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31.And After Ages, She Felt A Little Peace...
He could hear his breaths and hers too... such was the silence that shrouded them all of a sudden, stunning him to a point of taciturnity. He could have just remained so had she not moved away, breaking their eye contact and twisting her lips ever so cutely, feigning anger. He sighed and glanced at his hand that held her present.
He smiled and shot a brow at her, "So, You brought me a present, eh Miss Handa?"
Her head turned in a sudden movement and she gaped at that smirk, "Yeah so?"
He dangled the keychain in front of her, "You missed me that bad?"
That lopsided grin on his face... she knew he was teasing. She knew it all too well. But then she, for some reasons couldn't deny. She looked at him and then the keychain and went back to the moment when she had been out shopping with Pooja and found that keychain in one of the shops. She had not even thought of bringing presents for anyone but then she couldn't have foregone that beautiful keychain. She knew Maan would love it but she hadn't wanted to give it a thought. But somehow, she had just gone back to the shop and purchased it.
He watched her lost and a slight blush pink adored her cheeks. He leaned closer, "Geet?"
"Stop thinking about me! Its embarrassing..." he teased.
He wasn't ever going to let her stun him into speechlessness. That was his way of coming back.
She snapped back and raised a brow at him, "Why do you think so high of yourself? Are you the prince of Buckingham palace?"
He laughed at her analogy, "If you think I could be a prince, then its fine by me."
She made a face, "Since when did you start caring about my words Mr Maan Khurana? As far as I recall, you don't entertain anyone's words but of your own!"
He watched her complaining face and recalled the time she was in his office when he had told her the same.
"Is your sole purpose in life to fight with me?"
"It is not. But you don't leave any option."
He sighed and felt his back hurting. He had been really tired and stressed with things happening around and she had done it again. Taken his attention from something and focussed it on something entirely different.
How do you do that Geet?
"Thank you for the present. Its lovely."
He gave a faint smile and her eyes lit up like stars in the sky.
"Yes. I love it."
That smile on her face was worth watching. He wondered if he had ever seen her smile like that in the past few months he had known her. Her eyes squinted and her teeth showing, she looked adorable. She had always been this expressive, from the very first day he had seen her.
He stretched his legs and his back hurt again, bringing him out of his thoughts. He had to do something about the ottoman, knowing she had now become an integral part of this room, particularly his room and of this particular seating.
"How was your London trip?"
She changed expressions in the wink of an eye... from smiles to thoughtful and then to gloomy that made him wonder if anything was wrong.
She clasped her fingers and took her time to answer and he waited.
"Yes?" he looked at her pale face and worried.
"Can I ask you something?"
She looked thoughtful.
"You don't need to ask me to ask something Geet... you know it, don't you?"
His voice was so calm and she looked up to meet his eyes, which looked at her with so much of warmth and something else... something she couldn't pinpoint. And she felt overwhelmed. She felt being swayed and she allowed herself to be swept away.
She nodded softly, "You know my father owned this piece of land back in India which was under my name. I decided to sell it off..."
She finished her sentence and waited for him to say something. But he remained silent, giving her an undivided attention. There... she felt it again... that feeling she couldn't decipher. And she got her cue.
"... I went back to India the week I had landed in London..."
She watched his eyes go wide for a moment when she mentioned travelling but even then he remained quiet. Not saying a word, silently telling her to speak out her heart. And she knew what that meant.
"I thought the money it would yield will help me here in completing my education. As such there is no one in my family to take care of it. But back home, no one was happy about it. Not even Pooja and Raj..."
She gave a pregnant pause for him to shoot question but much to her surprise, he didn't. He allowed her to speak.
"Did I do the right thing? I mean I had never thought of things like this until now and when I had decided on something all by myself and to see people react the way they did... it scares me. Tell me Maan.. did I do the right thing?"
She looked scared. She looked vulnerable. She looked uncertain with the way she looked up at him, perhaps preparing herself for the kind of reaction she expected of him. But perhaps she forgot who she was with and what he meant. His silence scared him, as though he was analyzing something.
"Maan... tell me... was I being hasty?"
Her forehead marred with lines of stress, she stood up, feeling restless and walked around.
What if he said the same thing?
What if I have really done something stupid?
"I am proud of you."
She froze in her steps and swished her head back to him. He was sitting on the ottoman but he had leaned against the arm chair and there was this faint smile on his lips that stopped her breath.
"Come again?" she asked, bewildered.
He stood up and walked towards his table where his phone was ringing. It was someone from office and he disconnected it.
He looked up at her and found her still staring at him.
"You did well Geet... and it is not because of selling the land. It is more because you chose to take your own decisions. Good or bad... that only time will tell. But it takes a lot of courage to take a stand, knowing where you come from. And I am so proud of you for doing that... taking things in your hands and abiding by them."
His phone rang again and his attention was taken. But she couldn't miss that look in his eyes...he meant every word he said. She watched him in awe... busy with phone and files. And he said such a thing in such simple words!!! She decided to leave, seeing him busy and slowly walked out. He was still talking over the phone. She stood in the middle of the antechamber thinking of what he said.
None... absolutely no one ever had told her how proud they are of her, especially in the recent times. He didn't care about the land or the right thing or the wrong thing but all he did was just appreciate her efforts. It meant a lot to her... like an overwhelming feeling engulfing her heart. she clenched her fists by her sides.
He said he was proud of her...
Someone is there to pat her back when she did something good...
And someone is there to scold her when she did the wrong thing...
There was a complete silence now and she could hear his footsteps in the other room. How easily he had made her believe in herself all over again. She turned back and rushed into his study. He must know now what he had done. Her eyes stung with unshed tears and she truly felt someone standing by her... doing nothing but just standing by her side.
He kept the phone away and heard her footsteps. She came in like a whirlwind and hid herself in his embrace, trembling like a little leaf.
His little tornado that she was...so unsettled!
He worried first and then smiled a little at his own thoughts as he held her, gently, caressing her like she were the softest of the feathers in his arms.
"What happened?" he asked after a minute.
The emotions crushed her like waves of tsunami one after the other and she found it difficult to even speak. His embrace... she had been there before but now, at this point, felt even warmer, more caring... more protective. And after ages, she felt a little peace, a tiny urge to let go of the restrictions and swim in the calmness of a sea called Maan.
"Geet..." he crooned.
She raised her head to meet his eyes and he held her, still, in that warm embrace of his that made her feel like "home" after a long long time.
She managed to whisper out and a drop of tear rolled down her one of her eyes, slowly..oh so-slowly like a shooting star saying goodbye to the sky. His brows twitched and a sleek long finger went to wipe that away. In one swiftly gentle move, she felt multitude of emotions hitting her all at once making her lose coherence.
"Never..." he whispered.
His hand went back to his twin, which still sat right on her waist, holding her close. And she just watched him, those dark eyes that locked on hers and like an obedient child, she listened.
"Never ever Geet, regret the decisions you have made. If it goes right, you will make yourself proud and if it goes wrong, still feel proud that you learned something."
She nodded, unknown to herself.
"Will you do that Geet? One thing that I ask of you! Take pride in what you do. And choose your own path confidently."
She nodded and took a step back, not knowing whether this feeling for him meant respect or gratitude but she stuck to them nonetheless. He wanted to say something more but his phone went off again and he sighed in irritation, getting back to it. Something important had come up and he went back to his files. He just told her, like always and in such simple ways that stirred up a storm inside her.
She turned to leave when he called her back.
"Raj is that guy, isn't he?"
She remained stunned for a while before nodding her head. There was no hiding from him, she knew well. And there was no shame in accepting it either. She nodded and he just acknowledged with a blink of his eyes before getting back to his work. No questions asked... no answers sought. All he did was acknowledge her existence. That was it. She walked out slowly, lost in her thoughts again. Only he could say something like that.. a person like him could calm the chaos in her heart, she realized today... someone who can make her feel good about herself...
Someone Like Him...
She came out of the washroom wiping her hair and threw the towel on her bed. Yawning, she sat on the bed, folding her legs and looked at her Kanha, smiling. She picked up the idol and just kept staring at it. She was very calm, unlike other nights, for obvious reasons and wiped Kanha's face with a fresh towel. A thin layer of dirt had settled over her Kanha and she realized now how long it has been since she had been with her Kanha.
"You are happy with your Radha I presume, since you don't complain." She twisted her lips.
"But you do know how I adore you both... Despite not been able to live together, you and Radha are so inseparable Kanha... How did you do that? You both stayed away from each other, not knowing what the other did and still you just loved each other... Is such a love even possible?"
She kept Kanha back on the table and held her blue green feather and fell back on bed. She had always been intrigued about Kanha and Radha's love. How did he even survive without radha and still loved her? She had heard stories about Him and Radha and adored them, felt for them and wondered at their destinies. A faint memory of a song swirled in her head... a song that her mother used to hum while working, while playing with her... she didn't remember a lot of things about her mother but the faint remnants of the song stayed and eventually found their way on her lips.
Krishna... Manmohana.. More Priyavar More Krishna Jaisi Mann mein chchavi... Tum Waise More Krishna..
She was perhaps sailing on the same boat as Radha... she would resign to her fate. In fact she had already done that but then she realized she would always love Raj, despite the distance, despite the circumstances. Just like Radha...
She swiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hands and sighed, looking at the mess she had created. Ana and Kabir watched her in awe as she placed the 10th cookie batch on the counter in front of them.
"pheww... am tired."
Ana rolled her eyes, "then stop this nonsense and take rest you idiot."
She shot her a glare, "shut up and taste it, both of you."
She commanded. And both of them sighed in defeat.
"Mi bella... isn't it enough?" Kabir tried to sweet talk her into stopping her cookie making spree.
"No." she snapped.
"Geet... stop it yaa... I cannot have anymore cookie." Kabir whined.
She folded her hand across her chest and gave him a pointed look, "You should have thought of the consequences before telling me about his birthday this late! Since there is no time to bake a cake, you sit here quietly and tell me how it tastes!"
Kabir sighed, "Everything tastes the same mi bella..."
She glared at Ana who gulped down the cookie she was eating, "This one is okay but I think the sugar still needs to be toned down!"
Geet sighed in defeat. This would be the 11th cookie batch she'd be baking. It was a Saturday and she had just lazily woken up to Ana's call, asking her to make it quick to the estates. She did and realized it was Maan's birthday and that she had no inkling about it. She wanted to wish him but he was at the office. Even though Maan and Kabir were still at odds for some reason, the sibling duo had purchased a beautiful limited edition M9 Audi Titanium camera that cost them a whopping $30,000. She had almost fainted hearing that... the lens encased in titanium, only 500 pieces were available worldwide. And money was the last thing she wanted to spend. Angry that she had nothing in her hands, she had decided to make him some cookies with the perfect balance of sugar, as he liked. But things never turn up the way you want them to! Especially when it concerns her and her monster!
She wanted to be done with the perfect batch before he came back home and hence, made Ana and Kabir the lab rats. But the perfection was far from her reach. Every batch she made, she'd make the siblings taste them and they would reply"too sweet or too bland or too tasteless. The oven timer went off and she snapped back into reality. The eleventh batch was finally done.
Placing the tray in front of the duo, she crossed her arms and tapped her foot, waiting for their reaction.
Ana burped and excused herself. She had had enough cookies to last this week and she knew Geet wouldn't let them off the hook until she found the perfect one.
"Guys, hurry up. He'd be back soon."
No sooner had the words left her mouth, he strode in like a breath of fresh air, making those worry wrinkles vanish from her forehead. She had no time to waste.
"This is yummy Geet but still sweet for bhai.. but you know what, the 7th batch was good."
Her eyes twinkled, "really? I cannot make any more so decide the best one from the eleven batches. Quick!"
She went off to do away with the remaining batter when Ana looked at Kabir and smirked. Catching hold of one of the sweetest batches, she forwarded it to Geet, "here Geet... the perfect one. Bhai would like it!"
Geet sighed in relief. She really wanted the cookies to come out real nice and chunky and perfectly sweet... all at the same time. One of her hands still dirty, she carried the batch Ana forwarded and placed them on a plate. They were hot. She had to be careful as she piped the chocolate on each of the cookie.
Her phone buzzed on the counter and she checked the caller id.
She shook her head, "Ana, can you take the call? Tell her I will call her back in a minute."
Geet finished the plating and saw him walk out towards the lawn with the dog. She quickly took the plate and rushed out to wish him on his birthday.
------------------------------------------------- >>Ooohhh Monster Khurana is quite an observant, isn't he?
>>Lets see how he deals with his over-sweet birthday gift!
>>What do you think? Will he like it or scold her?