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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Chapter 15


Chapter – 15


On the precipice of life…

Have you ever been at a place where you felt you have had enough of life? Ever been at a place where your entire existence seemed to mock at you? Ever been at a place where you felt you pained your loved one, though there’s nothing you could have done about it? have you ever been there?

She was there! she stood on the precipice of life and waited for the darkness to engulf her, slowly. He was so much into this project. He could easily have deployed his best employees to work for this project but he had taken it personally and how excited he was about it. she could recall the moment when he had come home and shared with her every details of this project. And she had been so proud of him. but now, he was giving up…throwing away his dream because she needed him! and thats what pinched her the most. She had always been that independent woman who always had a solution to her problems. Even though Maan was with her, she never asked for his help. She had that vigour to pave her own ways. And now that independent woman had to rely on everyone else for her basic needs. It was just not concerning Maan. It was about everyone else too. And that broke her apart…slowly and painfully.

Naina helped her dress up for a check up and Maan led her to their car and pulled the seat belt. She remained numb to everything around her…even to Maan.

“jasmine, is something wrong?”

She had shaken her head for a denial and she had quietly followed him to wherever he took her. she had no choice! She was not who she used to be. and watching the dreams of the person whom she loved the most in this world shatter was worse than a heartbreak she felt now.

“Geet? Geet? Are you listening?”

Her doctor called her to get her attention and cited about the care she should take. But she was far from everything. if she thought she could fight the darkness, she could now no more. They were here to discuss about her health and the operation she would undergo for her eyes but it seemed her babaji never had any mercy on her. she would probably have complications in her pregnancy owing to her accident. it never meant that she could never conceive- thats what her doctor had said, when she had insisted on speaking to Geet alone and Maan had walked out. And so very delicately she intimated Geet of her current health but nothing brought her back. If she had stood on the precipice then, she had now fallen into the clutched of the dark angel. Her broken spirit broke once more and she had no idea how to deal with it.

They were back home but she remained aloof. She could hear Maan talk on phone, perhaps with the investors and walked out of the room. And thats when she broke down, crying her heart out. What more could she do but lament at her helplessness?

Maan came after 5 minutes only to see her so vulnerable and rushed to her.

“Geet, what happened?”

He held her close, caressed her, coaxed her and cajoled her to speak what was wrong but she couldn’t. Hiccups choked her and coherence left her mind. She cried and cried in his arms until she fell asleep out of exhaustion.

The next morning Maan found her sitting on the bed, looking towards something he never knew. He pressed a kiss on her forehead and sat beside her.

“Geet, tell me what is wrong? And why haven’t you taken your medicine yet?”

She looked at him with a blank expression and for the first time he was scared to see the emptiness in her blank eyes. She didn’t smile nor did she react. He cupped her face, “see, if you don’t tell me what is wrong, how can i help you? Now, have your medicine.”

He took a tablet and gently placed on her hand along with a glass of water in the other. She breathed in sharply and threw away the tablet at some random corner and then she threw away her glass too, shocking Maan to no ends.

“Geet?”, he called out to her in surprise.

“I don’t want anything!”

He had never felt her so cold that he felt in her today. what has happened to her? she had been quiet since the time they were back from hospital and he had given her all the space she wanted to let things settle. But this reaction was something he had never expected.

“What is wrong with you? Why cant you just tell me everything?”
, he tried to talk patiently but she just looked away.

“there is nothing wrong. I just want to be alone.”

May be she needed some more time to sort herself out. He leaned closer and cupped her face again.

“Take all the time you want love, but please have the medicine.

And for the first time, she flinched from his touch. She pushed away his hand and shouted.

“Don’t touch me! Just go away Maan!”

“Jasmine…”

“Just go.”, she screamed.

Shocked at her sudden outburst, he walked away, leaving her alone with her thoughts. He had never seen her so distant. So empty. So… cold!

And when silence befell her, she hid her face in her palms and sobbed.

Why can’t I be the one who I was?”

There was no hope for her. she was complicating Maan’s life along with hers. And with this thought, came a sudden realization of the past. Like a dj vu, it hit her and then she realized how helpless Maan must have felt then…the helplessness that she was feeling now. She understood what it meant for hold a raging storm in her heart and she understood how it felt being surrounded by darkness. She had no choice but to give in.

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“Dad… Do I need to go?“, he whined to his father while the old man smiled.

“Love is making you lazy, son!”, Yash had teased and seen him embarrassed.

It had been a month to the engagement of the khurana brothers and marriag preparations of Dev and Priya were at their fullest. The four had become very close to each other. Priya and dev seemed to be over the moon. Their marriage was a month away and nothing seemed to lessen their happiness.

Maan and Geet were happy in their small little world. They kept busy with their respective works but still made it a point to be with each other.

“Dad, please. Can I postpone this trip to the US?”

Yash had laughed and nodded. He took his wife’s hand and pressed a kiss on her palm.

“lets go on another honeymoon.”

So lovingly he had told and so shyly she had accepted to accompany him on the trip, though admonishing him later for being a flirt in front of the children. But Dev knew what it meant for his parents. they had never been alone, together for a long time now. Family and responsibilities had prevented them from enjoying so many things together. But now, he knew they were free. He was getting married and he would take over the responsibilities. He was happy to see his parents happy..smiling. That moment, them together, was a sight etched in his heart that he would never forget!

But somewhere else, another soul lived restlessly. She stood under the bakula tree, that bore no flowers now. And her heart cried. They were back from Yorkshire a month back and she was surprised to see the tree devoid of leaves. It was strange but then she thought it was because of the tree’s lifecycle.

It was a month now. And the tree seemed to shed its life, slowly, bit by bit, every single day. A few leaves remained, now drying up slowly. She had watered it regularly, she had even sprayed fertilizers and pesticides but she had failed. The calmness of the night scared her today. she raised her palm and placed it on the trunk of the bakula tree as if asking it what was wrong! Nothing but silence terrified her. the flowers bloomed no more. There was no fragrance wafting in the air even though the wind remained the same.

She was busy with her work and Maan was held up with his. How long had i been that they sat under the tree and spoke their hearts out? She couldn’t remember. What remained the bitter reality was their tree dying. Dying! She refused to believe and decided to get in touch with a horticulturist asap.

He saw his parents off at the airport and walked straight to Geet’s place. It was a Sunday and he dragged her out for a lunch. They had been too busy these days but she seemed a little distracted.

They reached the restaurant and he ordered her favourites.

“now, will you tell me what is wrong, jasmine?”

She looked at him sadly, “the tree is dying Maan!”

He listened to her worries and concerns and held her hand, “don’t worry. Its just that the season is changing. Once its over, it will be fine.”

She nodded and they talked to their heart’s fill. But deep within, she knew there was nothing that could be done. it felt like something was going to happen. An unsettling a feeling stole her peace of mind but she believed in Maan. When the change is over, everything will be okay.

He very gladly diverted her mind from their tree to his parents and how happy he was to see them together.

“But Maan, You are mean. It was your job right? Then why did you send bade papa away?
“, she chided.

“Its been so long that we have been out like this together. I will get busy again. this was a small thing. So I insisted dad to take mom along. They would have a nice time together!”

She loved it when he took out time like this to be with her. she was his home! She blushed looking at the engagement ring sitting proudly on her finger and realized how much she loved him. he made her feel so good about her. she had once tried to remember when exactly did she fall in love with him but then she could find nothing. There was no definite time of them falling in love. they just happened to be! they had always been! They were meant to be!

He kissed her thoroughly and let her walk back into her house, after their dinner. It was time his parents came back. Times spent with Geet were perhaps the best times of his life. She never demanded anything out of him. she just let him be. and he had wanted this time with her together. They were going to be spending the rest of their lives together and he never wanted her or himself to miss out the period of their courtship.

She stood by her balcony waiting to see the glimpse of her badi maa and bade paa in the porch of the neighbouring house. But they were taking too long. Many hours passed, post their scheduled time and the night turned colder. The flight might have been delayed! She felt sleepy and looked at the sky one last time. The season was indeed changing.

Or, it had changed, already!!!

News of a India-bound plane crash had shattered their lives… his life! There were frantic calls, a crying dadima, a shocked Geet, a shattered son and a broken him! time stilled, like it never existed. The winds dropped and km was shrouded in darkness. The wedding plans went for a toss, the happy dreams now seemed like a sea of darkness. Dadima broke down completely and so did Dev, when he and Maan brought their comatose mother home.

Geet had cried at the loss of her bade papa, rano had cried and so had mohinder. Naina was numb. Dev was not the smiling, gentle face he had ever been. The play of fate came at the cost of their lives. The festive lights that adorned KM now plunged into darkness. But he fell deeper into the hands of the same.

No one knew when days started and when they ended. But she dared to go out. She ventured into her backyard and stood rooted by their tree. There was no life left. No leaves… no flowers…no fragrance. The only mortal remains were in the shape of a dried and brittle trunk, which mocked its existence.

Tears rolled down her eyes as she pressed her head gently on the trunk and hoped someone to come and take away the darkness that had engulfed them. But dead people cannot help. Dead beings cannot wipe your tears. Dead souls cannot feel the pain of others and of themselves! And she knew he was dead from within too! If only she had enough courage to hold herself… if only she had enough strength to bear with the loss, then she would run to him and hold from falling apart… from dying!
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P.S That’s all folks. I will stop here. Leave you on the precipice of life and go on a merry vacation. So, No more updates for the next two weeks. Ain’t I an angel?Embarrassed
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Chapter – 14

Chapter – 14


Light and Darkness


She glared at the mothers and they gave her sheepish smiles.

“Could you explain?”
, she snarled at them like an angry lioness!

She had managed to get some time alone with the ladies and she utilized it very well to get things out of their mouths!

“Ohh have you forgotten Geet?”
, rano chided!

“Forgotten what?“, she spat out her anger.

“he is the son of the Malhotras who had come to see you back then!”

Faint memories of that dazed meeting crossed her mind, making her feel like jumping off a cliff. She had been so worried about Maan then that she had actually paid no attention to anything happening around her. and now, the mothers had found this perfect way to set the duo up! She paced around the room restlessly, not knowing what should she do.

“I understand the malhotra thing mom but what in the world is he doing here?”

Avantika gave her an assuring smile,“We had been in contact with mrs malhotra and came to know that Rishi was in Leeds for some work. So we just invited him to holiday with us for a few days. That way, you both could know each other!”

“But badi ma… I don’t want to get married…

“But theres nothing wrong in knowing a person, my dear.  Talk to him. interact. He is a very nice person. And may be, you both will find happiness together!”

Everyone seemed to welcome Rishi with open hearts except three people. Geet, Maan and Dadima! Geet, for obvious reasons, Maan because he was getting continuous calls from office and hence didn’t really have time to sit and listen and Dadima because she had started weaving dreams of marriage of her two grandsons.

She couldn’t sleep that night. The clock struck 1am and she walked out towards the lawn. The restless feeling didn’t seem to ebb away. She wanted to call Maan and talk to him but she knew he’d be working. He was suddenly loaded with so much work and thats when she realized what he had to go through to let his father and brother relax for a week. She smiled, looking at the sky, the stars twinkling at her, and thought of how her darling knight did everything for others but never accepted it.

“hey.. not asleep?”
, a very unfamiliar voice startled her.

She looked beside her to see Rishi smiling down at her. she gave a weak smile, totally not in a mood to talk to this person. But then he was a guest.

“No. Just not sleepy. What about you?”

He had a gentle smile on his face, that made him look quite younger than he actually was.

“No. I don’t get sleep easily at a new place.”

She looked at him and then quickly offered him a seat beside her. he gladly accepted and sat down. A few minutes passed in silence and she cringed at the awkward silence she felt. But Rishi, she realized, was lost admiring the night sky. His eyes twinkled in delight and his lips  curled with a smile. It was contagious. And she smiled.

“have you been here before?”
, he asked her all of a sudden.

“Nope. Its the first time I am here.”

Their eyes met and a silent camaraderie of unknown souls settled between them.

“You know Geet, I was very sceptical about coming here and meeting you.”
, he spoke after a long pause, “but then I fell prey to mom’s tantrums. I hope am not making you uncomfortable!”

Geet smiled seeing the genuineness in his eyes, “don’t worry about it. even my mother took me by surprise.”

They talked for a long time about food, studies and places and works and realized they were slowly falling into a comfortable friendship. She was warm and sweet, Rishi realized and he liked her simplicity.

“Since you are new here, let me take you around. I have been here a lot of times. And we can take others too.”

“yeah sure… I will call Maan and others first thing in the morning.”

Maan watched as Geet, Dev, Naina and Rishi drive away towards a local village to explore and sighed. Its been three days already that Rishi was here with them. Knowing he was supposed to be a match for Geet hadn’t bothered him much until he realized how close of friends they had become over such a small time. He just managed to exchange formalities with Rishi for he was busy with office but he somehow didn’t like the prospect of Geet marrying to someone else. his father and brother had scolded him big time for taking everything up on his shoulders but he had argued with them and won it too. And now that he was busy, all he could see was Geet with Rishi.

Preparation for Dev’s engagement was in full swing, which was supposed to be held immediately after they landed in Delhi. He was excited, anxious and irritated, all at the same time. They would be here for a two more days now. And he hadn’t been able to give time to Geet at all. he finished his work by noon and headed straight towards Geet and others.

The local wine festival was on and everyone was in a festive mood. Geet enjoyed the fair, people dancing in colourful dresses and props while Dev took Naina for her first wine tasting, while Rishi pulled her along.

“where to?”, Geet giggled.

“Come na.”

He dragged her towards the canal along the village, lined with small pebbles and soft green grass. The sun was bright up above and reflected itself on the waters, like glittering gold. There stretched farms and vineyards and hills and woods and then there was the water, lapping along the bank, calling out to her. it felt as if a page from Jane Austen had come alive in front of her, reversing the time.

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes it is.”, she smiled and saw Rishi extend his arms to her.

“Would you like to take a walk with me Miss?”

“why of course sire.”, she giggled and locked her hands with his and they walked alongside the waterway. She wore a bright colored summer frock and adorned a hat on her head that she had purchased in the festival. And Rishi guided her along, telling her stories about his college and the kind of sports he liked. Geet enjoyed his company. He kept her busy with his funny nature when all she wanted was Maan around her. but she knew he didn’t want any distractions when he was busy. And it was this time that she realized Rishi was as unprepared for marriage as she was. And perhaps thats why they had gotten along so well.

He watched her laugh and run behind Rishi to hit him, perhaps because he teased her and seethed. He knew well… he knew very well by now that he had never wanted Rishi between them. He knew he didn’t like any man around her. in fact he had hated his own brother close to her then how could he have seen her with some other man? and he knew now that he had always wanted that woman by his side, no matter what, from the very beginning.

It was dark all of a sudden and it rained. True as they say, never trust the English weather. They ran for cover, giggling and squealing when she slipped and fell down. Rishi stopped and turned back to help her when someone stopped him.

“Wait.”

“Maan?”, Rishi was surprised to see him there.

“Go get others into the car. I will take Geet.”
He spoke firmly, making it clear to him that there was no room for denial or objection.

“but Geet..”

“I said I am here. Just get to the others and go home.”

Rishi couldn’t understand but that demeanour from Maan intimidated him. without much ado, he walked away, leaving a stunned Geet behind. not that she wasn’t happy to see Maan but more than that she was stunned to see him this cold.

“Come on now Jasmine..”, he forwarded his hand to her and helped her stand up. It poured and they stood, eye to eye, not moving, drenched and silent.

She stood up holding his hand and stared deep into his eyes, “why did you send him away? And when did you come?”

His jaws tightened and he pulled her close to him, “what were you doing with him?”

She could feel his displeasure in his voice but she was no less. His coldness had irked her.

“Maan, do you realize he is the man whom I am supposed to get married to?”

His hold around her waist became tighter, making her gasp.

“you are not getting married to him Geet!”

“do you even care? The elders brought him here so that we could know each other and probably mom and badi ma are going to say yes to his family.”

“Do you want to get married to him Geet?”

Her breath quickened and she clutched his collars pulling him closer, “what would you do if I say yes?”

“Hell I would never allow that Geet and you know it!“, he seethed in anger, hearing her say so.

“why would you not Maan
?”

“because you are mine!”

“ohh really? Then lets go and tell everyone about us! Why are we hiding it when we know for ourselves what we want? I cant keep pretending to be happy with a man when I am not! and am pretty sure mom and badi ma have high hopes from this alliance. Make me yours in front of everyone or let me go.”

And then he realized what he was supposed to do. it was then he realized that it was her and no one else in  his life. And then he realized he had to make her his.
He leaned forward and pressed his lips on hers.

She was taken by surprise but then she was quick enough to respond. They belonged with each other. That was the end of all thoughts. Nothing asked, no games played, no hide and seek. Everything just laid bare and they embraced it with open arms. She probably had a drop of tear at the corner of her eyes, feeling his warm lips kiss her so passionately and so breathlessly that she could do nothing but surrender herself to him.

She tasted of sin. He knew it. and if this was the end of the world, then he would die happily in her embrace. Her soft lips yielding to his… no shying away, no hesitation… just them together.

They broke apart after a long moment and she smiled at him, with that flushed look on her face. he took her hand and kissed the pack of her palm.

“Geet handa, Just be mine. Forever!”

She nodded and hugged him tightly, feeling a weight lift off her chest. They walked home, drenched and hand in hand where others waited.

“Maan, Geet where were you both? And why are you drenched?”, Rano scolded.

Maan held Geet’s hand in front of others, especially to show Rishi who was shocked to see them like that.

“Mom, Rano ma,  dad… Dadima…call off Geet’s alliance!”

Everyone was stunned to silence and Geet’s father intervened.

“What happened Maan? Is something wrong?”

“Yes…there is something wrong.”,
Maan announced confidently, confusing
everyone. And then he raised their banded hands up for everyone to see.

“We are together and there is no need to look for any other person for Geet’s alliance!”

A long silence hung on then but they stood together… confident… holding hands, not even faltering a bit.

It was a few moments later that people actually grasped the situation and expressed their shocks and surprise. she couldn’t have been happier standing right beside him and facing the world. Thats what she had always wanted. That was her destiny.

It was much later at night that she found herself standing by the window in the attic. Rishi chapter was closed now. He was a very nice person but she was not for him.

Two warm hands slid round her waist and pulled her into his strong embrace, making her smile. She leaned backwards and rested her head on his chest.

“you seem too busy these days.”

He kissed her ear lobe and breathed into it, “never for you Jasmine…”

She turned back and wrapped her arms around his neck, “so… what are we going to do now?”

He arched his brows, “what do you mean by that? We will be getting engaged once we land in delhi. Did you forget what dadima had told?”

She shook her head, “no. I was just wondering… we are getting engaged on the same date as Dev and Priya… is it okay with them?”

He pecked her lips, “trust me, more than us bro is happier. And I just cant wait to have you with me. All the time.

“stop dreaming. We will still have a year before we got married. But Maan..”

Her voice dropped to a whisper.

“do you think we are hurrying up? I mean its so fast and…and..”

He tipped her chin and made her face him

“I was sceptical too, some time ago. But then i rattled myself and realized its always going to be you in my life Geet. Didn’t I tell you, you are my home!

She hugged him tightly and softly whispered in his ears, “I love you.”

————————————————————————————————

“I love you”

His voice reverberated in her ears. How long has it been that she heard him profess his love for her in those three words? She tried but she couldn’t recall because he never let her think beyond himself. He had undressed her so raw and she remained pinned to the bed beneath him. she had cried in his arms, wanting to see him but he had held her hand and guided it over her body, asking her to unlearn what she had known about him till date and learn him anew just by her touch. And she had done that. She had unlearned everything about him and touched him under his guidance, learning where his pulse points lay, learning where his muscle flexed, learning where he was most sensitive hearing the change in his breath! She learned his breathing pattern.. when he sighed, when his breath quickened and when he took in a sharp breath. She leaned the contours of his face, the bridge of his nose, the curve of his cheekbones, the stiffness of his jaws and moaned in pleasure.

She writhed under him in pleasure as he made love to her with such a passion that she had never felt before. He refused to let her think further as he made her come violently and desperately and she held on to him like her very dear life depended on that hold.

She woke up much later to the voice of naina around her. was it morning already?

“Ohh good morning di.
“, she heard her sister, bright and chirpy.

It was morning? and the memories of last night flooded her mind, making her blush profusely. She pulled the duvet close and quickly ran her hand over her body and sighed in relief realizing she was dressed. Never had she thought her dark night could bring about such pleasure to her.

She was awakened by the loud noises coming from outside her room and she sat up quickly, realizing it was Maan’s. Naina helped her stand

“di…careful.

“Naina, take me to the door.”

“But..”

“Just take me.”

As she approached the door, the noises became louder and realized there was heated arguments going on downstairs. She could very well distinguish Maan’s out of all the voices and wondered if something was wrong.

“Mr, Khurana, we don’t care about your excuses. We are churning losses, do you realize that?”

She gasped hearing whatever they were talking. KC was incurring losses for the past few months and his people complained that he wasn’t giving his best. They had lost a lot of money in the past two months and people were displeased.

“I will not hear anything about this. You know well that my wife needs me and I cannot leave her alone. Adi, handle this and I don’t want anyone to come complaining to me. If the investors want to pull out, let them.”

She felt weak in her knees, recalling which project they were talking about and how hard had Maan worked to get things right. He was throwing away everything just for her. tears rolled down her eyes for a storm, emerged within her. all this time she was so happy that we was with her but at the cost of his dream? She felt pathetic of herself and she was again pushed back into the darkness that she had tried so hard to come out of it.
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