She was a bit startled by that sudden voice…but then she smiled a bit, “thank you”, she spoke so softly and probably he lost himself all over again. he wanted to speak more..ask her if she knew him at all…but his mother called and he had to leave.
She heard his retreating footsteps till it wasn’t heard anymore and smiled to herself, “Maan….”, she whispered!
He just couldn’t think of anything but her music and her! its been 2 weeks since they were back from hoshiyarpur…but each passing minute he craved to see her more…talk to her… her music…and the way she sat like that in the garden…she looked no less than a goddess in deep meditation. And the most exciting part was…he had known her since childhood! Her expressions would be worth watching when he told her about secretly admiring her for years! His days went brighter…he excelled even more in professional front as well. And he knew it was all her effect that made things better for him. He sometimes sat in his cabin…looking out of the window..Watching the red sunset..lost in her. he was probably falling for someone whom he doesn’t even know. He had butterflies in his stomach wondering if she even felt the same for him…does he even know him…and a life with ‘her’ suddenly seemed all the more exciting.
Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part,
No, nor for a constant heart.
She walked softly on the dew wet grass, bare feet…her long dupatta brushing over the grass, doing them a favor as she walked straight towards the pond in her backyard. The water felt ecstatic to touch the goddess descending down…her skin sparkled in that warm dawn sun. she dipped in her head to grace the water…taking a bath! She closed her eyes…and his voiced echoed in her ears—she had seem his photograph..and that deep husky baritone of his dominated her thoughts since then.
She emerged slowly out of the water and the water drops stuck to her not wanting to let her go. She pushed her locks back, lost in her thoughts—did he even see her? she walked out of the pond, taking her dupatta that she placed outside and wrapped it around her. her silver anklets felt proud to have stuck to her…teasing those droplets that rolled away from her.
For these may fail or turn to ill,
So thou and I shall sever.
She saw her father speaking to someone over the phone as she got to the breakfast table, after changing! He was planning a grand birthday party for her. they’d be leaving for Mumbai in the next 2 days and her birthday was a week later. She smiled sweetly,– she was going to be 25 now. she placed a kiss on her father’s cheeks and sat beside her. mohinder smiled and looked at her meaningfully. She wondered what the look was about and then realized she was speaking to Dadima… a slight blush crept on her cheeks as he invited her and the entire khurana family for the party and the biggest surprise was…they were to be engaged that day itself. Geet felt her heart flutter hearing his name… they were to be engaged real soon. What would it be like to be with him? she went back to her room and took out his photograph that her father had given her. his eyes were like a mirror to his heart…. He was so…so…beautiful. She couldn’t think of any other word that this. She traced her thumb over his face gently, anxiety filling her as to what was next! She had accepted him as hers since the day she had seen his photograph…and his voice..they were so sincere to her..which gave her the confirmation that even he had accepted her the same way as she had done.
Keep therefore a true woman’s eye
And love me still but know not why,
So hast thou the same reason still
To dote upon me ever.
Dadima went to his study and found him busy with something. She rolled her eyes…he had nothing but work. Does he even realize he was going to get married? She went closer and sat beside him. he saw her and smiled and got back to his work. Dadima made a face and looked away, “since you have so much of work…we are sure you won’t be interested to attend Geet’s birthday with us all…”
He stopped working right there…. Geet’s birthday? Ohh when was that? How old would she turn? Her name was enough to feel excited after a hectic day. he turned to look at Dadima, with a big smile on her face but stopped short seeing that naughty expression. She was in a mood of teasing him. his mom joined them too…teasing him and laughing. He maintained a straight face all the while even though he wanted to smile very badly. They had been teasing him a lot…so he couldn’t have afforded to become the ‘joke’ again. he hated such stupid, illogical jokes…but here he seemed to like it! Mr Maan Singh Khurana was actually liking it! he tried to maintain a brave face… showing that he wasn’t affected at all but his stupid mistake of spilling a bit of coffee over his file was just the right indicator of his condition. Maan had always been a ‘perfectionist’… not even a drop of water had ever spilled from his glass..and today it was coffee..of course a big thing!
He rolled on his bed..not able to sleep… she was turning 25 this Saturday. Come to think of it.. he was 28 now…a smile traced his lips. He has to make arrangements… and the biggest news..they were to be engaged!! He couldn’t believe what he was hearing was true… but then he had never felt this happy. Its like a memory from a dream coming true for him. he never saw her face..doesn’t even know her properly and he has already accepted her as a part of his life.
She looked at his photo again and smiled meaningfully, rolling on the bed. She got up and stood by her window, looking up at the night sky… and saw the stars giggling. She made a baby face..as if asking them why they were being so naughty. The starts twinkled even brighter… and then slowly hid behind the clouds crossing them. She smiled naughtily… realizing what they were hinting at..and laughed. Her laughter echoed all around… and she twirled..rushing to her beloved father to demand her birthday gift.
He couldn’t believe he’d be landing in Mumbai in the next 5 minutes!!! It was finally ‘the day’…her birthday..their engagement!!! He was so happy…so excited..this is the place where she had been brought up!!! He had been here countless number of times… but today it felt special…because ‘she’ was born here!!! This was ‘her’ place! He was so excited but he regretted one thing… he wanted to wish her! come to think of it…it was their engagement and they haven’t even spoken a word properly to each other till date!!! Was it funny? Or silly/ or stupid? Or ironic? He didn’t know.
By the time he reached his hotel suit…he was not in a very good mood. The party was in the evening and he just got the fact that there was a theme to the party he has to follow!!! Maan Singh Khurana has to follow some stupid theme??? That was out of question! And the worst part…out of all things..it was a masquerade ball!!! He wanted to strangle the person who set such themes!!! He was dying to see her face..for once..but nature seemed to play with him every time!!! And he hated it. he saw his mom, dadima and others get things ready for the engagement as they set to leave for the venue. His heart beat faster…. Louder…and yet he was sad..he wanted to see her…at least once!!!
The hall was full of people… relatives.. friends..and ‘her’ friends. He walked in poise and attitude along with monhinder who lead them to the centre of the hall. Everyone was wearing mask..and he just hated it. how was he supposed to recognize her? he looked around everywhere..and every single of them seemed to follow the theme!!! He sighed..wishing he could see her face once…just once…! Mohinder smiled at his condition and realized why his naughty daughter demanded a masquerade ball!!! He kept it to himself as the birthday girl made her way into the hall!!!
Everyone moved aside to give her way..as she walked with beauty and grace, wearing a silvery white gown and a matching feathered mask! He turned around to see her walk past him…and his heart stopped beating at all!!! She had pulled her hair into a bun and probably she didn’t need to even tell how pretty she looked! What will happen if he sees here face..he wondered, if her one grace look just made his heart stop beating. She had stopped for a nano second beside him…did she realize it was him? its only she could answer. She smiled a bit and walked ahead. He stood there..watching her…and a calmness settled over his heart. He didn’t know why but she is the one who could make his heart beat so fast..and it was her who could make his heart stop beating as well.
She cut the cake among huge round of applause and fed the first piece to her father..and then Dadima, his mom and his dad!!! Ohh how he wished she could have fed him as well..but nothing of that sort happened… and he never felt bad either. Somewhere he never bothered about all that. he just wanted to see her..thats it!! he was broken from his trance as mohinder announced for the dance and the elders just moved away, giving the youngsters their privacy. He saw her friends hug her..tease her….and speak to her.. and all he did was to stand at a corner and watch her! he never knew she was so bubbly..as you say ‘chanchal uski adayein..’ which seemed to brighten the party. The entire hall was set up as her 17th century England ball! The musicians got their cue to start while she pulled everyone for the dance.
The music was something that drove everyone to their feet..but he stood there..watching her.. smiling… giggling with her friends… and he was contended just with that! he noticed the music was also chosen carefully according to the theme.. the pianist..the violinist..and the Flutist!!! His eyes immediately went towards her.. who seemed to be get pulled by her friends to the waltz.. she twirled…and laughed…the flutist played and suddenly her entire attention went to the girl playing the flute. She made a cute face..as if she wasn’t playing good. (till 1:17)
He noticed her every gesture… every move ad smiled to himself. He was once again surprised to see her lift her frills and run up to the musicians. He wondered what was she upto when she whispered something in the ears of the flutist and snatched the flute from her! he smiled at her antics…her forte it was! Though he didn’t know ABC of flute but he could guess from her expression that she wasn’t happy. He saw her touch the flute to her lips… and lost him all over again to her tune. But this time..the music was different from the previous one..as if every member in the band knew what she wanted!! The violin music suddenly changed because all the more energetic as she played the flute along. (from 1:17 to 2:31).
She tapped her feet and looked at her musicians and smiled. Her friends seemed to jump around and waltz with whoever they found nearest to them. She was probably setting the mood!! He smiled when he saw her hand over the flute to the flutist and jump down. She pulled all her friends to dance.. running to everyone and pulling them to the floor.(from 2:31 to 2:41)
She ran to the corners, pulling out those who hid shied away from dance. The next moment he knew was her hand holding his and pulling him. she was so in a hurry that she didn’t even notice whom she held..but he did. he held her hand with his other hand and pulled her closer. Their eyes met…for the first time ever…and the music hit their hears! (from 2:41 to 2:55).
It was probably the most magical moment for him..both their faces veiled by the mask…but they couldn’t hide anymore from each other. She was so soft and silky. He wanted to ask her so many thing but then saw her smile. Before he could even understand anything, she smiled naughtily and pulled him to the floor, lifting his one hand and placing it around her waist. He looked at her in surprise… but she didn’t even let him think! The music continued and she gave him a cute naughty look. (from 5:55…)
Like he understood… he smiled back at her and firmed his hold around her waist. He pulled her closer in authority as their fingers laced with each other. He knew what he was supposed to do. She came to him all by herself..and he wasn’t going to leave her so easily. He smirked and led the waltz…tapping his foot along with the music. She laughed and matched his pace, showing him how much capable she was. They dance…and they twirled..along with everyone out there..Embracing each other…excited…nervous…yet happy!