Nisha sat quietly, lost in her thoughts. She felt guilty for having doubted Viraj due to what Shekhar had said. Viraj had proven beyond doubt that his actions were not born out of pity. Rather he admired her... The thought brought a smile to her face... Viraj admired her.
Viraj too was thoughtful. He still wasn't sure if he deserved Nisha. Of course he loved her but he was scared. Scared that she would find someone more worthy of herself... Scared that he wouldn't be able to make her as happy as she made him. She had made him acknowledge a lot of emotions in a single day. He had never felt this much before... Pain, guilt, sadness, joy, relief... Love... Each emotion now began and ended at Nisha. The intensity of his feelings was scary. He knew, he could trust her... He wasn't sure if he trusted himself.
Suddenly he recalled something she'd said.
"Nisha?" He said without taking his eyes off the road.
"Yes Sir? " she enquired.
"You said that I could work at becoming better... How?" He asked.
Nisha was taken aback. "Sir how can I tell you? I'm your protegee, you're my mentor, remember?I just said it in general." She looked like she would say more but she turned away.
Viraj stopped the car at a signal. He turned towards her. "It's OK Nisha, you can talk to me. I may be your mentor, but you're the only person who can help me, whose help I'm going to accept. What were you going to say?"
Nisha spoke hesitantly: "Sir... Actually... You said you were using me to cover up your shortcomings..."
Viraj sighed. He'd said a lot of things that time.
Nisha continued, "from what I know about you, shooting defines you. Yet you haven't been focusing on yourself as a shooter. I know the last time you competed was a fiasco... But maybe you could compete again. As you said, the trials for the world championship are next month... "
Viraj was shocked at the proposition. Compete? Again? The last time... He still got jitters just thinking of the event.
"Sir,you don't have to prove anything to me. It's just that shooting is the only way you can rebuild yourself... I think. " She finished nervously.
Just then the light turned green. Viraj turned back to the road and drove.
Both fell quiet again.
Dadaji was waiting at the door, checking the time, when Nisha and Viraj reached. He was a little surprised to see Viraj. He said as much, "Viraj ji, what a surprise! I was going to ask Nisha to invite you tomorrow but you did well to come today itself. Welcome! Welcome!"
Viraj folded his hands to greet him with a 'namaste'. He smiled awkwardly.
"Jai Jainendra Dadaji! " Nisha said nervously. "Actually Dadaji I forced him to come. I wanted him to taste ma's gaajar ka halwa! I believe that's the best way to usher in the new year."
Dadaji nodded at her without expression. He said to both of them, "Come to my room. I had thought I'd speak to Nisha first but I think it's better this way. "
Both looked confused. What was running in Dadaji's mind? They followed Dadaji silently.
In Dadaji's room, all the Ganghawals were waiting expectantly. Nisha's interview was running on loop on a news channel. They had all witnessed how amazingly Nisha had handled the reporters. Except for the last line. Her entire family knew it was true but still they were apprehensive that her words could be misinterpreted.
It was this line that Viraj heard as soon as he entered Dadaji's room along with Nisha and Dadaji himself.
" You worship him Miss Ganghawal, don't you?"
Nisha smiled widely. "Yes, I do..."
Viraj was shocked. She had actually stood up for him unflinchingly when she herself could end up in a sticky situation because of it. He looked at her in wonder... What was she made of?
Dadaji switched off the TV and turned to Viraj and Nisha. "Please sit",he instructed. Both obeyed.
He turned to Viraj. "Viraj ji, I'm really sorry that you had to go through so much alone. I understand why you live the way you do. I also understand that all that they are showing about you is true albeit misrepresented. Am I right?"
Viraj wasn't sure where this was going but he nodded, looking at Dadaji directly in the eye.
Nisha looked nervous. What was Dadaji upto? She looked around at the cousins for a hint. They shrugged.
Dadaji continued, " Viraj ji, you might find me a little old fashioned but I don't believe in the concept of dating. I understand that you were lonely and that you've been brought up differently. So I'm not judging your past actions. Still, I would like you to know that I'm not allowing Nisha to be with you..."
Everybody's eyes widened. How did Dadaji know? What would Nisha do now?
Dadaji wasn't finished. "...I'm not allowing Nisha to be with you until you get married. "
Nisha looked up in shock. Marriage? Now? She wished she hadn't brought Viraj here. Seriously, she hadn't anticipated that he would be pressurised for marriage. Viraj was still coming to terms with himself, she wasn't sure how he would take this.
She opened her mouth to protest.
"Nisha, don't lie. I might not be very tech-savvy, but I have a lot more experience with emotions. I know that he is the only guy who understands you. Today, you have proved that you understand him, too, "Dadaji told her.
Nisha didn't know what to say.
She looked at Viraj to see how he would handle this.
Viraj was smiling calmly."Thank you Dadaji for thinking that I'm worthy of Nisha. Yes, we love each other..."
Sukku wolf-whistled at this. But Dadaji scowled at him.
Viraj continued- " Yes, Nisha understands me perfectly. I like to believe that I understand her too. I will be honoured to have her as my wife..."
Nisha's heart stopped. Wife? She liked the sound of that way more than she had expected herself to.
But Viraj wasn't done.
He continued, "I have a request though, can we get married after 3 months? You see, the world championship is coming up and we want to focus on that..."
Dadaji was relieved. Viraj was a man of ideals. Although of a different community, he would keep her happy. Dadaji could see that Viraj valued Nisha. Dadaji nodded his approval.
Dadi excitedly exclaimed, "our little girl is getting married! "
Viraj went to Ramesh and Lakshmi to seek their permission. Ramesh hugged Viraj. "I am so happy for the both of you! Yes, but I'd like to warn you, Nisha is my 'happy song'... Keep her happy!"
Happy song...yes, that described her perfectly.
Viraj nodded with a smile.
Lakshmi too smiled warmly. She placed her hand on Viraj's head and said "Take care of each other. Bless you. "
Viraj turned back to ask Nisha. He saw her sitting beside Dadaji chanting, "thank you! thank you! thank you! thank you! THANK YOU! "
Dadaji laughed, patting her cheek. "Haha! congratulations beta!"
Viraj knelt down in front of her, holding out his hand. Before he could say anything, Nisha blurted out: "Sir please don't kneel down in front of me. "
Viraj face palmed.
Kirti intervened, "how blah Nishu! He's taller than you even like this. What's your problem?"
Jwala joined in: "yes Nishu bro! Let him speak!"
Nisha scratched her head in embarrassment, making her short curly her bounce in the process: "yes sir?"
Viraj just couldn't get enough of her cuteness.
Clearing his throat he asked:
"Miss Nisha, will you be the ringmaster of my circus?"
Nisha gave him her goofiest smile and said: "yes please! "
"Aww! How qweet!" Dolly exclaimed. Squeezing her hands together in excitement.
Aman was in tears, seeing two of her favorite people happy finally.
Viraj looked around at all the Ganghawals... Family! He was overwhelmed with the warmth.
Just then, the clock struck 12.
"Happy new year!" all the cousins shouted in unison.
Viraj smiled contentedly. Yes, this new year definitely felt happy.
Just then Viraj's phone rang. He excused himself and went out. Filled with curiosity, Nisha followed.
"Yes, Sourav. Happy new year to you, too. Actually, I wanted you to get forms for the world championship trials, men's rifle shooting event...for me."
Nisha couldn't believe her ears. She walked up to Viraj, with a wide smile.
Viraj smiled back tenderly. "Your father is right Nisha. You are a happy song. I've decided to listen to you."
3 months later.
Viraj and Nisha were surrounded by reporters.
"Congratulations! Women's pistol and men's rifle champions! You've done the country proud." A reporter chirped.
"Is it true that you guys are getting married?... Yes? Congratulations!"
"What is your secret Mr. Rathore? We're dying to know... " Said another thrusting his mike at Viraj.
Viraj grinned. He reminisced about the last three months when Nisha had stood by him like a rock. She had cheered for him, joked with him, supported his hands when they trembled. He had a strong urge to say: Nisha... But he controlled himself and replied, "the key, I think, is to make yourself strong when you're feeling the weakest!"
Nisha smiled and added:"Also remember, nothing's tough!"
Both of them walked out together.
"Nishu?" Viraj spoke.
"We're getting married. Are you going to call me 'sir' all your life? I have a name, you see."
Nisha answered: "It's either sir or Viru. Or maybe I could call you Rathore? Or Raj? Or..."
Viraj looked at her, contentedly, as she kept on suggesting names excitedly.
Happy song, he thought. Blissfully happy...
Edited by _UptoNoGood_ - 21 February 2015 at 1:41am