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Shiv placed his hands in the pockets of his trousers and simply walked away. He was feeling content that everything happened to what he had wanted. He had made his promise come true. He smiled, leaving the aftershock behind him. He walked nonchalantly, letting the cool breeze brush past his slightly long hair. What he wanted happened so perfectly, but deep down he couldn't help but feel as if something was missing. He was the one that told Virat to marry Maanvi, in this exact moment but somehow he couldn't help but feel as if he had just changed their fate. But, he had to ' not only to help others but to protect Maanvi's honour. He knew what it must be like for a woman of this day and age, who had their wedding broken. It was as if they were always questioned, shamed in every way even though it wasn't their fault.
Have you ever felt as if you were in a crossroad? Two different people from different paths meet each other, their destiny is written there and then ' do they walk together or take their separate ways? This is what Shiv meant about Maanvi and Virat.
The Prince and his wife.
Did Shiv regret this haste decision? No. Because he knew that somewhere, written along the stars that Maanvi and Virat were fated to be together, he knew it in his heart. What he did regret was that perhaps Maanvi will never truly gain her Prince, nor will the Prince make her his Princess.
Shiv sighed and kicked a rock that was in his way. This is how it is. In every fairy tale, there was always some sort of trouble, some sort of'.rock. It just needed someone to move it away, just like Cinderella had her fairy god mother and how Snow White had her seven dwarves.
He looked at the sky turning into the night. Everywhere there were shadows lurking behind. The breeze became sharper, as if something had just turned off. Was this the world's way of saying that something bad was going to happen? Shiv shook his head: he wouldn't allow that. He walked besides the river, and looked on into the peaceful water. He saw his reflection, his eyes twinkled and behind the deep thoughts, there was a smile, and contented happiness written across his forehead.
This river was his childhood.
It was the same place that he had found his peace, the same place that he had met the very person who would change his life forever. It was where he had met her, Maanvi.
He was always a small, scrawny boy often being picked by older children. He was quiet, and not many had noticed that he was there in the classroom. He was shy but scared of the world outside as well. He didn't have a father; he couldn't even remember what he had looked like. His father had died when he was only five years old, killed himself from all the drinking and smoking. Shiv wasn't taught how to play, how to ride a bike or how to defend himself like other boys his age had. It was always him and his mother, until his sister came along. She was his first friend. But then she died, a couple of weeks after her birth. Everything went rock bottom after that, Shiv lost a friend and became even more out of place with the world. He only found solace within his mother, who was completely distraught by the second death in that year.
Shiv was completely alone until a couple of years after. The year he met Maanvi.
A few boys his age were taunting him, telling him that his father died because of him. Of course, that was completely false and even Shiv knew that but how do you get everything to be quiet? Shiv didn't have the confidence to stand up for himself. It was the middle of December, when an older boy in his year, tall and quite bulky had started to bully him. He wouldn't stop no matter how much Shiv was told him to. That day, near this very river the boy had started to pelt Shiv with snowballs, hurting him. It was there where Shiv's cries were heard by Maanvi. She was only ten, a whole year older than the others but she had the courage that the others didn't. She was not your typical playing with doll houses girl, but someone who liked to get dirty, someone who wasn't afraid to fight with other boys no matter how bigger they were than her. As soon as she saw the scared Shiv, she had picked up a fair amount of snow, rolled it into a ball and pelted him slam into the bully. He was completely taken aback and had fallen down. Everyone laughed. His own friends realised that he had been beaten by a smaller girl, and reduced the bully to what he was.
Maanvi had helped Shiv and from then on, they had become the best of friends. She had helped him to overcome his fears, and helped him grow into the person he is today.
She became his saviour.
They had faced their rest of their lives together. Everyone who knew them didn't ever see Shiv without Maanvi nor Maanvi without Shiv. They were inseparable to the point where people even dubbed them as "ShAan", much to their amusement. They were the best of friends, who would talk to each other without fail but would also fight with each other and then make up the very next second. Throughout the years, Shiv regained his confidence and the duo became well known wherever they went. He became stronger, taller and more handsome whilst Maanvi was still pretty petite but she had become even more beautiful. And that fact was known by almost every guy on campus. Shiv would always see someone with the intention of asking Maanvi out, but he would always give them a look and scare them off if he didn't like them. He wouldn't ever allow anyone to hurt her. And she allowed him because he now became her saviour. And it wasn't that he was never noticed by anyone. He was. Shiv became known as the "heartthrob", but of course he was sincere and would never string any girls along. He was honest and polite to everyone; though he liked a couple of girls he would never ask them out or take their friendship to a higher level. He wanted to wait for his true love.
Everyone became convinced that "ShAan" was actually true.
But of course it wasn't. But were Maanvi and Shiv bothered to correct people? No. It was better this way; no one would say anything against the other or annoy them. They were content in their own little world.
Shiv took his hand out of his pockets and held onto the railings. Every year, they would sit near the old oak tree and make promises to each other and not tell the other what they had promised until the ending phase. He turned around and looked at the decaying brick wall on the other side. He scavenged the wall, looking for the uneven brick. He found it and took it out carefully. Behind it were two strips of paper which he and Maanvi had written during the beginning of the year.
"Ready for our promises?" Maanvi said as she ripped the paper in half and handed one side to Shiv.
"As always." He took the pen from her hand and got ready to write.
"Okay." She thought for a bit. "Write me a promise. A promise that you'll try to complete."
He nodded slowly before thinking hard. An idea came to mind and he scribbled down a few words. I promise to change the world. He quickly folded it up and made sure that Maanvi could not see.
"Okay my turn." He said, placing the paper back into the brick wall. "Okay, write down a random letter because the person whose name that starts with that letter will be your true love."
Maanvi looked at him before falling into a fit of giggled. "Kya yaar! What a silly idea." He gave her a look. "Okay, sorry." She took the pen from his hand. "By the way, what if I put down 'S'? You know for your name? That way you'll be my life partner."
Shiv shook his head. "It doesn't work like that, you have to write the first letter that comes to your head."
"And that person will be my partner right?"
"I said true love, not partner." He corrected her.
She hissed, "Areh yaar, same thing! True love, life partner. It's the same thought."
He shook his head, "True love doesn't mean that they're your life partner." She looked at him, looking into his eyes. A moment of silence went past before Maanvi again started to laugh. She looked to see that he was still looking at her, unmoved. She suddenly felt guilty at laughing at him.
"Okay sorry. When did you become so deep?" She said. "Anyway, any word right?" He nodded. She closed her eyes and thought of nothing. She then opened and wrote the very first letter that came into her mind. She folded her paper and placed it into their hide out. "Done."
Shiv opened the paper and read the one letter that was written clearly on the middle of the page. He smiled, at his premonition. It came true. There on the page, Maanvi had written the letter V. Destiny had already been written but Shiv had just helped to speed it along.
V for Virat. V for true love.
In that instant moment, Shiv knew that whether or not Virat accepts Maanvi, Shiv will always be there to take away that rock from their paths. Just like Cinderella had her fairy god mother, Maanvi will have Shiv.
Beeji watched as everything unravelled in front of her eyes. She didn't know how to react, much like how Pinky, Madan and Daboo didn't know how to react. She watched as Shiv left the house, knowing that Shiv was behind all this. She felt somewhat content that her granddaughter's life had been saved by him. Beeji trusted Shiv and knew that whatever he did was for righteous reasons. She gestured to everyone (bar Maanvi and Virat) to follow her into the hall. Behind, Pinky followed twiddling her fingers out of nervousness.
"What is happening? I don't even know how to feel?" Pinky said as she took a deep breath and sat down. Madan patted her back, relieving her from stress.
"Whatever happened was for the good." Beeji replied.
"But Ma, how can you say that? Our daughter's live had just changed and you say its for the good? I don't know ma, I don't feel right about this." Madan replied, huffing and shaking his head. "I don't feel Virat is good for her."
Beeji had to agree to that. She knew what Virat's reputation was like but also knew and had faith in her Maanvi. "But Maanvi is good for him." She spoke out loud, clear and crystal.
Daboo sat down beside his mother. "I am very concerned for Maanvi di." He looked up at Beeji. "So much has happened, her life has been thrown from here to there."
"Exactly." Madan fumed. "That boy came into her life just a couple of days ago, and already he has taken her away from us." He walked up and down the room in anger. "I won't let anything bad happen to my daughter." He started to walk towards her room when he was stopped by Pinky.
"Stop now! Please don't hurt her anymore. She has become someone else's now, right? So leave her. Now don't pain her by separating Maanvi from Virat." Pinky said as tears fell from her eyes.
"Pinky?" Madan said, shocked at his wife's outburst. "He, that boy has hurt our daughter, didn't you see the tears in her eyes?! I should have kept a stop to this rishta as soon as I learnt that it was Virat Vadhera. That way all this tamaasha wouldn't have happened."
"Madan!" Beeji shouted. "Leave it. Whatever happened was for the good. It is not our job to separate Virat and Maanvi. Whatever happened, happened in the eyes of God."
"Teek hai ma. I won't say anything, but I won't accept that'that boy to be my son-in-law." He walked away and sat down trying to contain his anger.
Her hands started to shake, as Maanvi held it near her forehead. She hovered over the part where Virat had touched, feeling like it was stinging, burning a mark into her skin. She dipped the tips of her fingers and looked as the deep red powder stuck onto them. She breathed heavily as she made eye contact with the brooding Virat.
"Virat." She whispered. She was shocked. Completely frozen in place. She didn't know what to say nor how to react. Everything had happened all at once that she just didn't know what to do. She remembered the news, how the villagers had started to attack Viren and Jeevika and how Virat had told her that he was only marrying her for the sake of the country. She knew it. She knew it all but just didn't think that it would all happen so quickly.
"Maanvi, I'" He started to speak, he wanted her to say something more. He wanted her to understand that he'll always try to keep her happy. He was starting to trust her, after all who wouldn't? And he wanted her to have the best and happy life she could ever hope for.
"It's okay." Maanvi said, interrupting him. She didn't want to hear any more about his apologies, she knew what he was going to say. That he was sorry for everything and that he did everything to help the country. She knew it. And didn't want him to repeat everything into her ears again. "I understand." She said. She wasn't upset anymore, just sort of numb.
He nodded and bowed his head, not wanting to take the conversation any further. He was glad that she understood that he would always be there for her but somehow didn't feel right.
She looked at him. "So'er'" Was this it? She didn't know what was supposed to happen next, whether they were going to stay here or was he going to take her to her sasurals.
He was about to say something before he stopped and remembered the most crucial thing. He looked into his pockets and took out a mangalsutra. She looked at him, understanding. He was about to place it around her neck when she stopped and took it out of his hands. "I'll do it." She said, she didn't want him to bear the burden of having to look after someone else.
He watched as she took it out of his hands, his eyes looking at her face not even blinking. His fingers felt as if it was burning as she placed the mangalsutra around her own neck. It was as if she had taken away his duty. And he didn't feel right.
"Er, now what?" She said.
"We should go, I guess." He said nervously, he too didn't know what was supposed to happen next. After all, it was his first wedding.
She nodded and they walked together out of the door where her family stood waiting. Maanvi's eyes wandered over to her Beeji's who gave her a slight smile. Maanvi walked over and gave her a hug.
"My blessings are always with you." Beeji whispered into her ears. Maanvi appreciated her words as she let go and hugged her mother and then her brother.
"Di, I'm going to miss you." Daboo said as he cried.
"Duffer, I'm not going away forever." Maanvi scolded him.
"Still di!" He hugged her again as she cried to contain her tears.
Virat and Maanvi had taken blessings from their elders and came in front of her father. They bent down to take his blessings but Madan only placed his hands over his daughter. Virat noticed this and felt dejected. Maanvi got up and hugged her father.
"Take care." He said, trying not to cry. He didn't at all look at Virat.
Maanvi turned around to see Virat, and they walked out to find Shiv's car. The key was placed on top of the car's bonnet but there was no Shiv around. Virat understood that it was for him to take Maanvi home. He got into the car, with Maanvi sitting besides him. He started to drive as her family looked on, somewhat sad and somewhat happy.
Maanvi sat restlessly as he drove. She didn't look at him, out of nervousness. She watched as the car turned out of the driveway and past the river. Memories started to flow back. Her and Shiv playing.
"Stop." She said. "There's one thing I need to do."
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