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"My mother" she said to herself as tears threatened to fall "Maa, can you stay with me for sometime? Please" she asked Komal. Komal gently let her hands run over Manyata's head and smiled.
"Ofcourse beta," It had been two weeks since Manyata had started calling her mother "maa". It was different from the Mamma she had called when she was a child, but all the more it felt sweet and Komal wanted to hear it a thousand times. She had raced to the Queen Mother's room in a dignified manner though, but as fast as her legs could take her. She had related the incident to everyone and all were extremely happy. A special feast was organized and all important people of the royal family were invited. The staff had got huge bonus and sweets were distributed. Komal smiled at the memory now as she held Manyata closer. Her daughter ' her Manyata ' the light of the family was back.
"Maa" called Manyata
"Tell me about your marriage" she asked her head resting on Komal's lap.
Komal was surprised to hear the question but smiled
"What do you want to know dear?" she asked
"Everything, I know your marriage was arranged. Were you scared?"
" Manyata, I was born into the royal family of Udaygadh. My father was the king of Udaygadh. I was the only child and was very pampered by both my parents. Not only that do you know I was the only girl child among my cousins. So you can imagine how I was treated. I was actually chosen as a bride by Maa Sahib"
Manyata immediately said "Mataji"
Komal nodded "Yes that time she was the Queen of Devgadh. She had seen me during my cousin's wedding. She told Maharaj Jagat Singh who approved and immediately approached my father to ask for my hand for their son"
"So you didn't even meet Maharaj ji" asked Manyata with a surprised look on her face
"I did meet him ofcourse. Our families arranged a meeting at the Udaygadh palace. I was lucky that our families were broad minded. They had learnt to adapt with times."
"And then" Manyata urged her mother to continue
"Well, Prince Brijraj came to see me and he just asked me one question"
"What was it maa?" asked Manyata getting up from her mother's lap to look at her.
Komal smiled and blushed but answered
"He asked me, what is your height?"
"What?" said Manyata and started laughing. Komal joined in the laughter with her daughter and finally when the moment had passed, Manyata said
"Seriously maa, that's the only thing Maharaj ji asked you"
Komal nodded and said "Yes, well your father was handsome and tall. He was brave and a man of strong ideals. There was no question of refusing him. Not only that beta, although our families were modern, we are Rajputs. We cannot go back on our word, especially when the word is given by the elders of our family. It is considered disrespect. If your father or I would've refused, the relation between two states would have ended. It would have been disastrous. Our wedding was the talk of the country for few years.
"But I'm happy that my elder's have taken good decision for me. I'm extremely happy and our marriage has been very successful as you can see. I'm a Maharani; I have a lovely mother-in-law who is more like a mother to me and even lovelier sister-in-law, your Maeneka bua and a lovely household. And the most important thing" she said looking at Manyata with eyes full of love "I have you and Jai. What more could I've asked for and for your other question no i wasnt scared. I was a Princess and a Princess doesnt get scared."
Manyata smiled and hugged her mother "I'm really lucky to have you as my mother. I don't know how I survived without your love for the past 16 years. I love you maa"
"Love you too beta" said Komal and hugged her. "We are Rajputs, we cannot go back on our word" the words loomed in Manyata's head.
Before she could stop herself she blurted out "What about Uday and I?"
"Well that was different. There was good friendship between Jaigadh and Devgadh even before I had come into the family. I'm sure that if Maharaj Giriraj had a sister then Maa sahib and the late King would have wanted your father to marry her. When you were born Uday was 5 years old and the first time he came to visit he was so happy to see you that he would not let anyone else touch you. When you grew up you just wanted Uday to be near you and would raise a tantrum if he didn't visit you even for a day. It was even worse at Jaigadh as Uday refused to eat till he had seen you. So we decided that we should get yours and Uday's roka done. "
Manyata listened to her mother and she couldn't believe that she could've thrown a tantrum for Uday or would have wanted him anywhere near to her.
"You had gotten hurt by a plastic sword at that time and we had such a terrible time trying to calm you both" she continued "You were crying because of pain and Uday was crying seeing you in pain. The very next day you were taken away from us" said Komal sadly. "Do you know beta, after that Uday was not himself anymore. He stopped talking and would sit and gaze outside the palace windows day in and out. We were all worried by his behavior especially Maharaj Giriraj. Unnati was born at that time and Maharaj had lost his wife Maharani Padmini, who was also my best friend. It was too much for him to handle, the baby and Uday. So he sent him to London to finish his studies."
"We were also terribly heartbroken. First you were kidnapped, then my best friend passed way and then Uday was sent to London. It was as if a bad omen had fallen on us. I had to hold myself together for Jai Nandini and I couldn't bear to live in that Palace which constantly reminded me of you. We decided to leave Devgadh for Mumbai."
Manyata looked at the sad face of her mother and said
"Its okay maa, I'm here now. Please don't be sad"
"Yes beta and I'm also happy that very soon our dreams are also going to get realized. Your wedding with Uday is our biggest dream. I want to honor the wish of my dear friend Padmini. We will make sure that this will be the biggest wedding and will be talked about forever" smiled Komal
Manyata gave a weak smile in return and after wishing her mother goodnight lay down to sleep.
Manyata lay down thinking about the conversation between herself and her mother. She couldn't believe that her mother was talking about Uday. "I was close to Uday? I threw tantrums to meet him? No, iam sorry maa but I love Akash not Uday" she told herself
"But Uday makes you feel like a woman" a voice said from within her.
"Princess Manyata Kumari Singh of Devgadh will have only one man in her life Prince Udayveer Singh of Jaigadh" Uday's words surfaced which made her cringe. Her heart skipped a beat when she recalled her spat with Uday earlier in the evening.
Finally sleep cornered her and as she gave in to her sleep she realized that she hadn't spoken to Akash and frankly speaking she didn't miss him either. She fell asleep dreaming about her mother, the things she said about her marriage and her dreams stuck on Uday with the words "We are Rajputs, we cannot go back on our word" hovering in the background
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~Tera Mera Pyaar ty vm pg 68
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