Maan….. Maan…. Maan…
The crowd cheered and clapped as Maan positioned himself for a 3-pointer. Everyone held their breath. It was just a casual match between the 3rd and the 4th year (final year) students… and Maan…he was the best in 3rd year! There was also a cold war running between the supporters of the 3rd year and the 4th year among the audience!
Maan was drenched in sweat. He was in his vest and jeans, panting furiously. His eyes focused on the basket. So one basket and the victory was theirs.
She stood at one corner, near the court, with her girlfriends, clutching her intricately embroidered dupatta in her beautifully soft hands, holding her breath. Her eyes were restless, her heart beat soaring high. One of her friends commented, “ahh he looks damn hot on the court!“
She shot her a glare…her red plump lips trembling in anger. The girl instantly shut up! If looks could kill, then she’d probably have been incinerated by now! How dare she talk about her Maan like this? Her big deer eyes clearly showed her anger. Laden with a thick coat of kohl, they couldn’t hide that fury in them.
A strong wind gushed past her and her silky locks left no stone unturned in kissing her extraordinarily beautiful face…caressing those lips and soft cheeks!
She turned towards the voice, fighting with her hair that barred her vision. It was another of her friends!
“dekho…he is going to shoot!“
She bit her lips, nervously. He was ;looking a bit disturbed today, she had noticed. Something was bothering him, she didn’t know what! Or else, Maan Singh Khurana missing any of his shots—that was out of question.
Maan tried to concentrate again. He took a deep breath in and gambled with his shot…and closed his eyes! He was not able to concentrate today!
And her heart sunk. The ball missed the basket by a cm. and there went a chain of sighs and “aahs”. The 3rd years lost the match today. The seniors jumped and screamed merrily, having defeated one of the strongest teams of the college…more of defeating the great Maan Singh Khurana!
The bell rang and all headed to their respective classes. Maan stood still at the centre of the court…lost in his thoughts.
“anishaa..chalo class ka time ho gaya hain!“
“nahi…tum sab jaao, ” she looked at Maan. Standing there alone, “hum thodi der baad aate hain!“
Silence surrounded them. She slowly yet gracefully walked towards him…her payal singing a sweet note. She stood behind him quietly. Non moved an inch. He could sense her behind him…a smile crept on his lips!
“she is coming back…“
Anisha looked up…he had turned to face her. their eyes met… there was a twinkle in his eyes. Even she smiled back…there was something in this man that always held her captivated!
She could see that happiness on his face…he was not at all sad about the match. She felt much better now. She turned to leave when he held her hand. She blushed instantly. She slowly turned to look at him, her lashes falling down in shyness.
He was so awed by that beautiful face in front of him.
“Maan…” she wriggled her wrist, “hume chodiye na…“
He heard her soft voice, breaking his concentration from her face. He smiled naughtily and held it even tighter. She wriggled her hand and pouted cutely. He instantly let her go…but today his mind drifted away from anisha! “SHE” was coming back. he couldn’t wait to go home. Uff this anxiety!!!!
Anisha had run away long back! he pushed his hair back, smiling and walked off.
He ran upstairs to jasmeet’s room. He found her in the study, lost in her files. He pulled away the file from her and made her sit on the couch and himself sat on the floor and held her hands.
Jasmeet: aaj itna khush lag raha hai Maan…kya baat hain? Anisha ne kuch kaha kya?
And she winked at him. He blushed a bit and shook his head!
“nahi mumma…wo baat nahi hai!” he placed his head on her lap. She caressed his hair, gently massaging his head, “phir kya baat hain beta?“
He smiled, “wo kal waapis aa rahi hai na!“
Jasmeet felt the corner of her eyes burn.
“usne bataya aapko when is she reaching here? I wan’t to go and pick her up!“
Jasmeet sighed sadly, “usne mujhe kuch nahi bataya..shayad aaj tak thodi naraz hai mujhse…“
“phir aapne usse wahan boarding school kyun bheja?” he complained. He remembered how much he had cried the day she had left!
Jasmeet; acha…use yahan se nahi bhejti to tujhe pagal kar deti wo…keh rahi hun Maan…uss gundi se dur rehna!“
Maan laughed at this.
“acha mumma..she has completed her P.U na… has she applied for any college?”
Jasmeet went thoughtful, “kaha to tha usne ke she wanted to do B.Tech…phir…she never told me anything“
Maan was elated. Wow…that was sooo cool. He was also doing his B.Tech and just entered his 3rd year in the reputed National institute of technology, Delhi! Getting into it was a tough job!
He straightened himself, all excited about ‘her” doing B. tech. Jasmeet saw his excitement.
“maa se pooch le..she knows things about her, more than me! She must have told her already about her arrival!“
“yeah…teri Dadima ko sab bataya hoga usne,,,now rush!“
Maan just rushed out like a whirlwind and drove off to Khurana mansion as fast as possible.
Jasmeet looked at her table. There was a photo of Mohinder and hers, holding a year old little geet in their arm. She caressed the fame over their faces as tears rolled down her eyes.
“she is the best thing you have ever given me… and she is the 1st and last thing that you ever left with me…“
Anisha got off her car right in front of her mansion…more like a palace it was, gracefully and elegantly carrying herself. She couldn’t stop smiling. She slowly went in and headed towards her room!
She stopped right in her tracks, biting her tongue. She looked at her watch. Oops…she was a bit late! She slowly turned around, “Ji..Maa..“
A lady in her early forties, walked in front of her, dressed in heavily embroidered saaree and laden with jewelleries. She had an aura of her own…the servants stood still. Yes, she was Gayatri Thaku, the queen.
Gayatri: why are you late?
Anisha looked down fumbling with her words, “wo..maa..hum….wo…“
Gayatri smiled, “aap Maan ke saath thi right?“
Anisha blushed, “ji…wo..aaj unka basketball match tha..hum wa..wahin the..“
Gayatri caressed her daughter’s hair, tucking them behind her ears!
“aap preincess hain beta…Maan ke saath rehna galat nahi hain..par aapko samaye ka bhi khayal rakhna chahiye..hum koi bhi laparwahi bardasht nahi karenge!“
It was a bit stern. Anisha sighed, “ji maa aage se aisa nahi hoga!“
“jaiye..freshen up. Hum nashta bhijwate hain aapke kamre mein!“
She just fell on her bed as soon as she reached her room and took a relieved breath. She looked at her wrist where Maan had held her…and couldn’t hide that smile.
“tho geet..aap waapis aa rahi hain! Ab to hum bhi aapse milna chahte hain..maan is so happy that you are coming back!“
She hid her face in the pillow and rolled on her bed!
Maan reached Khurana mansion and was surprised to see all the decorations being done. He rushed in, bumping into servants, busy in decorating the whole mansion.
“dadimaaa..: he screamed, “dadimaa….“
She came hurriedly to the hall.
“kya hain Maan?“
“Dadima..ye sab kya ho raha hain?“
Dadima had a wode smile on her face, “as if you don’t know!“
He looked blank!
“arrey aap bhool gaye Maan..she is coming tomorrow! Ye sab unke liye hi to hain!“
“that’s strange…mumma ke ghar to kuch bhi nahi ho raha hain…“
Dadima kinda preferred not to answer that!
“khair chodiye..waise aapke liye ek surprise hain Maan…“
“and whats that?“
“she is joining NIT Delhi..“
He went frozen for a moment…OMG his eyes widened in surprise!
“Dadima..she qualified for NIT…ohh god..i can’t believe it..dadima..am sooo happy…! Orientation ceremony is just day after tomorrow…“
He held Dadima’s arms and twirled her around…wow….he is finally going to see her the next day!
Roops opened her eyes yawning. It was 7am and she was a late riser! But somehow managed to wake up early today! After all, they’d be going back home today!
She started packing her stuffs when she got her call!
Prem: hey roops…yaar am so excited. Can you believe it…we made it to the NIT…OMG all three of us…“
Roops bit back, “yeah right..tu padhne thode jaa raha hai..tu tho un stupid girls ko check out karne jaa raha hai!!
Prem: ahh…jealous han…Maan bhi jaa roops that you like me…in fact you had a crush on me since std 7th!
Roops: ha ha itna sada hua PJ tha! By the way tu itni subah kaise uth gaya aaj?
Prem: ohh teri…bhool gaya…geet uthi ke nahi? She has all my certificates and forms I need them!
Roops: saale…aaj tak apni cheezein khud nahi rakh sakta? Hold kar 2 min…I need to wake her up!
She put the phone little away from her and shouted, “GEET….uth ja…aaj waapis nahi jaana kya? Maan bechara would be waiting for you…..”