Part 11

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Nandini hesitated a little.

Manik : "You don't have to answer right away. Take your time."

Nandini's thoughts : "Should I be friends with him? He was the one who wanted me to stay away. He used to get annoyed even if I talk to him, but his behavior has definitely changed since we applied for the divorce. Probably that was bothering him and that was the reason for his rude behavior in the past."

Nandini's thoughts: "What he is saying is right too. He could have continued to be rude if he wanted to. May be it was temporary and he isn't like that by nature. I kept distance from him because he wanted me to. If he wants to be friends, why should I say no?"

Nandini agreed to be friends with Manik. She wasn't sure what was expected of her, so she hesitated before doing anything in the beginning. So Manik had to take extra effort till Nandini became comfortable around him.

Manik and Nandini had very few things in common and music was one of them. Manik used to sing and play guitar in his college days, but had slowly drifted away from music later. Manik revived his interest in music and they bonded over music. They also started spending time together doing other activities in which both were interested. They were sharing the same room and spending more time together, so it didn't take long for them to become good friends.

One night, Manik sneaked into his room using the pipe as usual. After a while,

Nandini : "The offer is still open. If you let me know when you are back, I can open the back side door for you. You don't have to sneak into your own room like a .."

Nandini stopped herself from continuing further.

Manik : "like a what?"

Nandini : "like a thief. When I saw you climbing the pipe the first time, I thought it was a thief. Only later I realized it was you."

Manik accepted her offer.

Another evening, when Manik came home from work, he remembered that he had to meet Alya. He called Alya to inform her that he won't be able to make it.

Manik : "Alya, I won't be able to meet you today. I have an important meeting to attend tomorrow, so I have to get a few things ready for it now."

Alya : "You are always busy. You don't have time for me. Everything else has become more important to you than me."

Manik : "You are important to me, but I can't skip work and meet you today. I will surely make up for it some other day."

Alya wasn't satisfied with his response. He was repeatedly trying to convince her but she was adamant. It went on for sometime and he was very frustrated by the time he had done talking to her.

Manik (to himself) : "She isn't even trying to understand my situation in spite of explaining so much. She expects me to leave all my work and go out with her. There are other things which are equally important too. Every time I meet her I assure her, but she always feels that I don't care for her. How long will this continue? When will she begin to understand? I have got fed up of this."

He couldn't vent out his frustration on Alya. He slammed his hand so hard on the glass table in front of him that the glass broke and cut his hand. His hand started bleeding.

Manik and Alya hadn't faced such issues earlier. When Manik and Alya started dating, he was in college. Even after he started working, Manik's dad was managing most of the responsibilities, and Manik was carefree. But now, Manik had begun to share his dad's responsibilities.

When Nandini came to the room, she saw Manik's hand which was bleeding and the broken glass. She figured out that he banged his hand against the table in anger. She quickly got the first aid kit and came to him. She held his hand but he tried to take his hand away. He wanted to be left alone.

Nandini didn't leave his hand, she cleaned his hand and covered it with bandage. Manik didn't want to repeat the mistake he did in the past with her, so he sat still and let her continue.

Nandini knew from her experience in the past that talking to him when he was angry isn't a good idea, so she waited for some time. Nandini cleared up the broken glass pieces in the meantime.

Nandini : "Did slamming your hand in anger help you in any way? You either hurt yourself or end up breaking something. Instead why don't you try to divert yourself for a few minutes when you are angry. Once you calm down, you can think over what is bothering you and find a solution for it. If you are ready to try, I can help you with it."

Manik was the only one who used to get hurt by his behavior till recently. He remembered how this behavior of his, had led to Nandini getting hurt in the past. Manik didn't want her to get hurt because of him in the future, so he agreed.

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