@ALL:Happy Valentines Day to all. Thanks for liking this story and showering me with all the love and making me feel special. This Update is dedicated to all of you!
@malar: hi. its so good to see you commenting and I absolutely loved it. About Kanha, you don't need to be a theist to enjoy his stories. he was just someone like you and me but a little different at the same time. If not God, take him as a friend, like I do. Looking forward to seeing you more on this thread.
@anmirza: doesn't associate love..hmm! Now that's a problem, isn't it? Lets see what I can do about it! someone needs to break that bubble of hers and who else is better than her Monster Khurana?
@maaneetsangel: I love love loveee your comments! I don't say it always but I always look forward to reading yours. pets indeed can sense atmosphere. Thanks for all the awesome comments. @_SnowFlakes_: I miss dadima too. we need to find a 'jugaad' right? What do I say about Maaaneet conversations... they just flow on their own. Some people are just meant to be like that.
@soch_ti: nayak nahin... khalnayak hun mein.. *Raj singing to you* @hira2010: thank you for the lovely poem... Indeed bitter but good for health!
@Kkiran: three??? I make one and its more than enough. I give up. But see how she has made her monster khurana special? @Zeehana: thank you. They are just like you and me... normal. and thats why they connect. @SHIK.LOVMAANEET: I totally understand where you come from and at some point or the other, I have been at that juncture too so yes, just like you, if someone said that to me, I'd have cried like a baby. thank u for the lovely comment and glad that you are feeling better.
@STAR: you know who you are! Thank you wouldn't suffice for the times we have spent all these years but you will always be my star! remember that, okay!
32.There Comes A Time...
He was greeted by that sweet smile that brightened his evening. He had always spent his birthday with his family... With Dadima. And with her gone, he had felt himself breaking apart when he had woken up. Memories of his grandmother making him "thandi kheer" on every birthday of his without fail haunted him. He had felt that piercing void once again, almost to the point of feeling a physical pain in his heart. But he had endured and gotten out of the bed. He had managed to get himself ready and get through the day and he had done well to quite an extent. But if he ever were true to his heart, all he wanted to do was curl up in his room and just be there. Without the world interfering and without a soul around him. Alas! But that were never to happen. He had to work. He had people waiting for him. He had a family that wanted to share his little joys in life. And so, he had dragged himself and slogged through the day.
His pup was someone who understood him perhaps. He never questioned. He just remained by his side. But he had forgotten another soul that had made her presence felt in his life.
She stood in front of him, wearing an apron, flour sticking to her sweaty face, eyes squinted in delight and that messy hair sticking to her forehead; she extended a plate of cookies layered with chocolate. He gaped at her like she was an alien. He had been so spaced out all day long that it took him some time to realize what was happening.
"Uhh..?" he managed to mutter.
She flashed him a cheeky smile, "I made cookies for you."
He looked at the plate and then at her and smiled softly, "Thank You."
"Try one and tell me how it is." She chirped.
He shrugged and took a bite and revelled in its creaminess until the sugar hit him and he cringed.
Her face fell seeing that reaction and then she saw him glare at her!
"Is it not good?" she stammered.
"Geet, do you want to kill me on my birthday? What is it with you and sugar?" he chugged down a glass of water to get away from the taste.
"But this is the best batch with the least sugar I have made of the lot..."
He picked up a cookie and shoved it into her mouth, "then why don't you try one?"
She took a bite and then realized what had gone wrong. Ana and Kabir tricked her. They gave her the wrong batch!!! It was sweet... sweet she could handle. He couldn't. She sighed. She should have tasted it.
"Okay I am sorry... Ana just gave me the wrong batch."
She watched Ana and Kabir come to them and present their gift to Maan. Kabir looked away and Maan noticed that. But even then, he knew he cared.
Geet opened her mouth to chide Ana but she felt and sharp pain on her arms.
"Ouchhh... Ana what are you doing?" she winced as Ana pinched her harder.
"Miss Geet Handa, you disappointed me!"
Geet looked at Kabir and Ana who definitely looked angry.
Kanha, wasn't I supposed to be mad at them?
"What did I do?" she asked, caressing her arm that hurt now.
Ana gave a defeated sigh, "why did you bunk college yesterday?"
Geet thought for a while and answered, "I wasn't feeling very good. But that I had told you over the phone, hadn't I?"
Ana thought and gave her friend a pointed look, "do you know why Pooja called you a few minutes back?"
Geet looked at her blankly, "why? You picked up the phone Ana.. you must know.."
Ana rolled her eyes, "She called you to wish you on your birthday you idiot. A belated birthday!"
Geet gasped and then froze.
"It was yesterday, wasn't it? And you lied about not feeling well! I don't know why you never told me Geet. Why would you do that?"
Did it even matter anymore?
She had woken up lonely in her apartment and realized it was her birthday. Her special day it was. But for some odd reasons, she felt lonely. She missed her parents. She remained on the bed not willing to face the world. And she decided to stay back home and just pass the day doing nothing. Expectations had hurt her in the past and she just wanted to spend time with herself. She looked at her kanha and gave a weak smile. She called Ana and simply told she wasn't feeling too well to attend college.
"Geet... I am talking to you. Where are you lost?"
Ana's voice brought her back to the estates. She looked blankly at everyone.
"Mi bella...it was your first birthday with us. You could have told us na.."
She didn't know how to reply to the broken voice of Kabir. She had no answer. Would they believe if she told she had wanted to stay alone? Would they not question her reasons and let her be?
"I... I am sorry but I just didn't want to celebrate..."
He understood that feeling. He understood it really well because he felt the same. There comes a time when all you ever want is to just cut yourself off from this world and hide in the tiny little world you have created for yourself. Hiding from everything seemed so cowardly but he knew what it meant for someone like him... people like them... him and Geet. He didn't even hear what all conversations they had and when his parents came to wish him on his birthday and got to know about her birthday that she had hidden so well.
"Maan..." his mother called softly, "lets go out for dinner."
"Mom... no please..."
"I know you miss her and I am not asking you to do something big and gala. Just a family dinner. Geet had been all alone on her birthday too. We don't want our children gloomy on their special day."
He watched everyone agree but Geet. She raised her eyes and their eyes met. She wanted to say something, he realized but then she was dragged away by Ana and Kabir towards the car.
Dinner was pleasing. They had a good time talking and teasing. His parents wanted to order cake for both of them but they refused. They just had their favourite food and he watched her lost in some thoughts. She had been spaced out all through the evening until it was time to leave. Ana suggested that they would drop Geet home and then come back.
"I will drive..." Maan offered surprising everyone.
He took the keys and waited for everyone in the car. His parents left, giving them time to have fun. Ana plopped herself beside Maan and kabir and Geet took the seat behind. 15 minutes of silent drive brought them to her apartment. The wind was cold and pleasant. Onset of spring perhaps. She got down and invited everyone for coffee.
"I have some muffins too.." she smiled.
Kabir jumped, "I am in."
Ana looked at Maan and pulled him out, "bhai, come with us. She makes awesome muffins."
He looked at his sister and then at her. She just blinked softly, asking him to come. And he nodded. They walked into her small and cosy apartment and she turned on the lights. Ana, like home, plopped herself on the cushion on the rug and Kabir took the chair beside. Maan noticed her house for the first time.. it had nothing much but enough. He looked around and found her books strewn on the table beside and her Kanha beside her books. He smiled.
She had gone to get the coffee done and Ana took the liberty to look around and found a few photo albums on her bed. She picked them up and peeped into the kitchen.
"Geet, you have got your albums?"
"Yeah. I got these when I came back from London."
"Can I look into it?"
She walked out with coffee and muffins and found the three looking into her photos.
"Geet, you didn't tell me you danced?"
Ana asked, holding out a picture of Geet dancing.
She picked up a mug and handed it to Maan.
"Oh.. I used to. Back during my graduation days."
She took a seat beside Maan and relaxed.
"Mi bella, who is this guy dancing with you?"
She took a closer look at the pic and smiled, "Thats Raj. He had been my dance partner then."
Ana looked at Geet once, "Geet, did he call?"
Geet smiled, "he called this morning."
Ana wanted to ask something but then didn't, owing to the presence of her brothers and took a bite of her muffins.
She leaned back on her chair and relaxed.
"Happy birthday Geet..."
His whisper came as a soft breath of air that tickled her. she shivered and turned to see him, his face close to hers and his eyes commanding to meet his. She obliged and nodded softly.
She managed to murmur. He raised his hand and pushed that strand of hair that fell on her eyes and withdrew to a more comforting position, away from her.
"I..." she started, making him look at her.
"I am sorry I couldn't get you any presents." She confessed and he smiled.
"You baked eleven batches of cookies Geet, isn't that enough?"
His smile was infectious she felt because she found herself smiling along too.
"Yeah but nothing came out perfect." She cribbed, twisting her lips.
She was back to her old self. He chuckled.
"You can't expect everything to be perfect Geet..."
"yeah but still..."
"You have already gifted me so why are you worried?"
She looked confused, "and what did I gift?"
He slipped his hand into his pocket, took out a set of keys and dangled it in front of her, showing off the keychain.
"Well, that explains!"
Her lips curved into a wide smile. She couldn't believe he used it for his own car. That meant so much to her.
"What do you want for your birthday?" he asked.
He raised his brows, "nothing?"
"Yeah. I am not much of a gifts person. I like enjoying with my friends. That is enough."
He smiled at her naivety and watched her pick up the cups and trays and walk into the kitchen. The window by her study table was open and a gust of wind blew away her books and papers, throwing them on the floor. He sighed and walked to pick up the papers. Ana and kabir were in some serious discussions, probably planning a gift for Geet and so he let them be.
Sitting on his haunches, he picked up her notes and books and a few papers and some news paper cuttings she had kept. It looked familiar. Taking a closer look, he found those from the New York Times Employment page. There were some slots highlighted and a few bills along. He sighed taking a quick look at those and kept them back on the table as they were.
She walked towards the parking along with the siblings, thanking them for the dinner and the ride back home. Ana wanted to drive and so she snatched the keys from Maan and admired the keychain.
"bhai, this is awesome." She admired the keychain.
Kabir hugged Geet, "happy birthday again. And next time, don't hide anything from us."
She nodded, "I won't."
"You promise Mi bella?"
"ah han..." she agreed and he pressed a kiss on her forehead, "Take care and smile okay?"
He hopped into the seat beside Ana and looked at Maan who stood beside her, tapping something on his phone.
He looked up, "yeah?"
"How did you know about Raj?"
The question had been bugging her since the day she had confronted him about this. He had known all this while and how, she had no idea. He walked closer to her and softly patted her head, like she were a child.
"Geet, you aren't the only one with good observational skills."
"Good night. Take care."
He didn't even let her speak. He just got into the car and they drove off, leaving her alone with her own thoughts and problems at hand.
"Oh My God!!!" she gaped at the beautiful pair of red stilettos placed in front of her.
Ana gave a cheeky smile, "yes baby. That's for you... your birthday gift!"
"its...its beautiful Ana..."
"I know right.." Ana spoke, pride laced in her voice, "When I saw this, I just knew this was meant for you..."
Geet hugged her friend who had come to her apartment to drop off the presents.
"Thank You so much but Ana, there is one problem!"
Geet, for some reasons looked embarrassed.
"Ermm...I.. I can't walk in those. They are too pointed and high to my comfort. Hats off to you for carrying them with such ease..."
Ana rolled her eyes, "Geet, wear those to the ball. We can work on the walk but you must."
Geet didn't have it in her to deny and such beauty were those shoes that took her heart away. They had the annual ball coming up in the college.
"Hey, you don't have your baking classes today?" Ana checked the time.
"Umm.. actually, I erm.. the timings have changed Ana."
"But they were on Thursdays right?"
"yeah... now they are every Friday. I will go tomorrow."
"...that reminds me. We all are going to a small picnic on Saturday. You are coming with us."
"Picnic? Where to? And why?"
Ana sighed, "Actually, this project thing had brought so much tension into the house and bhai and Kabir are still at odds. So mom and dad decided to just spend the whole day together. Added to that, we hadn't been anywhere after dadima's demise. I will pick you up Saturday morning. We won't even be going far. So you don't worry."
Geet nodded and saw her friend off. She closed the door and turned back to see her Kanha on the table. She felt guilty about the lies she had been telling but then, she had no other option. Knowing Ana well, she knew she had to keep this a secret. Her life was taking a turn and she had no idea how to deal with it.
----------------------------------------------- >>Oops, Geet in trouble! And Maan has found something about her!!
>>Lets see how they deal with this!
>>A little precap, just to be nice.
The sky rumbled and then it poured, making her squeal. He held her hand and pulled her close.
"Ready to run?"
She giggled feeling the cold droplets of water dancing on her skin, "I don't think we would make it back without getting wet."
He wiped the water off his face, "Hurry up now. lets find a tree or something."
He held her hand tight and ran, looking for a tree dense enough to hold them from getting wet. and she giggled in the process like a kid, following his steps.
"its awesome. It's been so long since I have last felt the rain like this..."
"me too.." he screamed, not allowing the sound of the rain drown his voice. Her enthusiasm was catching up with him.
wonderful update-part30(sorry late comment)...geet met adi while hault on Iceland... adi was shifted to geet seat & maaneet were together in business class... she was surprised to see the food was served only for business class...when she argued about about her seat he told he had to resort the things to his way... after landing geet was surprised to see change in maan's behavior when maan asked driver to drop geet to her house... after one week she visited estate where she 1st time notice kabir was arguing with maan... was maan had some bitter past about love?... ana wanted to settle their fights but both with anger went to their room... geet was surprised when maan asked her to leave him alone still she silently entered in his study room... she gave him beautiful Keychain which made him smile ... she told him as she also had problems in her life .. lovely maaneet moments.. now geet's monster made his impact on her...you are simply Superb... !!
Amazing update part31... geet was overwhelmed when she was appreciated by maan about her decision for selling her property...maaneet slowly getting closer...geet was still radha of raj... geet was trying cookies for maan's birthday & tasted by ana & kabir... sweet cookies??
Thank u for the update and pm..so it was geets birthday as well..maan and geet both felt the same...geet is in sum kinda financial problem which she doesn't want to share but I guess maan ko pata chal hi jaega..let's see how he acts..will be waiting..