@lakshmi86:Helloo! Welcome Aboard. Am so glad that you r liking this story. Just a little correction though. I am Not the one who wrote kalirein!
@ALL:thanks a ton lovelies for all the song suggestions. You guys really made it diffucult to choose one out of all. but I see a lot of people voted for ADHM title track. So i will try to incorporate that...just that I need a little time.
@Pam Kaur (FB):I never got a chance to thank you for being so awesome but trust me, I always look forward to reading your comments. The song is heard and marked ma'am. A little time is all I need.
16.Often Between Moments You Find Yourself Drawn...
Silence had never been so profound up until now and none had been so clueless about their reaction. Geet arranged her cards and looked up to find every pair of eye in the room looking at her with strange looks that made her cringe.
"Cemetery? Like Seriously?" Kabir finally mumbled out.
She put her cards down and looked at everyone's frozen faces, "ye...yeah! It kind of gives me peace..."
Maan looked at her incredulously until his phone rang, disturbing him. He excused himself and walked out, towards the porch, letting them discuss her weird place of choice. Raj(the pup) followed him. She always had something or the other in her sleeves that intrigued him, made him question her. But when did that woman ever sit in peace? And even though he had been tempted to ask her so many things, he had preferred not to. They didn't share a very good rapport. They had just been acquaintances and played a few games of cards together but that was that. Knowing her all these months, in and out of office had told him nothing about her except the fact that she had weird things going on in her head.
Catching up with an old college friend had taken him a long time and been nostalgic. He sat down on the steps and played with Raj and kept talking. How long had it been that he had been talking? Half an hour may be because she came and sat down beside him with a thump, definitely looking unhappy about something. he kept talking and looked at her. she had a huge frown decorated on her face and she just looked in front, at nothing in particular.
"Geet...come na...It was just for fun." Kabir called her.
She could still hear them laughing. And she was not going back.
"No. I am not playing with you all."
Ana ran out and tapped her shoulder, "Geet, we promise we won't make fun of you."
She shot her a glare, "Ohh really? Then wipe that grin off your face first Ana and then talk to me."
Ana pressed her lips to hold back her giggles, "Come on now. Don't be a kid. And you look cute when you are angry."
She twisted her lips and looked away, "No. Am tired. You guys play. I will join you in a while."
"Pakka na? You are not upset, are you?"
"No. I am just tired."
Ana side hugged her, "fine. Come soon."
She walked away and Geet sighed, looking at the earthen lamps that she had lit. Some had burned out and some were still flickering with the remnants of the oil in their wicks. The night was calm and the gentle cold breeze made her shiver. She rubbed her palms together to generate some heat.
"If you are feeling cold, then you should just go inside."
She turned to see him, sitting beside her but with a little distance between them. he had a smile, a very faint smile on his face that she noticed. Didn't know if it was for her or for the call he had received but it felt so genuine.
"No. Its nice here."
She leaned back and rested her hands on the floor, supporting her body and looking up at the sky.
"Why didn't you go with Ana? They are still playing I guess." He finished tapping something on his phone and placed it between them, on the floor.
As if he had keyed her. Her relaxed face scrunched up into a nasty expression and another cold breeze rushed past them. She quickly pulled her hands close to her body, wrapping them around herself.
"They made fun of me. Plus I lost."
He raised his brows at her, "Again?"
She sighed in defeat and looked down, feeling embarrassed, "yea...yeah."
He didn't know whether to laugh or hit his head somewhere.
"Didn't I explain you the rules and tricks?"
She watched one of the dying lamps, flickering with the breeze. It still had some life left in it. and the cold breeze was making it difficult for it. She quickly stood up, hopped down two steps and sat on the lowest step, hiding the slowly dying flame between her palms. Life came back and the flame breathed again.
"yeah you did but then I forgot."
Her mind was completely on protecting the lamp. He watched her lovingly protect the only lamp that now remained alive.
"Geet, how can you forget?" he sighed.
Her head rose with a jerk and she looked at him with a pointed look, "Can I not forget?"
"Well, not after I had explained you everything twice!" he stated as a matter-of-fact.
And he knew well, this trait of hers. She was rattled at the slightest of provocation. And somehow, he had started to enjoy it in all these months.
"Then who asked you to leave?" she bit back, still protecting the lamp.
He opened his mouth to say something but then stopped when her words sunk into his brain. He closed his mouth immediately and looked at her, trying to find something in her. Her face had a faint yellow glow owing to the dying lamp, like that in the evening and she looked directly into his eyes, demanding answer.
Who was she?
Often between moments you find yourself drawn to smallest of things that do something to you without any reason and without any choice and he found himself there, between moments. Her tone demanded something and he didn't know why he just felt compelled to give her an explanation despite himself.
"I...got a call..."
A gust of wind galloped, riding the cloak of winter and she shivered. The lamp breathed its last and died in her palms. She felt sad. Bringing her hands close, she rubbed her arms, her teeth chattering in the biting cold.
"Come here, you..."
She looked up and found him standing up, one hand in pocket and the other extending towards her.
"You will catch a cold like this. Lets get inside."
She looked at him for a while, his jaws set in rigidness and his eyes staring back at her. he was cold too perhaps. And she was Geet. She stood up, dusted her dress and hopped up the steps to him.
He smiled, knowing her well and pulled his hand back which she had conveniently ignored.
"its bloody cold." Her lips trembled whilst she spoke.
She turned in her heels to walk away when she felt something pulling her back. He couldn't have stopped himself, for the question had been dancing in his head and he had to know the answer. She was a twisted character because she never understood things straight and easy. He had come to know of it well. And hence, he grabbed her hand and pulled her back.
"Ahh." She gasped and turned back with a questioning gaze. She looked at her hand in his and then back at him, surprised a little, confused a little and very much cold.
He felt warm.
She wondered why his hand was so warm even in the cold when hers were almost numb. She didn't know how to react to this when he looked so serious and so directly into her eyes, making her unable to speak anything.
Monster Khurana is dead serious... Kanha, bacha lena!
She gulped down with the intensity of his look and slowly tried to pull her hand away.
"Why did you say cemetery?" he asked, holding her hand tight.
She was expecting all kinds of lectures, like he had done in the past but not this. "ehh?"
She looked at him blankly.
"Why did you say your favourite place was the cemetery?" he repeated himself.
"Oh that..." she sighed with relief and pulled her hand back again. and this time, he left her.
He folded his hands in front of him, "I want to know."
"So that you could make fun of me?" she spoke with a pout.
He rolled his eyes, "Gosh Geet, why would I make fun of you?"
Couldn't this woman understand anything simple and straight? Things had to be coaxed out of her.
"well...because everyone inside laughed at me." she made a baby face and looked away.
He smiled at her expressions and cocked his head to the side, "well then try me!"
She looked at him with hooded eyes, "sure?"
She smiled a bit and looked at the sky, filled with stars, all arranged in a line, showing the world the beauty of the Milky Way.
"Well... it actually makes me feel close to my mother."
He looked at her curiously, "your mother?"
She nodded cutely, "yeah. She has her gravestone there."
"Gravestone?" he looked confused, "But Hindus don't bury, do they? Or was your mother.."
She laughed, "No No...its nothing like that. In fact, she was cremated with all the right Hindu rituals. I was very small when she had passed away. And I would cry for her for hours. It was difficult for my father to make me understand. Actually, he never made me understand."
He felt something stir inside him. he knew she wasn't with her family but he hadn't known about her mother. He saw her still looking at the sky and smiling. He thought she would be sad and he truly wanted to stop her from thinking of things that made her sad but then she surprised him yet again. She was smiling. Like she was at peace with the fact. And so, he let her continue.
"We lived in Shimla then. We had this church which I loved visiting. And there was a cemetery behind it. So, my father put on a gravestone for my mother and told me to visit her whenever I missed her. that's it. that way, I could be close to her and not miss her. and perhaps it was since then that I found my peace in cemetery."
"Don't you get scared? I mean anyone would, considering the dead are buried there..."
She looked at him with a look he couldn't understand, "there is nothing to be scared of about it. It holds my mother's epitaph plus my Kanha is there with me. Why would I be scared of my own mother? Why would anyone be scared to visit their loved one? Its all in the minds of the people. In fact, I used to sit in front of her gravestone for hours in my teen years and tell her everything that went on with me. it just calmed me."
She stopped and looked at him, awaiting his reaction. But he remained silent, looking at something far away and lost in his thoughts.
"Okay..I know you must be thinking me crazy but thats just my way of putting things. Go ahead. You can laugh.." she spoke sheepishly.
he stumbled out of his thoughts and shook his head, "No.. Geet. I ...well there is nothing to laugh. It is actually...very..very thoughtful...very loving gesture actually. I can't believe they laughed at this inside..."
She bit her lips, "erm..well we didn't get to the whole thing."
"Yeah. I told them that bring there has some calming effect on me because it has my mother's gravestone and then I lost the game. So, we kind of got diverted from the topic..."
He watched her hop into the mansion and trailed behind her thinking of her words. she always had a new perspective towards things and to think that a person like her could have such different thoughts made him wonder if she was something else from within.
He saw his dadima kiss her forehead and apologize for making fun of her.
"You are our daughter Geet..."
He heard his dadima and smiled at the happiness he saw on her face. she was too easy to read. He walked to his room, put on his glasses, took his favourite book and sat down to read.
The passage of time had a slow and dragging effect on all. Days rolled into a month and Geet fell in steps with her schedule. College-Home-Assignment. She hardly had time to think about anything else. And so was Ana. And then came their mid-terms. Ana did well and Geet did fairly. They finished with their last paper and both of them lazed in Geet's apartment, basking in the warm afternoon sun seeping through the window.
"Oh I almost forgot! Geet, its Thanksgiving day after tomorrow. You must come home. Plus we haven't been able to spend much time owing to college and exams. So, that will be fun."
"Thanksgiving?" Geet munched a wafer.
"You don't know?" Ana sat up.
"I have heard of it. But I don't know what happens there. I haven't heard of it in the UK!"
"Yeah, its a typical American holiday where houses host dinner, turkey being the star dish and it is basically celebrated to express our love and gratefulness to the people we love. some people also buy presents for their loved one too."
"It is! We have to shop. Come on now."
"No ifs and no Buts. Only fun!"
Ana dragged her out of the bed before they hit the malls. Holiday season was fast approaching and she couldn't wait to show Geet the celebrations of the Big Apple.
He watched her mind wander off and sighed. She hadn't changed a bit over the months. He checked through the files Ana brought but couldn't help himself from looking at her. she was gazing out of the window!
"Bhai... is it okay?"
Maan shifted his attention back to Ana, "yeah what?"
"The CV. I wanted to apply for some internships in some other companies too so wanted you to help me in that.."
"Hmmm.. what kind of projects are you planning to undertake?"
He spoke to Ana who had come to him to seek his advice but his eyes kept wandering off towards her, as clueless as ever. He wondered if she was the same woman who had spoken about her mother so bravely and saw things in different light.
"Ana get me those files you had been working on from home.."
"yeah right." Ana nodded and walked out.
He kept the papers he was holding and looked at Geet who was still spacing out. He walked to his chair and sat down. It was Thanksgiving and she was home. He didn't mind that at all knowing everyone loved her.
She had been thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner they'd have in a few hours and Ana had dragged her to Maan's study on the pretext of talking about her upcoming internship and she had followed, not knowing how bored she would be.
"Hmmm" she looked up and found him handing her a sheet.
"what is it?"
"Why don't you take a look!"
She took the paper from him and her eyes widened realizing it was a copy of her performance report. Even though she had made her place under the MD's wing, she had scored a low point. She had done her best at her job, in fact she had even agreed to be his temporary secretary for a week which was not even her job but even then, the score was lower than what she had expected.
He watched her expressions, from shocked to sad and cleared his throat to gain her attention. And when he knew he had her attention, he spoke carefully, "this is why I wanted you to see your performance report that day, remember? It was Diwali..."
"But...But I had done everything I was told to...ho...just how.." she fumbled. This was not going to make her portfolio any better. rather, it would remain as blotch on it.
His expressions remained soft as he inhaled a slow dragging breath, "Yes you did things you were told to but that was not enough Geet. You are scored on every aspect her, from discipline to your desire and eagerness to work and that day I really wanted you to see what was wrong."
She opened her mouth and then closed it unable to form words. she scored below the normal score that interns usually got.
He leaned forward on the table, "Hey its okay! Its not as bad as you think Geet. Take it in a good way. You have a chance to improve. But tell me one thing, why are you doing an MBA?"
She looked up from her report card after a long time and she looked lost, "huh?"
"I mean what do you want to do after doing an MBA?"
"I...I..." she thought for a while but she couldn't come up with anything better, "I..may be get a job."
He narrowed his brows at her, "And after that? Is it only because you want a job that you are pursuing something you are not interested in?"
"Not Interested? How did you..."
"Geet, don't you think I have met enough people to know where they come from? You are not made for this that I have come to know. Then why? I had wanted to talk about this for a long time now. Is there anything else you wanted to do?"
She felt clueless. She had never ever talked about a career in her entire life. She had done her graduation in Economics because her father had suggested her. She was doing an MBA because her father had wished for her to complete her Masters in a good college. She just never gave it a serious thought because she had always lived in a protected cocoon of her beloved father and she had relied completely on him for everything.
"I...I don't know" she mumbled, suddenly being thrown into a spiral of nothingness, "I... Don't know what I'd do."
His thoughts about her had been proven correct. She had no idea about what she wanted to do.
"Its okay Geet", he tried to lighten her mood, "its okay to be clueless about life at some point of time. But I want you to at least take this seriously, give it a good thought and find your way. Because I believe if you are doing something you don't love, you are only wasting your potential."
"umm" she could only mumble.
"If you want any help, Ana, Kabir and I are here only."
He watched her leave with Ana and hoped she'd at least know now what to pursue.
She remained a little dazed the entire dinner and he noticed that. It was for her good, he thought. She had to face this sooner or later. His sister had been assisting him in work while at home because she had been very clear about what she wanted. Geet, on the other hand, had always intrigued him and telling her the truth was the only help he could have provided her at this point of time.
She didn't stay back at the estates that night. She had come back home and she sat in front of Kanha.
"Today is Thanksgiving Kanha and Monster Khurana thanked me well. A good lecture...great way to celebrate!"
Her Kanha smiled and looked at her lovingly.
She sighed and his words reverberated in her head. She left a long breath and rested her head on the table, in front of Kanha.
"What am I doing with my life? I feel so helpless Kanha. What do I really want to do?"
Her phone buzzed and despite not wanting to, she checked the caller id.
A smile formed on her lips and she quickly received it.
A long talk with Raj and then Pooja had relaxed her mind to a great extent and she fell on the bed, happy and contended that he called to check on her, despite his busy schedule. That was her enough. Sadness, confusion and anxiety were thrown out of the window as she revelled in his soothing words and fell asleep, dreaming of her happy times with him.