She gazed at the photo frame placed in the table, a picture taken during the first birthday of their son, a frame that reminded her of a broken dream of a happy family. She checked her son who was sleeping, hugging the new sports car gifted by his grandpa. He won’t let it go even in sleep. She smiled, but soon it turned to a frown. He was happy, but there was something missing in his smile. He was missing his papa, their playful fights, their mock work-out in their bedroom, their mischievous ways of irritating her, either by painting the walls or by dirtying the rooms. Tears began to flow unknowingly from her eyes; she will forgive him for leaving her but not for leaving their son when he knew how much he loves him.
In the past one year, she has learned to live without him. Her parents had asked her to move on, but she couldn’t. Not that she missed the support of her companion, for the kind of person she was, always dependent on either her parents or him. But she learned from her mistakes, never to rely on anyone, because we will never know when everything is taken away from us leaving with nothing but immense pain. She will never compromise her son’s happiness for anything. She knew no one can take his place in their son’s life, the love they shared once; no one will be able to give him. In the past one year, the only time when her son was truly happy was the day they met him. The whole day will be just both of them, father and son. She knew he too missed him. She still couldn’t come into terms with the fact that he left him for his selfishness. But he seemed happy. She met his wife once, she was good, the perfect wife his family had always intended. Even though they talked very less when they met, she saw something different in his eyes whenever he looked into her eyes, something that she never get to see even once. She wondered why they didn’t have children yet. She remembered the fuss her ex-mother-in-law made when they told that they are planning to have children only after a year.
He told her once, “I think you should also move on.” She had suddenly felt the need of hurting him and told, “Unlike others I care for my son’s happiness. I won’t compromise it for anything else.” He was hurt and guilty. She felt guilty to have hurt him like that. But it was the truth; he compromised their son’s happiness for his. After that they never brought this topic in their small talks. But she knew he was guilty about it. Giving it a thought, they were never someone who was irrevocably in love. Their marriage was planned, so was their life. It was natural that they loved each other just like any other married couple. When the plans failed, when the harmony was lost, when tensions dominated their life rather than happiness, when they could never agree for a single matter, not just for sometime but continuously for three years, it was right from his part to think of parting their ways, only if their son was not born yet. But everything is over now, he is happily married and their son is left to always bear the pain of being away from his father. As they say, it is fate. She smiled at the irony of their life.
Her thoughts were broken when she felt an arm on her shoulder. She knew who it was; she needed her the most now. She turned and hugged her waist. She told, “Geet, sochna chodo beta. Jo tumhara kabil nahi ho uske baare mein sochne se kya fayda. Zindagi se kabhi haar nahi manna chahiye jaise tune aaj tak karke aayi ho. Hum humesha tumhare saath he.” She told holding her close, “Ma, kabhi kabhi dil ko kaboo mein nahi kar patha. Pata nahi main kaha galat thi. Aur uski saza mera baccha bhukat raha he. Mein usse khush dekhna chahthi hoon. Par kaise usse khush rakhe yeh mujhe pata nahi.” She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see her papa. He told, “Geet, Garv ko itne chote umar mein apna papa se alag rehna koi mamooli baat nahi he. Par waqt ke saath saath wo sachayi ko apna lenge. Tum aise himmat mat harna. Aur jo bhi jua woh tumhari wajhe se nahi hua, galthi tho humne bhi ki thi, humne un logon ko pehchanne mein galathi ki aur unki sazaa tumhe mili.” Geet immediately stopped him, “Nahi papa, aap log kabhi galat nahi the. Dekhne se aur baat karne se insaan ka asli roop samne nahi aata he. Jab saath jeena suru karenge tabhi hum unko pehchan payenge. Meri kismat mein yahi likha hoga jo mere bte ko bhi sehna pad raha he. Shayad zindagi ne iske zariye mujhe ek mauka diya he, to make me independent, takki koi mera bebasi ka fayda na utaye.“
He patted her cheek and told, “Now that’s my Geet. Ab tum so jao. Aur ha, tumhara phone kaha he? Yash ne mujhe call kiya tha, yeh poochne keliye ki tum phone kyun nahi uta rahi ho?” She checked for her phone and found it inside Garv’s toy car. She smiled seeing that, she knew how he hates calls while she is with him and had hidden it from her on purpose. Mohinder and Rano smiled seeing that and left bidding her Goodnight. They were really missing her smile, her chirpiness, her non-stop chatter. She had lost herself in the process of trying to make her son happy. She never cared for herself; the only thing that mattered to her was Garv. They prayed to send someone who can bring back her happiness, someone who can make her smile, who will love and care for her just the way they do.
Geet watched as her parents left. She knew that they were being strong for her, but inside they were grieving, for her. After the divorce, she had decided to move toLondonas she didn’t want to face her relatives or friends, who were either pitying her or blaming her, except her two friends, Yash and Meera who stood with her in every step of her life, who have been her support at her hard times. Mohinder and Rano decided to go with her as they never wanted her to feel alone. Mohinder handed over his business there to Brij, her only brother. The thought of Brij brought a smile in her face; he has always been the best brother in the whole world for her. She knew if not for her, he would have killed him for doing this to her. She had denied all sort of financial support from her family and started her own company with the support from Yash and Meera. Brij and Mohinder wanted to help her but they knew that she wanted to be independent and permitted her to do as she wished. She has always been their ladli. She got whatever she desired in seconds. She was pampered but not spoilt. She always had a tendency to depend on her dear ones and that was proven to be her weakness, but not anymore.
Her thoughts were broken by the buzzing of the phone. She smiled seeing the caller and answered, “Yash, before you start on your lecture about how to take and ignore calls, Garv hid it in his toy car.” Yash laughed at the other end startling Meera who was expecting a lecture from her husband to Geet. He told, “Mere chotu ko akal he, he knows that his mom won’t live without her phone choosing to ignore personal calls.” Geet interrupted, “Yash, please don’t start again. Ab bolo, kya hua? Meera ki tabiyat tik hena. Is waqt zyaada care karna chahiye. Usse tang mat karo aur Pari ko humesha tum saath rakho nahi tho woh Meera ko bahut pareshan karegi jaise Garv kartha he. Kaise pareshan karthe the Garv aur Dev..” She stopped when the reality hit her. Yash closed his eyes and immediately told, “Oh Geet, ab tum mujhe lecture dena suru ki. Jabse Meera pregnant hui he, list hi list banathi ja rahi he. Yeh mat karo, woh mat karo.. Yaha ek he jo mujhe chen se jeene nahi dethi aur upar se tum. Ab bas bhi karo na.” Geet smiled knowing how he covered up the talks about Dev. She thanked God for giving such good friends for her who understood her every single gesture unlike Dev who failed to understand her in the five years of their marriage. She asked, “Yash, ab batao, kyun itne raath ko call kiya?“
Yash told, “Kal humare naya financier ke saath meeting he, dus baje. Mein tumhe yaad dilane keliye call kiya tha. Garv ko school chodne ke baad zyaada der mat lagana. Suna he ki woh waqt ka bahut pakka he aur thoda khadoos bhi.” She smiled at his description and told, “Woh jitney bhi khadoos kyon na ho, hume tho unhe impress karna hi he. If we crack this deal, then our company will get recognition in mere seconds. Tumne woh presentation ache se prepare kiya hena, jaise meine bola tha.” He told, “Ha Geet, tum uski chintha mat karo. Just be on time. Ab mein Meera ko phone dethi hoon. Goodnight.” Meera was high on her hormones and blasted on Geet, “Geet, tumhe pata he mein kitni tensed thi. Ainda aisa mat karna. Acha hua tum ghar pet hi nahi tho kisse poocha hota?” Yash consoled his fuming wife telling about Garv and Geet waited with a smile for her to start another round of apologies. Soon it followed and they talked to about half an hour and both went to sleep, one peacefully and the other drowning in the bitter memories.