She felt relief as cold water touched her eyes inside.”Burning” was ebbing away gradually.She wiped her eyes with fresh napkin before putting on her spectacles again.She was about to wear her dupatta when she heard a painful shriek from outside.Knowing very well that voice belonged to her boss,she did not care to put on her dupatta as she left the washroom with frantic steps.
“What happened sir???”She almost yelled looking at maan who was standing near the window,blowing at his bandaged finger.
“Nothing geet,i was just trying to open this jammed window and got hurt my finger..”He explained.
“Your already “injured” finger..”Geet said moving towards him while her eyes fixed on bandage on his finger which was turning red slowly.His finger was bleeding.”let me see..”she exclaimed in worried voice taking his hand in hers.
“Did i yell that loud???”Maan asked little embarrassed with the thought that his shriek had brought geet out of the washroom.She wanted to tell him that his one painful breath is enough to awaken her from deepest slumber but could not say so.”I think,we have to change the bandage” She said before sprinting towards the washroom again to get the first aid box.
Next minute,she was knelt down beside his chair,applying the antiseptic lotion on his wounded finger.Her occasional blowing was soothing the burning caused by the lotion.Her entire attention was on his finger while his entire attention was on her face.It was second time when he had seen her without the dupatta,however it was first time when he had seen her that closely.He remembered his own words suddenly from their bike ride night conversation.He had told her that being a girl she would never understand what he would feel when his wife would shed all her inhibitions for him.He himself did not know how he would actually feel in such a situation,when he had said those words to her night. But at that moment,he had realized how it would feel.Watching geet without her dupatta was giving him strange happiness and confidence that she had trust in him to expose “that” to him which she had always hid from all.
He saw some of loose hair form her braid falling on her face.In a trance,his fingers removed those errant silky threads which was blocking his view.His touch made her look in his eyes.He expected her to flinch or react like that day when he had seen her without spectacles,but strangely she did not do so.She gave a weak smile as she finished bandaging his finger.
“Won’t you ask about my scars???”He heard her asking after sometime as she got up from her place,with first aid box in her hands.
He held her wrist and gestured her to sit near him as he spoke,,”If you consider me worthy enough to share then do tell me..”
She smiled in response as she settled herself comfortably in the chair opposite him.”An unfortunate road accident has given me these scars as well as “squint”in my left eye,when i was twelve”She spoke further looking in his eyes.There were few people with whom she had actually talked about that accident and everyone had always responded her with sympathetic words.She told him entire incident in one sentence and kept looking in his eyes to search for “sympathy” but instead of sympathy she found “fear” in his eyes as he spoke,”Thank God you were saved“.He did not know whether she was able to feel tremble in his voice but her one sentence had shook him badly inside as fear of “loosing her for ever” overwhelmed him.
Tears appeared in her hazels as his words evoked an alien feeling in her.She did not know how it would actually feel to be loved by a “man” but whatever she was feeling right now was no less than to be hugged or kissed intensely by your lover.
“Don’t cry geet..”Maan said to her controlling his fear.”Do these scars and eye defect make you feel bad geet???Have you ever tried a “treatment” for your eyes???”He questioned continuously.
“They have made me feel bad only once when i could not play “Sita” in musical drama”She answered averting her gaze from him.She could not lie looking in his eyes directly but sadly she could not tell him also that she felt more bad when she had read first part of his story when he had praised the “beauty” of his heroine.”and regarding treatment of my eyes,doctor had told after the accident that squint would be gone with the time itself”..She informed him.
“Hope it has not affected your “eye sight”..He exclaimed worriedly.
“No sir,it has not..I wear spectacles only to hide my “squint”..I don’t know whether my squint has gone or not because I have never checked myself in the mirror..”She spoke and looked at him as she waited for him to advise her but he did not say anything..”Won’t you advice me to remove these spectacles and check my eyes in the mirror???“She asked.
“Though I should have advised you to let go your fear and check your eyes but i am not the right person to advise this..”he exclaimed with a sigh.
“Because I myself is unable to overcome my fears..”He told her.”Won’t you ask about my “fear”,geet???“He questioned further when she responded in complete silence to his previous statement.
“If you consider me worthy enough to share sir,then do tell me..”She said with a smile which made his lips curve into a beautiful smile before he started speaking..”I can’t drive a car geet..It is not because i don’t know how to drive it..It is because I fear driving a car..”
“At that age,when kids think they can become whatever they want to become,I wanted to be a Formula One racing driver..Cars were passion for me geet..One would find only “cars” in my collection of toys..When i was fourteen,i was an expert in “theoretical knowledge”about cars..I knew very well how do gears,accelerators,clutch or breaks work..Problem was that my father had never let me drive because of my “under age”..I tried to pacify him in every possible way but he was adamant on his decision that I could not drive till i would turn sixteen..However,his decision could not stop me entirely because I had started pestering our drivers to let me drive for a while…”Geet was able to notice a naughty smile on his lips but it faded soon as he spoke “I wish they had not let me drive geet.!!!”
Pain and fear was evident on his face when he tried to speak further..”Mumma had sent me with my younger brother “Vicky” to “garden” that evening..He was three years old then and I was fourteen.I had saved my pocket money to gift him a “ball” on his third birthday just a day before..”Ball” that i gave him was his favorite gift geet…I still remember how happy he was playing with that ball in garden. Mumma had sent me to take care of him but instead of doing that i was more interested in grabbing a chance to drive the car on a busy road and my driver let me do that..It was the first time when i was driving on a busy road geet…and for the first time i had realized that what difference was there in driving in our courtyard for a while and driving on a road full of traffic.I was hell nervous..Inspite of knowing everything,i could not control the car.Suddenly my mind was blank as i forgot everything from changing gears to pressing breaks..I was contemplating how to stop the car when suddenly i saw my brother in the middle of road chasing his ball..That was the moment when panic attacked me with full force as i left the steering wheel and closed my eyes..”
His breaths got shallow as beads of sweat appeared on his fore-head..
“I don’t know geet,what happened next because i opened my eyes in hospital only after that…”He said wiping his fore head with handkerchief…