Chapter – 15
On the precipice of life…
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!”
“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.
“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!