Title: Ratlam ki galleon mein (In the streets of Ratlam)

Fandom: Bollywood – from the film Jab We Met starring Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor

Rating: PG

Pairing: None – slight Aditya/Geet if you stare hard enough.

Warnings: Spoilers for the film. Obviously. And a minor, minor reference to… unsavory activities.

Summary:

A drabble/character study of our favourite angsty rich boy, Aditya Kashyap.

Set just after Geet misses the train. Again.

N/A: This is the first time I'm ever allowing a fanfiction to be released from the depths of my ageing hard-drive (that too, beta free, so all mistakes are my own), so be wonderful and drop me a comment to tell me what you thought. Be as tough and honest as you feel is necessary. I'll appreciate it.

Be gentle on my Hindi, though. It's not my first mother tongue, though I do my best.

Um… oh yes. I don't own the characters or storyline of Jab We Met, the producers, directors and scriptwriters do – though I'm currently bargaining to try and take Aditya home with me. No, really. Don't you believe me?

And the most important thing of all – ENJOY!

A lone figure, tall and slim, trudged alone through the streets of the nameless, faceless town - hands deep within jean pockets, and a face hidden by locks of straight, dark hair glued firmly to the ground.

Finally, kuch shanti milee.

Aditya walked slowly and deliberately, his mind a jumbled mix of the self pity and despair of his recent days with occasional sudden bursts of adrenaline from the adventure of recent hours.

For days he had known he was going to try and take his life- he knew somewhere within his heart it was a coward's option, but Aditya was tired, lonely and bitter, and didn't care about anything as long as he could free himself from the tangled web of his life.

Before his eyes, memories raced like an unstoppable PowerPoint; his mother, feeding him, playing with him, dancing with his father… and then viciously tugging a suitcase out of the house and demanding a share of the company she had helped build.

His dearest Sanjana; laughing and waving at him, long dark curls framing her face, not caring how his stomach clenched painfully at her sight… and then taking her marriage vows with another man, casting him only a nod and a pitying glance before she sat down on her throne beside her new husband.

One brutal memory led to another, and Aditya's hands began to tremble in the anonymity of the lonely night as he watched his frail and heartbroken father slipping into the next world in front of him, the pleas of the devastated and angry employees whom he had let down… why had his mind become like a broken record, showing these images to him again and again?

Aditya had tried everything to cope with the anger and the fear, even foraying cautiously into the gaudy world of alcohol, drugs and prostitution, before realizing it only made him sicker and guiltier than before, not to mention landing him in a large and unsavory article on Page 3.

He had been this close to release (he was back there now, staring at the old metal tracks and feeling the train move beneath his feet, imagining his soul lifting from a battered body) until that ... girl pulled him back suddenly from the train door.

Even now, her large confident voice boomed inside his head (Mein Sikhdi hoon, Bhatinda ki!) and her wide brown eyes pierced into him with one unwitting glance.

What had shocked him most was the look of astonishment she gave him as she pulled him back - it did not even occur to her he may be attempting to commit suicide (and would have thus preferred some quiet, thank you very much), only that he had been too close to the edge and was in terrible danger. It was like she was immune to the hostility that he felt was radiating from within him.

And when she had finally worked out he was depressed and tormented and was not in the mood for polite conversation, she treated the whole thing like some sort of joke, imploring him to tell her his problems so she could help solve them for him.

" You've heard of agony aunts, right? Like in the newspaper. That's what I used to be for my friends at school. They would all come and tell me their problems, and I would solve them like that."

Footsteps, behind him. Loud, and fast. And... oh shit, was that... a motorbike? Despite all of his current angst, at his core Aditya was a pragmatic man, and had the instinctive good sense to suddenly feel afraid and terribly vulnerable.

But before he had time to react, a small, warm body catapulted itself towards him and flung two bare arms around his neck.

"Thank you Babaji, Thank you!"

Yeh vaahi... nahin. Nahin, nahin, nahin. Kyun yeh mere saath ho raaha hai?

She calmly released him moments later, giving him enough time to glimpse a tall, hefty man on a cheap motorbike ride off into the dark street.

Slightly dazed, Aditya watched as her expression changed from very, very relieved to downright murderous in the course of ten seconds – waving her hands to help express her conviction that he was going to be the one to take her all the way to her family's house in Bhatinda. Wherever that was.

By the time he had blinked and heaved a slow breath, she was done, and thrusting a hand out, announced, "Hi. I'm Geet."

His beloved nani had always told him, in her quiet and mysterious way – "Joh kuch bhi hota hai, Adi, aacha ke liye hota hain." This talkative Punjabi girl had already changed his life twice tonight. Perhaps he had met her for a reason.

Aditya looked at the skinny, pajama clad girl before him (Geet, he reminded himself) for a long moment, and then with resignation stuck out a hand in return. "Hi. I'm Aditya."

Hindi translations:

Finally, kuch shanti milee. - Finally, I've got some peace.

Mein Sikhdi hoon, Bhatinda ki! – I'm a Sikh girl from Bhatinda (a town in Punjab, India)

Babaji – Guru Nanak, the first prophet for the Sikh religion which Geet is a part of (remember the huge picture she carried onto the train at the beginning of the film? That guy)

Yeh vaahi... nahin, nahin, nahin, nahin. Kyun yeh mere saath ho raaha hai? – This is the same – no, no, no. Why is this happening to me?

Nani – Grandmother. Maternal, I think, though in this case it's not particularly relevant.

Joh kuch bhi hota hai, Adi, aacha ke liye hota hain– Whatever happens, Aditya, happens for good.