Joined: 05 September 2006
I drive her home just before 11PM, and true to her word she had been desperately tired, and had fallen asleep on the ride home. The rain had put a stop to the rest of the evening and I had decided to head out, after all, there isn't much of a point of going on a cruise if it's just going to rain, but we had atleast salvaged the evening by other revelations of course. Oh for the love of God, I feel like a teenager. Someone spare me. Too many hormones and feelings. I need a drink. ASAP. Sighing, I turn to look at her profile; Her head is resting against the passenger window, her right cheek right against the glass, and she looked like a duck- mouth open, and small snoring sounds being made...err...a sleeping duck? I pull into the drive and stop, and simply stare at her sleeping face. And I can see the same girl I met at the beach months ago: She's still the same. And if you had told me then that I would care about her the way I do now, I could have laughed in your face. It seems like someone else is getting the last laugh now, and it sure as hell isn't me.
I don't know how I'm supposed to wake her up, she sleeps like the dead. Oh god, so not looking forward to her reaction, but it needs to be done. I say her name once, Manyata. It's a pretty good tone, if I do say so myself. I say it again, louder. And a third time louder than that. She doesn't move. I gently nudge her shoulder, and I swear she made a growling noise at me. I try again, this time I nudge her shoulder a little harder.
Me: Princess, aray oh Princess. Wake up. Khabi tho Rajkumari bana chordo, you're supposed to be Rajkumari Manyata, not sleeping beauty. Oh wait, now that I think about it...you sound more like a duck with the noises you're making. Sleeping Duckling?
She still doesn't hear me, but cozies up against the window, and curls herself closer. Making some intangible irritated noise as well. She can hear me alright, she's just too lazy to get up. Oh well, fair warning.
I get out of the car, unlock the doors, and walk around to the passenger side. And knock on her window. She shifts her eyes under her eye lids and waves her hands to dismiss me. She's dismissing me? Bad move. I give her a final warning.
Me: I'm opening the door if you don't get up Manyata, home is here.
She ignores me, and she'll regret it soon enough. I pull open her door as I had promised, and she, being as stubborn as she is, hadn't moved away from the door, and went flying right into me, but steadied herself before falling completely. Oh, she is so pissed.
Manyata: You Idiot! What the hell Udayveer!
Me: Angrazi Galiyan! I think I'm in shock Manyata...perhaps even a little hurt.
Manyata: All the Indian one's finished up, so I had to resort to another language you Bandar.
Me: See! There was one more. But I'm not a fan of "Bandar" how about a timeless classic?
She takes her hand and simply holds her forehead.
Manyata: I don't even know what to do about you Udayveer. Whatever galies I say, they simply fly over your head.
Me: Well, it's because you say them with so much affection, that I can't help but feel some sense of comfort in them.
She rolls her eyes and laughs at me.
Manyata: Thera tho kuch nahi hoga, hain nahi tho.
Me: Oh teri! I thought you had forgotten the catch phrase; did your English teachers wean it out of you?
She holds up her head, and crosses her arms across her chest.
Manyata: Are you mocking me? Who said I can't say it? BUT I say you can't say it.
I step closer and box her in between me, the car and my arms.
Me: Ofcourse I can say it. Just watch me, Hain Nahi tho.
She points her perfectly manicured finger in my face, her expression dead serious.
Manyata: You don't do it justice at all Udayveer- it sounds so unrealistic
And with that, she humphs and moves away, sauntering towards the palace entrance...it's funny because that saree is giving her trouble, and each step she takes she looks like she's about to fall.
Me: Sambhal kay Princess!
She turns around, sticks out her tongue and continues walking forward, her head held high and stance wobbly.
Me: Good Night Princess!
After such an endearing day, what do I hear in return?
Manyata: Good night Halkat!
Yup, she's still the same, hain nahi tho.
Manyata had practically skipped into the palace, a silly smile plastered on her face. The lights were dim, and the guards bowed as she made her way inside. Everyone must have been making their way to bed, the hall was empty. As she climbed up the stairs, and walked into the corridor which would lead to her room..she would have missed her had it not been of the suppressed sob. The sound was recognizable, as if someone was doing their best not to cry. Turning to her right, she saw who it was. It was J, standing in her PJs looking out the window, hand pressed up against the window, and the other covering her mouth. In this one moment Manyata felt such a pang of protectiveness...to sooth whatever it was which was hurting her sister. She took a step closer, but J must have sensed her as her back tensed.
J ignored her presence and started walking down the hallway, her back turned and head held high.
Manyata: Jai, rhok jao. What's wrong?
J: Nothing. You and I have nothing to say to each other. You win. That's all. Congratulations.
Manyata stepped back and watched J descend the stair case, she hadn't even turned to face her while saying the words...and it had sounded like she had been barely hanging on.
Sighing Manyata turned around and started towards her room...only to be drawn to the window where J had been standing moments ago...her hand print still visible on the spotless window.
There was nothing there now, but she knew what had been. It had been her and Uday down there, while he hand been dropping her off. She had expected to feel anger once again at this invasion of privacy...but she couldn't feel it anymore. Instead she felt a slight sense of, empathy. But at the same time, Manyata understood that if J wasn't willing to open up, there wasn't much she could do to change her perspective. Shaking her head, Manyata made her way to her bed room, changed for the night and feel asleep. Dreams came easy, as they were of him.
The next morning Unnati and Uday arrived from Breakfast at the Devgard Palace. As usual Unnati looked photo shoot ready in her classic slacks and designer blouse, both in white. A red Gucci hand bag and red accessories completed the elegant look of the princess. Uday on the other hand, had gone back to his relaxed look; as much as he enjoyed being with Manyata, he simply could not wear a button up shirt every time. Today it was a black sweater and blue jeans and of course- his signature smile. The two siblings greeted the elders and said their hellos, but that alone would not have distracted Brijraj from getting down to the Nitti gritty.
Brijraj: Uday beta, I hope that lovely gift is for me.
Uday: Actually Brij Uncle, Manyata forgot to take it with her last night; it's hers.
Unnati had to turn around to suppress the grin that was taking over her face oh, he is so toast. Poor Dada. Rajmata had a smile upon her face, and Komal couldn't help but smile as well: They were glad to see that the Prince they had chosen for their daughter was finally succeeding in winning her over.
Uday: If you'll excuse me I should go give this to her.
They all smiled and nodded as he made his way up the stairs to go harass Manyata. It was odd seeing the two of them go through this metamorphosis; their expressions of confusion and outer faade of indifference; Oh, how the mighty had fallen...so hopelessly in love.
He made his way up the stairs and stopped in front of her double oak doors, he was about to gently knock when he heard her singing. It was flat out terrible singing. Her tone, pitch and god knows what else was completely out of sync.
Manyata: Baahon ke darmiyaan do pyaar mil rahe hain...Jaane kya bole mann dole sunke badan...Dhadkan bani zubaan
The song was lovely, but Manyata could not sing. It was a fact. A very endearing one.
Before he could open the door he heard the blow dryer go on...and he hesitated. He didn't want to catch her in a compromising position, but at the same time he understood she was far to uptight to be walking around wrapped in a towel. Taking the risk he opened the door. She sat at her vanity, wet waves cascading down her back, and sticking to her bear skin. She wore something similar to the day they had spent outside on the beach and at the movies. It was a light pink lacy anarkali style suit, long and flowey. A deep back and no duppatta. In other words, she was still in her night clothing. She sang away with the blow dryer...or rather like she was competing with it... he couldn't tell which sound was more irritating- her voice or the blow dryer. He stood at the threshold of the door way, watching her has she attempted to blow dry her hair, by the looks of it she wasn't doing a very good job. He suppressed a laugh and watched her expressions: frustration, thought and then action. She grabbed a round hair brush and began meticulously drying her hair, so lost in thought that the singing had also stopped. Her brows were drawn together and her teeth were chewing on her bottom lip. She even failed to notice when he stepped in. Uday placed the chest on the small sitting table in front of the fire place, and sat down on one of the white chairs, and admired from a far. After an agonizing ten minutes she finally finished the task and turned off the blow dryer and started muttering to herself.
Manyata: Yeh Kya bakwaas hai? Shampoo, conditioner, mouse, product, blow dry, brush, high heat, low heat. Akhir main baal tho baal hi hai na?
She stood up and looked into the mirror, nose practically squished up against the glass. As she reached for the eyeliner and mascara.
Manyata: And make up. It's just disgusting. What's wrong with my face. Why do I need to put this crap on. I'm going to poke my eye out with this thing.
She looked attentively at the wand of mascara, and started putting it on.
Manyata: Lip gloss. What's the point of me putting it on, if it's just going to come off anyways?
Uday couldn't take it anymore he burst out laughing and braced his elbows on his knees.
Manyata was startled and almost fell face forward into her mirror, but caught herself in time. She turned and looked at him, irritation clear on her face. He was sitting on the chair shaking with laughter, dressed in a black sweater and tattered jeans, and his signature red shoes, he was oblivious to her angry expression.
Manyata: Who said you could come in here like that!
He sobered up at her tone and looked at her angry face. Standing up he pushed his hands into his pockets and walked towards her.
Uday: Sorry, you were busy, and the box was getting heavy. She glanced behind him and noticed the chest.
Manyata: Oh. Oh, OK. You couldn't say hi then? Or let me know you were here. You scared the crap out of me Udayveer.
Uday : Now Princess, agar hum announce kar kay andar athay tho...
Manyata: Tho tum meri bathay kasia saun thay? Right?
Uday : Well, sort of right. Vasay, you sing very nicely you know.
She looked at him critically, and not the timed, shy way a princess would have after receiving such a compliment.
Manyata: BullSh*t. I sing terribly. Vijay has made that abundantly clear. Now, the question is Yuvraj Udayveer Singh, how well do you sing.
He leaned in closer and spoke to her, but she took a step back.
Uday : Not very well at all, but I'm talented in other aspects.
Manyata: Humph, like being a first class flirt is a talent.
Uday : It is actually, in various nations it's a commendable talent.
He grinned at her and watched as she reached for the suit laying on the bed; it was a white net suit in an anarkali style with red accents on the bodice and edges, champagne embroidery made a tasteful appearance were necessary.
She sighed as she looked at the article of clothing, critically. Apprehension on her face.
Uday : Kya hua princess? What's up with the deep thought?
Manyata : I don't know Uday. Is it really necessary for me to dress up? It's so much work. Sometimes I wish I could just leave my hair wet, not have any make up on and just walk around the house in my pjs.
He smiled at her simple want, and grasped her hand gently in his.
Uday : Then do it. I guess it's too late for the wet hair and makeup, but if you ever feel like being lazy for one day, do it. You're the princess right? And even princess deserve to have an off day every so often.
He let go of her hand and picked up the outfit.
Uday : Now, I'm no expert, but I think you'll look amazing in this.
Manyata : You think so?
Uday : No, I know so. Trust me I do.
Manyata : Because your such a ladies man?
Uday : Now, now Manyata, I don't know where you hear such things.
Manyata : I don't hear them, I read them. You were quite the voyeur.
Uday : Voyeur? Holy crap. What is going on here? You're English words are just getting too big for my understanding.
She smacked his shoulder and stuck out her tongue.
Manyata : Idiot, agar main hindi meh baath karoon, thub meri nakal karthay ho, if I speak in English It's too un-Manyata like.
He leaned in close and pushed back some hair that didn't need to be pushed back.
Uday : Actually, I just like hearing your voice, regardless of what you say.
She raised her eyebrow at him
Manyata : Who are you, and what the hell have you done to the jerk that is Uday?
He whipped his head back and laughed at her serious question.
Uday : Oh, he's still here Princess, he's still here. I just don't need to be an ass to you all the time. Sometimes maybe, not all the time though.
Manyata : Good to know some things never change.
She grabbed the suit and made her way into her washroom and changed while Uday looked at the photographs mounted on her wall. She was out within a few moments, and headed towards the vanity and picked out some studs and an oversized ring to finish off the outfit.
Manyata : Udayveer, challo. Let's get going.
He looked towards her and felt such a sense of elation. He realized that he could do this every morning for the rest of his life. It didn't matter what the topic was- or lack therefore of- he loved everything they did together, talk, not talk, yell, fight. Everything and anything.
Manyata : Uday! What are you doing. The door is open and everyone is waiting downstairs.
He smiled at her as he looked down. She wasn't tense nor was she making a great effort to get away from his grasp...the way she was interpreting the situation brought a smile to his face.
Uday : You know Manyata, I'm a damn good singer actually.
Manyata : Lies, you just said you weren't
Uday : Well, technically speaking, I'm not. But your pitch is so bad that you most likely won't notice I'm out of tune.
Manyata : Oh really, and what is it that you'd sing?
Uday : Hum tum ek kamerey mai baand ho..
Getting ahead of herself she closed her eyes and leaned in closer, going up onto her toes, her lips parting and breath shallow, but he dodged her and turned her around suddenly. His hands were on her shoulders as he turned her around, she let out a yelp, and attempted to turn around as his warm hands gently touched her back. A look of confusion on her face, and a smirk on his.
Uday : You forgot to tie these.
She heard the little bells of the two ties at the back of her deep neck line, and felt his hands as they tied the two threads seamlessly together. Damned designer suits.
She turned around once he was done, and was a little jittery...and here she had thought that he was going to..
Uday : Oh I will, trust me I will.
She looked up at him, surprised and confused. But also amazed, he was very good at reading her.
Uday : But as you said Princess, the door is open and the family is waiting down stairs. Right?
He leaned in a gently ran his thumb underneath the bottom of her lip.
Uday : And I agree. There is no point in lip gloss when it's just coming off, right?
He gave her his devilish grin and walked out of her room, leaving her not only speechless, but breathless. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.
They walked single file, her before him down the stairs and into the dining table. Everyone was already seated DS at the helm of the table, Brijraj at the bow, Komal to his left, Mainika to his right. Unnati sat beside Komal, Vijay beside here, and Uday took the seat between him and DS. Manyata sat across him to DS's left and beside J. It was a full house. Smiles all around and greetings were exchanged as everyone readied themselves for the morning meal. Looking at everyone Uday understood what Manyata was referring to. Everyone besides himself and Vijay was dressed to impress. Komal in her everyday show stopping sari and jewelry, Brijraj in his formal two piece suit, Mainika in her bridge silk outfit, Unnati draped in Versace, and J in a Dolce & Gabanna dress; DS of course in the timeless and elegant cream sari. He understood her confusion of looking so hi-fi all the time. It was something which had commonly disconcerted him as a child, and because he was a boy, he had gotten out of it while he had been a teenager.
Uday age 6
He was peddling hard, his little feet knew no limit, and at the age of six, couldn't comprehend the concept of distance, velocity or time, all he knew was speed. And all Yuvraj Udayveer wanted to do was go faster and faster. There was no race, there wasn't a competitor, but there was always a goal. Last week, he had made three laps around the garden before lunch. This week he wanted four. Faster and faster he peddled. He was dressed in his most comfortable Tom and Jerry t-shirt, which also happened to be the most old. What had once been a sharp sky blue, was fading into a greyer shade, the cartoon characters which made their home on the shirt, were fading away as well. But the shirt was well loved, well worn, and always his first choice. Always. His khakhi shorts, and brand new red nike's topped off today's attire. To the naked eye, he looked like any other 6 year old enjoying a day outside. But he wasn't.
Lunch time came and the help arrived to call him inside.
Yuvraj, it's lunch time. Aur Maharaj bhi arahay hain.
The prince looked up towards the nanny who was walking beside him now, as he peddled towards the palace doors.
Uday : Are you sure Nina? Dad says he'll come over for lunch, but he never does.
Nina : I'm sure Yuvraj. Maharaj is pulling into the driveway as we speak, we'd best get you freshened up before you see him.
Uday smiled the news and made a b-line for the palace, and run into the rest room. He carefully washed his face, and used the towel to whip off the sweat and grime from the day in the sun and walked out towards the foyer. His father strode in wearing his three piece suit and red tie. Giriraj was busy building an empire with his royal name, and had little time for his children. Both his kids were important to him, and he loved them immensely. Unnati would most likely be sleeping, but that was alright, there wasn't much he could do to groom Unnati into what he wanted, he was going to leave that to teachers and experiences personal- all he wanted was for her to be a respectable princess. But Uday. No matter how busy he was Giriraj wanted to ensure he occasionally took some time to see his son- to ensure he was being groomed into the prince he is supposed to be. His son realized this- Uday was a sharp boy- he understood that his father had great expectations of him'but occasionally being a child took precedent over being a prince. Today was one of those days.
Uday ran towards his father and hugged his feet, and his father bent down to eye level to return the hug.
Uday : I'm glad you came Dad, now we can talk business.
Giriraj laughed at the line his young son liked to use and stood up. He looked down at his son and the smile vanished.
Giriraj: What is this Nina? I told you to throw away the shirt. It's practically a rag.
Nina: Maharaj, I tried but Yuvraj...
Giriraj : But Yuvraj? I told you to throw it away Nina. This is ridiculous.
Giriraj's voice grew louder as he gestured around the palace.
Giriraj : This is a Mahal, and he is prince meaning he needs to look like one. Not some gutter child that is dressed in worn out clothing which looks like it's a size too small.
Uday was in shock listening to his father...this shirt. This shirt meant so much to him. Komal Aunty had brought it for him. And he went to the hospital to see Unnati in this shirt. He had even worn it to his birthday party.
Giriraj: Go take it off Uday, and throw it away, I don't want to see it again.
His little body was shaking, and his temper was getting to him. But he didn't yell or scream... a prince was beyond temper tantrums and explosions. It was difficult for a six year old. But he managed. He held his head high and spoke his mind.
Uday : No Dad. I like my shirt.
Giriraj : What? What did you say Udayveer?
Uday : I like my shirt..it's'..t's comfy.
Giriraj laughed in distain and bent down eye to eye with his son.
Giriraj: I don't care Uday. You will not be seen like some lower class child when you are beyond that.
He matched his father's gaze and replied in a level voice.
Uday : It's mine. If you want, I won't wear it outside. But that's it. I will keep my shirt. I don't care if it's old and yucky. It's mine. I like it.
Giriraj shook his head and tried another tactic.
Giriraj : But Uday, you're a prince. You deserve the best, the newest, the nicest, right?
Uday recognized this reverse psychology which was going on. He finally realized it. He had noticed his father do the same thing numerous times before'.but now it made so much more sense. And he didn't fall for it.
Uday : With all due respect father, one day everything gets old. That doesn't mean we replace it. Jaigard is old too, but we still hold on.
He marched away up the stairs. Leaving a shocked Nina, and an admiring Giriraj.
Giriraj : You see that Nina? That's the Crown Prince, and he speaks like a King.
A week had passed and Uday was excited to get see Unnati. She was awake this early morning, and her nanny said he could play with her if he was careful. She was 7 months old and was like a little doll. Even now, she recognized her older brother when she saw him. He rummaged through his drawers, and his closet, but he could not see his shirt. He looked and looked but it was nowhere to be seen. His frustration was mounting, and he resorted to his last hope
Uday : Nina!
His nanny ran in, and asked him what he needed.
Uday : Have you seen it? Have you seen my special shirt?
Uday : I told you to have it washed and put it in my car drawer. The one beside my bed. Did you put it there?
The nanny swallowed hard and composed herself.
Nina : Yuvraj...your shirt is no longer in the palace.
His little jaw wired shut, and he did not bother asking where it was or who had taken it; even at 6 he was intuitive enough to understand.
Uday : I see. Thank you.
His nanny walked out, and he sat in front of his dressed. Legs crossed, white socks on with black shorts and blue running shoes. His bare chest had his little arms crossed against it as he looked into the cupboard lost in thought; he understood that in the Royal world, comfort must reflect luxury, and if it doesn't, it has no place in their lives.
Uday : It stinks being a prince.
My train of thought was broken by the steady conversation going around me. Although Manyata and I had made it to the table only a few moments ago, it seemed as if my thoughts had missed out on some serious conversations. Oh well. I'll catch up. Vijay Bhanna is to my right and he's talking about some fashion show with Unnati. Uncle Brij is speaking with his sister and Manyata is looking down at her plate.
Unnati: Vijay Bhanna, are you excited to see your Dada and Dadi?
Vijay: As excited one can be Unnati. They are something else, I tell you.
DS: Vijay Beta, I hope that's a good thing?
Vijay: Of course it is Nani Shab.
Unnati: I love your gloss Manyata.
Manyata looked up at Unnati and gave her a smile, and speaking of lip gloss I had to surpress a smile. Oddly enough she glanced at me and saw my vain attempt at being neutral, and gave me a death stare.
Manyata: Thank you Unnati.
Unnati: Which brand is this one?
I swear I heard Vijay Bhanna mutter... is it flavored, Uday?
I had seen her put it on and earlier, and before I really thought about it I told Unnati.
Me: It's Chanel.
Vijay being Vijay, took that and ran with-it.
Vijay: Hmmm, you sure do know more about Manyata's lip gloss then she does Uday.
I look beside me, and shake my head and smile. What reply can I possibly give to VB? He is just a character unto himself. I didn't say anything to him, but apparently Manyata had. By Vijay's expression I'm assuming she kicked him under the table. Good Job Princess.
Unnati: That's not fair Vijay Bhanna, I bet you can tell me what Manyata is wearing. I think it's a Ritu Kumar.
Vijay was still wincing as he spoke, but he managed to not to draw too much attention to himself. But I'm sure his mom noticed; she always does.
Vijay: Wrong Unnati, It's a Khanna all the way.
Manayta: Hmmm, you sure do know more about my outfit then I do Vijay.
She triumphantly repeats his line to him, and he has an irritated look on his face.
Vijay: Manyata, you honestly don't have the best taste. If it wasn't for Avani, you wouldn't be looking as first-class as you do now, I tell you.
Uday: Wrong Vijay, she looks amazing in whatever she wears; after all, a Princess is still a princess. Whether it be in a designer outfit, or a sack of potatoes, I think she looks lovely don't you think?
This time I feel her high heels coming into contact with my shines.
She glares at me, and Vijay smirks.
Vijay: As Manyata likes to say Uday, Oh teri.
Yes, Vijay Bhanna, Oh Meri indeed.
First, I cannot thank you guys enough for being so patient. Honestly, I'm so sorry for the wait: literally two weeks. But to be fair, I did mention when I have an overload of work, updates won't always be possible, hope that's alright with you guys . I won't make this one longer; but I will do my best to update before next monday, making it -technically speaking- a double update for this week.
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