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Maan held Sam's hand between both of his and said earnestly, "Sam, I know the impact my decision will have on your family. You are my best friend, I would never deliberately hurt you or your family. Believe me I wouldn't have taken such a step so soon unless it was absolutely necessary."
"it's okay Maan, I told you I understand. You leave my parents to me. As for me, I may not have expected this to happen so soon..." she shrugged "...but I knew you would marry Geet."
"Come on Maan, you claim that I'm your best friend and then is surprised that I have noticed the change in you?" she squeezed his hand before removing it from his to take the capuchino. "In fact I think we were never meant to be life partners. In all these years that we have been together, if your eyes had ever followed me across the crowded room the way it followed Geet in the party, we would have been married long back!"
Sam laughed at Maan's surprised expression.
"What? Did you think that I wouldn't realize my friend is falling in love?"
"Sometimes it is obvious to the ones close to you before it finally strikes you ... so tell me have you told Geet?"
"Maan..." there was frustration in her voice. " A girl likes to hear that you are proposing to her because you love her. I guess you told it is for the baby!"
"In Geet's case, she would panic if I told her I loved her. I didn't tell you the whole fact. You remember I told you she may have had some bad experience with some man in her past?" Sam nodded her head. " Her uncle is the reason she fears men. From what I could get from her I think he violated her." Maan's fist tightened with suppressed anger.
"Oh, my God! The poor girl! How could a man do that to his niece?" she reached across to cover his hand. "Creeps like that do not deserve to live!"
Sameera's venomous hatred brought some relief to Maan.
"It's broken her, Sam. She thinks she is not good enough for me. So if I tell her I love her, I have a feeling she may not accept. She would withdraw into her shell. I don't want that. She is more comfortable with me than the time when I met her. I don't want to loose that. As it is she hasn't accepted the proposal yet."
"No, but I'm sure I almost convinced her. I have to keep her safe and it no longer is just about the baby. I think that monster is just lying in wait, waiting for an opportunity to grab her." Desperation tinted his voice, "I have to give her the protection of my name. I want that right that will give me the authority to be her shield. And I have to do it as soon as possible. I think I will arrange for a court marriage tomorrow itself."
"Court marriage?" Sam lifted her hands in disbelief. " Why are men be so unromantic when they are in a hurry to accomplish something? Maan, every woman has some dreams about her marriage, something she starts adding on from her girlhood. You may not be able to bring all her dreams to reality in this short span of time, but cant you at least marry her in the presence of a priest? You can have a private ceremony at home, if you don't want to alert that scoundrel. Daadi may know some priest who will be willing to perform the rites in such short notice."
Maan lifted her hand to kiss it. "Sam you are the best! Why didn't I think this? I don't know how to thank you!"
" You can do that by inviting me to your marriage. I would like to believe you would like to have my presence in your happiness."
"Of course Sam. Ye bhi koi pochne ki baat he?"
"All right then, I'll take charge of turning little mamma into your bride."
"That is what Rudr call's Geet and it kind of slipped into my mind."
"Strange..." Maan muttered softly. "I've never heard him call her that." It sounded so much affectionate and so less romantic.
"Why such a long face, Chotu?"
He could deduct her mood from the song that played in the background. He moved forward towards the window, where she was standing.
pyar mujhse jo kiya 'tumne tou kya
Mere halaat ki aandhi mai bikhar jaogi
Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne tou kya paogi
RAnjh or dard ki basti ka main bashinda hoon
yeh tou bass main hoon ki is haal mai bhi jinda hoon
Khuab kyon dekhoon woh kal jis pe main sharminda hoon
Main jo sharminda huya tum bhi tou sharmaougi
Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne tou kya paogi..
Kyon mere saath koi or prechaan rehe
mere dunia jo biraab tou biraan rahe
Zindgi ka yeh safar tum pe tou asaan rehe
Hamsafar mujhko banougi tou pachtayogi
pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne ...
Ek main kya aayenge diwane kitne
abhi goonjenge muhabbat ke tarane kitne
Zindgi tumko sunyegi fasane kitne
Kyon samjhti ho mujhe bhool nahin paogi
Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne kya paogi
MEre halaat ki aandhi mai bikhar jaogi
Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne..
"Maan asked me to marry him."
"And that made you sad when I think you should be happy. Or are you still worried he is in love with Sameera?"
"It's not that. Maan said he hadn't really decided to marry Sameera..."
"So what is he problem now? Why are you listening to such sad songs?" he switched off the music and went back to her.
Geet chewed her lips indecisive as to how to ask him what she wanted to find out.She cast a contemplative glance at him and then turned back.
"What is it Chotu? You want to ask me something?" she nodded her head. Then why don't you ask me?"
Her hands drew illegible patterns on the windowsill. "It's kind of personal..."
"What do you look for in marriage?"
"Understanding, trust, love, companionship."
"Of that which is most important?"
"For me understanding between partners."
"What about..." Geet's voice lowered, "...that act between man and woman?"
Oh'...oh..here comes the tricky part, Rudr thought. Why would she ask this? There was something wrong. "Yes that too is an important aspect of marriage."
" Isn't that the most important part?"
"Not necessarily, depends on the persons involved. According to me physical love in marriage means my wife loves me and trusts me enough to give herself to me."
" At night he would pull chachi inside and then...then push her out and close the door. Sometimes there would be marks on her, I didn't understand why and used to ask her about it...I didn't know...and she would just evade. I remember one time she was so sick , shivering from fever...ma pleaded with him to let her rest and he said it was his right, that he had married her for that. He dragged her from the sick bed to his room..." Geet shuddered in remembrance.
Rudr placed a hand on her shoulder and said, " he is sick...there are men like that but he is not the model for a good husband."
" I know that because going farther back, I can vaguely remember the looks that passed between ma and baba when I was particularly reluctant to go to sleep...but..." she paused then as she talked it was more like she was talking to herself aloud.
"Maan said this is the best for all of us ...I know it is the best for this baby and me...but for him..." she shook her head.
The fool, Rudr thought, why didn't he tell her he loved her!
"I don't want to spoil his life...knowing I'm not suited for him. Daadi was so happy...she too wants me to marry Maan. She was so happy I didn't say I couldn't decide. She doesn't know I can't make him happy. I know I should say no, even if he says it doesn't matter. But why does it pain so much to say no?"
The tears that reflected in her voice made Rudr gently squeeze her shoulder as he replied," may be because you love him, chotu."
She gasped in shock and grew still. Rudr turned her around to face him and put his hand under her chin to raise it.
"You don't want to say yes because you love him and thinks he deserves better. But don't let your past hold you back from embracing your future...don't let them win again." He saw the shock in her eyes and continued, "Yes, I know someone violated you in the past...but by letting that incident, however horrible it may be, rule your life you are letting those men win again...letting them control your life again and again. Thru' Maan your Babaji is offering you a chance to break free, to be happy again which you rightly deserve...don't let it slip away...trust Maan to know what he wants!"
He moved his hand to caress back the errand tendrils on her forehead and asked, "Okay?"
She nodded her head with a tremulous smile. Then moved a step forward towards him and hesitated, looking at him. He opened his arms and she moved in to be enclosed in the strength of his friendship.
When Maan came into her room she was nowhere to be seen. As he placed the box he had brought with him, his eyes fell on the open notebook and saw her expressions on it:
The Imperfect Wife! (Geet's POV)
My life has been filled with an abyss of darkness so deep
That night herself loses her way to the emergence of dawn
My days remain burdened under the dark pool of sorrows
And my nights strive under the blanket of my fears and my terrorizing dreams
I come from a past from which there is no return
I do not know who I am or where I belong
Since I have no identity of my own
Whatever I had was taken away from me
I have lost my heart, my body and my soul
I live in shame so deeply engraved that there is no indication of light
Because my body is tainted and ruined and can be never repaired
I have become small, as small as the smallest particle of an atom
As hollow, as the deepest hollow of a drum
My pain is as terrorizing as the life imagined in hell
Therefore, my each day is spent living in despair
I made the mistake of falling in love with you
Knowing you belong to someone else
You showed me with your utmost care and concern
And I just could not stop myself from feeling for you.
I think about you day and night
I want to be held, touch, caressed and protected by you
Because you make me feel like a human again
You make me feel that I belong in this world
And that I am a woman who can be cared, loved and cherished
Yet, I am scared, scared to come close to you
Because I am not capable of loving you
Because I know that I cannot make you happy
I can never fulfill your desires if I become your wife
How can I take away your life, your dreams and your happiness?
When you are the best thing that ever happened to me
I love you more than what my heart desires
And therefore, I do not want to you make this mistake
For asking me to be by your side
When I know that all I can be is The Imperfect Wife!
RACHNA (@ Water)
His lips stretched in a tender smile. His Geet loved him. Now he wont let her back off now, never. But he can't let her think herself as imperfect. He took the pen to write something on her notebook, when he heard her. So he moved away from the table.
"Geet, I've got something for you."
"What? More?" he smiled inwardly in satisfaction at her question. It had a positive ring to it. First he will let her give her answer.
"But it's evening..."
"Are you sure Maan? I mean are you sure you wouldn't mind ..."
"Yes" he stated holding her eyes.
"And you will tell me if you feel this marriage is making you uncomfortable in any way?...even before the time mentioned?"
"Yes." His eyes never wavered from hers.
"Do you promise me?" she held out her hand.
He placed his in it in promise without taking his eyes off hers. "I promise."
She could feel herself drowning in the depth of his eyes, in the intensity of his will. "Okay then," she took a deep breath. "I accept."
He felt he had conquered the world. He raised her hand to his lips. "Thank you Geet! I'm honoured that you trust me." He dropped her hand and moved away to give them both a moment to compose themselves. "Now.. . .isn't it great I came prepared to hear the good news?"
He sat her down on the sofa and placed the box on her lap. "Here I thought you would enjoy this."
Geet opened it to see a variety of chocolates. "Chocolates!" she exclaimed, her eyes lighted up with pleasure as she looked at him. It turned shy as she smiled, "thank you Maan!"
Seeing her blush filled him with tenderness. It was so easy to please his Geet! He took a chocolate from the box, unwrapped it and offered it to her. When she opened her mouth to accept he said, "but this is not for you, Geet. It is for my Sona, so that our daughter will be as sweet as these chocolates!"
Geet felt the baby fluttering her womb and smiled. He was bewitched by the beauty of her smile and saw her hand move on her stomach. The baby must have moved, he thought.
"No come backs?" he cleared his throat to remove the sweet ache that had its grip on his vocal chords.
"Shonu is protesting that his papa calls him his daughter."
"How do you know our child is a boy?"
"Because I'm holding him inside me, na? I know" Geet's words brooked no argument.
"Our daughter will prove you wrong!"
"Our son will prove mama is right."
"You haven't married yet and the argument has started already?" came an amused voice. Daadi's face was bright with happiness and contentment.
"Dekho Daadi, Maan thinks our baby is a girl."
"Does it matter if the child is a boy or girl." then she added, " I'm so happy my great-grandchild will have both His parents to love Him." She winked at Geet.
The sound of Maan's laughter was accompanied by those of the ladies. Then he said on a serious note, "Dadi now that Geet has finally agreed to marry me,can we discuss what to do? Daadi do you think we can find a priest..."
Maan turned into the perfectionist who liked to plan and prepare every single detail to his satisfaction. Geet tried to protest when they talked about buying the lehanga from Sameera's boutique, which both Maan and Daadi ignored. She listened in dreamily and felt the baby stirring as if listening in and giving his approval.
sorry for the delay...hope u r happy with the long update and the maneet moments which i included as an after thought coz i know u love them the most... do inspire me with ur comments...i do try to satisfy ur wishes...haven't edited this so sorry for the mistakes...a note of thanks to Rachna @ Water for the beautiful poem nd Harshita @ MrsMSKForever for the suggestion of song to depict Geet's emotional state, though it is sung by Jagjith Singh
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