The entire day Geet spent with taking care of the little lamb. Seemed, it had become her new routine. Geet didn’t know why but she felt an attachment with this little animal. Perhaps, he was the only living thing she had found after years to live with, otherwise she had been started getting daunted living alone life. Or it was the only witness of her friendship with Maan, so he was special? She could not clarify the reason but she was happy to have him.
Geet took lamb near pond in late evening. It was cool weather that day and anytime rain could’ve started. She introduced him with her friends. Lamb was getting irritated sitting in her arms. He wanted to come out of hold and play.
“Ohh, where you want to go?” Geet asked. She understood him and put down from hold. Then she thought “Shouldn’t I give him a name?” She started thinking, running behind lamb. “Moon you tell, what should I call him?” She looked up and tried to catch him who was bleating and was ready to jump in water and Geet was trying hard to stop him. “Please stop! What are you doing, don’t jump, you can sink!!” Geet was shouting and hearing her shout lamb even started making louder cry. Geet got scared thinking what if Rano would hear, she has to go to meet Maan.
“Shh,, shh.. please I joint my hands before you, don’t make noise. Maa can come here,, please” But lamb was not less, he increased his volume higher.
“Argh!” Geet was becoming much irritated. She scolded over nature, “Can’t you all help me?” She made desperate face fiddling Dupatta, “I have to go, he would be waiting there”, she stared up to moon who was playing hide and seek with dark clouds. She scolded being irritated, “See how you are enjoying your game but you cannot help me out even for once. You all are so mean!” She threw an annoyed expression and turned around in anger crossing arms across chest. Here naughty little one was continuing his nonstop bleating looking at her. Geet looked at lamb grumbling. Suddenly her body jumped off hearing thunder sound. She looked up to sky, found no moon was there and black clouds had covered the territory completely. In thunder sound lamb bleat faded away.
Geet jumped up happily. “Thank you” She swirled around and danced in happiness, spreading her arms and hugged herself as if she was hugging her beautiful friends. “You all are so good, really” She shouted. Now time has come for her to escape and today, even this stormy weather had made her job much easier. In darkness she wouldn’t have much risk to be seen by passing people. She covered herself with a shawl and started running. Poor lamb tried hard to make noise but this thunder couldn’t let him get succeed.
She was running faster as much as her legs could move. Tonight darkness had helped her a lot and peeping moon through clouds also poured light whenever she needed. Tonight there was laid a new enthusiasm, new feelings in her heart and Geet was lost in it when suddenly a screech noise resounded in air and a flash light blinded her eyes. She instantly covered eyes behind arm for a second. She had to blink eyes several times to make view clear and then found, there a car was stopped only an inch away from her feet. And then she heard a shout,
She found Maan was running toward her getting out of car, “Are you okay Geet?” He asked worried and shook her arms.
“Maan?” She signed in relief finding him there in place of anyone else. But she was surprised also. When Maan found she was fine, he told her to sit in car. Geet sat as he said but she asked what he was doing there.
Maan started driving. “I wanted to find you” He said, getting serious which frightened Geet. She didn’t want him to know anything about her. She stared him in disbelief, “Why?” She asked hesitatingly.
“So that I can sneak into your home whenever I would wish’
Now his statement scared her further.
”May be into your room” He scared her more, intentionally. He smirked looking at her dried face.
”Bu…but why you will sneak into my room. Ye sharifo ka kaam nahi”
”And who said that I am Sharif, hm’?”
“Ji?” Geet watched him shocked. His talks were weird today. Her boldness was slipping away from hand and there had been started vibration in heart, when suddenly Maan burst into laughter.
“Relax Geet, I was just joking” He controlled his laugh. “Don’t panic. I only wanted to pick you up so that you wouldn’t need to face trouble in this dark night. Nothing else”
“But this dark night can’t harm me, they know me very well” Geet chimed.
“Really?” Maan looked her confused.
She nodded in excitement. “You know, this clouds, this stars, moon, sky, this trees, and dark night everything always have taken care of my wishes. This nature is my best friends” Her eyes shone, looking up to sky.
Though Maan liked her talking to him but, her words made him more curious to know about her, about the mystery which had been shedding her persona. He never heard any person name from her mouth but he had already known that this mute nature was her friends. It was strange and so he proceeded the talk further altering his words.
“But I don’t believe you. I mean this night, this nature,, how can they know you? Can be your friends? They are nothing but only an insensible thing, they can’t understand anyone. I think that you are laying Geet because you want to keep your friends name secret from me?” Maan gave a deliberative smile and threw instant glance toward her.
Geet was hurt. Because, he didn’t believe her. She had habit of hearing mock about her being different, talking with nature but it was not acceptable when Maan showed the same reaction what rest world used to do. “Aapko meri baantoh pe yakin nahi?” She asked dimly.
Maan could also find hint of water inside those fagged eyes. “No Geet, I didn’t mean that”
“Then why did you say you don’t believe me?” She felt as if she wanted to complain in anger but voice came out obscured.
Maan smiled and assured her, “I believe you Geet, completely”
“Really?” She said excited. “Mean you believe that I can talk with this nature and they can also understand me?”
He nodded. “But Geet, don’t you have another friends. I mean anyone.. who would be.. Living” Maan hesitated to ask, but Geet showed no botheration this time. Instead she looked upset. “Okay, just tell me about your family?” He tried to lessen her mood but his question bothered her more. Maan felt as if she was trying to hide something in heart. Geet was trying to remember something which do not have to tell anyone. Her heart swelled with the burden. She looked out of window to grab cool air. “Where are we going?” She asked suddenly to divert her mind. She also found them driving on a totally unseen road. She looked to Maan holding her veil sideways which was fluttering in fast wind.
“Somewhere far from this place” He said calmly.
“But where?” Geet was afraid how she would be back to home before Rano would open her eyes. But Maan consoled saying the place where they are going is not that much far and he will drop her home safely on time. She looked around. She hadn’t seen this area of city before and truly said, she was happy to be there.
Car was like flying, un-touching the road and cold, stormy wind was patting her face wildly. Geet found this place more hushed and less populated and she guessed, they had been very much far away from the main city unlike Maan had convinced her. But she couldn’t dislike the idea of this stolen moment spending together. On sky time to time thunder was proving his appearance that Geet loved. She couldn’t have seen this sight being in prison, being at home. Open fields and sometimes crossing bridges, having the flowing water below was wonderful experience. She was tired. She jointed both hands on window panel and rested her face on it and closed her eyes. Let the wind hit her face, she smiled and became lost in slumber.
Maan stopped car. He called her name two-three times but Geet didn’t hear. Then he got out and came to her side. He found she was actually sleeping. Her hairs had been totally mess and few curls were playing naughtily with her cheek. He felt jealous. He bent down, shadowed over her face. He advanced hand to remove those curls but then stopped. He softly started blowing air on her face. His warm breath started touching, playing with her smooth skin. Even in sleep Geet could differentiate between touch of her friend and love. Her senses tickled feeling warmth. Maan rubbed his finger on her cheek, slowly and steadily. He heard her dim moan. Geet stirred a little. Maan straightened up. He hurried and taken his seat inside car. Till Geet had woken up completely.
“Did we reach?” She asked, adjusting her veil and she was embarrassed over her behaviour that she had slept in car. Maan said he had just reached. They both came out.
As they taken few steps, Geet stopped abruptly. She was witnessing a big mansion in front of her eyes which was jingling with lights-bulbs.
She hesitated to go ahead. ”Where are we? Whose place is this? I have never seen such a beautiful place before”
”Did you like this place Geet?”
Geet nodded head in excitement. “This palace belongs to whom Maan? And why did you bring me here?”
”You will know everything once you’ll come inside. Come with me” He held her hand and made her walk inside. Geet was very much excited and amazed to see the place. It was very beautiful that she mentally wished to God, giving her gift that she could spend life here. Something was in this place which attracted her heart and mind and even her soul seemed bonded with this building, with this white walls, marble statues and a laying garden besides. Though the mansion appeared old, dirty and cold from inside and things were scattered and were totally messed. As like hadn’t been opened and used since years but still, she felt a strange affection was following and embracing her toward this place. She clutched Maan’s hand feeling anxious.
“Whose mansion is this Maan?” She asked with desire.
“Geet, I have bought this place. I’m sorry that I had to bring you in such a messed place but truly say, I couldn’t wait you to show it. I wanted you to see this place first. Did you like this house Geet?” Maan looked her anxious, to know if she liked this place and so was Geet, anxious to know more about this mansion. To know why her heart was feeling satisfied to be here. Why she was feeling familiarity in air. There was something in this atmosphere which made her heart heavy and thoughtful.
“Come Geet, I show you terrace” Maan dragged her toward staircase. Geet eyes were recapturing each and every corner of this mansion. She just followed Maan without reacting when cold air hit her face. She came back into reality and found a wonderful sight was waiting for her. Her legs automatically moved toward stoned railing. And she found the entire Lucknow city could be seen from this place. City was twinkling in lights and besides the mansion, there was a small lake had been built. Forgetting her earlier anxiety Geet spread her arms and tried to embrace the entire city in her hold. But her small arms couldn’t enclosed the entire city. She made face.
Suddenly she felt Maan presence at her back. He was standing very closer that their bodies were touching each other. Before Geet could react Maan caressed his hand over her already extended arms slowly making her feel goosebumps. He removed the gap. He enclosed the entire city between his arm-circle, taking Geet amidst. It looked like, she was owning this city and Maan owned her. He took a sharp breathe smelling her hairs, “Now, this entire world is yours Geet” Maan whispered in her ear but Geet couldn’t hear what he said. She was just getting lost in his proximity.
She tried to escape when Maan held her hand. He said her to wait there and while himself, went to bring his camera. He told Geet to stand there in same pose what she had been when he had first seen her. When she was looking at the moon and Maan missed to capture her picture. Maan wanted to take her snap possessing their first meet for lifetime in a frame.
But he found something was missing. He knew there was no moon on sky but his moon girl was there but still, something he found lack in surrounding. Perhaps, her being hesitated. Not standing like a free bird? Or was it because her hairs were tied and hidden inside veil. He walked to her. “Geet.. ” He called but then himself lifted hand and removed her Dupatta from head. Geet got startled but Maan held her hand. He removed ribbon from her hairs. Finding freedom, her Duappta even slipped down from one side of shoulder, making Geet resounds in gasp. She instantly moved free hand to correct it but Maan held her another hand too. “Don’t.. Geet” He whispered. His eyes had request or command she didn’t recognize but she couldn’t refuse his demand. She let her Dupatta flutter in wind freely the same way her hairs were dancing finding freedom from prison. He lifted her chin and turned little toward the sky. “Now, it is perfect!’ he thought. He came back and clicked her photo. He remembered their first meeting, how she had been scared and had run away and how Mohsin had given her a name.. “My Moon Girl” He whispered, but somehow, Geet heard it. She budged.
“His moon girl?” She didn’t like any girl name had been taken by him. Her heart burned in weird ache and anger. “Who is this moon girl?” She asked.
“Hai koi” Maan ignored her query. He turned around adjusting his camera lens, not noticing how her face had turned furious. Geet rushed to him. “Maan who is this girl?” She now asked, so directly, but still composing her manner. Now Maan smelled something was burning inside her heart. He smirked.
“Oh, so you are asking about my moon girl?”
“My moon girl?” She hated but she nodded.
“Geet, she is the most beautiful girl of this world and I …” Then he paused, let her curiosity and anger increase.
“Aur aap.. kya Maan?”
“Fir kabhi bataunga..” He started walking toward door.
“Nahi, mujhe abhi sunna hai”
Geet in term of stopping him grabbed his camera-belt and pulled with such force, it slipped from his hand. Camera fell off and broke. Glass pieces scattered on floor everywhere and so was her heart in panic. She covered mouth and cried. She moved back in fear and rushed downstairs ignoring his constant calls from behind.