The day started well. After spending about an hour in the office, pretending to work whilst actually making arrangements for a day out with his wife, Mr and Mrs Khurana left the city and were driven to the site of the Kelkar Project. The project was progressing well; he enjoyed watching his wife interact with all the site managers, most of whom started the day treating her with great formality; it didn’t take long before Geet’s naturalness won them over, and by the end of the visit, most of them were treating her like a long lost daughter. The ones who weren’t, the younger members of his staff, were all on the verge of being in love with her; it was only his presence that stopped the more foolish of gestures, but he had never seen such hardened construction workers behave like love struck fools, falling over themselves to get a smile from Mrs Khurana.
The site visit achieved its purpose; by the end of the morning, the last lingering shadows had left Geet’s eyes and the sparkle had returned. As they drove away, she turned to him and said “Aap samajh nahin sakte, yeh sab dekhke main kitna khush hoon. Maine jaise socha tha, sab bilkul waisa hi horaha hai.”
“You can’t know how happy seeing this all makes me. Everything’s happening just the way I had imagined.”
“Tumhare ideas bahut acche the, Geet. Zyada changes karne ki zaroorat hi nahin thi. Ab jab sab hojayega to phir dekhne aana.”
“Your ideas were very good, Geet, I hardly had to make any changes. We’ll come back and see it again when it’s complete.”
“Ji, aaoongi. Prashant kehraha tha ke woh iski opening pe ek bahut bada Udhghaatan rakhega. I’m sure we’ll be expected to attend”
“Yes, I’ll definitely come. Prashant said he was planning a large gala opening for this facility . I’m sure we’ll be expected to attend”
Grinding his teeth at the thought of Prashant’s familiarity with his wife, he waited a moment before he could control himself enough to speak calmly.
“Haan, bilkul. Agar hum uss waqt India mein hue, to hum zaroor aayenge”.
“yes, of course, if we’re in town at the time, then we’ll come”.
Before he could say anything else, she said “Yeh ghar jaane ka raasta to nahin hai. Hum kaheen doosre site pe jaarahe hain kya?”
“This isn’t the route home? Are we going to another site?”
It was time to put his plan into action.
“Haan Geet. Maine socha hum lunch karlete hain, ab Dadi bhi aaj ghar pe nahin hai to maine Nakul se kehdiya tha ke woh kuch tayyar na kare. Tumhein koi aitraaz to nahin hai?”
“Geet, I thought we could have lunch together, Dadi was going out for lunch so I told Nakul not to bother preparing anything. I hope you don’t mind?”
For a moment, her eyes softened, then the barriers fell back into place; it would take more than a single lunch date to win her over.
They spent the afternoon in relative harmony. She was quiet over lunch, forcing him to make conversation; he forced himself to remember that he was trying to rekindle the love she had once felt for him and that he couldn’t make her love him if she didn’t know him. The topic of Maan Singh Khurana wasn’t one he felt particularly comfortable discussing, so soon enough he found himself telling her stories of his childhood, of his mother and father, his dada and dadi. After a while, he stopped short and said “I must be boring you, I must have told you all these stories before”
He was surprised when she shook her head. The fact that he had finally mentioned the forgotten time they had spent together had obviously surprised her, but she responded quietly.
“We never really had time to talk about our childhoods or our pasts. Everything happened so quickly and then just kept happening. We never really had the time to get to know the details of each other’s lives.”
A sad smile crossed her face, prompting him to ask “Kya sochrahi ho Geet?” “What are you thinking about, Geet?”
She spoke so softly that he could hardly hear her. “Sochrahi thi ke ye sab cheezein kabhi zaroori hi nahin lageen. Humare beech kabhi lafzon ki zyada zaroorat hi nahin thi. Magar shayad agar aap mere baare mein zyaada jaante to aap mujhe itni aasaani se nahin bhoolte”
“I was just thinking that none of these things seemed important before. We never needed words between us. Still, maybe if you had know a little more about me, you wouldn’t have found it so easy to forget me”
The waiter arrived before he could respond to her statement; after they left the restaurant, he took her to the Ornamental Rose Gardens near the Khurana Mansion, the only people visible as far as the eye could see (he’d ensured their privacy by the simple measure of buying every entry ticket for the day). As they stood next to the Koi pond, watching the sleek fat fish gliding past, he spoke.
“Geet, mujhe yaad to nahin hai. Main yeh bhi nahin kehsakta ke mujhe kabhi yaad aayega ya nahin. Woh purani yaadein to sab chali gayeen, shayad hamesha ke liye.”
“Geet, I don’t remember. I can’t even say whether or not I’ll ever remember anything. All of those memories have gone, perhaps for ever”
Turning to face her, he put his fingers to her chin and tilted her face up towards him. Her eyes grew wide with shock, then fluttered closed as he cupped her cheek with his hand.
“Geet, woh purani yaadein nahin hain. Kya hum saath milke nayee yaadein nahin banasakte?”
“Geet, I don’t have those memories. Can’t we try to make some new memories together?”
He stepped close to her, aware that she was holding her breath. Bending towards her, he feathered his lips over hers, then whispered his words into the kiss.
“Mere saath nayee yaadein banalo Geet, main phir nahin bhooloonga”
“Make some new memories with me Geet, I won’t forget again”
Gently, invitingly, encouragingly he deepened the kiss, trying to convince her of his sincerity with the feel of his lips. Infinitely long moments passed before she finally responded; he could feel the sob ripple through her as she finally kissed him back.
They stood as they were for long moments, locked in a gentle kiss that neither seemed willing to end. It was only when fat raindrops began falling on them that they finally broke apart; for a moment their eyes held, then as the rainfall became progressively heavier, she laughed joyfully and began twirling round and round.
He had never before approved of adults behaving as children, but her joy was so infectious that he couldn’t resist; he laughed out loud as she watched her splash the rain she gathered into the palms of her hands. When she came close, he thought she was going to say something, he bent close to hear her better and was rewarded by a splash of rain water in his already wet face.
A peal of laughter escaped her; she looked so beautiful that he couldn’t stop himself- he grabbed her hand tightly at her wrist and pulled her close. Her laughter died and the smile froze on her face as she saw the look in his eyes; for a moment he could see the internal battle that was waging inside her, then she gave in and moved towards him, plastering her body to the length of him as she tilted her lips to meet his.