Manya came into Khanak's room and jumped on her bed, lying stomach down on it.
"Kya kar rahi ho aap?"
"Kaprey set kar rahi houn almari mein."
"Uff ho Di that's not what I meant."
"Phir ye ke Di Shaan bhai ko aye huwey ek haftey se bhi ziyada ho gaya hai. What do you think about him? Ab tou aap ye bhi nai keh sakti ke you don't know him."
"But I don't know him."
"Jhoot mat boliye Di! Bataye naaa...I'm your one and only sister aur behn se aysi baatein chupate nai hein."
Khanak laughed involuntarily and walked up to Manya. Sitting on the bed, she said:
"Jhoot nai bol rahi Mannu. I don't know him well enough."
"But you know him thora sa right? Itna tou pata hi hoga ke you can decide potential hai ke nai?"
Khanak thought about it for a moment. Potential? Hmm...now that was something she had never given much thought to. She had thought about it once or twice but never given it much importance. Usually, her analysis asked one of the two answers of her: yes or no? But here, Manya had a point. Life was about discovering yourself and those around you, right? It's a journey. And so it marriage. So, all that she really needed to find out was whether their relationship had any potential. Potential to be successful. Potential to keep them happy. Potential to compromise equally. Potential to build up to a point where they could stand solid through thick and thin. Potential to develop into love.
She had always dreamt of a man who would sweep her off her feet and then make her fall in love with him even more with each passing day meanwhile he'd love and care for her exceeding any expectations that she would have of him. An eternal couple besotted by each other.
But that was her dream. Now that she closely looked into the everyday life of herself and her man, she could see the increasing love developing out a growing understanding. The care and tenderness resulting from an observation of how much the other meant to them. The fairytale was real. It was only the end which she could see which made her think that it was only a dream. If she and her beau worked for the same end, it would be real. Her dream would be real.
As Khanak went through her fairytale dreams, Manya carefully read the cocktail of emotions that flitted across her face. Thoughtful. Distant. Confused. Dreamy. Aspiring. Realisation. Hope.
"Diii!" Manya jolted Khanak out of her thoughts.
"Kya Mannu. Pata nai mujeh," said Khanak whilst attempting to get up from the bed but Manya was quick to pull her down.
"Chupao mat Di. Tell me na. Bhai seems to be so nice. There seems to be no air of attitude or snobiness about him. He's so nice. And Harsh aur mere saath bhi wo time spend karte hein."
"So what? Don't you get it?"
"Get what Mannu. Fazool mein mera tima na waste kero. I have work to do."
"Work to do! Di. Please okay. The guy OBVIOUSLY likes you. Why would he spend so much time bonding with your family otherwise?"
"Maybe because this is his father's best friend's family and he's our guest? It would be rude to not sit with us."
Manya rolled her eyes.
"Oh stop this drama Di! He pakka likes you. Ab baat ye hai ke do you like bhai?"
"Mannu," said Khanak holding her little sister's chin between her thumb and fingers, "act your age. Ye matchmaking choro aur concentrate on your studies."
"Not fair Di. Aap topic avoid ker rahi ho. And mein koi itni choti nai houn ok."
"Acha meri behn!" said Khanak holding her hands in front of Manya making an apology sign. "Tou Detective Manya Jadeja wants to know whether I like Shaantanu?"
"Jeee!" exclaimed Manya, sitting up on the bed with excitement.
"He's a nice guy but I don't know where this thing will go. And abhi it's not clear whether I like him or not."
"Acha. So how does he make you feel?"
"Kya Mannu tu bhi. I answered your question aur ab ye kacheri band ker ke parhne jao," Khanak lightly scolded Manya and tried to get up from the bed.
Once more, Manya pulled her back down again.
"Dialogue aur bahana dono ache hein but ek masla hai Di."
"Kya?" asked a confused Khanak.
"Ke jo aap ke do do laal gaal hein na, they are a dead giveaway," winked Manya and quickly got up and left the room before Khanak could pull her ears.
"It's been over a week Sunil. When is Shaan coming back? Na tum bata rahey ho na Shaan." asked Manvi.
"Aa jae ga Shaan once the intial details have been sorted out Madhvi. Don't stress over it," replied Sunil.
"Don't stress over it? Sunil, of course I'll stress over it. Out of the blue you decide to send him for the project. And iss se pehle tou aysa kabhi nai huwa."
"He needs to become responsible Mads, mein ussey practice de raha houn bas."
"But itne suddenly kyun responsibility deni thi?"
"Madhvi, he's 26. Ab nai seekhay ga tou kab seekhay ga? And then, before he starts a family he needs to be well-settled and responsible."
"I just hope iss trip pe wo Khanak pe clear ho jae."
"I hope so too," replied Sunil.
"I mean, wo larki itni typical and boring lagti hai ke I'm surprised ke Shaan even said ke he'll think about it."
Suni stopped drinking his tea and stared at his wife.
"What matlab? They just don't go together."
"But tumhein tou koi masla nai tha iss rishte se. That's why you went to London with me. We've gone over this Madhvi." Sunil was harsh and direct with his reply.
"Yeah. I went over because you and Chitresh are good friends and the girl was brought up in London. But seriously Sunil, I was disappointed. Wo tou kisi angle se London-bred nai lagti."
"She is simple and not totally western, I agree. But what's wrong with that? At least she's not conniving and materialistic. Kitni sundar aur susheel bachi hai."
"Whatever Sunil. I'm not saying the girl isn't nice. I'm just saying ke she's just not Shaan's type."
"Maybe Shaan ko thori akal aa gai hai. I'm happy he's giving it a thought."
"Of course you're happy Sunil, but tum dono dostoun ki dosti ko agay barhate barhate I won't let my son fall prey to you guys."
"Don't be silly Mads, of course mujeh apne betay ki chinta hai. No one is forcing him."
"Then I already know his decision," concluded Madhvi.
Shaantanu was looking for Khanak around the house. He had checked her room, the terrace and the kitchen but without any success.
"Aunty," he address Alpana when he saw her in the living room, "aap ne Khanak ko dekha hai kaheen?"
"Oh beta she's out with friends, Friday night hai na."
"Oh okay. Thanks."
"Waise why don't you go out and see the town too? Thora enjoy winjoy kero."
"Akele kya maza Aunty. Tomorrow maybe."
"As you wish beta," smiled Alpana.
Shaan started to go up to his room when he had another thought.
"Where did Khanak go Aunty? I mean do you know when she'll be back?"
"Sorry beta can't help you there. But ek kaam ho sakta hai."
"Jee kya Aunty?"
"Come here, let's talk."
Okay guys, here's part 23. Sorry for the delay. Hope it makes up for the time lag.
Spoiler: Something big coming up next week! Personal satisfaction: I have been so caught up the last few days that I thought I won't have time to update today but my promises kept be true to my word and I've updates 10 minutes before the "tomorrow" ended by my standard time
Edited by ABlank90 - 14 July 2012 at 4:51pm