Mamta was very well aware of the fact that a fatherly concern was hidden beneath all the frank and friendly interactions of Maan with Vicky.Vicky was more like a son to Maan rather than brother. Knowing very well about today’s social structure,She had never dreamed of a daughter in law who would treat maan’s younger brother as her son,but she wanted her to treat vicky atleast like her own younger brother. But today,standing near the uppermost step,witnessing geet taking care of her younger son,she felt utterly blessed by almighty God for making her elder son choose this girl for himself.With a satisfactory smile lingering on her lips,she caressed maan’s cheek as she spoke,”I am proud of your choice,beta!!!”.Nitish could feel the excitement in his wife’s words and steps as she went downstairs to meet her future daughter-in-law.But strangely She did not show any restlessness or worry which should be shown by a mother after seeing single drop of her son’s blood. Geet had not only won her mother-in-law’s heart but a mother’s trust also.
“You should use an ice pack,It would help in reducing pain…”Geet was instructing Vicky when she felt a hand on her shoulder from behind.She turned around and saw a lady in cotton green saree and small Kum kum bindi adorning her fore-head..These two things had caught geet’s attention most as she got up from her place.She did not need any introduction to realize that the lady standing infront of her was Maan’s mother. Maan had got his eyes from her.
“Good evening ma’am..”Geet greeted Mamta however her formal addressing irked Mamta a little.
“Good evening beta..”Mamta replied while giving geet one more tissue from tissue box to wipe her fingers.”Vicky go and get an icepack for yourself”She instructed Vicky as she lead Geet towards the couch only to be followed by Maan and Nitish silently.
“Make yourself comfortable beta..”Mamta exclaimed taking a seat besides Geet. She was able to feel geet’s discomfort as she was avoiding looking in Maan’s eyes who was sitting opposite of her.
“What would you like to have beta???Tea or coffee??”Mamta asked in order to start the conversation.
“Tea maa..!!!Geet likes tea..”Maan answered before geet could tell her choice. Mamta and Nitish gave a teasing smile to their son which did not go unnoticed by Geet. The kind of welcome she got from maan’s family was clearly indicating that Maan had told his family everything.And now exchange of these teasing glances between them confirmed her doubt.
Putting all her wits together,she looked straight in maan’s eyes.Her heart pained knowing very well that she was going to reject “that” she had yearned most and “that” she would yearn most in future.She ignored her heart and let brain did its job as she spoke..“I have to talk about something very important”..
Geet’s words caught both Nitish as well as Mamta’s attention as they were reminded of the fact that their son had not confessed his love to geet yet.
“I think we should let them speak in privacy” Nitish spoke to Mamta as he got up to leave the room.
“Wait..“Geet spoke a little loud..“Please don’t leave..I want to talk in your presence..”She spoke further in comparatively low voice averting her gaze from Nitish to Mamta. Maan saw his parents taking their seats back as he held his breath in wait of geet’s opinion.He knew that reason behind her visit to his home at this hour of night was his marriage proposal.It was actually a long wait for him as Geet took much time in choosing right words to start the conversation while fidgeting with tissue in her hands.When she did not speak even after five whole minutes,Mamta thought to initiate the much needed conversation.
“Geet beta..Maan has told us that he has chosen you as his life partner…”
Mamta’s voice as well as words startled her badly as she spoke,”Maan sir has not chosen right girl ma’am..I am not the girl with whom he wants to spend his life..”Her gaze was fixed on her hands once again. Before mamta could say something,she was stopped by Nitish as he gestured her to keep quiet with his eyes.
“You are that girl geet..!!”Maan exclaimed in a desperate voice making geet shift her gaze from her hands to him.
“No sir..That girl would be most beautiful girl in this world..Bees would have borrowed nectar from roses for her lips …
Water would have borrowed curves from river for her body..Star would have borrowed darkness from night for her hairs.. and Pearls would have borrowed blue color from ocean for her orbs…”Geet retorted using “his” words as familiar pain constricted her heart more strongly.She could never forget those words as they had made her yearn for beauty for first time in her life.
Geet saw shock appearing on Maan’s face but soon it was replaced by a painful disappointment as he asked..“Did you read further geet???”
She lowered her gaze once again unable to look in his questioning eyes.She would never be able to answer if he asked the reason behind her not reading further.
Nitish and Mamta were completely clueless about their conversation but they could guess very well that it was not going in a favorable direction.Silence lingered in the air for next few minutes as Maan waited for her answer,which was perplexing Nitish and which was making Mamta loose her patience as she spoke,“If you are not his choice then why maan wants to marry you,geet???”
“Because of his remorse maam..!!!”
“Remorse???”Nitish asked scowling.
“Yes sir,remorse..Because I got these scars while saving “vicky” that day..Believe me sir,I never wanted him to know about all this but my mother accidentally told him everything..”
An audible gasp escaped Mamta’s lips hearing her words as she clutched Nitish’s arms tightly.Both of them looked towards their son.They saw same fear in his eyes which they had seen 13 years back.Life’s maze had brought him back at same place where his worst memories were residing.
Geet could not dare to look in his eyes as she spoke further.”I don’t blame you for that accident sir then why are you punishing yourself by marrying a “ugly” face??These scars are nothing infront of what you had faced after that accident..Please sir,we both could never be happy with this marriage..You should not..”
She could not complete her sentence as she found maan leaving the room silently.She kept looking at his retreating back as “pain” hit her heart with full force.There was slight hope in a small corner of her heart that he would stop her from saying all this..that he would tell her he wanted to marry her because he loved him,not because of his remorse..
She cursed her heart for these unreasonable yearnings while getting up from her place..”I should leave now,,”She spoke looking towards Nitish and Mamta who were unable to respond her. Nitish saw geet leaving with heavy steps as his wife broke down in his arms.
His fingers were moving randomly on the keypad of his laptop to type something completely “incoherent” on the word page which was opened on the screen. He looked at the screen as he clicked the “Undo” button,resulting in a neat and clean blank page to appear once again.Since he had returned to his room after geet left,Maan was busy doing this on his laptop.Every time he clicked the “Undo” button,he wished he could find such button for his life too..Sudden knock at the door made him look away from the screen. He gave a smile to his mother who was standing near the door with a glass of milk in her hands.
“I have brought milk for you..”Mamta said looking intently towards her son.His eyes were blank and smile that he gave her was not at all reaching his eyes.
“Thank you maa..”Maan spoke,keeping away the laptop.He appeared calm to Mamta,however being his mother,she knew very well that his calmness was superficial.The way his fingers were fidgeting with bunch of staple pins was clearly showing his inner turmoil.
“Are you fine beta???”Mamta asked keeping the glass on his study table.
“I am very much fine maa..!!!Finally I am being punished for my crime..”Vulnerability appeared in his eyes for a while but soon it was covered with same blankness which was scaring mamta alot.
“It was a mistake maan..”She replied controlling her tears.
“Breaking the dream of twelve years old girl to play “Sita” in her school drama is a “crime”,maa!!!”Maan retorted in a voice which was devoid of any emotion.”Now I am understanding why God saved me in that accident..”Death” was very small punishment for what i had done that day..God had decided a big punishment for my crime..Punishment of staying away from my love…Punishment of feeling the “helplessness”every minute that i would never be able to make her believe my love..Punishment of “regretting”that accident every minute for rest of my life..”
Mamta’s sobs interrupted him as he walked towards his crying mother.
“Don’t cry maa..I am contend with the punishment i have got..I am completely fine now..”He spoke wiping her tears.
“No..you are not fine..!!!”Mamta exclaimed as she brought forward his left hand which was balled in to a fist tightly.With fresh tears streaming down her eyes,she pulled his each finger to open the fist,only to find skin of his palm being pierced with staple pins.Blood was oozing through small wounds.
“Maa!!!” Maan’s feeble voice made her eyes shift from his hand to his face.”Can I hug you???“Maan asked further with immense pain in his eyes. Mamta nodded her head in yes as she opened her arms for her son.He hugged her mother like a small kid,hiding his face in crook of her neck as he cried louder and louder,without caring about his age.His strong body was wracked with the sobs as Mamta rubbed his back to soothe him.She knew very well that “Crying and writing” would not work this time to reduce her son’s pain..