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Geet was back at BG. Romeo had somehow managed in her absence but the place was a mess. She cleaned up and went to the kitchen. Word had spread in KC that Geet was back and everyone tried calling her or grabbing a good table for lunch. She was so busy that she had worked through without one single break. She didn't have any proper meal for some time now as she was more occupied with other things and felt a little light headed. Maan had done most of his work for the day when he headed to the archive to get a file. He shook his head, still no secretary. And Tasha was not at her desk. He was stepping into the room when he heard a conversation. It wasn't very loud but clear enough for him to hear. Without wasting much time he fished out his phone and pressed the record button. When the person had finished he returned to his desk, locking the door behind him and replayed the conversation.
Maan was deep in thought. He called Adi and had a serious discussion with him. Adi was not really surprised at the conversation he had heard. He told Maan about how even at previous occasions this person had done things similar but since he had no proof he never mentioned it. They decided on a few things and Adi made way to Pinky to give her some work. Maan called Geet as felt like hearing her voice but no one picked up. He quickly rushed up and saw Geet going into her room. He followed her and was just in time as Geet had fainted and was falling.
"GEET." He made her sit on her chair and got some water for her. She woke up and saw Maan kneeling down.
"Geet, what is wrong? Why did you faint?"
"Kuch nahin hua sir, bas thora sa chakkar agaya." She tried getting up but she felt weak and dropped back.
"Did you have anything to eat lately?" But he knew the answer. She shook her head. He went into the kitchen and saw how much work she had done since morning. This was her first day after returning from Ahmadabad and it looked as if she had never left. He looked into various dishes and located some curry with rice.
"Geet, muh kholo." He fed Geet who was looking tiered and pale now. She finished and said:
"Aap jaye yaha se, mein thora araam kar ke apna kaam karungi." She got up and wanted to shove Maan out.
"Accha?" He sat on his favourite rocking chair (he had missed it so badly!) and put Geet on his lap. The rocking motion calmed both their hearts down.
"Geet, tum mujse baat kyun nahin karti?"
"Maine kab baat nahin ki?" She asked putting her head against his shoulder.
"Tum phir itni chup chup kyun rehti ho?"
"Mamma" was all she said. For days now she had missed her. When she had told Maan all about Rahul she also remembered how her mother has promised her that she would join her. It has been years now and there was no news of her. She was worried sick.
"Main Mumbai jaake dekh thi hu. Shayad mamma waha ho aur mujhe dhoond rahi ho?"
"Tum kahin nahin jaogi Geet." Maan held Geet firmly in his embrace.
"Kyun nahin? Agar Mamma Mumbai mein hui to mujse miligi kaise?"
"Mamma Mumbai mein nahin hai. I looked for her that is how I know." Geet put her hand around Maan's neck. She started to shiver slightly. She was scared.
"Aap ko aap ki mamma ki yaad aati hain?" Maan nodded.
Annie, Dev and Vicky were sitting round a table with Ferri.
"I have following information for you guys. It is not pleasant let me warn you." They read the document.
"I am not going to believe this" Dev stated.
"I don't know. There is no proof is there?" Vicky asked.
"If this is not true then what is?" Annie managed to say.
It probably is best if you all confront your mother about this. She is the one who can tell you if it all is true or just a lie." Ferri sneezed again. She had been doing it since she returned from KC.
"Are you alright?" Vicky asked concerned.
"Dust allergy." Ferri said annoyed.
Sonia was walking up and down the room. Her mother silently watched her daughter. All these years, she had entrusted Sonia with the wellbeing of her second daughter and now this. "Maa, she is well settled in Australia. You know how family life is. She might not have time to write." Sonia would say every time.
But it was her fault not Sonia's. She should have taken more care. 'Babaji, uska khayaal rakhna.'
Maan talked to the doctor.
"She is fine Mr Khurana. I think she will feel better if she meets her family member again, you know the one she keeps talking about." Maan sighed. He should have taken more care.
"Any chance this might happen again?"
"I looks to me that she is losing will to live. No food, drink or sleep. As long as you give her what she is asking for she should be ok. And keep a close eye on her. There is a chance that due to weakness she might faint again and hit the floor harder."
Maan nodded and thanked the doctor. He walked to room 420 and looked at her lovingly. He had to do something and that, too, very soon. It is the time now."
He arranged for the discharge and carried her to his car. She had lost weight and her skin looked paler than ever.
"Don't worry. I am taking you to the person you want to meet. Just give me half an hour." He told the driver to go to the apartment. On his way there he made a second call. By any luck his lady love will soon be the happiest person on earth.
Geet had been called to her apartment. She had rushed there only to find it empty.
"Yeh Maan sir bhi na, humesha mujhe pareshaan karte hain. Saara kaam chorkar yaha dauri chali aai aur yeh hai keh. Babaji aap hi inka kuch kijie." She got up from her bed when she heard the main door open.
She ran out only to see….
"MAMMA" Geet ran to Rano. Rano looked at Geet and for the first time in years she smiled again.
"Mamma aap kaisi hai? Aap apna koi khayaal nahin rakh ti na. Dekhye..." But Geet broke off as she became aware of her mother's state. Maan helped Rano to Geet's room and made her lay down.
"Geet, apni mamma ke liye kuch khaane ko bano. Unko kab se bhook lagi hain." Maan didn't have to tell Geet twice as she rushed into the kitchen and made her mother's favourite. Tears were still rolling down her face. She took the plate and glass and went back to her room. Maan was sitting on the other side of Rano, holding one of her hands.
"Mamma dekho. Aloo ka paratha. Aur Lassi bhi hai." Geet fed Rano and she silently ate from her daughters hands. At a point Rano stopped Geet's hand and directed it towards Maan.
"Beta, tumhe bhi bhook lagi hain, haina?" Maan nodded. They ate and Rano went to sleep as she was still weak.
Maan had to gently force Geet away from her mother. He led her to the living room and they cuddled up on the couch.
"Maan sir, meri mamma ko kya hua? Why is she like this?"
"She was not treated well. I located her some days ago but she was not in a state for you to see. I wanted her to take rest and get normal but it just became worse. Hence I decided to let you two meet." He left out the hospital part.
"Where did you find her?" Maan hesitated.
"At your home in Hoshiarpur." Geet wept.
"What did they do to her? It's all because of me, haina?"
"Sshhh. Don't say that. She is your mother. You will just pain her by saying things like this."
"What did they do to her?" Maan kept silent. Some of her wounds had healed but some were still visible. Maan told Geet about them. There was no point of hiding it. Sooner or later she will come to know. If she knows now it will only give her more strength to take care of her mamma tomorrow.
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Samira had arranged for her big entry. She had been in contact with Sasha to get latest news about Maan. For years he was just as she wanted him, alone, sad and angry. But then this girl, Geet, came along and started ruining everything. She wanted Maan to be forced to come back to her. She had made sure that Sasha would keep all potential girls away and she had done her part well. Of course it was rather because Sasha had her interest in Maan but Samira knew that he wouldn't look at her twice. She now had to deal with Geet who seem to be harder to remove. She had waited all these years and now she wouldn't let anyone ruin her chance of coming back into Maan's life, by hook or by crook. Just a little bit longer.
Sonia and Nani were heading towards Khurana mansion. Annie, Vicky and Dev had reached there already. Dadi couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Dev and Naintara and then Nisha. It was the first time she had met with her great grand daughter. Annie had gone to the outhouse. She found it looked and asked the gardener about the keys. He told her that they were with Maan. At that moment she saw her mother coming there.
"Mom, no point. Maan bhai has locked the outhouse." Sonia stopped.
"Why did he do that? It used to be his favourite spot."
"Maybe because you left from here Sonia." Dadi was standing there.
"Mummyji." Sonia came closer and bent her head in shame.
"Please mujhe maaf kardijie. I didn't want all this to happen."
"I know beta. I know. Your papaji and I understood your plight." They shed tears of remembrance. Annie came up to them.
"Dekhye mummyji. Aap ki laadli Anvesha kitni badi hogai hain."
"Dadi?" Annie jumped onto Dadi. Dadi had always been her personal teddy bear. Sweet, cuddly and just there to love.
"Mummyji, Maan kaha hain?"
"Office mein hoga. Tum chalo mere saat." Dadi took Annie and Sonia by her hand and took them to the main Mansion. Memories flooded Annie and especially Sonia's mind. Every corner of the house would speak to her; tell her stories of her children and husband. Life had been different and she had often craved to be here, if for no one then for the sake of her sons, especially Maan.
Maan didn't go back to office. Geet had spent most parts after her mother's arrival with crying while Rano had slept peacefully. Geet lay down next to Rano and held her hand soothingly. Maan watched them. He wanted both mother and daughter to spend some time together but the way things were looking he might be needed. He texted Adi with further instructions regarding work and lay down on the couch. He thought about Geet's mother and his own mother and then at the words Geet had said:
"My mom sent me away because staying with her would have caused me harm. Maybe she went away because staying with you would have caused you harm?"
"MAAN SIR" Maan rushed to Geet as he heard her yell. Rano had contorted her face in pain. Maan removed some medication and made Rano gulp them down. He took Geet away again but just so that they were outside the room.
"Geet, I think you two should come to the mansion with me. I'll arrange for your mother to stay with you. I can't leave her here." Geet nodded; for her mother, anything.
Maan called home.
"Nakul meri baat dhyaan se suno. Geet ke room ki safai karwado aur mom ki recipe ki chicken soup bhi banado. Dono kaam aadhe ghante mein hojane chahiye. Mein ghar aaraha hu." He cut the call.
"Meri mama ka samaan kaha hain?"
"Unka koi samaan nahin hain. Fikar mat karo, mere ghar mein meri maa ke kapde parre honge. Unke jaane ke baad humne kabhi unhe haat nahin lagaae."
Sonia put down the phone. For a second she had thought it was Rajeev talking. But it was Maan. Her Maan. She told Nakul to get Geet's room clean and inquired about who she was.
"She is Maan sir's girlfriend." Sonia smiled. She set to make her chicken soup. Maan always demanded to drink it when he was ill. It was the only thing that gave him strength he had said.
Dev and Naintara were in their room back at the mansion. It had been years now but they were happy to finally be home. Nisha was playing with Vicky and Annie in her room. The little girl showed them her teddy which was her constant companion and made big eyes at Annie's huge collection. Vicky made her sit on his stomach while he chatted with his sister about Ferri.
Nani and Dadi talked. Both women had a lot to tell and ask. Being the oldest in the family both felt a guilty somehow for having let so much happen to their children.
Maan reached home. He carried Rano to Geet's room and made her sit comfortably. The car ride had woken her up but she looked much better now. Maan yelled for Nakul and asked him to bring the soup. Nakul didn't come and Geet went to the kitchen to check. Sonia was putting the soup into a bowl when Geet came in.
Both looked at each other.
"Tum kaun ho beta?" She asked. Geet looked closer. She had seen her somewhere. Then she remembered.
"Aap Maan sir ki mamma haina?" Geet jumped in excitement.
"Maan sir?" Geet nodded.
"Haan, main hi Maan ki Maa hu, lekin tum kaun ho."
"Main Geet, unki…" Geet felt conscious calling herself girlfriend hence said:
"Main unke office mein Bistro chalati hu." Sonia smiled at her.
"Maan aagaya kya?"
"Haan, unho ne soup mangwaya hai. Lekin aap acchanak wapas kaise aagayi, wo bhi itne saal baad?"
"Tum ek kaam karo, Maan ko yeh soup do aur chakne ko bolo. Lekin kehna mat ke main ghar mein hu, theek hai?" Geet agreed. It seemed to her that Diwali, New Year, and her Birthday were all on the same day. She had not only found her mamma but Maan sir's mother was back, too.
"Sir, yeh soup khaa ke dekhye" Geet said holding the soup under his nose. Maan took the bowl and started to feed Rano. Geet pouted.
"Maine kaha ke aap khaa ke dekhye na"
"Geet, yeh soup maine khaas tumhari mamma ke liye banwaya hai. Mujhe nahin khaana." But Rano held his hand and made him taste it.
"Apni mamma ke liye itna nahin karoge" she asked Maan which made him melt.
He tasted it and stopped.
"MAA" Maan yelled from his bed.
"Maan main aarahi hu?"
Sonia sat next to Maan on his bed and fed him the soup.
"Ek baat bolo beta, jab bhi tum bimaar hote ho, chahe jo bhi ho, tum mujse yeh chicken soup kyun banwate ho, yeh to itni tasty bhi nahin hain"
"Bimari ke saath kamsori bhi aati hain yeh baat aap hi ne sikhai thi. Aap ki haat ka bana chicken soup mujhe bohut takat deta hain" Maan showed his mother his none existent muscles. Sonia giggled at the cuteness of his son.
"Aur agar yeh soup koi aur banae to?"
"Phir koi kaam ka nahin. Aap hi ke haat ka bana mujhe accha lagta hain."
"Tumhe kaise pata ke yeh maine hi banaya hai?"
"Main aap ke haat ka bana 100 alag soup mein pehchaan sakta hu. Pakka promise."
Geet tapped him on his shoulder.
"Kitchen mein aur hai agar khaana ho to, yeh mamma ka hain." She took to bowl from his hand and finished feeding her mother. Maan got up and walked out.
"No, this can't be. I can never be mistaken. I made a pakka promise to her that I will recognise her handmade chicken soup." He talked like a small child on his way to the kitchen.
"You are not mistaken Maan." Sonia stood in front of Maan. He looked at her in disbelieve. He slowly came closer and felt her cheek, and then her hair and he took her hands in his. She caressed his face. He felt a strong urge to hug her but fought it strangely.
"Maa" Sonia nodded. Tears were forming in her eyes. She came closer but Maan backed off. Sonia was shocked and so was Geet who had been watching. 'Hey Babaji, Maan sir kya karrahe hain? Itne dino ke baad apni Maa se mile hain aur gale bhi nahi lagaya?' Maan let Sonia's hand go and ran to his room. Geet rushed to Sonia, whose legs were giving away.
"Mummyji, don't worry. Maan sir is like this sometimes. I think he still can't believe you are here so he is not accepting it." Geet knew this was a lie but it might just work.
"It is entirely my fault in the first place. I left him all alone and never turned around. And now I suddenly turn up in front of him. Anyone would behave like this." Geet tried to console her.
"I'll talk to him. Do you know any instant remedy for his sad mood?" Sonia knew only one thing, but she needed some time. She told Geet.
Geet went in search for Maan, he was not in his room. She came down and Nakul told her he saw him heading to the gym. Maan was doing some exercise or rather failing to do them. He had broken some equipment and his hand was bleeding badly.
"Babaji" Geet yelled. She pulled him out of there back to her room where she had a first aid kit. Rano looked up and was shocked at the sight of his hand.
"Dekho mamma kya kya karte hain. Kis chees ka gussa kis pe utarte hain." Geet complained, crying to her mother while she tended to his hand.
"Kya hua beta?"
Geet told Rano the short version of Sonia's story. Rano listened and asked Geet to go out as she wanted a word with Maan alone. Geet gave both a look and left.
"Come, sit here beta." Maan sat next to her.
"Are you angry on her?" Maan shook his head.
"Are you happy?" Maan nodded slowly.
"Yet there is something that is bothering you. Is it the fear that she will leave you again?" Maan looked up as Rano had hit the needle on the head.
"She left you; there might be a reason behind that. But she came back didn't she? Go and talk to her. I am sure she missed you just as much as you missed her." Maan kissed Rano's hands as a silent thank you and left. He wondered where he would find her and headed to the outhouse.
The doors were wide open as if they were giving him an invitation to enter. He hesitated and went in. He had been here for Geet, but only when necessary and only for a short time. Now he closely looked around. He took the stairs to the room upstairs and heard a familiar sound. He saw his mother, wearing the same sari she had worn the day she had left. She was sitting in exactly the same position on the rocking chair waiting for him. She indicated him to come closer just as she had done the other day. Maan came closer and sat on the floor putting his head on his mother's lap.
"I am sorry Maan." Sonia caressed his hair.
"Why did you go away Maa?" Maan asked. It was not the big and grown up Maan, but the fifteen year old Maan asking.
"Because I didn't want you and your brothers to get hurt just like I did. If I would have stayed or told you, you wouldn't have been able to stay here in such peace."
"There never was peace in this place after you left. Dad tried his best but no one could take your place."
"I wish your father would have thought the same for me." She whispered but Maan had heard. He raised his head to look at his mother who now had stopped rocking.
"Did you meet Annie? She has come, too." Sonia tried to change the topic but Maan held his mother's hand.
"Why did you just say that, Maa?"
"Nothing beta. I just remembered the fight your father and I had all those years ago. Now he is dead so there is no point in digging up old stories."
"No, I have a right to know." Maan jumped up.
"One day you leave us, without telling without giving an explanation. Dad forbid us to talk about you, you know what he told us? He said you don't love us and my heart never wanted to accept that." Maan was screaming now. All the frustration and pain that had been in him was coming out and with it there were tears. He quickly left from there and ran to the mansion. Instead of going to his room or gym to be alone he felt like being with one person who he knew would be able to console him.
He put his head in Rano's lap and cried and cried and cried. Rano had sensed that the meeting might not have gone all that well. Geet who had been just around her room heard the sobbing and was shocked to see her Dusht Daanav crying.
"Kya hua inhe, mamma. Yeh roh kyun rahe hain." Her mother put her finger on her lips and told Geet to keep quiet.
"Cry as long as you want beta. Tears take away sorrow hence we should not stop them." Maan's head shot up at these worlds. Rano wiped his tears and gave his forehead a kiss.
"Do you want me to talk to your mother, beta?" Maan shook his head like a little boy.
"Mujhe aap ke paas rehna hai" he said and again put his head on her lap. Rano smiled.
"Yeh kya baat hui? Jab se mamma aai hain, aap hi pura time unke saat hain. Yeh meri mamma hain, hatye." Geet tried to shove him away but he wouldn't budge.
"No Geet. This is my mamma, too. So I can stay as long as I want. After all, I am MAAN SINGH KHURANA."
"Kya?" Rano was stiff now and her eyes wide in horror. Maan and Geet looked worried.
"Mamma?" They asked as one.
"Tum Maan Khurana ho? Tumhari maa ka naam kya hai?"
"Sonia Rajeev Singh Khurana." Maan answered.
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You're such a tease!!!!!!!!!!!!
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