Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 14 October 2006
Joined: 14 October 2006
Two weeks later
After Maan had left for work, Sameera called Geet up that morning to inform her that she was shifting out of the chawl. Geet was shocked by this sudden development and insisted that she comes to see her off although Sameera tried to prevent her from do so, keeping in mind her condition. Geet had then slowly ambled her way to the nearby chawl. Sameera's things were already loaded in a truck and Manju, Venkat and Adhi were standing with Sameera. Seeing Geet, they rushed to her and asked her how she was feeling. Assuring them that she was OK, she tried to find out why Sameera was leaving the chawl all of a sudden. Adhi said that they can discuss all this at his house and invited her over. The rest of them followed her.
Geet first went to see Pinky and Bhavya. Pinky had just fed Bhavya and was burping her. Geet was excited to see her two and a half month old niece and asked Pinky to give her the baby. Seating herself comfortably on a chair, she received Bhavya in her arms and holding her against her burgeoning tummy she cooed to her. Bhavya looked at her curiously with large black eyes and gave her a toothless grin, prompting Geet to smile back at her. After playing with her for a few minutes, she laid her in the waiting arms of Adhi. She looked around at her family and friends and repeated the question. Manju then told her that Mrs.Shukla was behind Sameera's eviction from the chawl, citing Sameera's late night returns as the reason. Geet failed to understand what that woman had against people close to her. She then asked Sameera where she was moving. Sameera informed her that she was going stay as a paying guest in her boss's residence without elaborating who her boss was. Geet nodded her head distractedly, for her mind was still on Mrs.Shukla and her vindictiveness. Pinky had in the meantime brought in orange juice for Geet and tea for the rest of them. Thanking her, Geet quickly sipped the juice and took leave of them, saying that she had some unfinished business.
She hurried to Mrs.Shukla's residence and rang her bell. Mrs.Shukla was surprised to find a very pregnant Geet at her doorstep. She invited her in but Geet was in no mood for small talk. She came directly to the point.
"Mrs.Shukla. Just what is your problem with me?"
"Problem with you? Why should I have a problem with you?"
"You are always creating problems for people who are close to me. First you carried tales about my husband and now you have been instrumental in getting my friend out of the chawl. Who are you going to target next?"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute. I will not stand by and let you hurl all types of accusations at me. First of all, as far as your friend is concerned I have nothing against her personally but people here were unhappy with her returning home late every night."
"Why should they care? It is her life. She will lead it as she chooses to do. "
"Yes, it is her life and she is free to do whatever she wants with it but not as long as she lives in this chawl. Here we abide by certain rules, certain discipline and she has violated those."
Geet realised that there was no point arguing with her. So she turned to leave but Mrs.Shukla stopped her.
"Wait, I am not finished yet. As far as your husband is concerned, that man is responsible for my daughter's death. How can I forget or forgive that so easily?"
Geet was shocked hearing this, "I never thought you can get any lower than you already have, Mrs.Shukla. But you proved me wrong just now. What other lies are you going to utter?" she asked angrily, her eyes flaming up.
"I am uttering no lie. It is your husband who has been hiding the ugly truth from you. If you don't believe me, come with me." She dragged a reluctant Geet into one of the rooms inside. There was a huge picture of a young girl's photograph on one of the walls. The girl had a remarkable resemblance to Mrs.Shukla. Geet looked at the photograph and then at Mrs.Shukla in turn.
"Yes, that is my daughter. That is my angel whose life your husband had sniffed off."
"Stop it, Mrs.Shukla," yelled Geet. By now she was besides herself with anger. "Stop making empty allegations without any proof."
"You want proof? Here is the proof," she said and thrust a diary into her hands. "Read it, read my daughter's sad tale. Go, go home and read it in peace. You will understand the pain of a mother. You will then know why this Veena hates that Maan so much."
Geet slowly staggered out of her house with the diary, too shocked to say anything.
Returning home, she sat with the diary and read it through. From the diary entries she came to know that Ramola Shukla, Mrs.Shukla's daughter had an obsessive crush on Maan. She was his classmate in college and followed him everywhere. Maan seemed unaware of the girl's crush on him as she never worked up the coverage to tell it to him. Finally the day she decided to bear her heart to him she overheard him confess his love to some other girl. Heartbroken, Ramola took her own life by drinking poison. She was barely nineteen years old when she died. For some strange reason Mrs.Shukla seemed to blame Maan for her death. Ramola did not name the girl he was in love with in the diary. That would explain why Mrs.Shukla did not appear to hold a grudge against Sameera although she seemed not to like Sameera's gutsy personality. However, she hated Maan with all her heart but could not do anything to him as he was very popular in the chawl. She did not give up though and tried to put him down on every occasion she got and deprive him of happiness that she felt he did not deserve.
Geet went back to the chawl that evening to return the diary back to Mrs.Shukla. She made no bones about what she thought of the woman.
"Mrs.Shukla, I think you need psychiatric help. The sooner you get it the better for all of us." With that she just turned around and left without waiting for Mrs.Shukla's response.
That night Maan returned home with a dejected look on his face. Geet who was going to tell him about Sameera leaving the chawl, noticed his troubled expression and decided to speak to him later when he was calmer. She asked him whether something was troubling him. Maan tried to shrug it off saying that everything was alright but Geet knew that something was wrong. She did not want to press on in front of Baba but later when they were alone in their room, she tried again to find out the source of her husband's unhappiness. After a lot of prodding he finally told her that he did not get the lease for the Alibaug hotel. Geet knew he had high hopes of acquiring that hotel and had worked out a strategy for its revival. With the expansion of his family he was looking forward to expanding his business too. She asked him who had acquired the lease. He said that Arjun had got it, although he did not know for how much as it was a secret tender and not an open tender. Hearing Arjun's name, Geet wondered whether all this was part of Yash's plan but she was confused because Yash had assured her that he will not hurt Maan's interests in any way. Then how come he has deprived him of his contract? At first she thought of telling Maan about Anwesha's and Yash's plan to bring down Arjun but later decided to check with Yash as to what really happened before revealing anything to Maan. Moreover, Maan was as it is feeling very low. She did not want him to be more emotionally stressed at this juncture.
She tried cheering him up by giving him a bottle of Franch oil and asking him to rub it on her burgeoning stomach. She said that her mother had told her the oil will help reduce stretch marks. Maan's face immediately brightened at the prospect of feeling up his babies. He took the bottle from her hands and lifting her nighty above her stomach, he gently rubbed the oil over it. Geet closed her eyes and gave a contented moan. Suddenly she felt one of the babies kick her on the right side. She opened her eyes in a flash and asked Maan if he felt anything. Maan who was busy rubbing her left side when she had felt it did not know what she was talking about.
"Felt what?" asked Maan in confusion.
"Felt the baby kick."
"The baby kicked?" asked Maan in excitement and knelt in front of her stomach, staring at it intently.
Geet felt it again, this time on the left side. She quickly took his hand and placed it on the place where she had felt it. But the movement stopped. Maan was disappointed that he could not feel anything.
Cupping his palms on her stomach, he called out to his kids,"Hey, Petal, Ice and Ribby. Where are you guys hiding?"
"Petal, Ice and Ribby?" she asked him with a puzzled expression on her face..
"Yeah, Petal, Ice Cube and Ribbon, my three adorable babies named after the manner in which they were conceived. You remember how they were conceived, don't you?"
Geet went red recollecting the sensuous nights which brought them into existence.
"You are going to give them these absurd names?" she asked incredulously.
"Well, they will be my nicknames for them. Actually I thought of Feather and Breath too, if there were two more in there," he said pointing at her tummy.
Geet punched his chest and laughed.
"Ouch," shouted Maan pretending to be hurt. He got up, and holding her shoulders, he pushed her gently back on the bed. He then lay beside her and put his arm around her tummy hopeful of catching some movement of his kids. As they continued to chat about the babies, Maan felt the kick this time.
He promptly got up and shouted excitedly, "Geet I felt it this time, I felt one of them kick."
Geet smiled at him indulgently. He bent down and kissed her stomach but soon jerked his head back, his face twisted in a grimace.
"Yuck", he said and rubbing his lips vigorously, he rushed to wash off the oil from them. Geet burst out laughing at him, inviting a mock stare of anger from him.
After he got back to bed, she told him about Sameera leaving the chawl. Maan was shocked to hear the news.
"Why did she not tell me anything?" he asked her, annoyed with his childhood friend for not confiding in him.
"She said something about not wanting to trouble us when we ourselves had our hands full preparing for the babies' arrival."
"So now she feels she can handle everything on her own? Where has she moved into?" He was still fuming.
"Maan calm down. She is fine. She said she was moving in as a paying guest at her boss's residence."
"Boss? A man or a woman?" he asked sceptically.
"I don't know. I guess a man." Only then it hit Geet that Sameera has moved in with a man.
at her worried expression, Maan hastened to calm her, not wanting her to
"Don't worry. Sameera is fire. She will not let any man take advantage of her. Anyway why did she not come here instead?"
"Beats me. I should have paid more attention to what she was telling me instead of getting worked up about other things."
"What other things?" asked Maan her curiously.
mind about it." Geet tried to shrug it off and said she was feeling
sleepy. Maan kissed her goodnight and closed his eyes but both of them were
unable to sleep for a long time as they worried over Sameera's well-being
in her boss's house.
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