Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all of you. Apologies for no replies. Time is a bit cruel these days. Anyways, now that I am here and the update is ready...
65.Onsra... The bitter sweet feeling that love won't last...
Dhun Sun Bawari Bhayi Raina beeti jaagi na soyi.. Rusuwan Radhe Gayi O re Kanha... Goonj Wo Galiyan Royi... Sang Mere Jamuna Royi Gaiya Royi Bachiya Royi.. O re Kanha...
She gasped when Kanha's eyes caught hers and held her captive. He knew she was here. he knew she'd come. Who was she hiding from?
She returned his gaze and let her tears roll down, without blinking, letting him know how much this separation was hurting her. she didn't want to face him but he just blinked.
She got pulled towards him.
Like he wielded magic in those eyes that pulled her close to her beloved, despite not wanting to.
The chariot halted and time slowed down and slowly everything came to a halt.
Her legs kept walking towards Kanha.
The birds stopped singing. The villagers stopped following. The wind stopped blowing.
She stopped right in front of him and looked at him with her teary eyes and a breaking heart, demanding answers.
"Why so sad Radhe?" the charmer asked her with a soft smile from his chariot.
"Don't you know Kanha, why I am sad?" her voice cracked.
"Tell me..." his calmness irked her and the tears that she had held back all this time, spilled out.
"Oh how can you be so cruel? How can you be so heartless Kanha?" she sobbed, unable to take it anymore...this indifference.
"doesn't it hurt you like it hurts me? Do you feel nothing? How will I survive without you? Please don't go..."
Seeing Kanha so unmoved with her words, she fell on her knees and pleaded.
"Don't separate me from you Kanha... let me be with you please."
She heard faint footsteps but she just couldn't look up. She sobbed and held her heart when he held her by her shoulders and made her stand up.
"Look at me Radhe and tell me why do you think I am separating you from me?"
She wiped her tears from the back of her palms and sniffed, looking up at the beautiful twinkling eyes that held the light of the world.
"I don't want you to go.."
Kanha chuckled, "Duty awaits me my dear. I cannot forego my duties. I have to go. but how us my being physically present or absent change things between us?"
"Didn't I tell you once that You are me and I am You?"
She gasped and stilled.
"You and I are the same. I am yours whether I am close to you or apart.. You will love me the same whether I am here or there... that our hearts will always be in sync..."
He flashed a gentle smile at her which suddenly seemed to wash away the fears in her, the excruciating pain started slowly subsiding.
"And it is because of this... because of who we are and who we will be, whenever people will think of Kanha, Radhe's name will precede his.."
Then, he was gone...
He smiled as he danced with his mother and watched his red little storm sway with his father. Kabir had called for a dance and his parents danced and he danced with Ana and then somehow he never got a chance to dance with her. He had people to attend to. Lots of them. Cousins and relatives who were close by and who could make it. family friends. Colleagues. And so many more...
He spoke to people, men, women, girls alike but never could he avert his attention from her. She danced with Kabir and laughed at his silly jokes. He saw her awkwardness when Ana introduced her to their cousins and aunts and uncles and smiled as she did a shy namaste'.
She closed her eyes and took slow pleasure in relishing the chicken kebabs in the dinner platter, he saw and felt his heart melt.
A step close to nirvana...
Wasn't it what she had framed the other night? When she had nursed him back to good health?
The lipstick on her lips was gone by the end of the night and knowing her, she might have licked it off along with her food. He preferred her that way. Plain, rustic, messy... just the way god had carved her.
She picked the last of the gifts and walked inside the silent room. Everyone was tired. Kabir and Ana had gone to freshen up and Maan wasn't visible. She tucked the pallu of her saari in her waist hem and placed the boxes on the table. she was done for the day.
As she walked towards Ana's room to change, she stopped by the study. The lights were still on. Wasn't it 1am already? The party had gone for long.
She pulled away that tucked in pallu and walked inside, looking around. The mild fragrance of books hit her nostrils that brought her so many memories that she had forgotten. The arch that led to the inner chamber... his study. The crackling of the fire in the fireplace, the vintage clock on the mantelpiece and that pair of dark eyes peering down to her soul...ohh how much she had missed it all. life was running a marathon and she had no time to breathe. She hadn't been to this place in a very long time.
As her steps halted by the armchair and her eyes fell on the man standing by the bay window, she realized how much time had elapsed between them. they hadn't been together in this room for a long time now.
"Haven't you changed yet?"
Her voice chimed in the silence and he looked up from his phone. Turning back in a swift movement, he found her just like how he had seen her back in the lawn. Still dressed in that red saree and that waist chain that still twinkled when light fell, he felt himself feeling the exact same things that he had felt when he had seen her enter the party.
Was that even possible?
"Maan?" she called, wondering where he was lost.
He snapped from his reverie, "Uh yeah...I just got a call."
She traced her finger over the back rest of the armchair, walking around. The small bells in her bracelet chimed faintly, instantly taking him back to the time when she had worn the same bracelet.
Back to the time when he had first felt the love...
"You got a call at this time of night?" she arched a brow, making him sigh.
"yeah. Overseas..." he placed the phone on the table beside and braced himself up to fight the waves of emotions her presence swept on him.
She kept walking until the bookshelf and stopped, as if looking for something. his gaze followed her, sizing her up in that attire that left her back bare to him except where the band of her blouse covered. The waistband twinkled again and he left a long dragged breath.
Her gaze flicked up to meet his eyes, "aren't you tired after all this?"
He leaned against the wall for two reasons.
One, he could comfortably look at her how much ever he wanted to.
Second, to hold his thudding heart that now started to disorient him.
"I am used to all this Geet. How come you aren't asleep?"
She ran a finger along the spine of a thick old book, "Just putting stuffs away. It was an amazing evening Maan..."
He watched her face contort with some thought and found her eyes focussed on him.
"You didn't tell me what gift you for your parents? You were so busy with guests..."
"... and you were so busy dancing.." he spoke playfully in a low voice that made her breath hitch a little.
"erm... Kabir pulled me into it. but you danced too, didn't you?"
He shrugged, "Not with you..."
She gasped at his pointed look and held her semblance, "you wanted to dance with me, eh Mr.Busy Khurana?"
She didn't know from where she got the guts to answer him back knowing he would always come up with something better than her.
Ohh the wits of that man! Ugh..
She watched him straighten himself and take a step closer to her. she felt her breath halt in her throat.
She looked up and froze in her steps as he kept coming closer.
With two long strides, he was standing right in front of her, towering over her; his eyes not wavering, looking straight into her brown ones, with the look she knew that could make her breath go uneven. And it did.
She gulped that nervous knot in her throat and squeaked, "Ma...Maan?"
He held her still with his eyes and gently extended his hand to her, "May I have this dance with you, Geet?"
She watched him take a step back and bow a little, like a perfect gentleman, one hand tucked behind and the other asking her for a dance and she blanked out. Never ever had she felt things that she was feeling now. but things were always so unpredictable and new with this man. Her heart skipped a beat and she, involuntarily placed her hand on his.
He leaned forward and pressed a kiss at the back of her hand.
She left an inaudible gasp and felt goose pimples erupt on her skin. This man...she felt breathless as she watched him take the remote and press the play button of the music player.
She kept looking at him as he slowly lifted her hand up and entwined it with his. His other hand guided her hand to rest on his shoulder and his hand then slipped down to rest on her waist.
She was so lost and so drawn to him that she couldn't even hear the initial piano notes of the music. It was when he tightened his hold around her waist and pulled her closer that she realised the predicament she was in.
You're in my arms, and all the world is calm. The music playing on for only two. So close, together. And when I'm with you So close, to feeling alive.
She was floating in the air it seemed. her feet was so in sync with his that she never realized. He guided her and she followed, lost in the charms of that man. he was that charming pied piper and she was that enchanted child who followed his lead blindly. The gentle breeze from the bay window blew her hair over her face and she heard him chuckle.
"tch..." he clicked his tongue as they moved gently.
She sucked in her stomach as he slid away his hand that snaked her wait and pushed away those hairs from her face.
"Its better this way..." he smiled softly, moving that last strand of hair that hid her eyes from him.
She opened her mouth a little to take a long breath, unable to blink away. his hand that had pushed away the hairs now remained suspended in the air, she knew not why.
"Seems like you enjoyed a lot, eh?" he whispered and pulled out a glittering piece of confetti from her hair.
"Uhh?" she could only mumble.
A life goes by, Romantic dreams must die. So I bid my goodbye And never knew.
His heart thudded with her trembling lips and he suddenly felt nervous in front of her. she wielded magic... his little storm was a woman who could just sway his heart just with a bat of her eyelash. He took a sharp breath in and pulled out another bit of streamer from her hair and glitters.
"Did you come in a gift wrap or what?" he teased.
She smiled and looked down.
"Uh, it must have been the cake cutting..."
And when she looked down, she found a red rose tucked in the breast pocket of his suit.
She squinted her eyes and wondered if he had this rose tucked in when she had seen him first.
So close, was waiting, Waiting here with you. And now, forever, I know All that I wanted to hold you so close.
Her thoughts halted as he twirled her around and brought him back his arms.
She felt that as she closed her eyes. And when she opened them, her eyes met with that wilted rose, whose petals had started falling. She left his shoulder an tucked the rose properly.
"You tucked it in?"
He exhaled and his breath fell on her head, "No. Ana did."
She eased the crease on his suit and looked up at his face, "Do you love roses?"
His eyes thinned as he shrugged in amusement, "Not a fan..."
She scoffed, "Knew it! You monster really can't love anything sweet, can you?"
He raised a brow at her, looking at her pointedly, his head screaming,
"You can't say that Geet when you don't know. I do love a lot of things.." he spoke instead.
So close to reaching That famous happy end. Almost believing This one's not pretend. And now you're beside me, And look how far we've come. So far we are. So close...
"Aha? Is it? Tell me then..." she challenged.
"Do you really want to know?" he asked with utmost seriousness.
Seriousness she couldn't understand.
He guided her steps to a sweep and she followed, giggling as the breeze played with her hair again.
Oh how much she had missed this! This time with him...
Being with him..
In her reckless abandon...
"You have to tell me now... what all does this monster like?" she spoke teasingly and found him looking straight at her with so much adoration that she blushed.
"Alright... the list is long."
She matched her right leg to his right and clutched his hand tight, "I think the dance isn't going to end any sooner."
He sighed and pretended to think.
She laughed and her laughter echoed in the entire room, drowning the music. He was a goner. For a moment, he left like leaning closer and kissing that sugar sweet mouth to capture her glee into himself.
"That I know Maan.. tell me something I don't know."
The voice of the singer remained like a soft lilt in the world that they made.
So close... So far...
"Okay. What you don't know... I love Soccer..."
He twirled her again and brought her back into his arms, his heart skipping beats every time she looked at him.
"Nice... and?" she took a slow long breath and along went a faint musk of his cologne..
The musk that she had come to recognize as his..
She could recognize him now distinctively...
She felt a little dizzy with the thought and shook her head.
"And... I love the color red.."
She cocked her head to the side, "really? Even I love red."
He answered her mentally and watched his confused little red storm.
"don't think so much..." he flicked her head with his finger.
"ohh... okay.. next?"
"umm... next, I love mangoes..."
"liar!" she twisted her lips.
"No I do. I love poetry..."
"riding my bike... jazz music... mom's chole bhature... and..." he stopped and lingered there, looking deep into her eyes.
She felt the anxiety in her rising, "and?"
They stopped moving as he took both her hands in her and pressed a soft kiss on the back of her palms.
Time stilled for her as she froze. The music went on.
Oh how could I face the faceless days If I should lose you now?
He knew this was the moment. the moment he had been waiting for so long. His heart thudded against his rib cage but he didn't waver his gaze even a bit.
"Of all things that I love, the most precious one is You..."
She gasped and tried to take a step back. but he held her hands firm, not letting go.
His gaze... oh Kanha his gaze... she couldn't break free.
"I don't have answers to your whys and hows but all I have is this right now...I am in love with you Geet Handa and I want you to be a part of my life..."
No No No...
Her mind screamed. This wasn't happening.
"No..." she gasped, "Maan..." she trembled. Her body shook as his words sunk into hers.
"Hush!!!" he said in a low whisper and stepped closer to her, his forehead touching hers, his dark bold eyes looking straight into her fearful ones.
"Listen to me."
His breath fell on her lips as a drop of tear trickled down.
Thousands of buried memories and emotions made their way out of their graves...
Love? was she supposed to feel it? and in this way?
"You can catch the drops of rain in your palms..."
The weeping willow flashed in front of her eyes.
And the rains.
"You cannot turn back time but you can make it better than yesterday..."
She shut her eyes tight, curling into herself, "stop..."
The encounter under the weeping willow rose in her mind like the sun. she had been so vulnerable then...when he had questioned her. she was a terrible mess now that he was answering now.
The heart which skipped beats a few moments back watching her smile, now constricted in uncertainty seeing her so scared.
"Little Storm... look at me.." he called out to her lovingly.
"Maan No... please.. what are you doing??" she felt her voice crack.
"I don't ask anything out of you Geet..."
She tried to pull her hands back from his grip but he held on. He had waited too long for this. he wasn't letting it go.
"Look at me now..." he spoke a little firmly.
She sniffed and dared to look up, into his eyes that spoke more than she could handle.
The look she knew now...what it meant.
He was in love with her!
He was in love with her???
Another drop of tear rolled down her eyes.
"I don't ask anything of you but your permission..."
Her lips trembled, "per...permission?"
He blinked in assurance and gently bowed his head in front of her in reverence.
She took in a breath and forgot to let it out!
"I am in love with you Geet... I have been so for god knows how long..."
She bit her lips at his reverence of her. she wanted to cry bitterly.
Why? Why me?
"if I am even a tiny bit worthy of you, Can you think of love again?"
She pulled away her hands finally from his grasp and pressed them on her mouth, stumbling back.
What have you done? to have put me on such a high pedestal...
"If you think I am worthy enough for you, can you be mine Geet?"
We're so close to reaching that famous happy end, And almost believing, this one's not pretend. Let's go on dreaming for we know we are... so close, so close and still so far...
he finally looked up, to meet those beautiful but scared eyes and tell her that it was okay. that it was okay to get scared and that he would always be there to hold her. that it was okay to cry and that it was okay to feel what she felt...but what he saw in her was fear and uncertainty... insurmountable amount of them and then she ran away...
and from everything...
She jumped at the voice and looked behind to see Pooja calling out to her.
"Where are you lost? I have been calling you for a long time now. and what are you doing all alone in here at this time?"
She looked at her blankly and then back at the swing she was sitting on. It was way past midnight and she couldn't sleep. His memories kept her awake...
"uhh..no. I was just about to go.."
She stood up to leave when Pooja held her hand, "don't run away from things Geet..."
"I am not..." she was in no mood to talk to anyone.
"Have some shame! At least don't lie to yourself. Call Maan.. tell him that you are going back to him."
"Stop running away." Pooja screamed angrily and sat on the swing with a thump, holding her head in stress.
She watched her friend and then at the dark sky with no moon.
That night, there was no moon either. She had run away from his study and instead of going back to Ana's room, she had hidden herself in the guest room and cried her eyes out. Like this night, she kept awake that night too and rushed home the very next day, even before the sun was up.
And finally in a desperate bid to get away from everything, she had called Raj up and landed in London!
I am sorry...but for what I have done to you Maan... I don't deserve to be loved by Someone Like You..