Part 10

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Manik's thoughts : "Nandini cares a lot for mom and dad. She went out of the way and convinced Uncle for grandmother's happiness, though she didn't have to. She even saved me from getting injured though I always ignored her and was rude to her. Can I not be a little considerate towards her?"

Manik would anyway have been forced to follow the rituals by Nyonika sooner or later during the day. He had to go out and wouldn't have bothered to be back on time. But now, he managed to be home on time so that Nandini didn't have to starve waiting for him and could break the fast at the earliest.

One morning, Nandini was sneezing when she came inside from the balcony. Manik figured out that she had caught a cold.

Manik : "Why are you sleeping in the balcony? It is getting cooler outside at nights, why don't you sleep inside instead?"

Nandini : "I stay up late looking at the files, so I didn't want to disturb you keeping the lights on."

Manik let her use his office room which was attached to his bedroom. He also helped her move the diwan to the office room so that she could sleep there.

Manik had figured out that if Nandini was at home and not seen around, she would be on the terrace.

Next night, when Nandini didn't come back from the terrace as usual, Manik went to check on her. Nandini was crying. Manik felt that he should console her, but he knew that if Nandini would see him there, she would go away from there.

Nandini used to keep herself busy all the time. She tried to concentrate on things which she could do something about instead of brooding over things which she couldn't, but there were times when she would break down.

On one hand, she held herself responsible for whatever had happened. On the other hand, she was worried about how and when to disclose about the divorce to her parents and what consequences it would lead to.

Nandini's phone started ringing and she received Navya's call. Navya was studying abroad. She left after attending Nandini's wedding. Nandini didn't tell her about the divorce since she didn't want Navya to worry about her.

Nandini didn't want Navya to know that she was crying, so she put the phone on speaker and kept it little away from her. She didn't know that Manik was around. Manik didn't want to overhear their conversation and was about to leave, but he wanted to know the reason for her sadness. So he stayed back and overheard a part of their conversation.

Navya sensed that something was wrong with Nandini from her voice and asked her the reason for it. But Nandini convinced Navya that she had a cold. Manik returned to his room and started thinking about Nandini.

Manik's thoughts : "I always thought of how this marriage had effected my life. I never bothered to think about her. I have my family and friends with me. Though mom and dad don't know about the divorce, Mukti knows about it. My friends know about it."

Manik's thoughts : "But Nandini left her parents and came here. Her best friend is not here too. Neither do her parents know about the divorce, nor does her best friend. She pretended to be fine and didn't tell her friend what was bothering her too."

After the wedding, the first few weeks Manik wasn't in a situation to think about anything else apart from how his life was affected because of the wedding. He was always tensed and he was trying to figure out how to get out of it at the earliest.

On one hand his mom was advising him, on the other hand Alya was cribbing because she was feeling insecure. Neither could he talk against his mom, nor could he upset Alya. He didn't care about Nandini and also felt she was responsible for his situation.

When Nandini tried talking to him, he had vented out his anger on her. Nandini had become the easy victim for his anger. She also felt guilty that he was in that situation because of her, so even she didn't talk back. She distanced her from him since she didn't want to annoy him further.

Manik's thoughts : "Mom and Dad treat Nandini well, but they think that I am taking good care of her. Even her friend thinks the same. They won't try to figure out if Nandini is facing any problem and help her, assuming that I am there for her, but I have always been ignoring her. I was rude to her though she was only trying to help me."

Manik's thoughts : "Now, Nandini has distanced herself from me so much that she will never come to me for anything. She seems very lonely. At least as long as she is here, I have to make sure she doesn't feel so and doesn't have to deal with things alone. But how?"

Manik's thoughts : "I won't be able to do anything unless I figure out what is going on with her. With how things are between us now, I won't be able to figure it out. What can I do?"

He thought a lot about it and came up with a solution. He already had close friends and he didn't bother to make other friends usually, but now he felt that was the only way to go.

Manik : "Nandini, I know we didn't start on the right note, but we have to live together under the same roof and the same room for quite a few months. So instead of behaving like strangers, can we try to be friends?"

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