She instantly stopped and thought for a while…yes…he did help her a lot…how much fun they had together in the college…and how he had always been with her whenever she needed someone badly by her side!!! And then that realization dawned upon her—he was the only one to see her cry out loud…always!!! He was always there..like Babaji always sent him to her when she was down…she just could never hide it from him….never!!
Maano jaise use pata ho ki uske aanson uske dil se ganwara nahi..alag nahi!!!
A smile crept on her lips and a slight blush too!!! But this definitely didn’t go unnoticed by a certain someone….
She served him his hot chocolate with a beautiful smile on her face.
Maan (st): uh oh…she was mad at me right?
But then her smile was so genuine…no hidden meaning…just as pure as her and at that moment he just couldn’t say her anything because that smile on her lips had taken all his attention! He wanted that smile and he got it!! He wants nothing else.
She got back to her work as he sipped his drink slowly…enjoying the taste of her hands…that actually felt so nice!! He was lost in his thoughts when a voice distracted him, “Aap geet ke dost ho?‘
He looked up to see a lady clad in salwar kameez..that lady…he recalled…might be the wife of the caf owner.
She sat beside him..he wondered why!
“I don’t know you well though but I really want to thank you today!”
“Thank and me??“
“yes…this is the first time am ever seeing geet smile so naturally and all because of you! So thank you…thank you so very much!“
She rose to leave but Maan got his 1st clue! He stood up.
“ji ek minute“
She turned around, “yes?“
He smiled, ” mera naam Maan hain..may I ask you something?“
She smiled back and both of them sat!!
“yes you can!”
“ji…wo…geet yahan kabse kaam karti hain?“
Preeto couldn’t be happier…ab she thinks ke aag to dono taraf se lagi hain na!!!
“geet….its been almost over two months!“
Maan nodded but he went thoughtful…why did the lady thank him?? Geet was smiling…how is it related to this lady? He was so confused but didn’t know how to ask that lady when he had just met her a few minutes back!but preeto could understand his confused state of mind!
“mujhe pata hain Maan…aap bahut confused hain..”
Maan was brought back to reality, “huh..ji?“
Preeto gave a weak smile, “bahut hi pyaari bachi haim wo…jab pehli baar usse mili thi thi…ek pal ke liye mein use dekh kar darr hi gayi thi….aankhon mein wo soonapan…chehre par udaasi…shayad kisi sawaal ka jawab dhoondh rahi thi..humari iss choti si dukaan mein kuch bhi theek nahi tha…zyada log nahi aate…kamai bhi nahi thi…
kuch khoi hui us raat pata nahi kahan chali jaa rahi thi akele….bachon se mili…shayad unke chehre par udaasi nahi dekhi gayi…aur aaj hum jo kuch bhi hian…sirf geet ki wajah se…“
Maan listened to each and every word carefully…sometimes he was sure that he understood her…but the next moment he realized that he doesn’t even know her properly!
“yahan humse pehle dosti hui…” she continued, ” phir baakiyon se…caf mein aayi to dekh kar boli—iss jagah ko thodi sajaawat chahiye! Bas phir kya tha…us bachi ne yahan ka roop hi badal diya. She spent her own money on us poor people…use to ye bhi nahi pata tha ke hum ache hain ya bure..bas karti chali gayi!
College ki wajah se har weekend yahan aati aur kaam mein help karti…jab kamai hone lagi to kuch paise dene chahe the humne use…par uss bachi ne mana kar diya….she doesn’t take salary Maan!!“
Maan just kept looking at her…keen to know more!
“par aankhon mein wo soonapan kum nahi hua….use uski zindagi ke bare mein poochne ki koshish ki to uski aankhein bhar aayin…..usse baat karni chahi..par har baar wo baat taal (avoid) deti..kabhi kuch nahi kehti! Shayad mein samajhne lagi thi use…kuch to hai jise wo yaad nahi karna chahti…
Aur aaj aap aye Maan…pehli baar uski aankhon mein ek nayi chamak dekhi meine…yahan uska koi kaam nahi par shayad raj aur Nini mein apna bachpan dekhti aur unse sabse pehle milne aati…aur aaj jo rounak dekhi meine uske chehre par..laga jaise aap hi ke aane se yeh hua hai….humesha uska saath rehna Maan…wo sabke liye hain..but uske liye koi nahi…wo akleli hai Maan!!“
She had tears in her eyes, may be of happiness of finding geet in their lives…! GEET…an inexpressible feeling! Maan sat mum..thinking about whatever preeto had said!
“aap use akele nahi chodenge na Maan?“
He looked up at her and nodded, “wo akeli nahi nahi hain..p…..p..“
“bhabhi” preeto helped him finish his sentence, “geet mujhe bhabhi keh kar bulati hain!“
Maan smiled, “Ji Bhabhi”
X X X X X X X X X X
3 MONTHS LATER
Rahul and Dan sat alone in their respective rooms talking over the phone!
Dan:……I am sure Maan is not coming today either!
Rahul: its been 3 months and every weekends he says he is not free! Its horrible!
Dan: and he never tells what he does either!
Rahul: umm..i think he is hiding something from us!
Dan: am very sure about it. The whole day in college he stays with his best friend—GEET and now he doesn’t even have time for us on weekends!
Rahul: but enough is enough…today evening we are going to spy on him….and know his little secret!
Its been 3 months since that say…Maan never forgot about preeto’s words…but things are really different now.
Maan and geet…now the names have become inseparable..the whole college saw a blooming friendship between the two to that extent that where there is Maan..there is geet and vice versa!
There was a huge gossip about that dic night too..but both od them couldn’t care less! They were so much into each other yet they would never accept each other as Best friends or dates! But the whole college knew the truth!
Their day starts with each other and end on each other…always seen together! Of course girls were super J of geet!!! Maan had completely forgotten about Yash and his moving back to India while geet…about her past life! It was somewhere proving really good for geet….she just didn’t care..she didn’t want to care..she was happy with Maan…happy with her new life…happy with her new friends!
She had become friendly with boys…may be that Sweetu inside was finally coming out! So there was not much fuss about anything. Boys strated accepting and liking her as the prez!
And talk about weekends…where was Maan????
Well…Maan would always end up in her caf. He’d order a cappuccino or a black coffee or a hot chocolate and sit for hours enjoying her…playing with the kids…not to forget talking with other girls who openly drooled on him. And each time geet would be up with her jhoota gussa as to why he was there yet again…cribbing the whole time, but from inside, she really liked him coming for her.
Not that they weren’t attracted to each other..there would be thousands of butterflies in their tummies at little close encounters…her slight blush….those tiny mini eye locks…..the excitement to meet each other…the endless calls….teasing each other…, but they were super busy with studies, seminars, events, functions in college, and of course parties. Their life had become a bit busier to realize anything as of now, yet so so so easy for both of them!
Rahul and Dan secretly followed Maan’s car from a safe distance in the evening, determined to know what little secret he was hiding.
They parked their car behind the caf making sure it went unnoticed by Maan!
Dan (whispering): hey we have been to this place before!
Rahul: shhh….lets follow him!
Maan entered the caf with a smile on his face and rahul and Dan followed him quietlyand stood behind Maan…a few feet away!
Everyone greeted him and even preeto for he had become friends with everyone! Geet came out in her apron, holding a tray full of snacks.
Rahul and Dan were shocked to see this avatar of their prez…and the worst part…Maan knew about it and didn’t tell them!!! They felt so cheated…but evil minds…huh!!!! A wide smile formed on their lips….patting themselves mentally for finding out Maan’s little secret!!!
Geet walked towards Maan making faces, when her eyes fell on two people behind Maan…trowing a wide smile at her!!! and she tripped….shocked again…but she did!!!
The tray fell on the ground with a loud noise!
And she ended up in Maan’s arms…holding her protectively, still unable to believe what she had just seen!!!!