He watched Ana follow Geet quietly and took a deep breath in. As much as he hated…he couldn’t stop himself from following them quietly just to see if she was okay. He watched them get into the car and drive away and sighed. He got back to the disc and fell on the couch… hating himself for still loving her…caring for her…and getting himself burned in that fire of love and hate.
She woke up feeling so cold within and wondered how long it was… umm may be a week or two or even more but things were perfect..just the way she wanted. She had a perfect control over her business… no one bothered her at home about anything.. nisha did talk but she kept it to the minimum like how much it was needed…nothing more..nothing less. Initially she felt proud that nisha had to break her silence but then things were just mechanical. She’d just get her breakfast…answer only to those questions that she asked and kept quiet otherwise. Ana was getting busier with her college but even she kept to the minimum. She had been doing quite well in her business…all her employees were very disciplined just like the way she wanted and no one dared to poke her nose into her matter. Things were perfect but she was not very enthusiastic about it. the house had become too quiet… everyone obeyed her orders mechanically to perfection lest she did something to make them suffer…everything was just the way she wanted… but she didn’t like this silence. She got up lazily and went to freshen up. The warm shower did nothing to soothe what she was feeling inside. she sighed and came out wearing her formals and switched on the news channel.
The maid knocked with her favourite breakfast. She kept the tray on the table beside when Geet stopped her, “suno… Chachi kahan hain? Why didn’t she come?”
[listen..where is Chachi? Why didn’t she come?]
The maid looked down and answered politely, “wo ma’am mandir gayi hain…unhone mujhe aapka breakfast dene ko kaha hain..”
[wo ma’am has gone to the temple..she had asked me to give your breakfast..]
The maid left when something in the news that caught her attention. She turned towards the tv and stopped seeing him…speak to the media. For a moment she kept on watching him… it was the recorded tape of him from the previous evening. She was seeing him after so long…and he still looked the same. She smiled and got back to getting ready for office hearing him speak about his future ventures. She tucked her shirt into her grey formal pleated pants when she heard him speak about getting the contract in the meeting that was supposed to be held this evening. Her ears shot up as she turned to see that smile on his face. Come to think of it..the meeting was supposed to be held this evening and the tape was recorded yesterday!!! She gaped wide seeing that confident in him… like he was already sure he’d be getting the contract. She heard the reporter speak in praise of the maan singh khurana and she was reminded of one night with him when he had made her sit on his lap lovingly while she was tensed to hell.
“everyone is a rival in the market Geet… you can’t trust anyone but yourself…”
His words echoed in her ears as she kept looking at the tv. Her phone rang and she just snapped out of her thoughts and sighed… who was she even thinking about? Knowing they were over, he still came forward for the engagement had irked her the most and she just couldn’t bear it. she switched off the tv and walked out answering the call.
Nisha finished with her pooja and slowly climbed down the stairs of the temple slowly. It was going to be 10am. She had been quite restless for the past few days. She had come early for puja but stayed back..just sitting in the calm premises of the temple. She felt a little dizzy but held herself. She was keeping well for the past few days…ana had so much insisted on going to the doctor but she had refused. She sighed… guess she was getting old and she had to go to the doctor. She got into the car and asked the driver to go to the hospital.
Geet walked out only to be greeted by Sasha who was waiting for her. she walked with her to the car as Sasha read about the schedule planned for her. Geet just nodded quietly and drove off. Sasha had seen her quite aloof these days… nisha never called after that day and she just knew there was definitely something wrong. She looked at Geet from the corner of her eyes and saw her looking out of the window, a little lost.
“looks like I have to brace myself up for a lot of changes…”, she thought to herself and smiled.
Nisha sat in front of the doctor’s chamber with Ana. Ana called nisha from college but when she knew nisha was in hospital, she immediately left college and came to the hospital with her. Ana sat beside her caressing her hand, “ma.. I had told you earlier right.. but you never listen to me..”
Nisha smiled, “am fine beta…”
“no you are not fine… you need to take care of yourself…”
“did you tell anything at home? Geet was there…”
Ana thought for a while, “umm I had called the maid to tell her to cook for you since you are in not well and have come for a check up…”
“Chachi…ana… aap dono yahan?”, a familiar voice startled them.
[Chachi..ana.. you two here?]
They turned around and were surprised to see maan standing beside them, holding some papers.
“maan…“, nisha whispered. She didn’t know how she’d face him after all that… he hadn’t even called her once after that incident, “you here?”, she spoke out meekly, looking down. To her utter surprise, maan knelt down beside her and held her hands, “Chachi…kya hua hain? Aap theek tho hain na…”
[Chachi.. whats wrong? Are you alright…?]
Nisha didn’t know what to speak… she had been so wrong.. she had been the reason for his pain and here he seemed so fine with it, in fact looking worried for her. she sighed and held his hand over hers, “am fine maan… just sugar level fluctuating… and hypertension…”, she smiled, still trying to contemplate what was this man made of.
“Chachi…please take care.. I was so worried seeing you here. Did you take the medicines? And…”
Nisha just gaped at him… wondering how to even ask him if he was okay. She was being pushed into an unknown guilt trip for even hurting his heart by mistake. She just wanted to know if his mom was okay with it…knowing very well after this, the relation between the two families have turned sour.
“umm..maan…wo…wo..”, and she just looked down, not able to meet his gaze.
Nisha breathed in sharply and closed her eyes, “avantika ji theek tho hain na…i mean…i know she must be angry with me… bu…but…”, nisha fumbled as her eyes burned with unshed tears.
[avantika ji is fine no…i mean …i know she must be angry with me..bu..but…]
She felt a tight squeeze on her hands and looked up to see him smiling, “mom is fine… you don’t have to worry at all… hmm she is a little upset but I will handle her…”
She just sat there still feeling his finger wipe the tears that had rolled down her cheek, “aap fikr mat kijiye… everything is fine. Please take care of yourself…”
Nisha smiled through her tears and realized what kind of person maan actually was. She had heard a lot about him in news, tv and even gossips about his girlfriends but she realized the heart that lived within him. she just caressed his head lovingly, “umm… and what are you doing here?”
“ohh.. I had just come here for some paper works. One of my employees has passed away this morning due to chronic illness.. I came here to visit him for the last time and of course his family… they need help.. he had been working for a long time with us…i can’t ignore them right… he had been with my dad ever since…”
Nisha just couldn’t believe this was the great maan singh khurana who can bring others down to their feet if he wanted to. Even Ana was surprised too… she knew Geet was wrong in doing so and she just got confirmed. Maan sat beside them talking for a while. he had stopped thinking about anything now… anything about her’ actually. She had been on his mind for long… to an extent of self destruction.. but then he just couldn’t shatter like that right..he had a mom to take care of.. so many people looked up to him…so the best way was to shut everything about her. he didn’t even ask a thing about Geet to nisha.. nor did nisha or Ana bothered to tell him.
They heard a few footsteps and a murmuring sound, “Chachi…are you…”
And she stopped, seeing him speak to her family. She had called home for some files when the maid informed her about nisha being in the hospital. She was so worried…why didn’t nisha even tell her once that she was not well.. she could have got the doctor home..the best ones..then why?? She was surprised to see Ana with her… but she was shocked to see him, speaking to them.
He turned to look at the source and sat rooted… he was perhaps seeing her after 3 whole weeks… she looked a little think and pale…she looked tired. He felt his heart falter a bit…he had tried to control it so much… but just her one look seemed to weaken his resolution. How he wished it was easy to just run and hug her madly… kiss her all over… take away all that worry that adorned her face…but probably she never wanted that. she had never reciprocated his love… she never respected!! The shattered pieces of his ego hit him hard as he stood up abruptly, looking away.
Nisha was shocked to see Geet there… how did she even know? She didn’t even know nisha hadn’t been feeling well for quite a long time but then how did she know about hospital? there was a complete silence as she felt their gazes meet for a nano second and then break apart. She feared retaliation…she feared a war but all she heard was his cold voice, “I must leave Chachi… got a meeting. Please take care..and tell me if anything goes wrong. Seems like people are just too busy to take care of their loved ones…”
And he just walked away, not even looking at her once… and only he knew how he survived that. Geet stood there silently, hearing him speak… she relaxed immediately realizing he was there with nisha. she didn’t know why but she just had a feeling that if he was there… nothing could go wrong then. She was hearing his voice after so long… she did feel something within…just like what she had felt this morning hearing him in the news. He still looked the same.. except that his beard had grown a little. She sighed and ran to nisha.
“Chachi… you okay? Just got to know from the maid…how are you feeling now? What did the doctor say?”
Nisha just held Ana’s hand and dragged her out, “thank you for asking miss Geet handa.. am perfectly fine. Please go ahead you might have some important meeting lying ahead..”
Geet stood there…all alone in the crowded hospital corridor…trying to come in terms with what just happened. She felt so lonely suddenly… like there was no one in the world…a sudden pain gripped her chest… nisha didn’t even think once.. she didn’t even tell her for once that she wasn’t well??? she walked away, feeling really really low… she was feeling so distant from everyone so suddenly..but what she forgot at that point of time was the fact that she was Geet handa and she had never been taught to care about anyone.
Sasha called her up to remind of the meeting that was supposed to be held in a few hours.. and she just answered in monosyllables and hung up. She reached he office and closed the blinds… this was taking too long. She pulled out a wine bottle and poured it in the flute glass decorated there. she was about to take in a sip when Sasha held her hand, ma’am… its prohibited to drink in office.”
Geet looked at her for a while and pulled away her hand, “just leave me alone for a while Sasha.. I need some time alone. Don’t forward any calls.. or set any appointments. How are we placed after the meeting?”
“umm we have to visit the resort in the evening… the manager needed your permission in setting up some stuffs…”
Sasha noticed Geet playing with her glass, lost in her thoughts. She sighed and walked out, making it a point to ask her about some office related stuff later. she sat in her cabin and looked towards Geet’s cabin. The door and blinds were closed. She sighed and looked into her lappy, catching up with her work.
Geet stood there by the window, still playing with her wine, turning it round and round…lost in her own world. What was wrong now? Things had started to seem so distant…so far away from reach. She took the glass to her lips and then stopped. She sighed and gulped it down in one go. She was to attend a meeting… maan will be attending too and so many other delegates!! She sighed and poured another glass of wine and sat on her desk checking the presentation files. She had seen him after so long today… he looked so cold… and why wouldn’t he when she had behaved so badly with him. she sighed and walked out of her cabin to attend the meeting. The half filled glass stood still on the table waiting for her. she reached well in time and this time, Sasha had stayed back in office. She sighed and looked around…almost everyone was present speaking to each other, greeting each other. There were so many people but she noticed no one went to speak to her. apparently, they have got to know Geet Handa really well. it was strange.. she was a very known personality yet she was standing all alone in one corner.
There was a complete silence following the maan singh khurana. He walked with pride with his people..talking to a girl walking beside him…umm may be a delegate or so. People were enthralled with his personality…as they rushed to greet him…media flocked the place and everyone present them seemed to be pulled towards him. she clutched her files closer to her heart, still standing alone in a corner when arjun’s gaze locked with hers. He smirked and walked into the meeting hall. She stood there, watching the crowd…things were so different now. She sighed and walked slowly towards the hall when she felt someone staring at her. she immediately looked back only to meet with his gaze yet again. it was so strong… something so different that she couldn’t name it…but it stirred something within her…like she didn’t belong there. it was for just a fraction of second but she did feel moved a bit. She shook her head wondering what had gotten into her and looked back at him. he was busy speaking to people around. She just ignored the bit and walked in.
The meeting went on really well but breaths got stuck once maan went for the presentation. She had never felt this captivated before… she had seen a lot of presentations but this was something so awesome. It was like he held everyone’s attention with a super magnetic pull! She was reminded of the morning news on him… how confidently he had told he’d get the lead and now it didn’t seem impossible. Everyone’s presentations were good… even she was appreciated for her effort..but one thing she noticed that he listened to each and every word of hers very attentively..in fact he heard everyone very attentively. The outcome was obvious… it had to be maan! She hated it…her ego didn’t let her in peace… she hated herself for losing this… yet she just couldn’t hate him as well. she hated herself for feeling so differently all this while. but since it was a joint collaboration, a few more companies were brought together to account for the required human resource and production management…including Geet and arjun.
She got a little held up with the clients and others at the end. People had already left the place. She checked the time…6 in the evening it was and she didn’t even have her lunch yet. She checked her files all over again and called Sasha up to direct her the needful as she walked towards the lift. She saw a person get into the lift and the door closing. They were at the 10th floor..and waiting for other lifts would take time. So she just hurried up and ran towards it, “hey wait…”
She collided with something hard and her phone fell down, with the battery being flung out. The doors closed as she picked up the phone, holding the person for support. She collected her phone and sighed, “ohh great…its broken!!”
She stood up, straightening herself only to meet those pair of chocolate brown eyes that looked at her so intently. A myriad of emotions played on his face..from surprise to shock to that pain he had been dealing with every single day of his life. he had never expected to bump into her… his fingers curled into tight fists by his sides… being reminded of every single time he felt that pain. She never respected their love…actually it was his’ love… she never cared about anyone’s feelings…he just closed his eyes and looked away.
She was too shocked to react..it was him?? she noticed the way he looked away. She didn’t know why she didn’t like that… lately everyone has been doing that to her..be it nisha or Ana or maan himself. She straightened herself and quietly stood beside him. time suddenly seemed to slow down for both of them…he was not going to let her affect him.. he kept reminding himself. He leaned back on the wall and rested his foot against it. there was a sudden tension building up between them. a little jerk and suddenly the lights went off, stopping the lift. Power cut!!! Both sighed…it would take a few seconds before the backup gets turned on. she jolted a little with that jerk and her shoulders brushed against him, making both of them aware of each other’s presence. They were instantly reminded of the moment in the lift.. when he had come to drop her at her office… that passion… that feel seemed to make both of them tensed. Geet tried not to think..but things were happening so automatically.
Maan held himself… he was not going to succumb to his emotions. He held her shoulder and made her stand straight. Even that touch seemed to remind them of so many things… maan inched away from her…she felt that but said nothing. Dead silence prevailed… they didn’t speak a word… but the silence gave away the rhythm of their breaths..so out of sync..just like their hearts. Geet gulped hard…this was suddenly getting awkward. He had so well restrained himself… she sighed and spoke up to break that dead ghostly silence, “ahh.. well congratulations…”
“thanks..”, came his curt reply. He had his guard on..he was not going to let this proud egoistic girl get the better of him.
“your presentation was good…”, she meant it. maan rolled his eyes…look who was talking. He crossed his hands over his chest and smirked, “its surprising that you heard me today…”
She couldn’t miss that coldness in his voice… she had never witnessed this side of his.. he was always the gentle caring person with her…who wouldn’t even think twice before carrying out all her orders happily.
At this point..she didn’t know what to reply…but this was definitely a taunt and she would never bear that..and she knew it had a hidden meaning beneath it. she twisted her lips and bit out, “well… I hear things that interest me…”
The lights were back and the next moment they were already at the ground floor. She watched his expression which surprised her. he was smiling. She narrowed her brows but he just leaned closer to her ears, making her gasp with the sudden contact, “well that’s what is expected from you right… Miss Geet Handa.. but you need to work harder to come even a bit close to where I stand..”
Before she could even catch her breath, he walked out with his hands in his pocket, greeting people who had been waiting for him. she just kept on watching him… how cold he sounded.. how he spoke with his people with authority… he was cold… he was a very shrewd person when it came to business and thats what she is observing about him now. She shut herself from everything and drove towards the resort… hoping she might get some peace there.