Amicitia, A New Beginning
As the sun entered the sky, Maanvi suddenly woke up. She couldn't sleep any more. Getting up, she looked at the time: nearing eight in the morning before looking over at Virat. He was still sleeping. Maanvi wondered what to do, normally she would have woken up and see Shiv by him coming to hers or Maanvi going to see him. It was that or she would stay at home and help her family. Something. But here? She felt awkward, she didn't know what to do now that it was the first day as a Vadhera bahu. She flattened out her lengha which had been creased up in the night. She frowned wondering what to wear as she had left her clothes and every belonging back home in her district. She bit her lip. "Now what?" She looked over at the sleeping Virat. "Should I call him?" She took a step towards him before stopping back. "No, no. I should leave him to sleep. It won't be good to disturb him but what do I do about my clothes? I can't just go home right now, and I don't know anyone here to say anything." She thought for a bit. "Wait, should I ask Jeevika Di? Yes, she did say that I go to her if I need anything." She took a step towards the door, before stopping again. She brought her finger to her lips, biting it nervously. "No, what if she's still asleep? Then that won't be right in disturbing her." She groaned. "What is my life?"
Just then a knock was heard on the door. Maanvi looked over to see Virat stirring. The door was knocked on again. She rushed to open it, unlocking the door. She peered over to see a smiling Jeevika with a pile of clothes in her hand. "Jeevika Di, aap?" Maanvi said.
Jeevika handed her the pile of clothes. "Hm, yes. Actually, I realised that you wouldn't have any clothes for spare so I brought you some of my own clothes. Our sizes are nearly the same any way. And later on, we can go shopping to buy you new clothes." She gushed excitedly.
Maanvi gave her a smile. She was really grateful about her help. "Thank you so much! I was just thinking about this and didn't know who to go to."
"Really? Like I said Maanvi, whatever you need just tell me. I'll always be here to help you." Maanvi nodded. Jeevika looked at her watch. "Oops, I have to go. Virenji has a meeting with the financial advisers and Ma, Buaji and Dadaji are going with him." She said as she hurriedly walked off. Maanvi nodded watching her. She looked at the clothes piles and smiled. She closed the doors and entered the room. Maanvi placed the clothes on top of the dresser before picking out what to wear. There was a beautiful dark blue colour salwar suit as well as a pink and green sari. She decided on wearing the blue salwar suit before going into the bathroom to get showered and changed. Maanvi took the towel that was placed over the counter to dry her long, wavy hair. Her hair had a hint of strawberries to it from the shampoo she used from Virat's shelf. As her hair became dry, she left the towel to dry over the counter in the bathroom before opening the door. She looked back at Virat, smiling as his feet were on the floor and his body on the edge of the sofa. She looked forward and headed off downstairs.
Virat yawned, stretching as he sat up. His arm ached due to the night on the sofa so he intently rubbed his palm over it. He scratched his head, rubbing his scalp before yawning again. He got out and stretched his arms and leg, relieving his muscles. He picked up the blanket that was on the floor and contemplated on folding it before leaving it on the sofa. He turned around to see Maanvi. But she wasn't there. He frowned. Instead, the bed was made perfectly, the pillows back in its original place. He wondered where she was. He glanced at the clock on the wall, a little over noon before hissing. He didn't realise just how long he had been sleeping for. Hastily, he ran to the bathroom to freshen up, shower and get changed. He looked in the bathroom and noticed that it was out of place. It smelt of strawberries, his favourite fruit as he noticed the damp towel. He picked it up before putting it back to dry, realising that Maanvi must have been in here. He walked out, still overwhelmed with the sweet smell.
"Damn, Maanvi!" He thought as he again took a whiff of the strawberries. He could smell the where she had been, the scent lingered over the bed where she had been drying her hair before. He shook his head as to get rid of her thoughts before sighing. "Where was she?" He thought. He hovered over the room before opening the door and walking out.
His shoes clinked along side the shiny floors as Virat looked over the edge of the balcony stairs, to see if anyone was there. "Rajkumarji?" He turned around to see Tarun, a servant dressed in a black waist coat watching him. "Do you need anything?" He asked.
Virat shook his head, shooing him away. "Wait!" He shouted back. Tarun instantly obeyed his wishes.
Virat scratched his head, wondering how to say it. "Urm...where is she?"
"You know..." Virat edged towards Tarun. "The Bahu of this house."
Tarun thought for a bit before smiling. "Ah, Jeevika madam is in the garden."
Virat shook his head hissing. He bit his tongue to stop himself from cursing. He took a deep breath to calm himself down before looking at Tarun. "I meant to say, the other...the other bahu of this house, you know Maanvi?" He murmured. Virat felt strange to say her name, especially now that she was his wife. It was as if now he had a connection with her, a named connection.
"Oh, your wife!" Virat rolled his eyes at Tarun's words. "Of course her!" He thought but didn't say. "Madamji is with Jeevika Madam in the garden." He said as he walked away, saying something about needing to finish off the work that Swamini had set him.
"She's in the garden with bhabhi?" He said to himself before racing off to the garden.
The garden was huge, almost like a park. On the far side there was orchids of fruit trees, apples and oranges. There was also a vegetable patch that the Earl of Chandia looks over. He was always a fan of nature, always being seen either looking after them, watering them or visiting the communal gardens in his spare time. This place was like his heaven for the elder Vadhera. Virat remembered when he and his grandfather used to play, in this very garden when they were younger. He closed his eyes, falling into the precious memory.
"Dadaji! I'm here!" The six year old Virat said as he ran around his blindfolded grandfather. He giggled, running away so that the older man did not catch him.
"Where are you Virat? I'm going to find you!" He moved his hands around, trying to find Virat. Virat laughed, running behind him. The man stopped, trying to listen hard for Virat's footsteps. Virat without talking, without making a sound moved over and poked the Earl on his back before running away. Vijay Singh placed his hands on his hips shaking his head. "I can't do this." He frowned before sitting on the stone wall, still blind folded. Virat, who could not bear to see his grandfather sad walked up towards him.
"Dadaji, aap naraz ho?" He asked innocently. Vijay Singh smiled before pulling Virat towards him.
"Caught you!" He laughed.
Virat frowned. "That's not fair, you cheated!"
"When did I cheat? You yourself came towards me."
"But, you were upset. How can I leave my daddu upset?" Virat replied.
Vijay Singh smiled before pulling Virat into a hug. "When did my grandson became so sensible?"
The younger Virat looked up. "And when did my Daddu become such a cheat?" He giggled before pulling away. The older Vadhera gasped before running off after his grandson.
Virat pulled out of the memory, a little teary eyed. He wiped the single tear from his eyes before walking slowly on the edge, watching as his bhabhi and Maanvi stood on the far side of the garden. He watched them smile about something before finding himself smiling as well. "Why does everything seem different when you came, Maanvi?" He thought.
As soon as Maanvi had finished changing, she had went downstairs to find Jeevika waving the rest of her family goodbye. The others were leaving for an important meeting with the financial secretaries of Chandrilasia and Jeevika was not in the mood to go, as well as the fact that Maanvi was at home. Jeevika's wounds were starting to heal, thanks for the special antiseptic that Vanshika had especially ordered. Viren's cut on the head was starting to fade away and he no longer needed to use bandages. After Jeevika carefully changed her bandages, she had went out to see Maanvi still in the same place. She smiled, knowing that Maanvi must have been feeling uncomfortable. Which was one of the reasons that she had decided to stay behind. Jeevika fixed the rims of her saree, straightening it before walking towards Maanvi. "Are you alright?" She asked. Maanvi nodded before biting her lip. She was still hesitant to ask what to do. She wondered whether Virat was still asleep before shaking off the thought and looking back at Jeevika.
"Actually, I was wondering what I should do." Maanvi stated. Jeevika nodded, knowing how she was feeling, after all it had been a year since she herself had been married. But, even then Jeevika couldn't fathom how Maanvi had been feeling. Jeevika had been brought up in Royalty whilst Maanvi herself was just a commoner in essence. Maanvi twiddled her fingers, looking over nervously.
"Nervous?" Jeevika asked. Maanvi nodded. "I'm sorry, this isn't probably what you thought your sasurals would be like." She replied, sadly. "Life with the Royals is like this, sometimes you go without hours without seeing them. But you get used to it, because the Vadheras are one in a million, though they are Royals, their view on relationships are true and pure." Maanvi smiled at her words. "And you know, yours and Virat's wedding had happened so quickly that what do I say?" She sighed. "Dadaji and Buaji had told everyone, meaning the servants as well not to let the news of the new Vadhera bahu out. I mean, its a bit unexpected and it would be better if we have a public talk with the media as well, Hm?" Maanvi nodded, understanding. She sighed, knowing that she was going to have to get used to all this.
"I understand." Jeevika smiled back. "Urm...so what do you do around here?" Maanvi asked, looking around the main hall.
"Oh, you haven't seen the Palace have you yet?" Maanvi shook her head. "I'll show you around. You'll love it! Have you seen the garden yet?" Maanvi shook her head again. "Then fine, I'll show you that first!" Jeevika pulled Maanvi outside to the garden where there was a vast amount of greenery. Maanvi stood, her mouth open in awe at the beautiful scenery. She loved how the trees overlooked everything, the tweets of the birds in the background, the smell of nature. She inhaled the sweet, cold November air before looking back at Jeevika.
"It's amazing." She breathed out. The Princess nodded, smiling.
"Hai na?" Jeevika and Maanvi walked besides a tree and sat down. It was a big oak tree, growing in the garden for years. It was old, bits of branches were thrown over the place. The leaves had started to fall, browning for the Autumn breeze. "When I had married Viren, I too didn't see a beautiful garden like this ever. Not even in Rishania. But you know Dadaji? He loves looking after nature and this garden is one of his favourite places." Maanvi laughed a little. Her heart fluttered as she started to become comfortable talking with Jeevika. She was glad that she had a friend, and a sister in the Princess. Jeevika breathed in, before speaking. "When I came here, I gave up my life in Rishania. But it was worth it. As soon as I met Viren, and married him, I gave up my life as a Rishanian Princess to become this house's daughter in law. Sometimes its nice to have a nice life." Maanvi nodded. "But, of course Virenji has his own life. After all, he is the next King."
"And that makes you the next Queen right?" Maanvi asked as Jeevika nodded.
"Hm, the Queen of Chandrilasia. It seems weird doesn't it? But I don't mind, I love helping people. I love this life, though it does has some fall backs."
"Its like sometimes there is no privacy, everywhere you go you are subjected to what people think of you. I'm glad that people know me as a good hearted Princess but there's some people who will always look bad in the eyes of the public."
"Like Virat?" Maanvi said without thinking.
Jeevika smiled slightly before nodding her head. "Hm, like Virat. But it's not his fault. Actually, when Virenji's father died - Ma had to become the sole Queen. From that moment, Virat had lost his mother to the country. Virenji was older and so he understood but Virat was immature, all he wanted was his mother to himself. But look what happened. Slowly he started to move away from the family, even from Dadaji with whom he was really close to. He began to misbehave and then one day -" Jeevika stopped.
Maanvi frowned. "One day?"
"One day, something happened that changed his life forever." She whispered. Maanvi listened, goosebumps coming onto her skin. She felt a breeze go past as she listened to Jeevika's story. "From then on, Virat became aloof with everyone. He started to argue. He started to hate everything about himself to the point where he even tried to..."
"Di? Virat did what?" Maanvi said, completely shocked. She wanted to find out what had happened to him.
Jeevika shook her head and put up a smile. "Nothing. It's not in my place to say anything." She sighed. She glanced at her watch. "I'm sorry, I have to go." Maanvi gave her a confused look. "Actually, I teach at an orphanage sometimes and I was going to go today but I completely forgot." She stood up. "I'm sorry Maanvi, I'm leaving you." Maanvi shook her head.
"Don't worry Di! I'll be fine. You go."
Maanvi nodded. "Of course, how can I stop someone else from doing a good deed?" Jeevika smiled and caressed her cheeks before walking back into the Palace.
Maanvi sighed before walking off into the garden before seeing the one person who she had come into the house for. Virat. She looked at him as he wiped the tears from him eyes, deep in thoughts. She wanted to know what had happened to him, she wanted to help him. And for the first time ever, she had the yearn to comfort him.