@Marium and @Prinku: Happy belated birthdays to both if you
@Marium: Relationships are like Pendulums... my own words. If I quote, I give due credits. and woman, look at that comment! You can beat the length of my updates!!
@love2_soma: very correctly put. he wanted her to see life and when she is, its uncomfortable. so glad you understood the reference.
@aaradhya: a love triangle? too cliched for my taste... rest assured! @PaintedSky: Absolutely true. her pov has changed, her perspective has changed. she is learning and she is making mistakes and learning from them. thanks for the awesome comment. She was always in a protected environment and that is why she hadn't known the world to even change for her own good. now that when she is getting to know everything of her own, of course she is moulding herself in the way she could fit in her new environment.
@Swt.chilly03: hey, welcome aboard. so happy to see you enjoying. hope to see more of you here
@Madhuri di: Maan ki ladli bigad gayi... it sounded so cute. wait wait... there is a surprise in the update.
@All: thanks for all the patience. I know I haven't replied all of you but trust me, weekends, especially Saturdays are as tiring as weekends. And TBH, I have read all of your comments and loved all of them. And Most of you had the same reaction...why the change! but of course we do change and we don't drift apart from our frnds deliberately. it happens and you don't realize. I hope I am able to answer a lot of your questions in the next two updts.
59.A Drop In The Ocean...
A drop in the ocean A change in the weather I was praying that you and me might end up together It's like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert But I'm holding you closer than most 'cause you are my heaven
Pitter-patter of the rains drowned the music from the Radio Lite 106.7 FM and droplets of the water slid down the window glass in glee. December rains had turned the weather colder than ever and snow was fast approaching. He sat on the beanbag in Kabir's room lost in his thoughts of what was then and what was now.
Shadow of the raindrops fell on the carpet and he keenly watched them, sitting by the window.
"Hey Bhai... your Coffee..." Kabir kicked away the ball that was on his way and placed two piping hot mugs of coffee in front of his brother. The holiday season was a day closer and his brother seemed off about it. People have wound up their works and taken leave. They had too. There wasn't much going on in the office but something bothered his brother.
I don't wanna waste the weekend If you don't love me pretend A few more hours then it's time to go And as my train rolls down the east coast I wonder how you keep warm It's too late to cry Too broken to move on
Kabir had the habit of listening to FM whenever he was alone. And with his troubled mind, Maan had just wandered to his brother's room in the vanishing light and sat there quietly.
Kabir sat down on another beanbag right in front of him and sipped his coffee.
"What is bothering you bhai?" he was always a keen observer.
Maan watched the shadow of the rain dance on the floor as the steam from the mug rose up to warm the winter air.
Kabir watched his brother's expressionless face and let the matter be. Knowing Maan, he knew he wouldn't come up and tell until it became unbearable for him. He wondered from where he got that trait from... may be from his grandfather or his grandmother, considering he had lived the most important phase of his life with his grandparents.
How was life without parents and siblings? More importantly how was life with grandparents? Kabir had always pondered over this question whenever he thought of the kind of man his brother had turned out to be. Was it difficult? Or was it fun? It had always been fun with dadima and dadaji when they flew back to India on holidays. Maan, on the other hand, lived a life he had never seen. And maybe it was the upbringing of their grandparents that Maan was what he was.
And still I can't let you be Most nights I hardly sleep Don't take what you don't need from me
It had been two days to the incident and he had vehemently rejected her calls and avoided thinking about her. He was angry. Not at her... despite wanting to be, he wasn't angry on her. He was angry at something he didn't know of. He thought it was Zain but then he knew Zain was never in the picture at the first place. But her attitude and her novelty somewhere scared him. He thought back at whatever happened between them back in the pub that brought them to such a junction.
It's just a drop in the ocean A change in the weather I was praying that you and me might end up together Its like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert But I'm holding you closer than most 'cause you are my heaven
"Oh my God Geet... whatever happened to you?" Pooja exclaimed the moment she saw her friend walking out of the airport.
She gave her a weak smile, "How is he?"
Pooja sighed and looked down, "he is just too weak. All he is doing is asking for you..."
"Lets go home." Geet pulled her luggage and looked for a cab.
The two women got into a cab and rode for home. London felt new. She was back home after almost a year. A thin layer of snow blanketed the city but failed to dampen Christmas spirits. She looked at the roads and the suburbs through the window and realized she had not thought of home for a long time now. She hadn't thought of London up until the moment Pooja had called asking her to come back as soon as possible.
"Are you not well Geet?" Pooja broke the silence.
"Uhh...do I look like unwell?"
"Your eyes... they are red. You look pale. What happened?"
Pooja's caring expressions made her miss the days of their friendship when they were inseparable. And for the exact same reason, she reminded her of Ana too. She felt a lump forming in her throat and a simmering ache burn in her chest. And suddenly she felt like crying.
"Geet, are you alright?" Pooja held her friend's hand and squeezed them.
She gulped down the lump, "I... I am okay.."
She blinked a couple of times to get rid of the unwanted tears that formed in her eyes.
"I... I wasn't able to sleep in the flight. Just jet lagged." She mumbled.
Pooja nodded, "I know you are worried about dad. Even I was scared when I got a call. He kept asking for you all the time..."
Geet nodded and looked away, resting her head against the window and looked out. The familiar buildings came and went and she entered the known lanes that brought back so many memories of the past...memories of the time when she had run away from everything.
Misplaced trust and old friends Never counting regrets By the grace of God I do not rest at all And New England as the leaves change The last excuse that I'll claim I was a boy who loved women like a little girl
Pooja's father had been weak and she had cried seeing him so. He smiled despite the pain and hugged her and kissed her.
"I was so scared.." she sobbed.
"I am not leaving anytime soon child..." he had assured, "Don't cry now. I am fine...the doctors don't know anything. Huh! Confining me to bed thinking I can recover that way. Don't you think I am too young to remain bed-ridden?"
Everyone laughed and Geet smiled through her tears. He was weak and had difficulty while speaking. But the twinkle she saw in his eyes with her arrival made her cry.
She had sat with him for an hour or two until dinner, telling him about her life in New York, her college, her studies, her friends...but a certain someone remained at the back of her mind.
She retired to bed and fell on her bed. Her small cozy apartment back in NYC had been so comforting. The big room and soft mattress didn't help her tired nerves. She checked her phone and bit her lips. No calls from Maan yet. Why was he angry?
Sleep in an old yet new place didn't come easy and she found herself drifting to the past.
And still I can't let you be Most nights I hardly sleep Don't take what you don't need from me It's just a drop in the ocean A change in the weather I was praying that you and me might end up together It's like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert But I'm holding you closer than most 'cause you are my Heaven
Maan amidst all that seemed to have been forgotten. When some went to get their refills and others went dancing, it was then that Maan held her arm and dragged her out!
She looked at his hold and then at him and followed him quietly outside. His hold was firm and tight and she didn't know what happened to him all of a sudden. Once they reached a secluded place, he left her hand and turned to face her. His eyes were red, like he was angry. She searched them for something...anything that told what was going on in her head but nothing she could understand.
"What happened Maan?"
"It's enough." he snapped.
She shrugged, "what is enough?"
He felt restless amidst everything happening.
"It's late Geet. Let's go home."
He didn't even wait for her. He held her hand and tried walking her out of this place that now suffocated him.
She resisted, "Maan... tell me what happened!"
He stopped and turned back, "You have had enough drinks and it's late. It's not safe to stay back for too long. Let me drop you home."
He tried dragging her but she jerked her hand away, "what are you doing? We just came here an hour back. And chill. I am not alone. I have got my friends. They will drop me home safe. You don't need to hurry."
Her words, unknown to her, felt like someone pouring hot oil on him. He writhed in pain.
He left her hand and held her by her shoulders and shook her, "Worry? How can you ask me not to worry? Geet... you are drunk. You are hanging out with a bunch of crazy people out there so late who are not even trustworthy..."
"Excuse me?" Geet snapped, "What did you just say?"
He returned her gaze with equal intensity.
"First thing, they are not crazy. They are my friends Maan... what is wrong with you today? I am not drunk and don't judge my friends before knowing them..."
It burned him deep down, "How long have you known them that you don't have time for us han? And you are asking me not to judge them? Have you even seen them?"
"It is not about the time... she pushed his hands away from her shoulders, totally shocked and angry at the way he talked, "and why are you like this today? I am not going home. I won't leave without them..."
He ran his fingers through his hairs and left a hot breath of agitation, "fine. Fine. We will stay here for 5 more minutes and then say your goodbyes... gosh... what has happened to you?"
"You can't be serious Maan..." she gave him a pointed look.
"I am. I mean...look at you... look at your hair..." he ruffled her hairs, "what have they done to you?"
"What is wrong with my hairs? I wanted a change... everyone at work liked it..."
She couldn't believe she was seeing Maan in such a state and more than anything else, he angered her for some reasons.
"It looks disgusting..." he bit out, "what has gotten into you?"
She gasped hearing him say so. He wasn't himself. And his words hurt. She had been so happy about her new haircut. And more than anything else, she had been excited to show him her new look. He had been travelling and she had little time in the whole week... agreed. Her eyes filled up, unknown to herself.
"Now say your goodbyes. We are going home!" he gave his verdict and she gulped down that lump in her throat.
"I am not going." She spoke sternly.
"I am not giving you any choice Geet." He snapped.
"I said I am not going..." she raised her voice in front of him for the first time.
"Geet...don't..." he warned.
She raised her hand, asking him to stop, "Who do you think you are to order me around?"
Her words stunned him.
"I am not going without my friends. If you have any issues... you can very well leave."
Zain walked out looking for Geet and found her standing with Maan at a corner. He jogged to them and found their gazes locked in a fierce battle. He wasn't sure if he should interrupt but then they had other places to visit.
"Ahh... excuse me. Sorry for interrupting but we have been waiting for Geet..."
Before Maan could say no, Geet replied, "We are done here Zain. I am coming with you..."
Maan knew that voice and that reply were directed to him.
"...And if anyone has any problem, they can leave this place."
Her words stung. So, everything came to this? He watched Zain holding her hand guide her towards their friends. He took a step ahead and held her other hand, one last time.
"Geet... Just don't."
She looked at his hold and then at him and jerked her hand away from him and he looked at her in anger.
"I don't need you to tell me what to do and what not to... stop treating me like a child."
She felt extremely angry at the way he behaved with her. And she felt his coldness towards her friends now. He didn't like her friends... that was fine. But he had no right to tell something like that to her.
"Fine! I forgot you have very important people in your life. Good. I won't interfere in your life anymore."
She walked away with Zain not even sparing him a look. She was extremely angry... so angry that tears threatened to drop down her eyes.
He walked to his car, texted Kabir that he was leaving and drove off. It was only after she had reached home and fell on her bed that she pondered over the fight that they had. It was ugly. Her brain raked up the bitter memories one by one with minute details and she felt miserable. Why did they even fight in the first place?
She knew he was being crazy but that was so not him. No. she tried sleeping, shutting him off her mind but she couldn't. She couldn't keep her sanity intact and when memories of their fight became unbearable, she curled into a foetal position and cried.
There was no call or text from him the next day. Neither there was any the day that followed. She felt even more miserable as anger mellowed down and things became clearer. And when things became clearer, she felt herself hurting. How could she fight with him? She called him immediately but he never responded. She tried reaching him the entire day but he never answered.
It was only in the evening when Pooja called and informed her of Myocardial Infraction that her father had suffered. Coronary Artery Disease that she had called it and he was asking for Geet. Troubled as she had been, the news had broken her. She had lost her father to that. She had lost dadima to it too. Her beloved uncle was suffering the same fate. She called Maan again but he disconnected the phone. She quickly booked her flights and before anyone knew, she had boarded the plane for London. All she had done was drop a message to Ana that she was urgently required back in London.
He checked his phone and sighed. She had called him but he was not in a proper frame of mind to talk to her. Her words still remained etched in his mind. Probably he was being paranoid about it. He had wanted her to fly and when she was doing exactly that, he felt insecure. He felt he was losing her. She was doing good. She was learning a lot of things. But he was scared.
Yes, he admitted to himself. He was scared of losing her to the world.
And Zain had made him question his existence in her life. He had threatened his position in her life. He didn't wish to talk to her and say and hear things that would hurt both of them. His mind played tricks on him. May be he was wrong. May be he never really meant anything to her. May be she could just go and fall in love with someone who was not him.
He threw the files in a fit of anger and walked out of the study. That room reminded him of her. He was angry at her and he was upset with himself. He needed a respite. And so, he just left to his beach house in Miami, hoping to get some solace there, ditching every Christmas party he had to attend or any family gathering over the holiday season.
Life was different with Pooja and her family. She was happy with them but she wasn't happy. And she couldn't be herself, it seemed. She had to smile all the way. Hold her heart. Think before speaking. Ask before doing. But one thing that held her all through was sitting beside her uncle and talking to him about everything under the sun. He enjoyed talking to her and so did she. He talked of how healthy he was and how the doctors were hell bent on declaring him sick... he talked of the struggles he had faced in life and how he overcame them... he talked of how happy he was to see her and that her arrival had healed half of him.
That Christmas evening, when the world was busy making merry, she sat beside him and talked.
"I am sorry beta...to have called you so suddenly.. but I wanted to see you so badly. Who knows what may happen tomorrow... I may not get to see you ever again..."
She gasped and held his hand, "No No uncle. Didn't you just say you were fine just a minute back? You will be alright..."
"I don't know when this heart would stop beating... and there will always be a regret in my life... he spoke sadly.
Arrhythmia had made him breathless.
"What regret?" her eyes fell on the window and she saw the beginning of the snowfall.
"The one promise that I made to your father."
One flake of snow fell and two followed. And in the blink of an eye, there were hundreds following them. Amidst fairy lights and unfathomable joy of Christmas, the snow danced to music of their own making. Geet followed their pattern until the mention of her father.
He looked at her pale face and clutched her hands tighter, "Would you help me in keeping the promise Geet? His one last wish... and probably mine too!"
The look on his face almost made her cry. She knew she hadn't been much in contact with him but her loved her like he loved pooja. And she felt guilty. She felt extremely guilty to have ignored his presence in his life for so long.
Unpredictability of life had taught her a lot of things but then how could she forget them all?
"Please uncle...don't say like that!" she choked.
"Then please do something for me..." he pleaded.
"Ummm..." she nodded gesturing him to go on.
"We have met this very good guy settled in London. He is Raj's friend and I want you to meet him."
If her face could turn any paler then perhaps she turned white.
Seeing her so stunned, he knew he had scared her.
"Geet... beta you don't have to say yes right now. Just meet him. In fact I have met him personally and trust me, he is one amazing guy. He will keep you very happy Geet... at least meet him once."
"I... I..." she couldn't fathom what to say and what not to.
The snow, she noticed now fell in abundance, like a hurricane that gripped the city and her heart at the same time.
"Please Geet... once. Raj and Pooja like him too. In fact they are the one who chose him for you... they know you better than anyone else. Just meet him..."
Pooja's mother, who had been a mute spectator of the conversation agreed with him too. Everyone else agreed with the idea and suddenly she felt cornered. All the expectant faces, including Pooja's cornered her. And suddenly she felt at a highly unfair predicament of her life.
"But I don't..."
"I understand your fears Geet... but what is wrong in meeting him? if you don't like him after the meeting, you can always say no!" Pooja's mother tried to convince her.
"Say yes Geet..."
That familiar voice had always been her undoing.
Her heart stopped for a moment as she turned back to see Raj right in front of her. Clad in a long trench coat and a cap to keep off the cold, he looked familiarly unfamiliar.
"He is the best one for you Geet. Meet him once. We all want to see you happy. I want it too."
His expectant eyes along with others made her cringe. She wasn't ready to let anyone else in her life right now. And then, she realized, Raj didn't evoke the same feelings as he always used to. She felt victimized by those eyes and nothing else. Shaking her head, she picked her coat and rushed out of the house in the cold.
Walking aimlessly in the snow, she felt her warm tears freezing on her cheeks. Her head was a mess and all she wanted was that one embrace of that man that made everything right.
One embrace that made her forget everything.
One soothing embrace of a certain man that shielded her from every storm of her life.
She called Maan, sitting under the shed of a bus stop, shivering in the cold. Her teeth chattered and her skin of her face cracked.
Long rings went unanswered for the third time in a row and she closed her eyes in defeat.
I am not going without my friends. If you have any issues... you can very well leave.
Her own words echoed in her head right now. Wasn't it what she had spat at him?
Now she knew what she had done. She had asked him to go away.
Ch 59 With mixed feelings as expected The way Geet's behaviour had changed Like maan said Learning to fly It was expected that she isn't going to listen anything maan told But unexpected the way of talking and the words she used And then Both were mulling over that And both having different perspective And it will be so As maan is possessive Geet is not Both have lost the amicability Now difficulty is that Maan is unhappy about losing her completely Geet is only the soothing support But in London U turn Now she is realising her folly No answer And Remembering and regretting the last said words He was gone But We are sure you will create something good for then Jaise "Thokar khane ke baad hi thakur bante hain" We learn from our mistakes And it will be impossible for geet to left the great unknown rishta so easily Waiting eagerly for the next