Maan got tiffin. He was waiting for it since she called. He dint know what was in her voice but he felt own-ness that he could not deny. He kept tiffin on table and opened. It was all his favorite. He picked phone and called pinky not to disturb him. He chosen pasta and took first bite. Automatically, he closed eyes. With every chew his memory remembered blurred sights.
“ Maan khalo beta ”
“ nahi mummaa nahi khana ”
“Maan please look food would get cold .. please eat na .. its your fav pasta ”
“ woww pasta mumma !! ” “ yummy ” …..
His memory ended with food. He cherished it and thanked Geet heartily. She was doing what he always missed. He was very tough personality, not having any crack inside his rock body but his heart was mismatched, it always wanted to feel soft. It always wished for a cotton bed to sleep, a lap of warmth, a hand of fondness, a sweetness of lullaby cause his stone body had been gifted only thorn pain to him. Seemed Geet caress fulfilling his heart wish thus his heart was happy today..
Maan returned before dinner time. All servants were amazed with his changed mood. Maan went his room. Today he felt his room was dark and dead. He went to window and opened . Wind started to run inside like room was inhaling them quickly, feeling breathless since long. Maan opened every window and inhaled air accompanying his room. Both felt alive. He went to get fresh and came back after long. He went downstairs and watched his servants working. Many faces he was seeing first time. He even dint know when they been appointed. He came to hall and took news paper. Every writing reminded him Geet card. How she cut all alphabets and pasted. His eyes searched for Geet. “ she must be in kitchen” he thought.
He kept paper and went toward kitchen. She was there making foods. She was smiling and talking to nakul in between. She knew how to be happy and to make others. He learnt today “ she dont need any material in her hand to make other happy but her a word from her mouth is enough to make other smile” and yes he was smiling like she was. Maan was following her and she was making him follow, without her knowledge.
“Maan Sir ?? ” nakul voice broke his trance.. “ oo haa.. nakul give me coffee” Maan said and went his room.
It was 11 at night. All servants had left. Geet was in her room thinking something. She had books , she had pens but had not any thing to write on. Yes she could use papers but she wanted her own notebook (like every child want before starting new class). She had no money to buy as well (she returned money back to nakul).. now she worrying what to do as her heart was dieing to start book. Then something flashed in her mind. She looked time
“ jaau ya na jaau ” was playing inside her mind but she decided to try once. Also she was afraid, in moring Maan would leave office so how would she ask. She ascended and reached to Maan room outside. She could guess light was on so he was awake. She remembered her sweet babaji and knocked.
Maan heard knock. “ iis waqt kon ho sakta hai” thought. She knocked again saying “ Maanji !! ”
“Geet ?? .. iis waqt” … “under aa jaao Geet ” he called thinking weird why she came this late. She peeped and stood on door, opening it. He was waiting for her to say and she was fiddling Dupatta (Scarf), pleAding babaji to give her courage to speak at least. And finally she spoke “ Maanji ”
“wo.. wo can I take those papers ” she pointed toward a bundle of waste papers. It was one side printed and blank on another side.
Maan frowned “ ye achanak isse kya ho gaya” thought. “ kyu.. what would you do of those Geet “” he asked confused.
“ wo I need those .. please Maanji if you dont need those give me na ” she pleaded childlike
“thik hai lelo if you need ” he said not knowing why she needed. Well those were wastage so he agreed. She happily went to table and collected. It was thick bundle and was enough for her to start her study. She thanked Maan, closed door behind and run to room. Kept on bed, took stapler and started pinning all pages, making thin copies.
Maan was still in thought what she is up to. He could not control and went toward her room. It was light on. He pushed door slight and found it open. He peeped little and found her back was facing him. He made face. Peeped more and in process, finally was fully inside. Geet startled and turned. She stood shocked’ “ Maanji aap yaha” she asked total surprised.
” what you doing Geet ” he looked all spread papers here n there on floor.
“ kuch nahi ” she said, like caught red handed
“ phir ye sab kya hai ”
“ wo I was making copies” she showed one. She again amazed him. If she wanted , instead of those papers could have asked for notebooks or money but no, she was a mystery for him and he was enjoying to solve it.
“ mai help karu ”’ dont know why he asked it. She looked him with her big eyes like he demanded her for any diamond. She nodded no . He glared. She nodded yes.
Both sat on bed. Geet showed him how to make and he was learning like a obedient child. : Maanji .. look pahle collect papers then keep it like this … ” she was teaching him without thinking he was her owner ..
“ Geet look ..is this ok ” he was learning forgetting, she was his maid. Both were enjoying and lost track of age. Both were started, feeling like their childhood. She was with her friend, in Orphanage and he was with his family, his mother …
“ Maan.. dekhiye.. ye ase ” Geet said making him come back from forbidden memory.
“ Maan” was something new he heard. He had forgot his own name. He remembered he was not called by this name “Maan” since he became MSK. He was msk, mk, Maan Singh Khurana, mr Maan for whole world but “Maan” … he looked her wanting her to call again with his precious name.. the name his family had given him, with so much love n fond.
Geet looked up found him lost. She held his cheek , turned to her, unknowingly
“ Maanji kya hua ” she called. He looked her hand on his cheek. It had same warmth, he liked. She was not knowing Maan was started carving for her care n affection.
He shook head “ nothing Geet” , resumed his work. They again emerged in their little act . Geet started telling her childhood jokes and some funny incidents. Maan was loving it, enjoying, then smiled and lastly started laughing.. he was laughing.. Maan Singh Khurana was laughing , was a rare sight for Geet. She instantly looked him. She smiled, she was happy looking him happy. She lost in his laugh. Maan looked her.
” kya hua Geet” he asked controlling his laugh..
“ Maanji.. aap haste hue bahut achhe lagte ho ” she spoke…
both stopped. Thought what they are doing. They felt embarrassed. Maan for laughing and Geet, for being so open with her owner. Finally Maan said
“ raat bahut ho chuki hai Geet.. so jaao ” he left. She looked to watch. It was 2 o clock..