@All: Come on You lazy people, catch up with my pace!!!
@Twenty1st: yet to read the rest of the comment
but to clear your doubts,
Mann and Maan have the basic pronunciation difference.
Mann (similar pronunciation to PUN in English) means heart.
Maan (similar to TAN in English) is Pride, as you mentioned.
I think now it becomes easier to relate!!!
"Kataware-Doki" means Twilight, originating from the
Hida dialect of Japanese.
Kataware means "a fragment" and hence,
Kataware-doki A Fragment of Time in the Twilight.
"Say Maan, what are you doing tomorrow?"
He was relishing the chole bhature when her voice caught his attention and it was then that he realized he was at her place for dinner. As demanded, her mother had pampered him with chole bhature and he had forgotten the world up until this moment.
"Umm, nothing much..." and he concentrated back on his food.
Piyali could only smile at this moment. He couldn't even wait to chew or swallow the food. He had to speak with food in his mouth. He had always been fond of chole bhature and she was the happiest woman in the world right now, seeing him so.
How long had it been that she had felt this happy?
"Why don't you take me around this place, if you don't have plans that is?" she put it out gently.
She had realized by now that the marriage had left bitter scars on his heart. The least she could do, as a friend, was to help him recover and she meant to do it by distracting him from the memories.
It was all he could say. The chole-bhature had been out of this world and his concentration was right there, refusing to let other things distract him. It had been a while since he had a nice fulfilling meal, perhaps ages. The satisfaction of the moment was hard to let go.
The sleep had been peaceful after a happy meal and he was glad he could sleep peacefully up until the moment his doorbell screamed cruelly and he found Piyali at his doorstep.
"wake up sleepy head... you are supposed to give me a tour of this city today." She barged into his apartment like she owned it.
He stood by the door, a little disoriented from sleep and watched her work her way around his house.
It had always been like this with her. They had been best friends from college and there were some liberties that had come with that friendship.
"Don't stand at the door mister and go get ready." She stood by the couch, her hands on her waist, tapping her feet on the floor, waiting for him to say something.
Clad in denim shorts and a white top, she looked exactly how she looked back from college- hair up in a tight pony tail, a backpack on her shoulders and white sneakers!
"give me 10." He could say only so much and rushed to freshen up for the day.
When he walked out, putting on his watch, he found her in his kitchen, rummaging through the fridge.
"Piya, you hungry?" he watched the time. 10am it was.
She looked up and one shaped brow went up, "dude, you don't have a thing in your fridge. How are you surviving?"
He opened his mouth to say something but she beat him to it, "fine. I know you are a lazy ass. We will get something form the way back. Now hurry up."
They walked out and he dragged her towards the bus stop.
"Hey hey, aren't we taking the car?"
He flashed a smile, that she had missed all these years, "if you want to tour this city, then you must do it like a tourist."
They caught the double-decker tourist bus and took to the open-air upper deck. The weather was not very sunny and not very chilled either, perfect for a pleasant tour.
"so, what's our first stop?" she asked, clicking the pictures of the Scandinavian city.
He opened the tourist map they were handed over while climbing the bus, "the first place we are going to visit is the Vasa Museum, famous for it's Vasa Battleship, dating back to..."
"Maan Smile..." she spoke all of a sudden and before he could understand what was going on, she had already captured him on her camera.
"hey, don't do that." he frowned.
She checked the pic and looked up at him, "you need to learn how to smile, Mr. grumpy."
"hey wait, aren't we going to the old town? I have heard a lot about it."
"you mean Gamla Stan? We could go but I want you to see it after dusk. I am saving the best for the last."
There was a definite twinkle in his eyes when he talked about that place, must be very an amazing place for an amazing night out, she gauged. They never realized how time passed so quickly. They covered the museum, the Stadshuset, and the Moderna Museet. They had lunch at a local diner and headed towards the boat tours of Skargarden, as the sun started it's homeward journey.
The boat made its way through the arteries of canals through the city, under the arched bridges, the orange globe playing hide and seek with the tall buildings in between. They stopped at the end of their tour and sat their quietly before getting off, taking in the view of the setting sun. the water lapped against their boat in a sing song manner as the giant ball of red slowly dipped down, letting dusk take over.
She stood up and clicked a picture of Maan against the dusky horizon and found him a little lost.
"earth to maan...hello? you there?" she chimed, breaking his reverie.
He snapped out, "uh huh? What?"
"what are you thinking?" she put the camera back inside her bag pack.
"Nothing serious. I was just thinking about the day. It's been a while since I took such a relaxing tour."
And that was true. Being with Piyali, made him think of the person he had "not" been all these months. He wasn't himself at all. Old friends have some magic in them perhaps. You may not have been in touch for years but when they meet, they always bring out the best in youthe real you. The happy you. The advent of Piya did exactly the same. He had laughed at her silly jokes, he had talked about old times in college, he had heard her reminisce all of their stupid moments and he had enjoyed all of it.
"Glad to see you enjoying." She smiled gently, feeling happy in her heart that he wasn't moping about.
"Let's get going." He urged and she immediately held his hand and stilled.
"No wait. It's such a beautiful dusk...let's stay back a little while."
He watched her looking at the horizon and relaxed back. Indeed, it was a beautiful dusk.
"you know..." she stated after a pregnant pause, "the dusk is a border between two things..."
The gentle breeze and the tiny waves bobbed their boat rhythmically.
"like light and dark, life and death, between two instants of time. It is at such a border that all things are possible. what you wish at this juncture, shall come true."
He watched her still looking at the sky, lost in her muse. As if on cue, she turned to face him, "what would you like to wish Maan?"
It was one Friday evening that he had gone to pick her up from her University and he hadn't been in the best of his moods.
She hopped into his car and she being she had to talk.
"...I had this assignment to submit and I had completely forgotten about it up until this morning. I woke up at 5...imagine, me waking up at 5am. But I completed half of the assignment before leaving for college and rest I completed between classes. Gosh, I was so scared that it might affect my grades and I, Geet Handa, always had the best grades in my entire life!!! But now that..."
She stopped, watching him lost in his own thoughts, with that frown marred on his forehead, he looked troubled.
He didn't hear a bit.
"Maan? Maan, are you listening?"
He snapped out of his thoughts and looked at her, "yeah? You want anything?"
"stop the car please."
"why? Anything wrong? Are you not feeling well?" he was worried a little about her.
"No, please stop the car for a moment." Her pleading eyes were his undoing. He quickly swerved to his right and halted the car at the nearest parking lot.
"Now tell me, what happened?"
"huh? What happened?" he seemed so clueless about everything.
She sighed and suddenly lurched ahead, cupped his face and held him still, "you look worried about something. What happened, tell me. Daddy says, sharing troubles will always leave you with a calmer mind."
He was a little taken aback with her demeanour today. It was usually the other way around, all the time. She was the kid. Who knew she had another side to her as well?
"Nothing important Geet. Forget it."
The urge was great to scream out his frustration. But she wasn't the kind of person to understand such stuffs. She was a child at heart and for him, it was unfair on his part to burden her with his worries. He tried to push away her hands and start the car, but she held her ground. She didn't let go. She looked right into his eyes and demanded to know.
It was an overwhelming feeling for him...to share his part with someone. Having lost his father at a young age, he had to take up the responsibilities of his mother and sister at a very young age and that changed him for good. He was tuned to listening to others and dealing with his troubles on his own. The arrival of Geet in his life seemed like a turning point.
Someone who actually wanted to know about him...
He held her hands gently that rested on his cheeks and let out a long, troubled sigh.
"It's about work. Nothing important really."
She tilted her head a little and blinked her eyes cutely, "if it wasn't important, you wouldn't have been this worried."
He couldn't look away from her at that moment. She was more than she showed to the world. He felt some kind of emotion he just couldn't express in words and so, he just kept looking at her, blankly.
"See, I am telling from personal experience. Just share and you will feel better. Say it now. Come on..."
"and if I don't?" he asked, bemused.
"then I will keep bugging you until you can take no more."
She said it ever so innocently that he couldn't help smile. Shaking his head, he narrated the incident that took place at his workplace and how his promotion was at stake, all due to his boss.
"Gosh..." he ran his fingers through his hair, "I have never hated anyone in my life to this extent. I wish he vanished from this earth...then..."
"hush!!!" she quickly pressed her palm onto his mouth and shook her head.
The warmth of her palm seeped into his skin and he absorbed it like sponge to water. It felt so good, this little touch of affection.
"it's dusk. So hush!" her big round eyes demanded his obedience.
One dark brow went up in amusement as he slowly pulled her hand away from his mouth, "it's dusk, so what? You talk weird stuffs, Handa."
She twisted her lips, "it's not weird okay. You shouldn't talk bad things during dusk and twilight. It's bad omen."
"and why is that?"
She turned away, "offo, you don't understand. Whatever we wish for, at dusk and twilight, will always come true. So never, ever speak ill of anyone at this time!"
"what nonsense!!!" he scoffed and turned on the ignition, ready to move on.
"it's not nonsense okay. If you don't believe, then try it. Wish for something now and then see."
"You seriously believe in those stuffs?"
"yes. Now take a moment, and wish for something."
Geet had later come up with that weird name she had read somewhere... what was it? He couldn't recall.
He felt a tug on his hand and realized he had been spacing out. So many things remained in the back of his mind as he was dragged ahead by his friend who seemed super excited for the next place that they were visiting. The dusk had paved way for the night and it took them almost an hour to reach their desired destination.
"Maan...come on!" she dragged him towards the brightly lighted and crowded alleyway, "we are finally at Gamla Stan!!!"
The fairy lights of the old town welcomed them to an entirely new world that it was. Alleyways lined with bars and eateries, cafes and bookshops, souvenir stores and junk jewellers, it was a party of the medieval times in itself. He watched Piyali squeal in excitement as they grabbed something to snack on and kept watching her as she walked ahead, clicking pictures after pictures.
He had been here before too, with Geet. Gamla Stan was a place straight out of medieval times. The meandering bewildering labyrinth of tiny winding streets, mysterious vaults and ancient frescoes lurked behind the picturesque faade. She had liked this place...no no, she had fallen in love with this place when he had brought her there.
He would have dwelled further had his phone not screamed, saving him from the mess of his head. It was someone from work asking him about some issue. He felt bad for the support team who had to work on weekends as well but nevertheless, it took him a couple of minutes to deal with the issue. He slid the phone into his pocket and looked around for Piyali, who was nowhere to be seen.
"Piya?" he called out in the crowd, lest he missed her. He quickly called her, looking around the stores but she was nowhere to be seen. She wasn't answering the calls either. A familiar worry simmered in his heart, as he made way through the crowd, looking for her. A dj vu of sorts filled his head and the present blurred...
"Geet? Geettt" he panicked when he didn't find her around.
He had brought her to Gamla Stan and she had loved the place. Being the tourist attraction that it was, the old town saw footfalls in thousands, especially after sunset. The night-life of the medieval town was famous for its street shows and bars. She had been with him, holding his sleeves in the crowd but somehow, in the emerging crowd, he never realized when he lost track of her.
He called her immediately but for some reasons, the call wasn't getting through. He looked around the stores, worrying about her safety. Being a weekend, the alleyways were filled with people, chattering and walking all around, some with food and many with alcohol in their hands.
After a few minutes of looking around and tracing his way back a little, he found her sitting on the steps of an old building, her face buried in her palms. Relief washed over him as he breathed out in ease and stood in front of her, patting her head.
"Geet, why did you leave my hand? And why isn't your call getting through?"
She looked up hearing his voice and bit her lips to hold herself. Her tearful eyes surprised him to a great extent. She quickly averted her gaze and looked down. He knelt in front of her lifted her chin to face him, "hey, what happened?"
She sniffed and then she couldn't hold back her tears. She let them roll down and slid into his arms. He had never seen her cry. If at all, he had always seen her talk and talk endlessly. He was surprised to find her this scared, this emotional.
"Geet", he called out lovingly, wrapping his arms around her and gently running his hand over her head, "I'm here it's okay."
She didn't cry but she whimpered in his arms, trembling in fear. It surprised him and worried him at the same time. It was only for a few minutes that he had lost her and to see her like this, didn't settle well with him.
When she didn't say anything, he let her be and waited for her to calm down.
"Are you alright?" he asked lovingly to which she nodded, wiping her unshed tears in his shirt.
"I'm sorry..I just...I..." she tried to explain herself.
"It's alright Geet.."
She pulled herself out of his embrace and looked down, "I just... get panic attacks in overcrowded places. I don't like being left behind. I'm sorry."
He didn't know why he did what he did back then. He leaned closer and placed a kiss on her forehead, the first brush of affection they experienced then, and smiled, "I won't leave your hand now...come on..."
She tapped his shoulder from behind, "Hey, where are you lost?"
He looked back and found Piyali right in front of him with a big smile on her face. The haze slowly cleared and the present seeped back in.
His silence made her wonder what was going on in his head, "Maan, what happned?"
He zapped back to reality, "Uh...no..nothing. where were you lost? And why weren't you picking up my call?"
"Oh...I just went into a gift shop and since my phone is in my bag, didn't realize it was ringing."
He didn't say anything more. The memories had disturbed him. Piyali must have sniffed it so seeing him disinterested in anything, even the dinner and small talks and decided to take him home.
His apartment was dark and he kind of liked it. What irked him now was the constant presence of someone around him. He had had a long day and the memories had drained him out. She kept walking around his house and he wished she left. He stood by the window whilst she worked her way around the house, doing god knows what.
He still hadn't been able to forget her!!!
The realization had dawned upon him long back but the acceptance of it today made him shiver. How difficult was it going to be? She had decided to leave him and he had given her that liberty to choose, like every other liberty he had given her. His feelings seemed to choke him now...the kind of feeling when you have too much to talk but you can't. you just can't say it out. There was no one to tell him what to do with those memories and there was no one to ask him what truly was the state of his mind...and all of a sudden everyone seemed so distant...suddenly he was in the middle of a crowd, screaming out loud yet no one heard him. He screamed and screamed out his agony, his anger and yet, no one could hear him.
"Maan...we forgot about the groceries..."
"Piya, go home. It's late." He said it curtly.
She probably failed to understand him and tapped on his shoulder, "yeah. I am coming tomorrow after work. we both can..."
"JUST LEAVE ME ALONE for a while, will you?"
He couldn't hold back in. he had to let it out somehow and he did. The screams no one could hear made him angrier, made him resent every thing and every presence around. he wanted to be by himself and continue living the way he did...but Piya wasn't helping.
She jumped in fear and stood aghast, seeing his sudden outburst. She had tried to be with him, the day had been wonderful, but then what happened that he became so resentful all of a sudden? He had never been this rude to her ever. Unknown to her, tears just welled up in her eyes, threatening to fall.
He watched her eyes slowly getting read and realized what he had gone and done. In his own world of troubles, he had hurt Piya. He pinched the bridge of his nose and looked away, ashamed of himself.
"I...I'm sorry Piya..."
He couldn't say more. She reached to him and hugged him from the back, "it's okay..."
She rested her head on his back and whispered, "It's okay Maan. Just take care of yourself. I will see you later."
Everything happened so fast that he didn't know when it all ended. She slipped out and walked away, not before placing a grift wrapped box on the coffee-table, which he didn't bother to look at.
The night had been one of the worst ones ever. He couldn't sleep. Things kept popping into his mind one after the other and for the first time, he wondered if she was at peace back home. Unable to take it anymore, he pulled on his jacket and stood by the window, hoping the cold wind of the twilight calm his head.
The sky wasn't dark and the light wasn't there either. It was strange time, as Geet would often say, twilight is a fascinating time of the day-- is it dark? Is it light? You don't know. Strange things happen at this time. There was a particular word she had learned from somewhere... what was it called?
He thought hard as he kept staring at the light and dark sky...something about time...doki..
"kataware-doki..." he smiled a little to himself, "the time when wishes come true."
Did they wish for a separation at 'kataware-doki'?
After long time came to the forum .i was so surprised to see your new FF.from the start it is so emotional.. thanx for this lovely ff but maan n geet divorced is only hurting more. Hope something happy will happen.
Hi, Cannot wait for more past and future and present... but this update was great... has he really separated from her... not sure... his mind, body and soul still belong to each other... they are away from one another but Maan and Geet have not gone away... how could they as we could see their care for each other... it has just started but yet we could figure out that they must have been very emotionally tied to each other... his wishing for their separation to end in the twilight zone... is that not enough to see how much he is missing her... and that speaks volumes that their bond still seems strong... whatever drove them to this separation is to be seen but separate they are not... Thnx