He blinked a couple of times as a car stopped right in front of him..honking. he looked at the driver swearing at him or standing in the middle of the road, lost in his thoughts. It took him some time to realize what was happening and moved away. he got back into his car..and drove towards the auditorium where he saw the ambulance moving out. His heart almost stopped beating…his past and present stood right in front of him…together… not helping him in anyways. He was just too scared to even hope anything. He just followed the ambulance till it stopped in front of the hospital and she was rushed in.
Prem and Aryan spoke to the doctor who was seeing geet. But maan just stood quietly… scared and numb. What has she done? Why the whole world was against him when he really wanted to be with her? His one mistake probably cost geet’s life! How he wished he had read those papers as always before signing. No wonder mumma was so upset. He saw the doctors rush to check geet. His time stopped. It was raining that day also when anisha had rushed out of the house and took the car. She drove madly somewhere and he tried to stop her, following her in another car. Rains blurred the vision and she hit a truck right in front of her. He couldn’t anything that day… everything happened in front of his own eyes. Will he be able to survive of something happens to geet today? After a long time he had come in terms with the fact that she was the reason he was alive…that cute laughter..her naughtily sweet talks… her devilish mind, always upto some mischief…will he be able to survive? And this time he knew the answer…NO!
He heard his phone ringing. It was dadima. He didn’t know what to say..or how to say. He answered the call only to hear a hopeful dadima, “maan… aap geet ko la rahe hain na ghar.. hum sab kabse unka intezaar kar rahe hain…”
[maan..you are getting geet home na…we all are waiting for her..]
He looked around only to see prem and Aryan looking tensed and prem throwing glares at him. Just then jasmeet and roops came running, asking what happened. he took a deep breath in and spoke, “wo…dadima…geet..geet is in hospital…”
Dadima was shocked..geet in hospital? Was she okay? Was the baby okay? She asked him the place and rushed out, leaving the kids with the nanny. He saw jasmeet looking at him, tear eyed. He slowly went closer and held her hand, “mumma….please hold yourself..”
Jasmeet knew maan too well. She knew he wouldn’t say anything to anyone…but geet. If ever he was sad.. he needed only geet. If he was angry… it was geet. If he wanted to cry…it was always on geet’s shoulder. She was his lifeline perhaps. And even now he wasn’t able to say anything because there was no geet, though his trembling voice and face screamed out his state. She hugged him and cried. He held her close and tried to soothe his own aching heart. Dadima rushed in and the first thing she asked was about geet. The doctor hasn’t told anything at all. She looked at maan who stood with jasmeet…and then looked away and turned to Aryan, “…and the baby?”
Aryan shook his head indicating they knew nothing about it. But that struck maan! Baby? What baby they were talking about? His heart seemed to suddenly beat faster. He stod there, trying to decipher their talks. But nothing made sense. He looked at jasmeet but she was very quiet. He went closer to them and tried to ask what they were talking about. Roops stopped him, showing her hand and spat out, “if something happens to her or the baby…I wont spare you … you have already done enough damage..”
Baby? He stood their shocked…it didn’t take him long to realize that she was carrying!!! Their togetherness flashed in his mind… as tears clouded his eyes.. it was his baby! He knew it… it was his!!! He felt delighted actually but yet again a pain surfaced his happiness…she never told him?? Why? He looked at dadima and his mumma…everyone seemed to know except him!!! Why? Why did they hide such a thing from him? He wemt closer to jasmeet and held her hands, “why mumma? Why did you hide this from me? Mera baby mumma… my baby….”
Jasmeet looked away and spoke slowly, “she didn’t want you to regret the baby too..”
Regret the baby too? What did that mean? Did she think he regretted everything? This was too much of a news for him. She was carrying his baby…he wanted to meet her right now and hug her tight…kiss her all over and made her understand that he never regretted anything about them! He felt cheap of himself that’s why he distanced himself from her..not because he regretted!!! They saw the doctor come out looking worried. Jasmeet rushed to her and asked if geet was okay.
The doctor looked at everyone and then asked jasmeet if she could see her in her cabin right now. Maan saw everyone. There was definitely something wrong that the doctor was hiding. He felt his breath go uneven. He followed jasmeet and entered the cabin with her. The doctor didn’t recognize him.
“…and who might you be sir?”, she asked politely.
“I am her husband….tell me what has happened to her!”
The doctor looked at him with annoyance, “where had you been all these days? She hasn’t been keeping very well… I had warned ma’am as well…”
Jasmeet cut her in between, “hows geet doctor? And the baby?”
“geet is fine..but I am afraid….”, she stopped in between, wondering how to say nything at all.
“but what?”, maan demanded, suddenly very scared of the outcome. He just hoped everything was fine.
“the fetus couldn’t survive….i had already warned her about her fluctuating hormonal levels…”
Silence filled the room…jasmeet was shocked…but maan sat still. He lost something once again!!
“I don’t understand what she was stressed about… I asked her not to take so much stress… Mr. khurana.. did she tell you anything..like what was she bothered about? Her fluctuating hormonal levels made it dangerous for the baby…”
The doctor continued to speak but he was in no position to even hear anything further. He stood up abruptly and walked out…feeling so lonely..and so broken. His entire world seemed to crash down. he saw an anxious dadima, roops, Aryan and prem…who waited for him to speak everything…anything!!! He spoke nothing and stood in front of the door, watching her sleep so peacefully, through the glass. Why did it happen to them? He was reminded of him pushing her away that morning…she had cried so much… she even confessed her love.. and he just couldn’t do anything for her. He couldn’t keep his promise… he couldn’t be happy for their baby..and he just can’t cry as well.
Dadima tapped his shoulder, “what did the doctor say maan? Is everything okay?”
Everyone asked him…tried to get something or the other..but neither did he budge from that place, nor even moved. He just stood there.. watching her. He never realized when jasmeet had come out and broke the news to everyone.. he never realized when dadima cried.. or called out for him. His life was inside… trying to hold on to her life… how could he have moved!! It was the next morning when the doctor gave them permission to see her. Dadima had gone back home at night and came back in the morning. Jasmeet sat there all night.. roops brought food for everyone. They never asked maan… not did maan expect anything. He just stood like that… wondering how to tell her…he wanted to cry.. and break down and let out everything that he had been hiding..but even this wasn’t possible if geet wasn’t there. Aryan did ask him to at least have some coffee but he denied. He stood there until the doctor permitted them to meet her. He rushed in before anyone could and closed the door. He looked around… everything was in white…monotonous and silent…creating analogy to death. He hated the feel that was set within him. The entire feel suffocated him…and the smell of medicines made him uneasy. He looked towards the bed and there she lay, covered in a white sheet…with her eyes closed, lifeless. No one would say she was awake looking at her condition. His heart went heavy seeing her like that… so silent…so very unlike her.
He inched closer and stood beside her. He gazed at her face…she looked so beautiful. He wondered if anyone looked beautiful on a hospital bed but yes she did! Her skin glowed and her lips were dangerously red. There was not even the slightest tinge of pain or anything. She was as calm as the ocean… as white as snow…and so beautiful. He sat down beside her…somewhere soothing himself with the calmness he saw on her face. He held her hand that rested beside her and kissed it earnestly. He couldn’t see her this silent…his tears fell on her palm and she moved a bit. She turned her head towards him so gently..he could do nothing but stare at the stark beauty that lay in front of her. She slowly opened her eyes… and looked at him which made him think over once again. Her eyes held no light… like there was nothing within her. Her beauty dangerously contrasted that emptiness in her eyes. He didn’t know what to say or what to ask. He gently leaned forward and traced his finger across her cheek softly. She looked at him…but never reacted. She tried to move her other hand and placed it on her stomach…as if asking him if her baby was okay! He saw her question him… without actually saying anything. His emotions lay heavy on him. He had to tell her.. as more tears spilled out of his eyes. He placed her hand near to his heart and shook his head for a no and looked down, clutching her hand tight. She didn’t even speak. Everything went silent. She never cried. He looked up to see her reaction but was shocked to see her move away her hand from her stomach and look away from him and close her eyes.
He was scared to death…he had expected all kinds of reaction from her but not this. Not her turning away… not her coldness….not her silence! He tried to call her, “geet… look at me please… geet…”
She didn’t react..neither did she answer. She laid like that and her hand that he held went still. Her hold loosened and slipped away from his. He looked at her hand and back at her. He stood up and cupped her face, compelling her to react, “geet… wake up.. speak to me… fight…cry… shout… do anything but please don’t stay quiet…geet…”
She refused to even open her eyes as if she heard nothing. Her beautiful face glowed in the light…which was so deceiving he felt. She neither moved..nor opened her eyes. He knew she was hurt once gain because of the baby. He couldn’t see her like that and walked out, walking past everyone who stood there, waiting for him to hear something about geet but they were scared seeing him so much in pain. Dadima and rest rushed in to see her. They called out to her but she never responded. She did open her eyes for a minute or so just to show them off that she was alive and that’s it! They called the doctor asking what was wrong with her.
“she is probably trying to come in terms with loss..please leave her alone and let her rest..”
“when can we take her home doctor?”, jasmeet asked.
“she is a bit weak right now.. you can take her back tomorrow evening…”
Dadima saw geet, staring into oblivion and then remembered maan walking out. She went out to look for him and saw him standing by the window in the corridor. She went closer and placed her hand over his shoulder,” maan… did she speak to you?”, she asked softly.
He turned around with tears in hi eyes and hugged dadima, “everything is my fault dadima… sab meri galti hain… meri wajah se aaj geet iss halat mein hain….”
[everything is my fault dadima… its because of me that geet is in such a condition..]
Dadima didn’t know whom to make understand—geet or maan? She made him sit on a near by chair and herself sat beside him. He placed his head on her lap and cried silently. Its been a very long time that he cried openly. He had never cried like this with anisha. The last time he cried was when his parents left him.
“shh…don’t lose heart maan… at least we re glad that she is safe….”
Though dadima was upset with maan at some point but she couldn’t see him breakdown like that.
“you have to be with her maan and not breakdown like this…she needs you…”
Jasmeet was just nearby when she heard dadima’s words and smiled inwardly..as if mocking her fate. The story has come to a full circle now. Once there was a time when she told geet to be with maan no matter what..and now is a time when dadima is saying all this to maan. She sighed and walked off.
The whole day people tried to speak to geet or at least get some response from her but nothing amused her anymore. Not her friends.. not the world..and not even the people. Maan didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t even moving a bit. By the end of the day everyone had given up hopes…and maan sat dejected until the ids called him asking him where he was. He was sitting near geet as she kept staring at something only she knew of. He looked at her..may be she could speak to the kids!!! She was very much attached with them.
He tried to speak cutely, “yep..aapki mumma tho mere paas hi hain… par dekho na kisi se baat hi nahi kar rahi..”
[yep..your mumma is with me… but see she is not even speaking to anyone…]
“papa… mumma se baat karao na…we know she will speak to us..”
[papa…give the phone to mumma no… we knew she will speak to us..]
He eyed geet who was trying to turn her face towards him, “ummm..umm.. dia.. she is not speaking to anyone…leave it.. she won’t even speak to you…”
She looked quite restless. He smiled inwardly and faked innocence, “you need something geet? You…want to speak?”
She still looked the same…emotionless..her eyes remained dry and aloof. She didn’t even try to protest when he teased her not giving the phone. His heart ached seeing her like that. He was reminded of the baby…he never had an inkling about it and he lost it without even getting it. He gave her the phone and saw her struggling to hold it near her ears. She was still quite weak. He slid closer to her and held the phone near her ears and asked softly, “is it okay now?”
She didn’t even listen. She tried to speak to the kids but her voice was hoarse, “hello…d..dia.”
“mumma… where are you? We want to go to you…”, namra cried.
“yea…yes…you…”, she was choking. Maan took away the phone hearing her discomfort and spoke to the kids, “I will get you tomorrow okay?”
“promise??”, dia squealed.
“yep…promise..now be good girls and go to sleep. Dadima will be home soon…”
Geet dozed off early with those sedatives given to her. Aryan managed to persuade everyone to go home for the night. Prem was not willing to go..considering the fact that maan was there too but Aryan stopped him, “its not the time to fight prem… just leave… at least for roops and aunty…”
Maan didn’t bother explaining anything to anyone. All he wanted to see was his old geet..who has probably gone too far away from him now. Aryan got a call from anu. They had been together for quite a while.
He heard her chirpy voice, “Aryan..where are you? I have been waiting for so long… “
He closed his eyes remembering she had arranged dinner for the two of them. How could he go when geet was in this condition? It was the 3rd time he’d be saying her a no…not that he never went..but he had been with geet for the past few days because of her condition.
“sorry anu…but geet is serious…am so sorry.. but am in hospital right now…pls don’t feel sad…”
He did notice that sudden drop in her voice, “ohh…ok…i…understand…”
She disconnected the call and looked at the table she had set for both of them. She has to spend the dinner time all alone once again. He was always busy with geet…she stopped and shook her head. What was she even thinking. Geet is serious… and of course he was right in staying with her. She’d pay her visit the next morning.
Aryan sighed and went to check geet. He had completely forgotten that maan was there. He opened the door and stopped there… seeing maan sitting beside her and caress her face lovingly. he smiled and moved closer and placed his hand on his shoulder, “you should rest maan…”
He immediately retorted, “no am fine…am not leaving her and going anywhere..”
He was like a child, Aryan felt, getting possessive about his favorite candy! He sat on the nearby couch and watched him hold her hand and sit there. His mind went back to those days in college when he had first met geet…him falling for her…their early morning driving sessions…her nautanki…his realization about geet and maan…nothing had changed over the years…yet everything had changed. His lashes dropped and he dozed off.
Maan sat there the entire night lost in his grief…yet again something was snatched away from him without his knowledge. He was okay as far as everything happened with him..he had even lost the hope of finding happiness in his life but seeing geet like that actually made him wonder if his bad luck was pulling her into the storm as well. She stirred a but and he immediately caressed her head. She relaxed and he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead!
Next morning Aryan woke him up. He had dozed off , sitting beside her, still holding her hand. His head was placed by her pillow. He saw jasmeet approaching and looked at geet. She was still asleep. He asked mumma to be with her till he gets back. He drove home as fast as he could and freshened up. He woke up the kids who were too delighted to see him. He helped them get ready and tried to feed them breakfast but they refused.
“nahi…mumma shaath khaana….” Dia demanded.
[no wanna have it with mumma..]
Even narma joined dia in the satyagraha. He smiled and drove them to the hospital. Dadima carried food for geet and everyone else as well. Jasmeet was with the doctor while Aryan was away. Prem and roops weren’t there either. He peeped into her room and saw her trying to sit up. She was finding it difficult with those drips and her weakened self. He rushed to her and bend down, wrapping one arm around her waist and holding her hand with the other. She was startled with the sudden touch and looked up to see who it was. Their eyes met…and their world stood still. She gazed at him…his face mere inches away from hers..his breath fell over her and she just looked blankly. He looked into those dark eyes which suddenly seemed to shut themselves to him. There were no emotions—neither pain nor sadness…or anything for that matter. He gazed at her face which seemed to glow…it contradicted her eyes so beautifully that he just couldn’t look away.
But she was far away…very very far from everything. She saw him gaze at her and turned her face away. He felt that ache within…she had probably gone far from him. He blinked a couple of times and helped her sit. Just then dia and namra rushed in and stood beside her… suddenly scared to see all those medical instruments kept there. They were delighted to see geet who smiled a bit after a very long time but that never seemed to reach her eyes. He noticed that…but couldn’t understand why she was running away? It felt as if she had stopped thinking anything at all and shut herself close.
She forwarded her hands to the kids and the ran to her. Maan made sure they didn’t pull the drips or touch anything while they hugged her and sat with her…tell her everything about their school and how much they missed her. She heard every single word from them… every little cry and complaint. They had their breakfast and so did geet, though very lighter ones as doctor had suggested. Maan went near the window and called up adi instructing him what to do and what not to while dadima went closer and kissed her forehead.
“we are so glad that you are safe beta… we were so scared…”
Maan turned around, looking at the four people in front of him, still on phone. To his utter shock..she even turned away from dadima. She didn’t even respond to jasmeet when she tried to speak to her. The only people she seemed to speak with were the kids..and that’s it. She played cards with the kids..even had her lunch with them..and occasionally spoke to them..that too only about them. She hardly interacted with anyone else which made maan wonder if something else was wrong with her other than the miscarriage.
next: getting back home…