of a regular visit, instead of a marriage ritual.
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