Prologue: Academic Crises
Her voice echoed in the hall of Handa Haveli but she did not receive much except some couple of sighs in return which were probably emitted by her parents & her sister. But the old man seated in front of her stuck to his angry & irritated face.
“Geet puttar, we had sent you to Delhi to study properly but what is this? you have just passed by a mark!!!!What did you actually do there?!!!!”
“Sorry Daarji…” Geet voiced her standard reply to each of Daarji’s sayings for the nth time with her eyes facing the floor.
“Agar,aisa hi chalta raha, toh we don’t have any other option except marrying you off!!”
“Sorry Daarji” It was just after that Geet reflected on what she had just said. “N-N-No!!!!You can’t get me married…nahi…please…I-I-I promise I will surely surely top the next exam…” said Geet with pleading eyes.
Hearing that, her mom Rano gave a slight giggle. Her husband, Mohinder elbowed her to maintain silence.
“Go to you room Geet!!” Daarji ordered.
Geet sighed. Finally the grilling session was over & that she was not made homeless after her academic crises. She picked up her suitcase & went up the stairs to her room followed by Rano & Rajji, Geet’s sister.
“Waise don’t take tension puttarji! We are rich enough to get you married to a wealthy household!” winked Rano as Geet embraced the bed in tiredness.
“Oh Please Mamma! Now you also don’t start generating rumors of my marriage! ” she cringed which made Rano laugh.
Geet was assured that she won’t be getting married so soon as she held the privilege of being the laadli of the Handa household.
After Rano left, Rajji took the center stage in front of Geet.
“Okay Di, now lets talk real matters. You dumped that Vishal na?” asked Rajji, with twinkling eyes.
“Kya batau yaar, he was a loose character, time waste completely !”
“Seriously , I would never even fall in love henceforth!”
“WWWhyyy” Rajji asked surprised.
“I fail in the exams yaar & then I have to hear routine lectures from Daarji which every time concludes with the word of getting me married!”
“Waise, You know the Khuranas will be coming here tomorrow!”
“Tumhe nahi pata!!! Maan Singh Khurana ! ” Rajji looked with eager eyes towards Geet but did not receive the expected eagerness in return.
Rajji continued as she stood by the window looking outside. “All my friends have started giving me too much attention after they came to know that MSK is arriving!These girls na! I tell you! Waise, do you know why the Khuranas are coming? They are coming to see--”
She turned behind & saw Geet sleeping with a pillow over her face.
“Tomorrow you will anyways come to know why they have come!”
Rajji left the room while Geet carried on with her nap!
Chapter Two: The Prankster Arrives
Geet’s eyes opened to hearing loud laughs & talks which were coming from the hall downstairs. She got up yawning & passed by her window to walk out of the room when she saw some girls peering inside the Haveli in curiosity & anticipation of something.
“What’s all this?” Geet wondered.
Looking down the hall, her sleepy eyes were now wide awake as she saw some guests seated. The Khuranas perhaps…that’s what Rajji had said. Geet couldn’t see their faces .Just then she heard her dad say
“Toh baat pakki!”
Geet was stunned hearing that.
“T-That means, D-Daarji is really getting me married!!!!!!”
Realization stuck her like hard rock & she was unable to move from her place. She recollected what Daarji had said the previous day & also her mother’s remark. Geet had taken for granted that her family, like always, just threatened her with the word marriage but she half expected that this time they would really carry out their threat!
Geet’s eyes saw Rajji happily coming up the stairs. She was finally motivated to act than to remain stoned.
“Geet Di, when did you--”
“Come with me to my room quick!”
Geet grabbed her by her hand & dragged Rajji to her room.
“What are you doing Di?” asked Rajji startled as she saw Geet opening the zip of her bag & then advancing towards the cupboard & then dumping all the clothes from there into her bag.
“If I had known, I wouldn’t have unpacked!!!Rajji Come on, help me! I want to get out of this place, else they will get me married to that whatever-his-name-is! ”
“Maan?? But Di woh-” she tried to object.
“I have no time to argue!!Come help me pleaseee!” her eyes were a bit tearful.
Rajji reluctantly helped her to pack the bag. Whenever she tried to say something, Geet interrupted her.
“Okay,I am leaving from the back window! & don’t utter anything to anyone!”
“But where will you go aur --!”Rajji was again interrupted
“I-I will think later on!”
And the next moment Geet was out of sight!
The corridors were crystal clear with no one around. Geet tiptoed towards the large open window more or less like a thief, trailing her bag noiselessly behind her. Just when she was about to venture outside, a manly voice shook her off.
“Normal human souls use the front door to walk outside instead creeping out through the window!”
The sharp, direct & menacing voice hit her ears. Her hand let go off her bag & stood still as if his voice had hypnotized her. She didn’t know who he was but she could make out that he was standing just a few steps behind. Next she heard his poised yet quick footsteps proceeding towards her. Feeling weak by this sudden intrusion, she closed her eyes & bit her lips. Finally she felt his warm breath on her ears, which ruffled some strands of her hair.
“Maan Singh Khurana…” that almost sounded like a moan from Geet…
He heard that.“Use the door…” Maan smirked.
Geet abruptly turned around . She first saw his face ignited by a quirky smile before meeting his intriguing eyes which were looking at her with rapt attention. While she gaped at him, he asked her,
“May I know what motivated you to crawl out like this?” his voice still held a slight huskiness.
Geet looked away from him. All the confidence that she had donned betrayed her just by hearing him speak thrice!
“Kyunki…Kyunki everyone wants me to marry you but I don’t want to.. ”
Okay, was that a wise thing to tell?, she reflected but it was too late. He studied her with renewed interest before saying
“Hmm..I see..” looking at her intently, “Actually, even I was hesitant for this marriage.”
That showed Geet a ray of hope, “So please..just reject me in front of all…”
“No,I can’t do that!”
“Then I am leaving from here!”
She turned around & was just about to pick her bag when she felt his strong grip around her wrist & the next second, she was caged between him & the wall near the window. Her lips parted but words of objection refused to flow out. Her hands rested on his biceps, feeling just how muscular he was…She felt his eyes captivating her from all angles as her breaths stammered on realizing how pretty close they were. She had nothing else to do except stare, actually drool at him while his godly looks arrowed her heart after playing with her senses.
“You can’t leave, do you get that!!!” his voice rang as an order.
“Why can’t you reject me then?” her voice was strained as his warm breath swayed her face & she couldn’t even breathe in fear of her body touching his…
“I said I was hesitant but now I am not! You are far more beautiful than I expected you to be..I am absolutely fine with this alliance..” his eyes conveyed a glint in them
Her eyes grew wider after hearing that & didn’t have the right words to reply to him. Sensing that he continued,
“Do yourself a favour!!Instead of running away, walk into the hall, with tea-cups of course & refuse for the wedding in front of all!” he smirked
Dazed, Geet did not hear a single word. Instead her mind was busy detecting how come his voice was so alluring…sexy…
“C-Can you p-please repeat wh--”
He was gone & the corridors resumed silence yet again leaving Geet to wonder whether he was really present or not.
She at once rushed to the kitchen, surprising the already pensive Rajji.
“Di, But I thought you left!”
“What kind of a sister are you? Do you really want me to see homeless! ”
Before Rajji could say anything, Geet was in the hall with the tea-cups.
Geet grew conscious seeing so many people in the hall. She quietly kept the tea-cup on the table. Her eyes first located Maan, who was watching her every movement after she entered the hall. And there was a girl seated next to him who was probably his sister.
“Woh…mujhe aap sabse kuch kehna hai….”
Geet started. Maan’s dadi, his father & her family everyone looked at her.
“Of course…After all your nod matters the most…” said Maan in the most gentlemanly voice but Geet could identify the taunt in it. Maan sipped the tea looking at her with a glint in his eyes.“Come on…Just say you are not at all happy with this rishta..Say Say Say!!!!!! ”Geet urged herself . But when she opened her mouth, her words took a new route,
“Tea is made by Rajji, I just put sugar in it!!!”
Geet was confirmed that she was the most foolish girl ever!!!.Everyone just stared at her, not knowing how to react. Geet retraced her steps outside the hall.
She cursed herself as she prepared to climb the stairs.
She heard his husky voice yet again behind her. Startled, she almost fell back on him. He caught her, supporting her back. And yet again, she was left speechless by looking at him.
“You missed a precious chance Miss Geet Handa! Don’t worry, try again later!!!”
“Why are you doing this?” she asked him, almost pleading.
He was unaffected,” what did I do? Is it my fault that you put only sugar in tea??”
He left from there while Geet clutched the staircase railings to prevent her fall…She watched him until his back disappeared, her heart finally resumed it’s beating…
“Babaji, I will surely reject the proposal ...or I atleast hope so!”
Chapter Three: Trial No 3
Narration by Geet
I was in the kitchen cutting onions which automatically brought water in my eyes. I had decided, come what may I would clarify to all that I don’t want to marry Maan! Perhaps the artificial water dripping from my eyes would help me to convey to them! I don’t know but when he came near to me yesterday…umm..kuch kuch hota hai…don’t know…I am so confused!
And nonetheless, as his thoughts just swayed by my mind, next my eyes saw him leaning against the kitchen door. I immediately looked away from pretending to not acknowledge his presence.
“Hmm…So? I think you are gonna use emotional blackmail for your second trial! Good!” he said mischievously as he saw water coming from my eyes
I did not say anything. Instead I wiped my eyes & continued cutting the onions. He lingered around the kitchen some more time as I concentrated on the onions but his presence was making me really nervous. I had this feeling that he was all the while staring at me though I didn’t know whether it was true or not! Ultimately with the fear of cutting my fingers due to my growing consciousness of him, I spoke up
“What do you want? Please go from here!!” I whined & looked at him but to my utter dismay, he was not at all looking at me but he seemed to search something.
“But he told I was beautiful right?” I coaxed myself. My voice made him turn his head towards me. Did I tell that he looked irresistible in that brown shirt which he had worn & the gel applied perfectly on his hair was doing wonders to me!. The next second I saw him proceed towards me roguishly & yet again I watched him dreamily caring a damn about what he would do next! And then when he was way to closer to me, I felt it was high time to speak some words,
“W-What are you doing….”
His smirk became all the more bright hearing me ,”I am just…”
I watched him with a blank face as he started leaning over me! I felt the kitchen slab behind me which restricted my leg movement & I began to lean backwards as he inched closer... “What is he up to?” my mind popped this question out. But by the time I could think of something, my eyes closed as the collar of his shirt gently touched my neck, it was velvety & it gave me a ticklish feeling....& then....& then his fingers crossed mine..& then he....then he....
“The apples are quiet red but not as bright as your cheeks ! Good luck for your next try!”
His words broke my chain of fantasies & I stared at him with a startled look as he gave me a quirky smile standing at a safe distance from me biting an apple. He left me in a state of confusion as to what really happened.
Fine!!!I was imagining things! His collar really did touch my neck but the latter part was my own imaginary input! He was searching for the tray of apples which unluckily (or luckily!) was just behind me on the slab & he wanted to get those!! & I thought......That’s why I don’t like him.....mujhe really kuch kuch hota hai.....!
It was breakfast time. I patiently waited for some faces to arrive,particularly my Mamma so that I can talk to her. Soon after someone did arrive but it was Maan. He gave me the smile which I really wish he stops giving me as it make me weaker! He was about to take his seat but I stopped him abruptly,
“You can’t sit over here.”
He ignored me. He was again about to take his seat but yet again I stopped him.
“What the hell!! Is this chair a lucky charm for you ??”
I glanced sideways & replied,
“I-I mean..you can’t sit over here..else I won’t be able to say what I am supposed to say like yesterday. I will send your breakfast to your room!”
Man!!!The height of innocent confession!! He stared at me, amused. He shook his head smirking & then left from there!
Then Aniee turned up. I hadn’t got to converse with her but I knew that Rajji disliked her!
So Aniee is Maan’s younger sister. She comes across as a snobbish, pampered spoil brat! And I don’t think she likes me!
“Where is Bhai?” she asked, taking her seat half acknowledging my presence
“He will have breakfast in his room.”
“Why?” she asked sharply.
“I told him to.”
“What nonsense!!!!!!” she got up, “Then better send my breakfast too in his room!!!! Bhabhiji!!!!” she snorted & headed upstairs with her nose in the air. Even I dislike her!!
Then finally the expected faces began to usher in, my parents being one of the firsts. I wanted to just say to them right way but I stammered & by the time I could start with my statement, the rest of everyone arrived & took their seats. I sighed but I would definitely say, I resolved!
“Wah! These aaloo ka parathas are so relishing!!” exclaimed Maan’s dadi & everyone followed her.
“Woh ji Geet puttar ne banaya hai!” added my Mamma praising me.
Ignoring her, I managed to start my pending speech
“Woh.....mein aap sabse yeh kehna chahati thi ki....ki....woh mein..” Everyone was patiently waiting for me to complete my say. I tried to take a deep breath & start all over again...but....
“I wanted to say that aaloo ke parathes are made from aaloo i.e potatoes!”
Damn!!!I messed up everything again!!!I wanted to bang my head somewhere & yet again there was a blank line drawn on all the faces looking at me, trying to make sense!. Just then I heard a squeal of laughter from upstairs. I looked up to see Maan & Aniee watching my sheepish act with Aniee laughing out loud
“Oh Thank you so much Bhab--..I mean Geet!!!I really thought that aaloo ka paratha are made from cabbages!!Thanks for clarifying!!” she laughed sarcastically.
Maan motioned her to stay quiet. She obeyed him. He then smirked at me & I could only give him the whining look. The breakfast subsided soon.
I was prancing through the corridors yet again cursing myself for my sheepishness when I dashed with Maan at a turn. I closed my eyes startled & when I opened them, I saw myself pinned to a secluded corner by him. His utter closeness, the glint in his enchanting eyes easily raised my heart beats again & I was at a loss for words.
“Not fair!!” he sounded as if complaining, “Two golden chance & still you couldn’t clarify? I can’t be generous anymore!”
He was enjoying my shocked eyes staring at him.
“I told you to remain in your room!!!”
“Phir se shikayat?? I did not come in front of you at all, phir bhi....”
He moved his palm sensually up the bare wall slightly brushing through my arms.. I shivered at his touch. He leaned more close to me & whispered,
“Kaho toh..Shall I write the ‘correct’ words for you which you are supposed to say in your final try next time?”
“No Thanks!!” I said, my voice as stiff as possible.
He released me & so did his hot breath that was surrounding me.
“As you wish! I advise you to eat an apple!”
I looked at him inquiringly. He chose to explain himself
“An apple a day helps the right words to say!”
He walked away bearing a mischievous grin. I am really supposed to be angry with him!! he leaves no chance to taunt me...Argg!! but kya karu, words refuse to grace my lips whenever he is around...