Look who’s back!!!
After a relaxing trip, its time i gear up and finish this story.
Courage comes to those who believe.
They say courage comes to those who believe! But belief’ on something or anything was so a distant dream for him now. He couldn’t believe what he had gone and done and what the repercussions had been. If only he had not forced his father… if only he had agreed to go instead of his parents, then they must have been still alive. Laughing and happy. But they were not.
He had dared to go out and face his family but then he couldn’t. He was not courageous. He didn’t believe and hence, courage did not come to him. Dev was broken and dadima had been weak. Rano maa was crying and worst, Geet wasn’t there. he had vaguely heard from naina that she was cooped up in her room and didn’t speak to anyone.
That was his undoing. The guilt sat heavily upon his heart and he resigned. Days passed in breeze and nights were sleepless. He watched helplessly at Dev trying to hold their business together. There was a huge blow on both personal and professional front. His brother was the new MD now and he strived hard to do everything on his own. he didn’t bother Maan and let him be. Dadima confined to her room, unwell. And he fell deeper into guilt. What has he gone and done?
It was a new week and Geet finally gathered courage to go and confront Maan. She had taken a long time to come in terms of everything. and now, more than anyone, she knew Maan needed her. he wouldn’t open up easily. And she knew him very well. The entire mansion was silent as she entered. Dev was away for work, managing everything alone. Dadima was not visible and the servants just carried on their work mechanically. It felt as if the house lacked a soul. She slowly walked to Dadima’s room first and saw her lying down and looking somewhere. She sat beside her and held her hand. Her voice trembled.
The elderly lady slowly got up and hugged Geet and cried. Geet held her but she couldn’t say anything to soothe her. What could she say? She herself was a mess and saying anything good was not bringing them back. They talked and one final thing dadima spoke, when she stood up to leave.
“I am here dadima. He cannot shut himself for long.”
She just spoke to convince dadima but she knew the task at hand was tougher than said. She, holding her heavy heart walked to Maan’s room and stood in front of the closed door and knocked softly.
She knocked a bit harder a few more times.
He was there, she knew well.
He raised his head that he had been hiding between his knees, sitting on the floor, by the door. That voice… he was hearing it after ages perhaps. Just one word and how badly he felt like crying. How easily could she stir his heart? he gulped down that lump in his throat that had started hurting him.
He had faintly been aware of the soft knocks but her voice did the magic.
“Maan, please open the door”
He closed his eyes again and wished her to go away. He was not in a state to see her.
A few knocks followed.
Her voice trembled and he felt it. he wondered if her hand ached with that constant knocking and if she was crying outside.
She called him and knocked and knocked but he didn’t answer.
And Geet knew she was losing. She didn’t want to but sensing him so defeated was slowly straining away her energy too. She gathered all her energy one final time and banged the door.
“Maan… open to me. Please.”
She screamed. And she fell on the ground, knocking.
“its been 8 days Maan. You have locked yourself for the past 8 days. Open up. Open the door to me.”
It seemed ages passed in front of her eyes when she heard a faint click of the door and she stood up, to see him. her eyes held tears but they couldn’t see his. He had his head hung low, his face not visible. He was in his vest and tracks and he looked truly messed up. He looked thin. Was he even eating anything at all? She felt her heart clench at his view. She knew he would have punished himself and that he had done.
“Maan, are you okay?”
And then she stopped immediately. How could he be okay? Was that even a question to be asked? She felt like slapping herself. She could clearly see he was anything but okay. And at her question, he slowly raised up his head, to reveal how he was that left her gasping. His eyes were blood red and his hair unruly. His cheeks had sunk into the bones and he looked sick. His lips trembled, she noticed, trying to say something but failed to do so.
She tried to hold his gaze captive in hers but couldn’t for long. He veiled them again and tried to go back.
“Oh Maan…” she cried and threw herself into his arms, more like taking him in her embrace. He stumbled and took a step back, into his room and she stepped inside with him, still holding him. she kicked the door shut with her legs and just held him, close to her.
Stillness was evident but silence was more profound. They stood like that and she cradled his head with one hand and holding him with other. He rested his head on her shoulder and breathed out. He didn’t speak anything but let his tears fall. There was nothing to say. Just them, solacing each other.
A long time passed like that. She felt his tears through her fabric but none uttered a word. He remained in the safe haven of his home’. She was his respite but not today.
“Let it go Maan. Let it go.”
She whispered, still caressing his hairs gently.
“It’s not your fault. So, let it go.”
It took him some time to react. He straightened himself and didn’t even make an effort to hide his tears. Guilt and redemption walked hand in hand. And he walked with them. He held her hand and dragged her to the door. Opening it, he held her by her shoulder and pushed her to stand outside, where she had been some time back.
She wasn’t shocked at his behaviour. She was sad to see him in such a state. Her heart cried. He was not himself. She knew.
“Go away Geet.”
Those were the first words he had uttered.
“Don’t punish yourself Maan.” She whispered.
And their eyes met for a brief moment; while hers were pained, his were fierce.
“Don’t come back.”
“Don’t do this to yourself.”
“Just don’t come back Geet!”
And he had slammed the door shut on her face. he was somewhere she couldn’t reach him and she knew he would burn himself till he fell.
And yet again, days started passing like they used to. But there was a difference. The days were not happy. The days were gloomy and the nights were still sleepless. Memories, more often than not, haunted each one of them. But more the time passed the lesser she saw of him.
He had taken to the office and kept himself busy. The liveliness of KM was long lost. Geet visited everyday for dadima, for Dev and for Maan but she never saw the latter. Dev would at times pass a weak smile to her if he found her around. Dadima worried about Priya but Dev brushed it off. he himself was in no state to think of anything else but hold his family together.
Months passed and Dev was wrapped up in responsibilities. Duties had overshadowed his life and his relationship with Priya started to fall apart, bit by bit. Not that Priya didn’t understand, but she missed Dev’. She was lonely without him too. She was as much broken and she needed Dev with her as much dev needed her in his life. And so, the drift began.
Maan hardly came home. He couldn’t bear the heaviness he felt that not even Geet could lessen. He took up every tour, every client visit and even the silliest of the field jobs that he could.
Geet had been a silent spectator. She would call him asking him if he were okay and that if he had eaten. All he would do was answer in monosyllables and hang up.
One year came to an end and the New Year passed in darkness. Dev came back and told dadima about breaking up with Priya. Both the families were shocked and Maan left the table immediately. He knew his brother had put everything at stake for the family. His brother was paying for the sin he had committed. Geet ran after him but he shut himself up. And the very next day he flew away to the States for the project his father had gone to settle and never came back.
When night falls, the darkness in our hearts come alive. Geet too let her darkness take over. She maintained her distance from Maan for a few days now but even that was killing. She had asked him to stay away from her, screamed at him and behaved like a mad woman but he hugged her. tight. And then he didn’t come to her. he kept his distance. And it angered her.
It angered her to no ends that he was keeping his distance. He didn’t even sleep with her at nights. And she cried for pushing him away. He was just giving her space, like she had asked of him. he was doing what she had wanted. And this night, yet again was painful. With calculated steps, she walked to the window and pushed it open.
The fragrance of jasmines haunted her. and it reminded her of him. her insides trembled. What was she doing to him? she was punishing him for no fault of his! How low had she stooped? A sob raked her body and she couldn’t contain it. the whimpers escaped her lips and then the cried. She felt herself so weak and she let herself fall.
But, she didn’t. She didn’t fall.
Warm hands held her shoulders from behind.
She muffled her cries with her palms knowing so well that he was yet again there for her. and all she had done these days was to push him away. But still, he came to her.
He let the weight of her body rest on him and wrapped his arms around her shoulder from behind, taking her in his embrace.
She sobbed now, overwhelmed by his mere presence; she knew she won’t be able to fathom the depth of his love and so she sobbed, letting her tears fall on his hands.
He leaned closer to her and kissed her temple.
“Let it go Geet.”
She gasped. A faint memory danced in her head.
“Let it go. Its not your fault. So let it go.”
She had spoken the exact same words to him long time back. She could recall now. Trembling like a leaf that was slowly breaking away from its branch, she turned in his arms and moved her hands frantically to reach his face.
He held her hands and helped her cup his face. and more tears rolled down her eyes. Her fingers traced the contours of his jaws, of his nose, of his lips, his eyes, his stubbled cheeks… he hadn’t shaved for a while it seemed. And he let her read him. learn him again by her touch.
And when her fingers rested on his lips, he spoke.
“Geet, let it go and open up to me.”
She dipped her head down, moving her hand away from those soft lips that set sensations in her when they moved.
“I cannot Maan. I am not able to.”
She felt his thumb pads gently wiping her tears away and raising her head to face him.
“What is it that you are scared of? Are you afraid that I would stop loving you because you are like this? Then no Geet, you have perhaps not understood me.”
He paused and spoke before her.
“No. Its not your fault. I should have cleared it. I should have understood it earlier and told you that nothing could let me love you any less. Am sorry. Its all my fault.”
“No… please Maan. Don’t say something like this. I never doubted your love. I… I was weak. I couldn’t fight.”
She cried now. He pulled her into his chest and let her cry.
“I was scared of myself. I was scared that I would fail you. I am scared. I am scared that I would never be able to see you. See your laughter and see your eyes twinkle. They… they told I cannot conceive…I… I don’t know.. what has happened to me Maan? I am scared that I cannot give you the happiness that you deserve… what should I do? tell me Maan. What should I do? And.. I couldn’t see you giving up on your project… I just couldn’t see you giving up”
There. she finally let it all out. He smiled through his tears and held her until she ceased her crying. Till then, he just held her and let her push everything out of her heart. and when he realized she was calm enough, he pressed his lips on her forehead and sat on the bed, taking her in his arm; making her sit on his lap.
“You, of all people in this world, must know Geet that nothing in this world could let me give up on you. If you trust me Geet, if you trust my love for you, them for the sake of the same, trust yourself. Hold yourself because I am here, I will always be here, with you. be courageous.”
She shook her head, unable to hold back.
“I cannot Maan. I cannot hold myself. I am not courageous enough. I am broken and I might destroy you with the storm that rages inside me.”