Part 7

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Manik's mind was always in a tensed state since the day he was forced to get married. He felt a little relieved after applying for the divorce, since that was the first and crucial step which would free him from that marriage.

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        It was a weekend. Nyonika had to go to the orphanage since there was an annual day celebration. Her driver informed in the last minute that he couldn't come to work that day, so Manik dropped Nyonika.

        Manik was waiting in the car since he had to take her back home too. Though Nyonika had asked Manik and Mukti to come with her to the orphanage several times, they never did as they weren't interested.

        Manik heard a melodious song and strumming of the guitar on the speaker. He was drawn towards it and he started walking towards the source of the music. He reached the place and saw that it was Nandini who was singing the song and playing the guitar.

        Manik was about to leave, when Nyonika reached there.

        Nyonika : "Manik, what are you doing here? I thought you were waiting in the car."

        Manik : "I heard someone singing, so I just came over."

        Nyonika : "Nandini has a melodious voice, doesn't she? She managed to get you inside the orphanage which I haven't been able to do from so many years."

        The song came to an end and the audience applauded.

        For the first time, Manik saw Nandini from a different perspective. All these days, he just thought of her as an unwanted person with whom he was forced to share his room.

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On their way back home,

        Nyonika : "You don't know how I felt when I saw Nandini and her mom devastated on that day. They always help others and try to bring a smile on their faces. I couldn't bear to see them in that condition. I am glad you agreed to marry her. Thank you for bringing her smile back."

        Manik felt a little uneasy. His mom was thinking that he was the reason behind her smile, but he wasn't even bothered about her. He had been ignoring her completely and that is what he was planning to do in the future too.

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One day,

        Nyonika : "Manik, Mom wants to meet you and Nandini."

        Nyonika : "Nandini, mom couldn't attend your wedding or reception. She is very sick and can't travel, so you both will have to visit her."

        Manik was very close to his grandmother, so he agreed. 

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        Manik and Nandini visited his grandmother's house. Nandini was caring and friendly by nature, so his grandmother liked her and made her stay with her most of the time.

        Grandmother : "Neither could I come to your wedding, nor could I get a gift for you now."

        Nandini : "That's alright Nani. Your blessing is the greatest gift."

        Grandmother : "My blessings are always with you dear. You are my grandson's bride and have come here for the first time, I want to give you something."

        Manik's grandmother asked him to get her jewelry box from the cupboard and Manik got it. She took out a necklace and gave it to Manik.

        Grandmother : "I couldn't see you tying the Mangalsutra, I will have to be content seeing you put this around her neck."

        Manik couldn't say no to Nani, so he put the necklace around Nandini's neck.

        Manik's thoughts : "I don't know what else grandmother will come up with. I won't be able to say no to her and I will be forced to do things which I don't want to. It is better if I don't stay around her all the time."

        Manik avoided staying in his grandmother' room when Nandini was around.

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        Once when Manik came into the room, his grandmother asked him to help Nandini and he agreed. Nandini was standing on a ladder and trying to take the photo albums which was placed on the top shelf. Nandini saw something moving and got startled. She was scared of things like lizards and rodents. She lost her balance and fell off.

        Nandini closed her eyes scared that she will fall on the ground. But when she realized she wasn't hurt, she opened her eyes. She found her in Manik's arms. Manik was near Nandini by that time, so he was forced to hold her from falling since his grandmother was watching them. If she figured out that things weren't fine between them, it wouldn't take long for her to inform Nyonika. It was an awkward moment for both of them. Manik made her stand on the ground. Nandini straightened herself immediately and thanked him.

        Manik's grandmother showed Nandini their old photo albums. She talked about a lot of things and Nandini listened to everything patiently.

        Manik was already annoyed with the happenings of the day and the unpleasant situation he had to face at night made it more worse.

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