Part 13

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Nandini didn't receive any response, so she turned to see Manik. Manik was totally exhausted and had drifted off to sleep.

Nandini's thoughts : "May be he does. Otherwise, why would he be ready to take so much efforts to meet her."

Nandini thought about her past.

Nandini's thoughts : "In my life, the words "I love you so much that I can't live without you" turned out to be a big fat lie. If I wouldn't have believed in those words, then none of this would have happened. Everything would have been fine."

A few days passed. It was the evening before Nandini's birthday.

Manik : "It is your birthday tomorrow. So what are your plans for the day?"

Nandini : "As usual, my mom wants me to go to the temple first. Then a visit to my parents home, the orphanage and then...."

Manik : "and then?"

Nandini : "I used to hang out with my friends, but it won't be the same without Navya. So I will skip that this time."

Manik : "Are you missing her?"

Nandini : "Yes I am. We have been friends since we were kids. Tomorrow I am going to miss her even more."

Nandini : "Navya used to be with me all day on my birthday. When we were kids, I hated a few things but was forced to do because of Mom. Navya didn't want me to go through it on my own and feel sad, so she told me she would accompany me throughout the day. She continued to do so even after we grew up. This is the first time she won't be with me."

Next day morning, Nandini got up and started getting ready. Navya called Nandini and wished her. Manik woke up earlier that usual.

Manik : "Happy Birthday Nandini!"

Nandini : "Thank you!"

Nandini : "You are up so early today."

Manik : "Hmm....I thought of accompanying the birthday girl on her special day."

Nandini : "Don't you have to go to work?"

Manik : "Dad has already given me the day off."

Manik spoke to his dad the previous night. He didn't want Nandini to miss her friend and feel sad on her birthday. So he decided to accompany her.

Nandini : "As far as I know you don't like doing any of the things I am planning for the day. I don't want you to be forced to do them because of me."

Manik : "You aren't forcing me, I am coming on my own. You are always ready to try and do things whether you like them or not, can't I do the same for one day."

Manik and Nandini got ready and went to the temple. Nandini was praying, while Manik was just sitting and seeing around. She didn't take long.

Manik : "Finished praying already?! I thought you will have a long list like Mom. What did you wish for?"

Nandini : "I wished for everyone's happiness."

They were on the way to their car.

Manik : "What? You came so far for that. You could have gone to some temple nearby too."

Nandini : "I could have, but Mom wanted me to come here. She believes that whenever she prays here, her wishes come true."

Manik : "Really?"

Nandini : "Hmm... of course not immediately, but it seems sooner or later it does."

Manik : "and you wasted it wishing for everyone's happiness instead of asking something for yourself?"

Nandini : "If people around me are happy, then even I am going to be happy. Moreover, I am always in Mom's prayers, so I don't have to wish for myself."

They reached the car. Manik remembered something, so he gave the keys to Nandini.

Manik : "Here take the keys, get inside and lock the car. I will be back in a few minutes."

After making sure, Nandini was in the car and had locked it, he went back to the temple. He stood in front of the idol.

Manik : "Usually I just pretend to pray in front of Mom, but today I am here for Nandini. I don't know what is bothering her. She doesn't tell me anything in spite of me trying so many times and I can't force her. So if you are really as powerful as she said, then solve all her problems and keep her happy always."

Manik went back and got into the car. Nandini had seen him go to the temple.

Nandini : "Why did you go back to the temple?"

Manik : "I forgot my wallet there, so I went to get it."

After they were done visiting her parents house and the orphanage,

Manik : "I didn't know what to get for your birthday. So we can go shopping and you can select something yourself."

Nandini : "You left your work and spent the whole day with me, that in itself is a big gift. I don't need anything else."

Manik had been beside her all day and made sure Nandini was happy throughout the day.

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