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Kutta Kamina... Kutta Kamina...Kutta Kamina...Kutta Kamina...Kutta Kamina...the words run around his head in a sing-a-song voice, like Manyata's.
Getting up he stretches and yawns, reflecting ...or atleast attempting to reflect what he drempt about.
Uday: That must have been some dream if I wake up getting cursed at by an imaginary Manyata.
Smirking to himself, Uday starts towards his washroom.
Black Marble and tile create a lavish and masculine oasis for Uday. Brushing his teeth he thought of everything that needed to be done: Make sure the stable hands have looked into the new mare; the new apartment building project's engineer and architect have finalized the plans; the Hotel's booking and a debriefing meeting with the manager, and of course checking in on the Jaigard Palace...but at least there weren't cockroaches there.
Smiling to himself, he started off with his daily workout lost in the music of Coldplay and thoughts only his own. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that once again he failed to notice Unnati's presence.
Unnati: Dada, I brought you juice...Dada? DADA?
Uday: Oh, thanks! So, what are the plans for today Unnati?
Unnati: Well, I'm think of picking up a few things for Moniya...
Uday snapped his head back, and stared intently at his sister.
Uday: Unnati, what did you call her?
Uday: What is her name?
Unnati: Look Dada, I want to be her friend, and She has specifically told me to call her Moniya.
Uday: Does it look like I care? Her name is M-A-N-Y-A-T-A. Years have been spent finding her Unnati, we're not doing to give up her identity so soon after finding her.
Unnati: Dada, I'm not planning on calling her Moniya in front of the adults, but I need to be her friend to help her; and this is a step in the right direction.
He didn't get angry with Unnati very often, and he wouldn't call this anger either, he was more disappointed and irritated. Stepping off of the treadmill, and whipping his face with a clean towel, he slowly drank the chilled glass of Orange juice Unnati handed to him.
Uday: Call her whatever you like, but she needs to realize she can call herself and demand to be called anything, but she will always be Rajkumari Manyata. The sooner she gets that through her stubborn head, the better.
Uday: Unnati, don't "Dada" me on this, if you start Calling her Moniya- which you already have- it's like taking one step forward and two steps back. We have lost YEARS, and Manyata has a lot of catching up to do.
Unnati silently added Uday to the list of people she wouldn't call Manyata Moniya in their presence.
Unnati: Fine, as you wish Yuvraj Udayveer.
And stormed out of the room in a manner only a princess could manage: with grace, poise and integrity.
Uday just signed, drank his juice, and muttered: Girls. ..
I dress casually in black jeans and a red polo shirt; I chose to have authority by my actions, not my appearance. I don't need a three-piece suite, matching dress shirt and silk tie to exemplify my authority and pedigree, no royal should. And Manyata is no exception. Even dressed in her rags, she embodies the same attitude and persona, it is a tad on the raw side, and still lack the finesse and polish which Jai, Unnati and Myself have, but it is there, and still strong.
As I walk by I smile at a group of ladies, they smile back, some have their intentions clearly written on their faces, others blush vigorously. I am intuitive enough to read a person's face, and understand what is going through their head. This skill comes in handy for multiple tasks: Playing Poker, Making a deal, or winning over someone. I need to get better, because I'll have to be darn good at it to figure Manyata out.
Manyata, Manyata, Manyata. She's like a broken record playing in my head. Whatever I do, whoever I'm with, It seems I always have to think of her somehow. It's odd that in the past 16 years, I've thought about her from time to time: found, sweet, innocent and bittersweet childhood memories, but never constantly, never enough to distract me. And now? Now that she's here, it's like a dam burst open, and all of these thoughts, needs, expectations and wants are flowing out of my head, muddling with my other objectives, skewing my perspective and at times even confusing me. This is an alien thought and emotion- I don't like being unsure, and second guessing myself. Manyata makes me second guess everything. I think back to my approach with her, direct, blunt and downright obnoxious sometimes: most girls would either swoon in fear or at least ecstasy, but here she is, matching me stride for stride and punch for punch. I guess in a way I shouldn't be surprised, she was always matching me when we were younger. She didn't care that I was a Yuvraj- to her I was just a silly boy who would not out do her in anything. And it seems that I'll have shape the same passion and fire into the same instance. Use her competitiveness and pride to shape her into the one thing she doesn't want to be: A Rajkumari.
Stepping outside, I slip on my Aviators and smile openly at the memory of Manyata's defiance to putting them on.
Uday: Don't worry princess; those glasses were just the beginning of your makeover.
The Raj Mahal was eerily quite: No Manyata yelling, no servants running, no Jai or Vijay screaming, and thankfully, no insects taking over. Uday walked in, and was immediately suspicious, and he shouldn't have been. The last time he had stepped in here, Rajmata had been a little disappointed in him. He could take anger, lectures and speeches, but he hated to disappoint key figures in his life: Dadi Shab was one of them. Growing up there were only two Women, and one girl Uday loved unconditionally: Dadi Shab was the role model, and figure head who he admired for her persona, essence and leadership, but loved because she was a great Dadi to him, even though they held no such relation by blood. The second would be Komal. She was and is, without a doubt the Mother Uday never got to grow up with. It seems her love for Manyata had to be channeled to someone else, and she loved Uday like a son: he couldn't bear her pain or tears. And Finally, Unnati: the one person Uday would do anything for.
Deciding to drop in and pester Manyata for his daily dose, he was surprised to see just Jai and Komal speaking to each other in hushed tones, he politely waited until they were finished, but the conversation continued and got more vocal.
Komal: Jai, after the incident this week with Uday, I think you need to step away from him.
Jai: Why? I don't see why everyone is making a mountain out of a Mole hill Mom. We were dancing: I've danced with him before, and it hasn't been a big deal.
Komal: Things are different now Jai, and you know that.
Jai: Different how? He needs to marry a princess mom, does that Gawarni look like a princess to you?
Komal's expression turned firey, she grabbed Jai's arm and pulled her close.
Komal: Jai, listen carefully, and listen hard, I'm only going to say this once, and I expect it to sink in- She is your sister, you older sister. She is my first child. I love you, and I love her, but don't you ever for a second think that because I have raised you and loved you I will overlook your attitude towards Manyata- You will show some respect, I don't except love or admiration, but you will show some respect.
Jai: Respect? Her? You've got to be kidding me. I'll respect her, the day I start respecting you, and since you could care less about me and what I want and deserve, that's never going to happen.
Komal's face looked shocked and wounded, Uday had heard enough, taking the first stride inside the room, he was ready to put Jai in her place, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him. It was Manyata. Her anger mirrored his own, her face was flushed red, and brows brought together. Pushing past him she ran up to Jai.
Manyata: Ay! Jainandini ke Bacchi! Tum ase bath Karthi ho apni Ma se? Aur mujhi "Gavarni" khey bula thi ho? Yeh Ma, jo etna pyaar dethi hain, aur etni chintha karthi hain, ussi key baasthi karthi hoi sharm nahi ayi tujay? Chaal, mafi mang! Abhi! Isi waqt!
Jai stuck her finger in her sister's face: Listen you!
At that point Uday had had enough. Stepping beside Manyata, he looked at Jai with icy eyes.
Uday: Nahi, ab tum listen karo Ki Jaai-nan-di-ni. I think it's time for you to apologize to your mother, don't you?
Smirking, Jai looked at her mother with distain: The day I get an apology for the sister I was given, I'll apologize gladly.
Komal: Hame aape se ye umede nahi thi Jainandini, Khabbi nahi.
Angry and embarrassed Jai stormed out of the room holding her raw check in her hands. Komal silently collapsed on to the bed, holding back tears, a sob stuck in her throat. Uday immediately went to her side, holding her still warm hand, which had a moment ago struck Jai.
So engrossed in soothing the women who had been his mother when he had lost his, he was slow to notice Manyata sitting on her other side, pulling her mother close, gently whipping her tear, and a few of her own creeping out of her eyes.
There were no words spoken between mother and daughter: none were necessary. And he realized then, that this was not a moment meant for him, it was theirs and theirs alone. Silently, he kissed Komal's hands, whipped away a few of her tears, and walked towards the door. At the threshold, he stopped, turned back, and at that moment Manyata caught his eye, and he mouthed: Thank you.
Turning away and closing the door, he sighed. Part of him wanted to go in and sooth Komal himself, has she had done for him so many times. While fighting the urge to do so, it finally dawned on him: He had a new found respect Manayta, and he would never be able to respect Jai.
This morning had gotten emotional fast, it was both distracting and overwhelming. He needed fresh air, and needed it now. It wasn't that Uday couldn't feel: He did, and could. But at a young age he had decided it was better off to be indifferent and not feel anything: Feeling left you vulnerable, open to receive wounds. But being abrasive, being abrasive let you wound without ever being wounded. It was only a few years ago that he learned that lesson, and he remembered it very well.
FLASHBACK- Udayveer age 9...
The mall was busy, full of numerous sounds: people rushing to get the best deal, friends talking, and people eating. Yuvraj Udayveer assessed his surroundings. He'd been to a mall before, and enjoyed it well enough, but this was the first time he was in a mall in a different Country. His father had sent him to a British Boarding school for primary students. "It isn't just any boarding school" he reminded himself. It was one where only royalty from around the globe attended, and where greatness was expected. His father never failed to remind him that. The young Udayveer stood tall, he was a handsome boy, with messy hair and big eyes, he had a beautiful smile, which had lost a little of its devilish charm in the last few years; he was a little on the quitter side: Manyata was still missing. It was her birthday this week, and as he had for the last 3 years he would buy her a gift, just like Dadi Shab and keep it for her when she returned- and she would return one day, without a doubt- and if not return, he would find her.
Dressed in black slacks, black dress shirt and royal blue blazer, he stuck out like a sore thumb in this public mall: His air of eliteness, and position was only solidified by the two body guards who flanked him. Udayveer was tall for a boy of 9, and still had plenty of room to grow. Capable of making friends, he hadn't had the best day of school: nervous around the unfamiliar surroundings, and not to mention being the only East-Indian Prince in his grade; he felt a little out of place, and some of his peers had not failed to pick up on that.
His train of thought broke as one of the Guards spoke to him,
Guard: Sir, where would you like to stop first?
Stopping Udayveer looked carefully around to decide where to shop. He preferred to be productive and not waste any time, and wanted to hit the nail on the head the first time around, and thought carefully; there was a girls specialty store on one side, a toy store on the other, and a jewelry store next to another. Jewelry? Manyata would have more than enough of that when she returned. Toys? Well, he already had the most important one back at home waiting for her, so not that either. Specialty Store? Well, that seemed like a better choice.
Uday gestured towards the first: Let's go to that one there.
Entering he was greeted by the staff and he started to see what was available. Unable to help himself, he saw a picked up a beautiful plush toy for Unnati; she had more than enough, but where ever Uday went he was always thinking of things to get his baby sister: she was turning 4 soon. To the left he finally saw what he would gift Manyata: a Book. It was a beautiful book, large and eye catching; he had already made up his mind, regardless of the content, when the Sales Lady started repeating the product's history,
SalesLady: It's a handmade story book, and there is only one copy, the author made It in 1939, it's about two friends, from childhood, one goes missing, and the other spends a lifetime looking for her- it's based more along the lines of WWII, but the story is almost a classic in the sense of the common "Princess and Prince" ones.
Uday: Does he find her?
Saleslady: Well, we don't know, we have the basic plot, but the book is sealed, we can't open it to view as it's an antique.
Uday: He finds her. I'm sure he does.
Saleslady: Well, the book is worth...
Uday: We'll take it.
The book was carefully sealed and packed with Unnati's plush hippo, he carried both himself because they were precious, and he wouldn't want to lose them now.
As Uday and his two body guards stepped out, A boy bumped into him, startling his two guards and knocking Uday and his gifts down. The boy, looked a little older, and dressed in a different type of prep school uniform than Uday; he stared intently on the crest on Uday's blazer, obviously noticing the School's name and realized that Uday had to be a prince. Getting up with an air of dignity which came naturally to him Uday brushed off his trousers and looked at the boy, expecting an apology.
The boy was instead intently looking at the two items which had fallen outside of the bag, and laughed out loud.
Boy: Oh man, prince or princess kiddo? Make up your mind.
Uday started icily at the boy.
Boy: And what's this? as he kicked at the book- a romance novel?
Uday did not need to justify or explain himself, but no one could get away speaking to him like that.
His guards picked up the two items and were waiting for Uday's word- either to go, or put the boy in his place.
And that was it his fist flew before he could stop himself, and caught the boy square in the jaw.
Uday: That's Prince- Bloody Indian to you, a**hole.
And with an air of dignity and he made his way out of the mall, with his guards not far behind.
Getting up the Maharaj paced the room, hands clasped behind is back, head held high, and face impassive. Slowly he stopped infront of Udayveer.
Giriraj: What were you thinking Udayveer?
Uday: What he said father, was simply unacceptable.
Giriraj: Why yes, it was utterly unacceptable, but you retaliating like that does nothing.
Uday: It does!
Giriraj: Well, yes, it is satisfying in the moment, but other than that all you have left is a swollen hand the press printing sensationalized stories and fliverous law suits.
He bent over his son, and stared him in the eye,
Uday: I know.
Giriraj: When we show our emotions; the happy, sad and even the angry ones, we are weak. It leaves you open to attack. You need to fight, but not with your firsts, but with your mind. A Yuvraj can do both Udayveer, a commoner cannot.
Nodding, Uday silently got up and went to his room. This room was different from his last; there were no memories, and no nick-nacks- just blue walls, a window and balcony and his bed. No photos or sign that this was "Uday's room" He felt so lonely here, no friends, and no one he knew. He so desperately wanted to go back to the palace, and be comfortable where he was. Looking at his bed, he noticed the book and Hippo. He missed Unnati so much; she was still in India, waiting for their father to come and get her. It would still be a few months till they permanently shifted over for his schooling. And then, there was Manyata. At least if she were here he would have a peer, someone who would have to go to the same school, and understand what he was going through. And he missed her too, he worried that she hadn't been found yet, and with every passing day he hated seeing more doubt seeping into Dadi Shab, Komal Aunty's and Brijraj Uncle's faces. He felt all choked up, and slightly embarrassed at the fact that he was getting so upset, after all he was nine, and he shouldn't be feeling this way.
Then it dawned on him, this is what his father meant: The emotions cripple you, prevent you from moving forward and succeeding in life. But was his father right? If he really let go of these feelings, stopped expressing them and bringing them to the surface, would he be better off?
It was worth a try.
From that night onward Udayveer made every attempt to slowly forget about feeling things: Oh yes, he was polite and charmed everyone around him: But he refused to feel sad, to let anyone know if something bothered him, he used his mind to get his point across: anger, disinterest, displeasure and success.
There were no more tears, no more choking feelings, and no sense of helplessness after that. The devilish grin which was also a sincere smile, turned into a cocky grin and condescending smirk: most wouldn't know the difference, but it was there.
Yuvraj Udayveer had thrown away his sweet innocent self, and started to peruse what was demanded from him: Greatness.
And being great, wasn't always accomplished by being the Nice guy.
Uday's walk around the garden did ease his tension a little. He felt like panicking at the sight of resurfacing emotions which he had not felt for quite some time. This sense of being unsure, and not knowing what to do: He didn't understand what he wanted. And he didn't like it.
He glanced at his watch and decided he should head out for the day: He'd had more than enough drama for one afternoon. Except, a sound caught his hear. It wasn't just any sound; they were sobs- heart wrenching sobs. Eerily similar to ones he had only every heard Komal Aunty emit. Following the sound, he didn't find Komal Aunty, but rather Manyata, sitting on the bench, knees up against her chest, crying her heart out.
His first instinct was to lighten the mood, by teasing her and irritating her, as it always worked otherwise. But this, this was different, he knew it would only drive a deeper wedge between them. He sat down next to her unnoticed, and placed his elbows on his knees and simply stared at her shaking shoulders. Suddenly Manyata whipped her head up and stared at him through tear filled eyes,
Manyata: Kya? Maaza araha thumey? Mera ye haal dehk ke..
Uday silently shook his head, and pulled out a rumal from his back pocket, handing it to Manyata.
She took the rumal and stared at him, expecting him to speak, say something annoying and get on her nerves; but he didn't and it made her feel uncertain as what to say next.
Manyata: Abb kya "Rajkumari, Rajkumari" aur "Princess, Princess" bolna bhool gayao ho tum?
He shook his head, and smiled- really smiled- at her.
Manyata: Jao, main tumse baath nahi karna chathi hoon, hain nahi tho.
Uday just kept on looking intently at her, and it unsettled her further.
Manyata: Ye kya Ghoor Ghoor kar dekh ra hai mujeh! Aur koi kam dahm nahi hai tumara pas?
The Silence was overwhelming, and she couldn't sit next to him anymore. She quickly got up, only to have Uday come with her. Gently, he grasped her hand, and pulled her against him.
This touch was so different from the other times he had held here, there was no intent to scare her, intimidate her, or subdue her: it was a gentle touch, meant to sooth.
He whispered in her ear,
And for some reason, she did, she cried. Cried for her mother's tears, her sister's distain and her own lost relationship, she felt so lost, confused and angry.
Manyata looked at him eyes wide, and surprised at the tone of his voice, he wasn't calling her "Rajkumari Manyata" or "Princess" and when he said her name now, there wasn't an air arrogance or royal undertones. It seemed simple, sweet and somehow familiar.
Uday whipped her tears with his fingertips, and smiled gently at her.
Uday: You look terrible when you cry.
For some reason, she didn't feel like swearing at him, because he wasn't teasing her in an arrogant way, he was trying to lighten the mood.
Manyata: Well, you look terrible when you're being nice! Tumhari Tabhyat tho teekh hai na?
Uday: Speaking of arrogant, come on Manyata, I have something to show you.
For the first time in years, Uday smiled for the sake of a smiling and let his emotions and want take over. There was not motive, no agenda, and no forethought of someone strategizing a chess game. He just wanted to make her smile, and forget the emotional morning. He took her hand, and in that moment, after 16 years, he finally felt as if they were Uday and Manyata, nothing more and nothing less. He felt 5 again, and as if forever was laid out in front of him.
Alright! So I realize this one wasn't as mind-boggling as the other three, and please don't think Udayveer in this FF is Bipolar, he's just as much as a jerk in the soap, but we've seen his past glimses which is very different from the Uday we see.
Please don't hold anything back and do let me know what you liked, loved or hated.!
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