@Sundari.: Quite observant you are!! Yeah baking will need assets which she doesn't have right now. Still worried about the letter, eh? wait for the surprise! @saadi88: too many questions!! but I, being the good soul, will give you the benefit of doubt!
@idunno: thank you for the lovely comment. it touched my heart truly. it means a lot.
@SHIK.LOVMAANEET: geet is stupid?? well, haven't you heard of the phrase- "Ignorance is Bliss"??
@All: thank you so much for the warm welcome and the wonderful comments. You guys rock!
36.Kaze No Machi e...
To The Town of Winds...
Her jaws dropped seeing that gorgeous lady enter the hall. Kabir had whisked her to their planned dinner and she had dressed up in her best. But the woman in front of her beat her in every damn thing. Dressed in a black sleeveless frock with yellow lace on the waist along with a bow and lining the frills, Geet found herself so much lacking.
Emily seemed every bit royalty. Her magenta off shoulder full length gown was only paired with a diamond necklace that seemed like water droplets sewn on a string and oh that magenta lipstick! Kabir stood up and went to greet her with a hug and Geet just gaped. He had sat down with her and told her everything about Emily and her business. And Geet knew she was one spoiled chick! With a fake smile, she stood up and extended her hand to her.
"Hello..." she greeted curtly.
Emily flashed a smile and then gently hugged her, "hey! You are Geet right? Its so nice to meet you, finally."
Breaking the hug, she winked at her, "and Kabir wouldn't stop talking about you."
As the evening passed, Geet realized Emily had failed all her assumptions. She wasn't mean or a haughty little high class chick! She was every bit down to earth and just so simple! They talked, had their dinner and talked more. She laughed so openly, so naturally and yet she saw something in her eyes. Something she couldn't pinpoint. She was surprised when Emily hugged her again as they walked out after a lavish dinner and then without any warning, she felt thousands of lights flashing in front, blinding her. Scared, she inched closer to Kabir and he perhaps understood her discomfort. Holding her close, he hid her face from the cameras in his arms and quickly said his goodbyes to the gorgeous lady.
Geet had never seen this side of life. The kind of life Emily lived. The kind of life her friends lived! She peeked her head a little just to say a goodbye to a new found friend if she could ever call her a friend that is; but then she saw her again. her beautiful bluish-grey eyes turn ice cold. Not like the one she saw back in the restaurant when she had laughed at a stupid joke or when she had a brain-freeze when she gulped down a spoonful of ice-cream all at once.
Emily didn't even wait to say them a goodbye. All she did was just turn around and walk away; pride and arrogance oozing out of her.
Emily, then, had felt Cold!
Kabir securely walked her to their car and dropped her home. She changed into her night suit and sat with her laptop, looking for vacancies in KE. She glanced at kanha and then quickly made her decisions. If she wanted to survive, she had to work hard.
Emily clouded her thoughts all through the night and she wondered at her predicament. She had so openly told her that she had been divorced thrice, which anyone else would have been so uncomfortable to discuss.
But why would someone say like that out of the blue?
Did she think that she would also judge her from what she knew about her from the people around? The world was full of strange people and perhaps she understood why she did that. Lay out your darkness before the world made it darker!
The sea had her thrilled beyond any explanation as she stood on the warm sand and let the water touch her bare feet. It was yet another weekend... the weekend just after the one she had dinner with Emily and her leg had been totally fine. Kabir had asked her and Ana to be ready Saturday morning and he was to take her for an outing... a birthday gift of sorts. She had disagreed but Ana had her way. And truly, she would have regretted if she had declined the offer! One hour drive from Manhattan had brought them to Coney Island and the sea had her at its mercy. But the best part was not the sea! She had literally screamed seeing that amusement part right on the beach!
They played in the waters and jumped around and screamed on the rides and eaten from the food trucks but what irked her the most was the fact that Kabir was up on his toes, dragging them away.
"Kabir, can't we stay? Its only 3. The sun hasn't even gone down yet."
She whined like a baby as Kabir dragged her away from the water. She had been enjoying so much that Kabir thought she was a 5 year old kid, difficult to handle. Even Ana hated Kabir for the same.
"No girls... we have to leave! Come on now.."
"Grrr... Kabir, stop being Maan Bhai!"
"Yeah Stop being a Monster." Geet followed Ana, making him sigh.
"No. We aren't staying another minute."
Geet sighed, pouting like a baby, "Kabir please...just few more minutes."
Kabir stopped and ran his hands through his hair and turned back to her with pleading eyes, "Don't be like that Mi Bella...we have to leave."
"But why??" she cried.
Kabir knew he had to spit it out and so he did.
"Because we have plans."
"Welcome to the Downtown Boathouse."
The volunteers welcomed them and a cool breeze of air hit her face, bringing with it the moistness of the river that she could feel it even on her lips. Kabir held her hand and dragged her inside along with Ana.
"What are we doing here?"
"You will see." Kabir winked and went out to check the arrangements and she held her excitement. Ana remained oddly quiet all through. She hadn't been much enthusiastic about college all the week as well.
Ana looked down, biting her lips and then gathered her courage to speak.
"I... I wanted to tell you something.."
Geet held her hands and gave it a gentle squeeze, "Ana, tell me what bothers you. I am watching you for a week now and I didn't want to press you to speak things out... but please tell me..."
"The other day..."
She stopped as Kabir joined them with a few volunteers who instructed them about how to handle the kayak and sail the waters!
So they were kayaking!!!
The anxiety of adventure and something new made adrenaline soar in her blood. She had never done that before and Kabir surely made sure she had the most adventurous birthday.
"Do you guys know how to swim?" One of the volunteers asked, citing the rules.
The three of them nodded in unison and put on their life-jackets. The rush of adrenaline, the thumping of heart and the lapping of water against the wooden piers made them forget the conversation they were supposed to have. Geet and Ana took the kayak for two persons while Kabir took the one for a single person. Holding their hearts, they ventured into the waters of the Hudson amidst the soft music of the tiny waves and voices of others around who were as thrilled as they were.
Gentle stroke of the oars created the rhythm that perhaps matched the rhythm of her heart. The water surface split and then it splashed. The wind was cool and soft, caressing her face; Geet found herself losing in the serenity. Ana sat behind her, perhaps lost in similar feelings. The voices of other people vanished in the distance and only the song of the water remained.
"hey..." Kabir kayaked back to them. He had trodden ahead, enjoying and had taken a turn to come back to them. The girls were awfully slow.
"Kabir..." Geet squealed as he splashed water on them, making them giggle.
"Stop it..."Ana snapped.
"No. I came to show you something." he flashed a smile.
"Just turn around."
"Eh?" Ana raised a brow.
"just take a turn and watch."
The girls did as told and then looked to the front that stunned them, almost to a point of speechlessness. There was the mighty sun, perhaps blushing as he made his way down to meet the horizon, trying to hide his shyness behind the cityscape of New York. A sudden silence befell, drowning every other sound except the lapping of the water against their kayaks. The horizon had turned pink, reflecting what the sun felt and the cityscape came in silhouette. The kayaks bobbed in the water and they just kept watching. It felt so calm, so peaceful, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Beautiful was just an understatement to the view they beheld.
Serenity is the perfect word when nature and the heart are in sync and Geet felt that. She didn't want to go back to the city now. The wind remained their constant companion. Why could life be not this simple and this beautiful? Where the water sang and wind played with you. Why couldn't there be a city where there was no struggle... where she could wake up every morning knowing she wouldn't have to fight anything or anyone.
Why isn't there a city of such serenity, kanha where I could find a reason to wake up the next morning?
The faint sound of someone blowing a whistle brought them back to planet earth. The sun had hidden himself half in the horizon and it was time to go back. The whistles were perhaps by the boathouse authorities to call all the kayakers back. She didn't want to go back...not yet! But they were bound by the rules of time and society and government.
The ride back home was silent. Still lost in the serendipity of the setting sun and dancing winds, the three of them had never felt this peace. And perhaps only silence could endure those moments. They reached the estates and freshened up. It was dark by the time they reached and the trio sat on the steps of the porch, gazing at the sky. Being in the continents of higher latitude had its advantages. The Milky Way came to their view and the stars twinkled. Raj-the pup came and sat beside Ana.
"Thanks Kabir.." Geet finally broke the silence.
"For making my birthday special."
Kabir shook his head smiling, "Geet... you deserve that. Just because things have happened with you, doesn't mean you stop enjoying the little things in life! That is never a solution to anything."
For some reasons, Kabir reminded her of Maan today. She hadn't seen him after he had paid her a visit at her apartment. They had been a little distant from each other since that eventful picnic and she had felt a void in his absence. She had been so wrapped up with college and her job hunt and managing her studies that she hardly had time to visit the estates. And now that she was here, she had this intense urge to just run into the study and fill that void in her.
"Geet... listen." Ana's voice brought her back. Kabir was nowhere to be found... perhaps attending some phone call from office.
Geet forced her attention to divert towards Ana and watched that uncertainty on her face.
"Yes Ana... you wanted to tell me something."
Gulping down that knot down her throat, Ana gathered all her courage, "I bumped into Arjun the other day..."
"What?" her eyes popped out.
"...and Geet... he said he.. he said he wanted me back!"
They say a troubled mind repelled sleep which in turn repelled solutions. Geet tossed on the bed and turned and watched Ana, sleeping beside her. She had been as restless as her but then she was lucky that she could sleep off. But sleep wasn't that kind to her. She sat up and walked out, to look for something that gave her peace. The day had been tiring and she was bone weary but her mind played tricks. She had just tossed on the bed restlessly for an hour until she gave up and walked out to look for something...anything that brought sleep to her. And her feet took her to the place where her brain knew would find peace.
She turned on the lights and gasped at the arrangement in front of her. The armchair had a companion now.
Dadima's rocking chair!
Did he put that here?
The ottoman remained and the rug remained... the books remained but the rocking chair was a new add-on. And he wasn't there in the study. She had surely seen him enter the mansion when she had been sitting on the porch with Ana. Their eyes had locked for a very brief moment... a trifle and then he had walked inside. The empty study sat heavy on her heart. He wasn't there, unlike other times. Her heart fell.
What did you expect Geet? He isn't there.
She shook her head and decided to just be on her own. Walking to the bay window, she slid it open and let the cool night breeze be her companion for the night, just like it had been on the kayak today. It felt eerie for some reasons. The book that she had read a long time back remained on the ottoman which surprised her.
He hadn't removed it?
She had wandered off to his study like this and picked up a random book to read. That was way back before she even left for London. She picked it up and sat on the rocking chair. With a gentle stoke of her legs, she was swaying. Back and forth... back and forth. The wind calmed her senses and she opened the book to read.
She hadn't come this far? As far as she recalled, she had just begun! But nevertheless, she started reading. The rocking chair rocked slowly and the book fell on her bosom. The night was pleasant and her eyes closed without her knowledge. And she was back on the pier, standing at the edge, watching the waters and thinking. Her subconscious mind played tricks and although at the brink of sleep, it didn't let her enter that horizon.
The serenity was there again... the kind that she had felt that evening, on the waters. And then things came back when she thought she had left them behind. Ana wasn't at peace. She had confessed to her. She had finally moved on but then perhaps she hadn't forgotten it either. He had called her so many times asking her to come back and she had fought every time. Geet watched the water hit the pier and then move back. Ana still hadn't forgotten. Wasn't she the same as her? Troubled by her own thoughts? She was to start working from Monday and she hadn't been able to tell that to Ana or Kabir. Another tiny wave crashed at the pier feet and she sighed. Everyone was troubled. For once, why couldn't she run away from everything? The feelings from the kayaks returned... couldn't they just live in a city where there was peace?
To the town of wind on the other side of time Come on, take me there Make my dream of white flowers come true
She looked at the horizon where the setting sun greeted her. The wind stayed with her, like always. The lapping of water now seemed like a dance and then she thought again, of the uncertainty that lay ahead.
Take this hand with your sweet fingers Come on, I want you to lead me On the distant road To your side
She felt like dancing. One step right and one step left, she moved on the pier, her shoes providing a rhythm, matching the water. Running away seemed so easy and it was a dream, she knew and so, she endured a little more.
The lights to his study were on. He had finished working on some files and went back to check on a few things. He had walked in and then stopped, watching her sleep on the rocking chair. The chair still swayed, though slow now and he recalled why he kept the chair in the study in the first place.
The purpose had been served!
He walked closer and leaned in front of her. She looked adorable in sleep.
That singing voice won't cease in the afternoon Together we wake to become one We will know the meaning of happiness for the first time Take me with you...
He had missed her all these days. And it soothed his tired soul to see her there, troubled yet so much calm when asleep. Holding the chair by its arm on one side, he gently pulled away the book from her. She squirmed in her sleep and he stopped, not willing to wake her up. She was dreaming perhaps. And so he let her dream, letting his long fingers trace her cheeks, calming her down.
That singing voice will heartrendingly and loudly Echo in every heart Never knowing the meaning of happiness when they sleep at night...
A few strands of her hair fell on her eyes and he gently pried them away. She came awake like the rising sun, startled at the gentle touch. He stilled. Deep dark eyes looked into the dazed brown ones, still in the clutches of what seemed like sleep but then it wasn't.
"Maan..." she whispered.
She was still in her dream perhaps, standing on the pier and watching the sun setting over the water.
He didn't walk away this time. He remained so, how he was and let his fingers roam over her forehead and cheek in soft circular motions.
She felt tenderly drowsy. Her troubled mind had enough but her subconscious mind still played tricks. His fingers felt like magic... pampering her tiredness and she felt nice... in a very long time.
The other side of our dreams are still unknown to us Come on, together we can go On the distant road To the town of wind
Her soft sleepy breath fell on his hand that set goose pimples on his skin in a very slow manner. Sighing, he pulled back and swayed the chair to let her sleep and took a step back.
The pier and the water vanished and so did the sun. She realized now that she was seeing him not in her vague dream but for real. That void in her now came back to haunt and she realized she had missed him. Putting her feet down, she stopped the chair from rocking and held his hand.
He turned back to adjust the rimless specs over his eyes that she realized now he was wearing.
"You need to sleep." He prompted.
The look on her face did something to his insides and his own realization of attraction came back to him. For some odd reasons, he cringed at that name.
"Can you sit with me for a while?"
Her voice was more pleading that a request. She never realized that she had missed him this much until he nodded and sat beside her, on the arm chair and waited for her to speak. But she had been perhaps swept to the city of winds and that void she had felt in his absence pierced through her heart. And then she was nothing but jagged pieces of her own troubled mind.
>>The title, if you are interested, is the title of a Japanese Song named Kaze no Machi e, roughly translating to "To The Town of Winds" composed by Yuki Kajiura.
>>The lines used in the updt are the lyrics of the song roughly translated into english.
>>Oooh... now back to the study after a very long time! Lets see what sparks fly!
Emily ko dekhe Geet flat hogayi ... ab bechara kabir kaise alag haigeet is so impressed with Emily... yeh last mein kya chakkar hai emily ka changed expression se chalo undono ke baaremein baad mein sochthe hai.. ab Ana phirse aagayi Arjun ke puraan lekar geet ke paas...chalo ab tho maan ki yaad aagayi geet ko...directly chali gayi study aag tho iss taraf bhi shuru hogayi hai... ab jaldi dono yeh samjhlo ki u both are made for eachother