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“Ji puchiye” “Geet.. woo Dev, I mean the way he was touching you that day, are you Ok with it“
Geet looked down, she felt uncomfortable, but why she did not know. What should she answer
Maan held her chin within his palms and looking so deep in her eyes “say true“
Geet looked into his eyes, they were so true and deep she could not hide
“I don’t like it but he never shout on me, he never gets angry on me, you get”
“If you don’t like then why you let him touch you that way, its not good. You don’t understand, but it is not good…”
he didn’t say anything on her favoring Dev against it him, he knew he sometimes could not control his anger but she did not realize that she was just a kind of thing for Dev but it pained him.
Yes Dev was growing and learning new things and curiosity was at high and every boy is not as descent as Maan. Dev wanted to explore his curiosity and what better option when there is Geet at home. Even if she says anything, no one will believe her and blame will come on her and overall the girl is so mum.
“How can i” “why not, you work here, that does not give anyone right to do anything with you…” She nodded in agreement but herself knew well she does not have guts to say No
“If you don’t stop anyone behaving bad then I will be angry”
One thing Geet didn’t want was to make him angry, first his anger scared her and second when he was not angry she found her only support in him.
After that he showed her some of his stuff, very small small which he generally never shared with anyone but with her he felt he was sharing it with himself. First Geet did not know why should someone share their stuff with her but slowly she started enjoying and then she forgot when they started discussing his stuff in her own way.
Later “Now you go, but tomorrow learn all and come”
Geet was almost blushing in mind, the girl never ever have got this much attention. She would always be there as bystander and listener to what was said to her. But with Maan she felt she was special, he showed his stuff to her, shared with her.
Little girl heart was beating fast with happiness, it was kind of too much to handle and smile was just dancing on her face but soon she was called
After leaving, Geet got busy with giving milk in all the kids room, who were busy studying.
At night, after she was done giving milk in Anni’s, Nandini and Dev’s room
“Geetu,Take this now to Maan’s room” said Padma
Geet quietly took the glass to Maan’s room
“Chote thakur” she said in low voice
“Haan Geetu .. aa jaa” “milk” Maan took the glass and Geet was about to leave
“Geetu listen, you want milk” Geet made a face in NO and then in very low voice
“I don’t like it“
“Nakhre kam nahi hain tumhare.. aur saare nakhre sab sirf mujse..hmm. What do you like” Geet smiled and nodded in No No
Geet looked down, not saying anything; again the girl is not used to say her choice…
“say” after a little while again in very low voice “Meeti dahi“
“hmm.. Ok go now“
Next day as usual all kids went to school while Maan spent some time with his mother, she felt much better with Maan by her side and then he got busy with his stuff, mostly studies. Maan was a very bright student and had set his aim already… he had a dream to do things beyond their family business.
Thus being busy with himself, he could not see Geet whole day. Even when kids came from school it were other elder servants serving them. He did not ask anyone but he got curious.
Till evening 5pm, he came out in pretext of some work, but somewhere wanting to see her, he did not see her. Whole haveli he searched but she was nowhere.
At 7 pm, he knew today she will not come and he got engrossed in his studies, when there was knock on door. Maan casually said “who’s there, come in“
His door slowly opened and Geet peeked in “Can I come in“. Maan looked at her in surprise, smile formed on his face “Come come, where were you whole day”
But the moment she entered, he was shocked to see her condition.
Her eyes were puffed and red, clearly looked she cried hard and there was small blood coming from her mouth
“Gee-eet” Maan was shocked but Geet stood there quiet. She was in no condition to come but knowing his anger and not able to take anymore, here she was in his room as per his order.
Though deep within, small girls heart wanted to be with him, she was so much distressed and she knew he was the one who will even care to ask. Others will just take it as another one of her.
He slightly closed the door and pulled her inside “What is this” he with his hand wiped the blood coming from her mouth but the cut was fresh and the blood came out again..
“what is all this? how did this happen? Where were you whole day?” he asked all this question while getting the first aid box.
He took little antiseptic on cotton to wipe the blood, but she closed her eyes in fear of pain. She was a small child who was habituated to beating but still scared of antiseptic.
“I am fine” “Chup” and he pulled her closer and wiped her blood with the cotton with antiseptic, Geet closed her eyes tight with pain but let him do. She did not have guts to bear anymore anger and chote thakur, she knew his anger.
“Now tell me everything, what is all this” Geet was too broken to say anything, she just stayed there, bowing her head down
Maan came forward and spoke softly near her ears “Geetu speak to me please, did anyone beat you”
With his soft words a small tear dropped from her eyes, still she said nothing. She was exhausted with whole days beating to say anything. She just wanted to be near him but Maan wanted answers to his so many questions
“Where were you whole day? ” he again asked softly, keeping his patience and his soft voice brought a fresh line of tears in her eyes. Hearing harsh words, she was so used to it, she never cried at those but soft words were so rare.
Maan got worried and restless “Geetu say something, I am your friend na” but Geet sat down on ground hugging her knees.
Maan picked her up from her shoulder and made her sit on his huge bed, but Geet hesitated and nodded her head in NO.
“Sit Down” he said sternly and she immediately sat. Not listening anything from her he roamed around in room frustratingly and then came to her
“Stand up” she stood immediately and he turned her around, her back facing him. He took her hand and saw deep beating sign on it, he sat down and saw below her knee length frock, the open area of leg had even deeper beating signs. Maan’s mind thought nothing more now, her wounds were all that took his attention, she was not speaking, what is he supposed to do.
He picked her frock up her thigh and his heart bleed to see her white leg with marks and on her white skin, they were even more visible and looked more dreadful.
He sat on his knee and started opening the buttons of her frock. Geet was scared, felt different. She was too young to know exactly what different it was when he was opening her frock button, but it was different she knew but as usual did not have courage to deny him.
He opened all the buttons of her frock and her back were full of beaten marks, Maan’s mind did not go anywhere; all he could see was the skinny body with white skin and fresh beating mark all over her body. He felt pain, there was a deep pain within him…
She was just a 8yr child for him
Kaisa Bandhan tha yeh…
He could not understand… per yeh Bandhan nahi tha asan nibhana
He in trance of her pain, traced his cold fingers on her wound, she winched with his cold touch and the fresh pain it caused, he turned her towards him and started checking her wounds from bottom of her leg and his eyes went up and up feeling the wound with his fingers. Maan was not in senses, somewhere it pained so deep to him, why? He had no answer.
But he suddenly stopped and his trance broke when his hands felt the small dots on her skinny front. He removed his hand immediately when he was about to touch it. 16 yr boy knew this much, it was prohibited.
He turned other side and made her wear her frock and hugged her tight “I am sorry, I am sorry“
Geet 8yr girl has felt ashamed like that in front of him, but at that age, the fear and pain has overpowered the shame and somewhere the pure intentions of Maan lessened her shame over his care.
Maan was guilty and filled with pain for her. He sat down on ground and made her sit on his lap and hugged her tight near his chest, Geet for the first time hugged him tight.
The whole incident somewhere gave them the feeling of belonging… ek anjana se bandhan ka ehsas.