My New Banner by Hinal. Do let me know how it is. she puts in a lot of time and effort and I just couldn't have been luckier
@Rashmi di: I understand your concern about Maan-Ana-Geet-Arjun fiasco but bhooli nahin hun mein. sab hain dimag mein.. mere saath thoda patience rakhna padta hain actually... ab writers ke dimag mein hi aisi cheezein aati hain na di... warna koi itna details thode yaad rakhta...
@singh24: why that singer was close to Ana and Geet... lets wait and watch.
@Riya.Raj: hi, welcome back. it is so good to see old readers coming back... more importantly remembering me even after all these years. Abhi Nahin Aana and Parineeta are close to my heart. This was an unexpected one. but I am so glad that you are enjoying this. Let me warn you though, if you are looking for cliched romance and making out, then this is the wrong place. I know I sound mean but this story is different from all others. Yes, there will be romance of course and a lot of it, but in a different way altogether. I didn't scare you away now, did I? Hope to see you more on this thread and All the Best for your exams. @kkiran: the ride is just starting... picture abhi baaki hain mere dost
@Dilsay: thank you from my dil se to you Dilsay... ab light kissing se kaam chalao.. baaki se tho geet bhaag jayegi
@gadhaprem: that definition is coming soon
@nihatri: confused? why?
@TaranaGeet: The analogy with Yin-Yang was beautiful yaa.. you took my heart with that. especially the lines- he knows how to win and she struggled to even be in the race. thanks for being here.
@purrple_orchids: hey, welcome aboard. I am so glad that you are enjoying the story. Geet is like every one of us I guess and that is why perhaps all of us love her here. Hoping to see you more in the story. sent you a buddy request for pms from my pm id. pls accept.
@Semarnk: apologies for giving birth to a murderer...pls don't die
55.She Saw The Passage of Time...
"How long have you been singing Zain?" Ana bit into her burger and licked her lips.
His smile was as warm as his soft grey eyes. His curly hair fell on his forehead giving him an innocent look. His guitar rested against the table and he had joined Geet and Ana for dinner at their request.
"I hadn't been a singer really until a year back!"
Geet just observed. She was a mute spectator between Ana and Zain. He seemed to be amicable and he was very soft spoken.
"Really? You sing so well. No one would actually believe that you started singing just a year back!" this time Geet decided to break her silence.
His eyes met hers and she gave him a sweet smile, encouraging him to go on.
"Does anyone in your family sings?" Ana chipped in.
"In retrospect, my Abba had been a singer all his life. May be I got it from him.."
"Ohh cool. He must be very proud to hear you sing so amazingly." It was Ana.
"He is. He wants to hear me live..." his playful eyes twinkled in the light, Geet noticed, when he spoke of his father.
"You could bring him here."
"he doesn't live here!"
Ana wiped her lips with the napkin, "You mean you don't stay together? Where is he now?"
"He is back home...in Pakistan."
"Mi bella..." Kabir came around and hugged her. She had missed this so much.
She swiftly went into his arms.
"I missed you so much Kabir.."
"I missed you too.."
Kabir had been back to office since he had come back and didn't have time to catch up with Geet. He didn't get time to sit and talk and Geet went back to her apartment with Ana in tow. He had finally been free on Thursday and decided to dine out with Geet and Ana for lunch. They reached small restaurant and ordered their food. Kabir was to leave for a meeting soon and so, they chose a spot near the office. Geet looked around the familiar place and wondered if Maan was in office. He could join them too. She hadn't seen him around since the day the family had come back and guessed he might be busy. She as busy with her projects and Ana and didn't get a chance to call him. her final semester was nearing an end. In a few months, she would graduate. She shivered with the thought and then felt the nip in the air. Temperatures were going down.
"Mi Bella...you should have come. We had so much fun."
"I know. But I had interview lined up..."
Ana made a face, "Fun?? Beats me!"
Kabir laughed, digging into his ramen.
"that reminds me. Ana made a new enemy Geet... and that was the best thing there."
Ana stood up and punched him on his arm, "You are my brother you idiot. The least you could have done is stopping everyone from making fun of me instead of laughing your ass out with that prick."
Kabir rubbed his arms, laughing at just the memory of it, "Ouch... hahaha. Don't hit me so hard. Geet... you should have seen them. Aarush is such an amazing man."
Ana twisted her lips and looked away, feeling angry.
"Stop blabbering. I have had enough insults for a lifetime. Geet...say something!"
Geet laughing seeing the siblings fight. She was now curious about the guy named Aarush.
"Oh come on Ana. it was a friendly banter..."
"Mi bella is right Ana...it was just for fun. We had a good time, didn't we?"
"On my expense? No thank you."
The friendly banter went on until Kabir's phone rang. His PA reminded him of the meeting. he quickly gulped down the remaining of his ramen and saw the girls were not finished yet.
"Sorry ladies. I gotta leave. You guys eat whatever you want."
He handed a bunch of green bills to them, "My treat."
Geet waved him a bye and looked at Ana who was still upset. She smiled and pulled her friend's cheeks.
"it's okay baby. Anyways its over. You probably aren't going to see him ever again. Stop sulking."
"I refuse to be the butt of his jokes! Huh!"
"Umm..Umm.. you want to eat poutine?" Geet asked after a while.
Ana looked around. The seats were filling up.
"Yep...I want some."
"Okay...sit here. let me get them."
Geet walked away and there was long line in the counter. She sighed and waited, tapping her foot.
Ana sighed and took out her phone. Geet would take time. She opened her Facebook account and got engrossed in that until she felt someone sit beside her. She logged out and looked up with a smile.
"Geet you are..."
She stopped right there, her mouth still open wide, in the mid of her sentence.
"You...You..." she couldn't even form a coherent sentence.
His mischievous eyes narrowed and his lips curled into a smile.
"hey... Premchand! I didn't expect to find you in NYC!"
Ana fumed. This man was not in NYC.
Geet's kanha... No!
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Premchand...you must get your head checked!"
She wanted to slap that man dead.
"why do people come to restaurants at lunch hour?" he asked dryly.
She curled her fingers into fists, "This is my table. Go away Prick!"
She swore if he didn't go away in the next 30 seconds, she'd bring the entire diner down.
He seemed not to budge and rested his hands on the table.
"you know there is a saying in Hindi..."
She gritted her teeth, "Stop It!"
"ulta chor kotwaal ko daante..." (it means- pot calling kettle black.)
"What the..." it went right over her head as she gaped at him like he was an alien.
"Aur tum..." he pointed a finger to her, "tum wohi chor ho!"
Okay! she knew what 'chor' meant! She had that much knowledge. She snapped and stood up, banging her fists on the table, "You think am a thief? Listen Mister... get out of this place or else I am going to kick you.
He maintained his composure and ignored her, "you should at least be grateful that the last time you hijacked my table, I didn't say such rude words. You are indeed a thankless and mannerless girl Premchand..."
She was ready to pounce on him, "My name is not Premchand you..."
"hey...what about Premchand?"
Geet stopped and looked at her friend and the stranger with a confused look. The man in front of her looked calm and poised and so handsome and Ana was ready to kill him it seemed.
"hey.." he flashed a smile to Geet.
"Do we know you?" Geet asked.
"Errr..actually the tables are full. I found an acquaintance on this table so came. Hope you don't mind."
She riveted her head back to Ana, "You know him Ana?"
She crossed her hands over her chest and looked away, "Humph! I don't know who this stranger is. Ask him to go away!"
Geet kept the two plates down and waited for anyone to start talking.
He sighed and stood up, "Since Premchand is a manner-less girl, let me introduce myself to you."
He extended his hand to her, "Hi. I am Aarush Mehra. May I sit here Miss?"
Two things happened here. Geet was delighted at his politeness and Ana plotted a murder!
"Sure you can... are you the same person who met Ana in the marriage?" Geet asked thoughtfully and shook his hands.
"Bingo! I am that same person."
Now that was interesting.
Geet did a mental dance and pulled her hand back, "by the way, I am Geet, Ana's friend. Please sit."
"But Geet..." Ana protested but got ignored.
"Come on Ana... he has no place to sit."
"I really don't care." Ana snapped.
Geet smiled, enjoying the irritated Ana. she had always been curious about Aarush from the very beginning and now that luck was being so kind, she couldn't have missed the opportunity. Much to Ana's annoyance she talked to Aarush.
"Geet, just ignore Premchand alright. She is born with a bitter mouth. So, tell me about you!"
Geet was amused, "Why do you call her Premchand?"
He relaxed back and smiled, "You do know who Premchand ji is, right?"
Geet thought for while and nodded, "he is the most reverend Hindi writer, hain na?"
His eyes twinkled and then flicked toward Ana, "and now you know why I call her Premchand!"
It took Geet some time to relate Ana and Munshi Premchand and she burst out laughing. Ana was so so so poor in Hindi!
"Gosh Aarush... this is so... hahahaha... "she couldn't even speak.
Ana felt highly upset about it and shot a murderous glare to Aarush, "Geet, lets go. we shouldn't talk to strangers."
But Geet and Aarush suddenly got so engrossed in talks that she felt like crying. She felt left out. Worst, they were talking in Hindi.
"So Aarush, where do you stay in NYC?" Geet asked.
That man was amazing, as Kabir told, with a great sense of humor.
"I live in India actually, Mumbai to be precise. I am here for some research work on mental state of Schizophrenic brains at the NYS Psychiatrist Institute.."
Ana and Geet's jaws dropped down as the two women gaped at him. he flushed.
"Wh... what do you actually?" Geet broke the silence.
"Well... I am a psychologist by profession, based in India and am here for 3 months for the research program. It is basically a combined research program by both psychiatrists and psychologists."
"Wow... " Geet's eyes turned big round saucers, "Aarush, this is amazing."
He smiled, "seems like Premchand ko meri baat pasand nahi aayi..."
Geet giggled and glanced at Ana who was still in a daze.
She caught his glimpse and looked away.
"Geet let's go."
"but Aarush... Ana, can we wait until he is done?"
Ana hated the fact that Aarush has managed to charm her best friend too. she held Geet's arms and dragged her out, "No. I need to go home. Got some work..."
Geet looked at Aarush helplessly and he nodded with a smile.
"You can have my number Geet. Lets meet up some other day. it was nice meeting you."
His politeness ruled Geet. She was impressed.
Ana waited impatiently while the two exchanged numbers and her eyes met his.
"You know what Premchand, I am not going to give you my number.." he teased.
"I am not asking you, you freak." She snapped.
"Tum mangogi tho bhi nahi dunga.."
"I don't want your stupid phone number.. now get lost.."
He smirked, "You are leaving, not me. So, You Get Lost!"
"arrrghhh... Geet... " she screamed, "lets go."
She dragged Geet away.
"Ahh Ana... but our bill?"
Ana shot a glare to Aarush, "I am sure that retard can pay for all the three of us."
Aarush watched them walk away and sighed, smiling to himself. Coming to New York wasn't so bad after all.
She hummed a tune preparing the dough for her cookies that were demanded by everyone at the estates. She felt happy. Kabir and Ana had missed her so bad that they demanded her to make cookies for them. The parents joined them too and she had no choice but to do so. The lunch with Aarush was a pretty awesome one and Ana was hell irritated after coming back. it was only when the topic of cookies arose that she calmed down.
She kept the dough on the counter and went to get the baking tray when Ana joined her. breaking off a little bit of the dough, she popped it into the mouth and sighed in pleasure.
"This is yummy Geet... too good."
Geet smiled and arranged the parchment paper on the tray.
"sure? The sweetness is okay right?"
Ana thought for a while and sighed, "Its perfect for us and not-so-perfect for Maan bhai.."
She giggled at her own joke and the mention of that name made her think. She hadn't seen him around in the past three days. She wanted to ask but then she kept so busy with college and Ana that she completely forgot by the end of the day. he might be busy because he hadn't texted her too. But to have not seen him for the last three days was weird.
"Hmm?" Ana played with the spatula and watched her friend work her way.
Geet made small balls of the cookie dough and flattened them with her palm.
"Where is Maan? I haven't seen him around."
She placed the cookie on the baking tray and took to another ball of dough.
"Ohh Bhai... he is in Seattle."
She stopped working and looked up, "Seattle?"
Ana sighed and put the spatula down, "han...he missed Nimi di's marriage na... so he went to her to apologize and make it up to her."
She gasped and stopped flattening her dough. But Ana hadn't noticed it yet.
"Maan Bhai and Nimi di are pretty close. Whenever they are together, they are practically inseparable. She was pretty upset about it and trust me, Maan Bhai can do anything to see her smile. In fact he was the happiest in the family when she told she was in love and wanted to marry that guy..."
Oh Kanha... what did I do?
With trembling hands, she placed the tray in the oven.
Ana laughed, "The groom is also settled in Seattle. Apparently he is a doctor and that's why I guess he knows that Prick."
The mention of Aarush made jitters run down her spine.
She saw the passage of time with her own eyes for the once lush green trees now turned fiery red. Sitting by her study table, she remained lost. She had been lost in a world of her own making from the time she heard about Maan. Everyone had noticed her. They asked her but she had refused to open her mouth. When Kabir had dropped her home, he had asked if she was worried about anything in particular but she just went inside, without a word. And so, Kabir gave her time.
She sat down to study but she couldn't concentrate. The tree outside her window, caught her attention and she just kept looking at it, the red leaves, slowly falling down with the wind telling her how much time has passed and how much was left. She never knew he was so close to his cousin but he chose to not go to her on her most precious day and stay with the (un)lucky lass that she was.
She felt her eyes teary and a knot forming in her throat. He never mentioned about his importance at the wedding. He never talked of Nimi... he never told how disappointed he was, if he ever was that is, and he never made it feel that it was because of her and only her.
A chilled wind made her shudder and a drop of tear rolled down. She closed the window and went to the washroom to wash her face and get a grip on herself. Splashing the water, she rubbed her face and rested her fingers on her lips. Goose pimples erupted on her skin as she felt something tingling inside her. Surprised at her own body reactions, she looked at herself in the mirror and then at her lips. Her fingers still rested on her lips, trying to recall something that happened someday she couldn't pinpoint. She tried recalling that night when he decided to miss his flight and stay back with her.
She had been drunk, she remembered and she remembered him coming back. They had talked. She remembered because he had been so distant from her that she hurt. But what did they talk? It was hazy. It was unclear. She could faintly visualize herself in the study and that he was working. They stood close and her vision blurred to nothingness. That was the end to her thoughts.
She zapped back to reality and kept looking at her own face... so distraught by the revelation and overwhelmed with the realization. He meant it when he had said that she was important to him.
Dazed, she walked to her bed and curled into a foetal position. What was happening to her? Her heart was beating so loud...so fast. She couldn't calm down. She was in a weird state of mind where she couldn't cry even if she wanted to. She didn't even know if it was because of the happiness or the guilt.
Picking up her phone, she dialled his number and waited for him to pick up the call with abated breath. What would she say? What would he say? She felt her mind blank.
A few rings later, the call got disconnected and his message flashed on her screen.
"I will call you later."
That was it.
Nothing less. Nothing more.
She threw the phone away and let her tears roll down. She didn't cry. Only her eyes did.
The next day, Ana found her lost in her own world. She tried asking her but Geet remained distant. Throughout classes, she tried making Geet talk if she was facing any problems but all she asked was, "Ana, when is Maan coming back?"
She thought for a while, "I guess tomorrow. Why?"
"Nothing." Geet shook her head and walked away. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt good.
Ana stood there, watching her. The hints had been subtle but not inconspicuous. Was something really happening that she couldn't notice?
It was dark and she pulled her jacket out. It was chilly outside. She had remained home the entire day, preparing her documents and portfolio. Monday was going be a new day in her life. Ana had gone to the office for her pending work and didn't bother Geet. She preferred to stay alone as well.
Maan still hadn't called back. Nor he was back.
She missed him terribly. She hadn't seen him for the past 4 days and to think that he would be in Seattle making up to his cousin made her so so guilty that she couldn't even gulp down her dinner. She kept her bowl in the sink and looked at her Kanha.
"Please kuch karo na... mujhe bilkul accha nahi lag raha kanha.."
She decided to just call it a day, unable to concentrate on anything. Turning off the lights, she went to bed, plugged in her earplugs and turned on the music player. She needed respite from this restlessness of not seeing him. She turned the phone upside down and placed it on her stomach and closed her eyes.
A few good minutes ticked by and she slowly relaxed. Her phone buzzed breaking her reverie and she sighed.
"Ana...!!" she sighed, recalling the assignment they had to submit the next day. Without checking the phone, she pressed the speaker of her earplugs.
"Hey Ana... "
Her eyes snapped open hearing that baritone she had missed all these days.
"Maan?" she whispered, not knowing how to react.
"Yeah. Do you still have a little more space for another round of dinner?"
His voice...ohh dear his voice was like a balm to all her miseries. She sat up cross-legged and brought the speaker close to her.
"You...You are back?"
He smiled at her surprised voice, "Yes. In fact, am right in front of your apartment."
She knew now... he was a man of infinite surprises!
------------------------------------------------------ >>If you think Geet doesn't remember, think again.
>>How many of you liked Aarush? He is turning out to be one of my favs.
>>How about a sweet romantic dinner date in the next?