Joined: 05 September 2006
When she called my name, it had me worried: She sounded frantic; as if she were in pain and was unable to sooth something. I drop the shirt and turn around- my back pain suddenly forgotten; my priority is fixing Manyata's distress, everything else takes a back seat. I wish I hadn't turned around. I really wished I hadn't.
Is this the same girl? The one I saw at the beach? The one I saw at the Hotel? The one I see every day? The one I have a distinct childhood memory of? Whoever she is, she looks every inch of the princess she's meant to be. For once, I don't want to say anything; not a savvy remark to taint the image in front of me, not even a compliment that would fall short from reality. She looks beautiful.
My jaw is wired shut, my eyes are most likely large in surprise. How can this be Manyata? It sounds like her voice, and those are her eyes, the same dark brown which look golden in the sunlight'but they're different. The lashes which were always long look longer, darker, and exotic. Her hair which has always been a lovely shade of dark brown and streaked in the sun, has been blow dried into soft brown waves that frame her small face. Is this really her?
Her mouth- which I'm familiar with as it's spewing insults at me- looks absolutely angelic. A light pink gloss, to draw attention to her personality, rather than her gorgeous face, I know there isn't any blush, because her cheeks are always rosy: I think it's from the exertion of moving around and talking so much. How can this be the same girl?
This moment seems so long as I stare at her, but it isn't and while this is the first time I've ever taken a moment to admire someone for so long in my life: she doesn't notice. For a second I feel anger- Does she even realize what type of reaction she's evoking? Doesn't it matter? What is wrong with this girl? And now I feel a little confused' Why is she looking at me like that? What, did I sprout another limb or something? Her eyes look worried and hurt, and I try to follow her gaze and turn around: There's nothing behind me.
As I turn back, I see the assistant of Aman is now leaving, she looks embarrassed and flushed. Looking down, It's most likely because my lack of a shirt, but whatever. I start to bend down and pick up the shirt I dropped, wincing at the pain as I attempt to do so, but Manyata's hand suddenly stops me. She reaches down and grabs the shirt and stands in front of me, clutching the shirt close to her chest, her face worried. I can't stand this! Why does she look so wounded! What is freaking her out! I haven't said anything! I haven't touched her! I haven't even moved near her! Instinct takes over and I close the small distance between us and gently hold her upper arms, and move the soft strand of wavy hair from her face.
Me: Manyata, what's wrong? Kya hua?
She shrugs out of my embrace, and walks around me, for a second I'm so irritated. What the hell is her problem?! I just want to find out what's upsetting her! But then, she gently touches my back...and it hurts so much, yet at the same time it feels different... almost comforting. Her voice is upset and angry as she speaks to me,
Manyata: Udayveer. Yeh kya huo tumare pheet ko?
She gently traces three separate lines going horizontally across my back, running parallel to eachother: it hurts. I try to turn around but my body won't let me: it kills. It's most likely just sprained, so I don't know what she's so worried about. Wait...is she worried about me?
Me: Kuch Nahi Manyata, you're just exaggerating. I feel fine.
I can tell she's mad, but it surprised me when she suddenly came around and grabbed my hand. I was even more surprised when she dragged me to the bathroom. As she's dragging me there, I finally take my eyes off her face. And I feel even more amazed. She's wearing a full sleeved anarkali style suite. It's a gorgeous shade of white, bordered with a gold and teal combination. It fits her wonderfully, both modest and enticing. How is can this be the same girl? Her Dupatta is the same white in a netted fabric with the same border, her sleeves a soft lace in the same color. And I've only just seen the back. It the suite flows behind her has she rushes towards the bathroom mirror, and as she stands in front of the mirror, I don't know what's going through my mind.
How is this Manyata?
She looks elegant, royal, and I can't say any more beautiful that she is otherwise: because she is gorgeous, whether in tattered rags or fine silks. But In this moment, I can honestly say I've never seen such a gorgeous sight. And trust me; I've seen myself, so that's saying something.
Looking at the image of us in the mirror is something I will always remember. She looks like the princess, and I look like the pauper. Her attire, her poise, the look of authority on her face and determination in her eyes, and then there's me... No shoes, no shirt, and a pair of faded jeans, hair disheveled, and eyes confused, and face in awe. I have never seen myself as such, nor would I endorse the idea: but with Manyata I don't seem to mind. Even in with the perception of being a pauper with a Princess, we stand on equal ground. And I don't mind standing with my equals.
The moment is gone as soon as it came, she quickly turns me around to the side, and I finally follow her gaze in the third vanity mirror, reflecting my back from the first.
She angrily points at my back, meeting my eyes in the mirror,
Manyata: Don't you dare tell me that it doesn't hurt Udayveer.
I break contact with her eyes, and look: Ah, so that's what the big deal is.
The three lines she hand gently traced down my back were actually quite large in width, an inch each. Initially the center was a dark red bruise for each of them, and slowly the tint was turning blue and purple, the outlaying area was turning red and swelling up. It was almost too odd unreal: A set of freaking stairs had bruised my back. Son of a b*tch. The flesh was tender and swollen, initially from the fall, then from the various other falls and tumbles during out head to head battle for the remote. My back obviously didn't like the rough and tumble, and I was obviously too busy to notice, other than the pain, that it seriously needed so attention. Those are some nasty Bruises.
Me: These? They're just bruises Princess. No worries.
Manyata: Hain Hain! Barda Aya "Just Bruises" vala. Look at them Udayveer! They're swelling up!
She gently touched the middle line, her cool hands on the warm skin felt good; it still stung, but it was worth the small price.
She's literally worried about me? That's new. Not that I'm complaining mind you, but this is just so unexpected. I guess she doesn't hate me completely then. That's one step forward at least.
Sighing I shake my head and turn towards her, gently taking my shirt out of her hands.
Me: Don't worry about it Manyata, It doesn't hurt, plus it will heal, OK?
She looks at me critically; I'm assuming my charming smile did not convince her. Oh well. I take the shirt and start to put it on. I'm guessing that I didn't do a good job of covering up my grimace, because she gave me a dirty look and swatted my arm away. Gently she takes the shirt back from me, and takes one of my hands.
It's odd having someone do such a basic task for you, especially at this age. As a child, and even a royal child I was independent enough to dress myself, choose my own clothing and not have my nannies do it. It's been years since someone has helped me dress. I've been in more pain than this before, and I've managed to do things, with a broken arm, broken leg, or sprained wrist. It hasn't mattered before: I would never let anyone do something so tedious for me, it would make me feel a little useless. Yet, here she is, gently taking my left hand and nudging it through the sleeve; she pulls it up, and goes to the right side and gently does the same. Once she's done, she gently buttons it up to my neck- who the heck buttons a shirt to their neck? Does she know how much time it takes to get this built?- and buttons the cuffs. For some reason, I don't feel as if useless or incompetent, it felt as if she had every right to help me, and we were still equals. Is it me? Is it her? Is it us? Or is it just my back pain making me think odd things. What's going on here?
And just like that the moment dissipates. She crosses her lace incased arms over her chest and looks at me critically.
Manyata: Udayveer, you should take care of yourself, if anything happens to you someone is going to think I did it!
Her humor lightens the intimate mood, and makes me laugh.
Me: Well, technically, Kasoorvar tho aap he thi Princess,
Manyata: Nahi! Kasay!
I take the chance to lean near her and smirk.
Me: How soon they forget! Kyuin?Vvo wrestling move bhool gayi aap? When you tackled me down onto the stairs?
She looked surprised for a moment, and then really guilty. But that hadn't been my intention: I didn't want her to feel responsible.
Without thinking, I possibly do what I will consider both the cheesiest, yet most sincere action of my adult life.
I take her right hand in mine, and hold it close to my heart.
Me: Lekin Sola Saal kay badth, hum koyi bhi chot bardash karsakthay hain app ki liya.
I feel like saying dost at the end of it: But she was once my friend, I don't think she is anymore. What do you call a person who was once your best friend, currently dislikes you and has no recollection of your bond of friendship, and is supposed to be the person you're obligated if not destined to marry? Is she my fiance, as I describe her to the world? Is she my enemy, even though I don't feel as such? Is she my friend? Is she nothing? What is she to me besides an obligation and a part of destiny written out before me? I don't know, but I'd seriously like to find out.
The two of them looked every inch of the couple Giriraj and Brijraj and destined them to be as they made their way down to the lobby. Uday had stuck with the white dress shirt Manyata had helped him with, but decided to switch his jeans for some black trousers: after all he wouldn't be outdone by his fiance. His shirt looked different then when Manyata had buttoned it: the first two were open now, and the sleeves rolled up: Formal yet utterly casual at the same time- but never losing that air of regality. To his right Manyata was walking hesitantly in the high heels which matched her outfit: not because of the height, but because of the change.
She had noticed the difference in her appearance immediately after Divya had shown her the final product. She knew her eyes looked larger, more defined, more...experienced. Her face didn't look so juvenile anymore; it looked sophisticated, elegant if not royal. And the suite, although she loved it both in appearance and fitting, she felt odd in it, as if it meant more than just a change in style. She felt as if the world was watching her: and it would be.
She had also noticed the way Udayveer had looked at her: and she hadn't liked it. It was unsettling, because she didn't understand how to react or interpret it. His condescending, and controlling demeanor she could respond to: Give him a verbal fight right back. But how could she respond to him when he looked at her like that? In awe, and in surprise, how was one to cut someone down, when they hadn't done anything to instigate a fight? She didn't know how to react to this side of Udayveer, much less understand it.
The elevator doors opened into the lobby, and sensing the impending circus, Uday grabbed her hand and pulled her close; she could have resisted, but she too sensed what was coming.
The day was turning into dusk, and the evening sky was pinkish, purple and enchanting, it stood unaware of the frenzy outside of the hotel. Police cars and security vehicles were surrounding the perimeter, crazed celebrity fans, and admirers of the Prince and curious passerby's for the princess had lined up at the outskirts to catch a glimpse. At the Lobby doors a heard of wild reporters were waiting, like a lion for a gazelle, steady, unwavering, waiting to make the first move. Every time the Elevator doors opened, they would position themselves and wait for the picture, the picture of the royal couple coming out after a day together'most were hoping for a snap shot after the night, but it was well known that the chances of that were next to none. Royals were nothing if not discrete. The wait had been long for the numerous media personal; they too hand spent the day in the hot sun, with stuck up guards and irritated bosses who were pressuring them with deadlines, not to mention the various rival channels all fighting to get the first and the best shot of the royal couple. They wanted them now. As if smelling blood or sensing the climax of their wait, it happened: They stepped out of the elevator, together.
The flash bulbs went off, the constant click, click, click, click and shutter of the lenses in a steady rhythm, never changing and just as strong. Reporters let out frenzy of questions, even though the couple was still far away, their shouts and curiosity strong. In the background, if one listened carefully enough, the sounds of the public, screaming out the princes name could be heard, the conversations of wonder and envy being the predominant subject among the female fans.
This atmosphere was intimidating, if not overwhelming and Udayveer having had experienced this all his life, understood this. He was calm, and despite the impending night, he slipped on his black ray-ban aviators, and held onto Manyata's hand, bringing her closer to him. He leaned down and to the world it looked like a romantic whisper from the prince to the princess. But to Manyata it was an anchor back to reality.
Uday: You need to stand tall, look them right in the eye, and smile. I'm with you. Walk with me.
She looked up at him and smiled reassuringly, and he smiled back confidently. Watching her face he noticed that pesky strand of hair was back, and unable to help himself he once again tucked it behind her ear.
Uday: Challo Princess, Duniya tumara inthazar kar rahi hai.
Together they walked in sync, her right arm entwined with his left, hands clasped together. She followed his lead while walking beside him: Chin up, eyes bright and a smile on top. And for the first time in her life, she felt every inch the princess she had been was told she was.
The media went crazy as the couple made their way slowly across the marble lobby; occasionally Uday would stop and talk to some guest, or staff, which only made the media at the gates more anxious. Their story was so close, yet so far. As the couple made it half way across, 4 body guards in black suites, appeared, two on each side of the couple. And in sync they once again started off. The noise got louder, the lighter brighter and the intensity stronger. And finally, at the threshold of the lobby doors the world burst at the sight of them. The moment was fast, intense and blinding. They were being pushed up against as the guards covered them and made a beeline for Uday's black audi which was being guarded by other security personal. The couple was being bombarded with questions:
How did you two enjoy your date?
What did you eat?
Is it true Rajkumari Manyata pushed you into the Pool Yuvraj?
When is the wedding?
Who are you wearing Rajkumari Manyata
Where do you plan to go for dinner tonight
Who are you wearing Yuvraj Udayveer?
How are you adjusting to being a princess?
What did you two do in the hotel for so long?
The questions were endless, loud and inaudible. Throughout the chaos, she heard Uday's voice, calm, cool and collected.
Uday: Don't worry, just look up smile. Talk to me, look at me if it makes you feel a bit more sure.
She looked up at him, almost nose to nose and saw his smiling face behind his dark glasses
Manyata: What is it about us? We're people just like them.
Uday: No Manyata, in this moment, we're everything they've dreamed of. It isn't just a stuck up remark either: It's a reality.
She looked at what he was talking about, the chaos, the obsession, the fanfare. It was ridiculous, but she could see what he meant: This was a dream that only so few ever got to experience.
As they made it to the car, Uday opened the door and helped her in, and rushed towards the driver side. As he opened the door, he turned back and waved at the public, and gleeful screams irrupted from the audience.
Marry ME! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was both comical and embarrassing, the fact that grown adults were brought down to this level of craziness over a title and clothing. As he sat in the car, he carefully took off his sunglasses, and rested his exhausted head of the seat. For a moment there was just silence between them as he had his eyes closed. Manyata took the quite moment to watch him: in this moment he looked normal, personable, human and even'nice. Looking at his face, she could see why those girls outside had gone nuts over him. He looked every bit the prince he was. High cheek bones, angular jaw, dark hair, sculpted body, and charming smile. He was, by definition the perfect prince. But was he a good person? She honestly couldn't tell. At moments he seemed like the devil, terrible, conniving and manipulative, and always wanting his way. But other times, he confused her by being kind, genuine and fun. Who was he?
Opening my eyes, I see her staring back at me: well, more like assessing. As if I'm a difficult math question and she's attempting to figure out what formula needs to be implemented. I feel the same way about her most of the time: How to figure her out? Looking at her right now, it's difficult to believe this is the same girl I met at the beach: crazy hair, crazy attitude, and odd clothing. As expected, she's the first to break this nice moment: at least some things never change.
Manyata: Why are you staring at me now!
Me: Nice try princess, you and I both full well know you were doing the staring,
Manyata: No! I was just wondering!
Me with an eyebrow raised: Wondering what? When we're getting married, and how you got so lucky?
Manyata: You wish Udayveer. Just wondering if the cause of your ego is all of those tweens screaming your name outside, gosh its hilarious.
Me: It's not my fault I have fans: It comes with the title.
Manyata: Fans or groupies?!
Me: Kyun, jalan hori hai kya Princess?
Manyata: Ha! Jalan?! Dream on Udayveer, Dream on.
Laughing, I start the car and drive off out of the hotel. The drive is quite, no words, no banter, no insults and for once no tension. There isn't a fight, there isn't an objective: there's just silence. It's refreashing actually. She fiddles around with the stereo, and eventually rolls down the window and stare out into the night sky, hands folded on the edge of the door.
Manyata: It's beautiful outside!
Looking out all I see is the city, and the lights, the hustle and bustle of people enjoying the cool weather and food. It's common, nothing spectacular.
Me: How so Princess?
Manyata: Just look Udayveer! The lights the happy people, the music, the noise! And as you're driving, it goes by so fast, almost as if you're watching a movie on high speed!
Her description made me laugh, where does she get this stuff?
And for a moment I stop laughing and look at it the way she is. If you really pay attention, you can see the little moments: Mother and child, brother and sister, or two lovers, in the moment enjoying the evening together. The entire sequence was animated, with life and with stories: everyone's story. How many times had I driven by this area, with Manyata in these sequences? How many times might I have walked past her not knowing who she was and how we were connected? These animated moments, seem so isolated and far off, that I've never thought that I'm a part of them too: I'm not as detached from the world as I'd like.
At the red light I stop, and take a look at what she's doing now. I don't have to see all of her face to notice she's drooling at the kulfi stand to the right of us. She's so predictable. She turns back and looks at me, I knew what she was going to say before she said it.
Manyata: We should go get some Kulfi!
As much as I'd like to say "yes" it's simply not possible. With the hype of today, we wouldn't last two seconds outside, without getting bombarded by a mirage of people. But I can't just say "no" either, it would be like taking two steps backwards after the most productive day we've had today: and I don't want any more drama. Seriously, today's dose was a little too much.
Me: OK, but we can't go outside Manyata. Just wait.
For a moment her face become juvenile, as if a parent had conditioned the item the child wanted, not upset, but not ecstatic either. Typical.
I turn around, and park the car near the stall: the windows are tinted, so I'm not too worried about being seen right this second. As soon as the gear has been shifted to Park, Manyata unbuckles her belt and makes a B-Line for the door. She's fast, but I'm faster. I grab her hand gently and shake my head.
Me: You have to wait. Abhi Abhi tu hum media se bhag kar ayai hain.
She thought about that for a moment, before giving me a Well, how the hell am I going to get my Kulfi then, idiot? look.
I roll down my window, and signal the vendor to come near me. Silently I pull out a large bill.
Me: Do kulfi milsukti hain?
The vendor nods, takes the money and after a few moments comes back with two, and the change.
Me: thank you, app change raklijeya.
I pass along the kulfis to Manyata, who early starts eating hers as I start the car and drive off: almost home...well her home atleast.
She makes animated noises and expressions while enjoying the treat, I can't help but smile at her enjoyment: When was the last time I enjoyed eating something so much?
Me: Is it that good Manyata?
Manyata: Better! Tum nahi Kaogay Udayveer?
I think about it, really I'd love to, but It wouldn't be the smartest thing to do while driving. Unless...
Me: Really can't princess, driving. App hamre hisay ki kah legiya.
Now, if she were a sweet girl, she would offer to feed me'but she isn't.
Shrugging she starts on the second kulfi which is starting to me. She's done by the time we're reached the palace gates, and as expected the paparazzi is in full force. I stop the car at the gate, and honk, the guards should open the gate within a moment.
Outside as the flashbulbs are going off, and reporters are shouting, I take a moment to look at Manyata who is looking down at her hands. I notice then that she missed a smear of some kulfi from her mouth, and without thinking I take my right hand and whip of that smear. I shouldn't have. Reporters are going nuts, screaming Did you get that picture! Did you get it! while the guard is telling me to move the car forward, and Manyata looks dazed. She touches the same spot, and re-whips it, as if she's whipping away the moment or my touch. It stings a little, because even the most sincere action, is judged by everyone: even Manyata.
I drive in, and park, a valet comes and opens the door for Manyata, and expectantly waits for me to hand the keys over, and to my surprise Manyata notices that I haven't done as such.
Manyata: Aren't you coming inside?
Me: No, I've said hi to everyone, don't worry Manyata, I've already called Dadi Shab, she won't be mad at the time.
She looks at me and I can't describe the expression: exasperation? Irritation? Fatigue?
Manyata: I...Ok then.
She steps out but the corner of her dupatta is stuck on my watch. We both take notice, and both bend over to undo the tangle, and both pay the price. Ouch. The top of her head hits the bottom of my jaw. Son of a gun. What, am I destined to get injured all the freaking time with her? The impact was hard, and I take my hand to check the top of her head, and oddly enough, she had taken her hand to check my jaw. But as soon as she touched my jaw, her hand dropped away, as if she had been stung. She smiles awkwardly and takes my leave, and I'm left rubbing my sore jaw.
She's made it almost to the stairs, and I suddenly remember. It could have waited till tomorrow, or another day, after all it had waited 16 years, but for some reason, a part of me wants to elevate this responsibility: finish this part of my childhood.
I open the door, and as I do more flashbulbs outside the gate go off, and look towards Manyata.
She turns around, and looks at me with surprise, and I don't have to be a genius to figure out what her face says, what the hell does he want now? . So predictable.
Me: One second.
I go around the car and open the trunk, and pull out the box, I wrapped it myself in cream wrapping paper, and a red bow. Sure, it's a pretty crappy, but I didn't want anyone to see this: It's for her eyes only.
I walk towards her, and quietly hand her the package. And she again, gives me a confused look, surprised, by confused.
Manyata: Ab yeh kya, chumcha lagane ki koshish kar rahay ho?
Part of me felt irritated enough to take the damned thing right back: Why is it that I can't even give something without being judged? What the hell is up with that?
Me: Nahi princess, this is yours. I'm just giving it back.
I don't bother saying anything else, a salute of my hand I turn back into my car and start making my outside of the palace.
There are flashing lights, loud words, and people all around me as I make my way back home. Even with all of this noise, colour, and brightness, it all fades into the background when she's around. Now that she's gone, it's in the forefront again. What is it about her, that makes time fly by, and everything fade into the background?
Alright, so this was byfar not as amusing as the last one, I know.
But there needs to be a bridge for excitment!
Let me know what you thought.
-ReehaPS: look at my next post to see what Outfit I thought Manyata should be wearing
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Thank you srishaa! Sorry I ended up posting the update right when you commented! I'm glad you've enjoyed it so far, thank you for reading
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Tollay crazy... ufff im gonna die soon.. heheh
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The Jainandini Chronicles| NEW UPDATE| PART 9| PG. 45
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