He stood there rooted for a while..so her name was Geet…and her voice so sweet!! He closed his eyes as the flight took off… her name was Geet..and probably he wasn’t going to see her again..ever!
He finally managed to get inside the car that waited for him outside the airport dodging away the media. He had been keeping too busy these days and the media won’t spare him a minute. His life had become too hectic and work was always on top of his head! If being Maan Singh Khurana means to pay heavily… he rather not becomes one! How he wished he rather not become one….just wished! But it his own hard work, dedication and sacrifices that brought him this fame and all he wanted was just a peaceful day..just one. His parents were so proud of him and dadima..ohh she was just on the top of the world. All these years..he had forgotten most of the things about hoshiyarpur.. but what remained in his memory was her dance..the rhythm of her ghungroos, that shiny stick in her hands and her name. he could never recall her face.. or the sound of her voice… or anything. For him, it was like a memory from a dream!
“Maan beta… we have seen a girl for you…and we want you to meet her…” dadima chimed. He gave her a frustrated look, “dadima….we had talked about this earlier too. I am no where interested in getting married. I have other things to look into…please cancel it..”
His mom even requested him to at least meet the girl. He had been avoiding this marriage topic for so long. He was sooo engrossed in his business…so much restless with the fast pace of life..he really didn’t want to think of anything called marriage. he had thousands of meetings lined up one after the other… sure he loved his work and he enjoyed it but still something lacked. He could never be at home for more than two hours, he was continuously on calls and traveled a lot. It was all his hard work..he wanted to give his entire time to it..and he knew marriage means a big responsibility and he was nowhere near ready to take that responsibility. He feared he may not just be able to fulfill his role as a husband… he was the Maan singh khurana, the best and he knew perfectly well what he wanted and what not. Marriage was too much of a commitment…for him, his work was first and foremost of all.
It was finally the day dadima announced that the girl they had seen for Maan was from HP and that they were to travel to HP the very next day. The name HP brought so many memories back to him…as he lay on his bed, finally taking a day off. He was never interested in meeting that girl…but dadima took a promise from him that this one was going to be the last of all. After that he will be free from every torture regarding marriage. as for dadima..she had clearly declared battle—there was no way Maan could reject this girl! Maan had made up his mind to reject her without even seeing that girl. It will be easier for him and for her as well.
He closed his eyes for a moment… Hoshiyarpur!!! He snapped open his eyes…suddenly being reminded of ‘her’!!! ohh he was going to hoshiyarpur after almost 10 years… faint images of a little girl dancing in the rain flashed in front of his eyes!! What was her name…umm..umm he tried thinking about it…but sadly he just couldn’t remember. He could recall her holding something..just too hazy memories… will she be there? god..what was he thinking? How could she be there after so many years…what was he even expecting! But all of a sudden a fear of a boring useless trip started to seem quite exciting…what if she was still there? will he be able to recognize her? the entire night for him went changing side..just too excited perhaps.
If I should think of love
I’d think of you, your arms uplifted,
Tying your hair in plaits above,
The lyre shape of your arms and shoulders,
The soft curve of your winding head.
She giggled…and twirled around in the rain… those thick dark locks sticking to her face, making it impossible for him to see who she was..but she still had that stupid stick in her hand. He sighed..she was mad. She jumped making the water droplets dance around her feet..in that same old gazebo and he was just pulled towards her like a magnet. He slowly walked across the wide floor..which seemed too wide now and pulled her closer to him, holding her hand. her wet locks stuck to her face and he slowly touched them with his fingers to move them away..a very urgent need to see her face. Her lips quivered as his fingers gently touched her cheek..
His alarm went off as he sat up with a startle. He looked around.. and sighed. It was a dream? And he saw her??? what was going on with him? He ran to the washroom and splashed cold water on his face..he dreamt about her..probably he was thinking a lot. He came out after a warm shower only to see a super happy dadima selecting a dress for him.
“what is this dadima?”
Dadima took out a beautiful white sherwani with velvety blue border with light work on the kurti and passed it to him, “aaj aap ye pehen kar jayenge…”
He rolled his eyes. She was still adamant about that stupid girl meeting thing! Poor her..least did she know that he was going to break her heart. He was no where ready for marriage. the entire khurana family was in pure bliss…after all they were going to meet their bahu. They carried whole lot of stuffs.. he was just a mute spectator of all this. He knew he was going to break their hearts…he sighed and called up his office.. Maan Singh Khurana and a holiday was out of question. Poor adi…his beauty sleep was disturbed with his call. Maan never sleeps..nor does he let anyone sleep.
The cool morning and the dew soaked warm sun just made the drive all the more beautiful. Dadima was too emotional to be going back to Hoshiyarpur after a long gap. They stopped at a small roadside dhaba for a typical Punjabi breakfast. He stayed aloof from everything.. of course for him the butter soaked paranthe were “unhealthy”. He settled with a coffee and some munchies he had carried. It was probably around 2 in the afternoon when they reached hoshiyarpur. Everything was just the same… he looked around.. the same people..the same old lanes and tress… but something was different in the air. The entire place was bustling with people…kids running around… girls giggling..and something else that made him feel so much at peace.
He was so lost in his own world that he never realized that they had already reached their destination. He slowly came out of the car…only to find Mohinder uncle greeting them. He touched his feet not understanding at all as to why were they there! Mohinder Handa..one of the country’s leading economist was their family friend. They belonged to hoshiyarpur but he stayed in Mumbai because of his work. Dadima looked at him and smirked. But he was still so confused as to why they were at mohinder uncle’s place..they were supposed to see a girl right?
The elders talked among themselves which he couldn’t understand. They had their lunch and decided to rest. Maan was very quiet..he was nostalgic. He wanted to go and see their old house..and explore the entire place where he had spent the most beautiful moments of his life. He came out and saw mohinder uncle and dadima speaking to each other in the hall. They looked quite happy. Dadima saw Maan and asked if he needed something.
“umm.. dadima.. I want to go out…”
Dadima gave a meaningful look to mohinder and nodded a yes. He just put his phone in vibration mode, kept it in his pocket and walked out.
Dadima saw him off and turned back to mohinder, “beta…Geet kahin dikhayi nahi de raih?”
Mohinder smiled, “hogi kahin bahar…apne doston ke saath. They have organized some dance/music event in the evening today.”
Maan had changed into a more comfortable track and t-shirt and walked out. The lanes…those house…everything seemed to come back to him slowly..he had missed this place. Even with the vast technical improvements this small town just looked as it was years back. He didn’t even realize how long he had been walking..lost in his memories when he stopped in front of his old broken now a haunted mansion. He felt the corners of his eyes burn… all sweet memories of his grandfather..his old friends..he doesn’t even know if they are still here…
It was old and broken..and no one to take care. He felt bad…and so sad. He stood there for some time and then moved ahead. He vaguely remembered a playground surrounded by boughs..and he just walked ahead. He was consumed by his memories yet there was something different in the air that he could never ever miss. It just gave him a very different feel among the known….something paradoxically strange! Like something was going to happen..but with a positivity. He sighed as he looked up at the sky..the sun was slowly setting down the horizon..leaving its red hue in the sky..and thousands of birds flying back home. He smiled and walked ahead…the same path that he had dreamt. He looked around..it felt all so similar with vague hazy memories coming back him..a little girl dancing..and then a young girl..giggling with her friends….he remembered there was an old gazebo somewhere near. He just got pulled towards the place. But this time he was not alone. There were lots of people going in the same path that he was following. What was different today?
No melody is sweeter, nor could Orpheus
So have bewitched. I think of this,
And all my universe becomes perfection.
But were you in my arms, dear love,
The happiness would take my breath away,
He reached his desired place and people just seemed to follow him there too. There stood the old broken gazebo…but with a different shade today. It was decorated with long red and white see through curtains… carnations…flowers… he could still remember the empty place with the girl dancing..and he was reminded of the dream earlier this morning…. Was she still here? Will he see her again? who was she? He heard people talking and laughing merrily around him. It was then he realized the place looked so different. It didn’t look haunted anymore… it was neat and clean and surrounding place was cleaned up too. He guessed probably some kind of an event going on. he thought he should just go as he was an uninvited guest. He sighed and turned to leave when he just stopped hearing a very familiar giggle. He stilled…. It was the same from his dream!!! How could that even be possible? He turned around…was she there? He looked all around him to see if it was her…he saw kids running around…girls giggling and women chatting about the event that was to take place in a few moments…but his heart searched for her…she just passed him like a whirlwind and the next moment she just vanished into the thin air…like she was never there.
It was as if she was crossing his path again and again and he was just not able to catch her…she was like a butterfly… probably the stars had conspired against him. they laughed at their own plan and peeped out of the curtain of day light…Spreading their twinkling light in the red dusky sky. He just thought he would go… but he didn’t know why he was just stuck to the ground. He could neither move ahead nor backward. He wondered what was happening with him…something unknown…something a secret was making his life move instead of he himself! It felt as if he was not the master of his life today. Unable to think anything..he decided to stay back and look around for a while.
No thought could match that ecstasy,
No song encompass it, no other worlds.
If I should think of love,
I’d think of you.