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He again did not like it at all. When the two elder lady left asking Geet to bring the last empty bucket down, Maan went and pulled Geet in corner.
“What is this, you will get cold. See how skinny you are.” But Geet was in hurry, Annie had called her down immediately to press her cloth and then she had to be ready with milk glasses for all kids before they leave the house.
Geet did not know what to answer, she had never answered anyone. She had learnt this since very small age. Sometimes she argued with her mother only, other than that no one.
“why don’t you stay at your home. Why don’t you go to school, why are you earning at this age’ tumhare maa to ker hee rahee haina,and your father,he must be doing something too,right“
Geet bowed down, but said nothing ‘he is chote thakur,how to say anything.
“Annie didi is calling me down” “You are not going anywhere, come with me.”
Geet was reluctant knowing if she does not go in time then Annie would make a big fuss. Seeing her reluctant, Maan’s anger rose now. He held her arm tightly and pulled her with him, passing from terrace thru whole haveli, everyone seeing this, obviously common assumption was she did some big mistake.
Her mother too saw them passing like that, scared she kept her dupatta in her mouth.
What will happen now, but Maan cared for no one now. He reached directly to where his mother and chachies were sitting, having morning tea with a chit chat
They all straightened seeing Maan holding Geet by arm
“why does she work here, why don’t she stay at home with her whole family, why you all hired her’ don’t you feel bad making such small girl work“
Pamda smiled “Maan beta, you are too young to understand these worldly things. Life of these kids are very complicated, believe me she is much better here. You must not get involved in such stuffs. Its your age to enjoy and study“
“And what’s her age for” Geet was not getting much of it, only that Chote Thakur was again so angry. She forgot all about his DOSTI stuff. Her mother, Rano, stayed at back, fearing what may be the result of chote thakur’s anger.
“Don’t compare her with you, Maan” “she is also a kid Mom.”
“Ok, Maan you want us to send her away, and then what will happen to her, do you have any idea, NO. Why we have to keep her here, coz her father will put her somewhere in work, where they will put her thru harsh work and she will be almost beaten everyday to get the work complete and to be kept in control and then her father will only come to collect the money, get drunk with whole money in two days and then will beat both, her mother and her for more money“
“Her father, and what does he do?” “Nothing, get their money and drink and then beat the hell out of both mother and daughter.”
Maan was shocked and looked at Geet, who was listening to her own story with zero painful emotion. She had been dealing this since she remember this world and she and her mother were sincerely safer here.
“And what about her other siblings” “she has and elder brother, Brij, approximately your age and he spend whole day playing cards and he spend all money in that.”
“And no one says him anything?” “he is young enough to answer back equally, her father Mohinder stays away from him”
Maan felt so disgusted “so these earn and they spend and beat them up too‘” “yes son and be two more years, no one will know where the girl will go and that too for just few days of his drinks, so on her mother’s request we kept her here“
“What” “Enough Maan“, his mother said
“Now you are young enough to know about life of these people, just think she is safe here, but we can’t do charity, if we do for one then whole village will ask for charity’ there are many girls like her in this village, but Geet is here in good hand and her father is quiet coz we give him her monthly money“
“This is all so disgusting, she work whole day to get nothing for her”
Mohini, his second chachi said “Maan bete, she is safe here or else what happens to girls in village is not good’ abb choriye bhi yeh sab, why are you so worried, you are too young to get into all these son“
Maan had seen earlier too, kids working and had felt bad about it, but for Geet he could somehow not see her like this.
Maan went from there all disturb. Padma, Maan’s chachi held Geet’s arm and pulled her to Rano
“Keep your daughter in control, our son is here to study, this year is so important for him and what she is doing is disturbing him. Explain her to keep away from his sight. We don’t want to get our child affected with your life. Get this clear.” She said in local language.
“I will explain her maam”
His mother Kamini came “Our innocent child is getting effected” she said frustrated. No one, not even Geet’s mother thought of innocent Geet.
She pulled Geet to small room given to them, definitely to give her full lecture. Geet again did not know what her fault was.
On the other hand, Maan’s mom went to please him, calm him and explain him.
She went with glass of milk
“Maan puttar, you should not affect yourself with these people. You are too young and your mind could be affected, for your mom beta, promise you will not get involve in these things“
“Mamma, my result will not get affected and even I won’t. Just that she is so small“
“This is their life, don’t go in detail of life of these people son. They are servants and worker, don’t give them much attention” Maan hugged and consoled his mother.
He thought, maybe they are correct, he is uselessly getting more affected.
Maan then tried to concentrate on his studies. Later he came out for his running, some exercise when he saw kids playing on ground.
They were playing passing the ball and when ball would go out of line, Geet had to run and bring the ball. Maan, however hard he tried, he could not help getting affected. Geet’s eyes went on Maan and she tried to go as far as possible but in that her frock went up and he could see blue mark on her white skin.
Geet quietly moved from there but Maan followed her and his long stride caught her soon
She was pulled behind the wall and it was none other than one she dreaded.
She gulped her saliva in scare. First she has strict warning from her mom to keep herself away from his sight and then she was so scared of his sudden anger.
“How did you get that mark on leg” he said signaling to the mark.
Geet said nothing, just looked down. Now she can’t even run away, making him angrier, poor girl was in fix. Why this chote thakur has to come in her peaceful life.
“your mother did it to you right? And because of my anger, hmmm.” Geet just kept looking down.
“Just stay here, I will come with ointment” Geet’s eyes popped out, no one did that for her and then again he is chote thakur, how can she imagine.
But before she could come out of shock he was gone.
Geet realized if anyone comes to know he is bringing medicine for her then she is completely gone. She better run to Annie di’s room.
When Maan came back she was gone. Maan was so upset, he wanted to talk to her but she had gone.
Then Maan did not find her but at dinner too she was hiding somewhere but then Nandini called her name and she was sent out
“what you are doing in kitchen, always hiding from work, go Nandini is calling you.”
Geet quietly went and served Nandini not even looking at Maan though she felt his eyes were on her. She was about to escape when Maan’s loud voice came
“Maa, I need to wake up late today, send Geet with milk glass in my room. And I have some other work too, for her“
Now Geet was completely stuck.
At night when Geet, who already was much scared, was taking milk to Maan’s room when her mother stopped her quietly and warned her to behave and keep mum and she left for her room.
Geet knocked Maan’s door “Come in” Geet stood with his glass of milk.
“Keep it there” he showed her table in farther corner of room. As Geet quietly went to keep the milk, Maan closed the door, pulled Geet and made her sit on his royal bed.
Geet immediately jumped off to stand up. Even in dream she could not imagine to sit there.
“Baitho” but as Geet just kept standing, he held her shoulder lightly and made her sit and to her utter surprise he himself sat on ground on his knees to come up to her level
“You again got beaten up today due to me.” Geet was feeling so awkward; she struggled to get up from bed.
“No one is here to see you like this” he wishpered. When her hazel big eyes looked confused “uthee to naraz ho jaoonga” he smiled at her.
She looked so cute with confusion on her face, somehow he could see this cuteness in her only when she was with him.
Maan brought the ointment and without saying anything started applying ointment on her mark, Geet immediately jumped up but he made her sit “Sorry, today again, because of me you have to go thru this” he said blowing the air on the mark after ointment.
Geet’s small heart was all confuse. One side she felt such joy that there was anyone who was thinking about her small pain so much, no one have ever thought like this about her and on other side she was hell scared that Maan-chote thakur was nursing her.
He went back, ordering her to keep sited and brought the chocolate for her. He opened the wrapper, took a bite and gave the rest to her’. When she hesitated
“uss din maine tumhara jhuta khaya tha, ajj tum mera nahi khaogee“
And as Geet took a bite, color of her face changed, smile formed on her face. Ohh this girl loved the chocolate; she had always satisfied herself with the smell of wrappers. He was so fida on her innocent smile, which he never got to see while she was working or not alone with him.
He then took her hand in his “Dosti pakki hai hamaree, I promise I will never put you in such situation again. I will always take care of you.”
He spoke with sincerity but none understood the depth of it.
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