She tried to see where the firing is coming from but suddenly another bullet hit her stomach and she felt herself falling on the ground and drowning in the pool of her own blood and the world went dark.
She woke up with a jerk. Sweat slicked her body while her breathing wheezing in and out. Her heart rate is going off the charts.
But a strong arm engulfed her before she understood that she just saw the bad dream of that incident.
"It's ok... it's ok... sweetheart... it was just a bad dream... you are fine... with me..." she heard Manik's soothing words in her ears which calmed her nerves.
He pulled her into him more to give her comfort and protection she needed the most.
Her heart rate slowed and her breathing evened out. She felt calmer.
"Are you ok ..." he asked caressing her back.
"Hmm..." she replied resting her head on his chest.
He lays down on his back taking her with him.
It's been two weeks since the incident happened, but it seemed just like yesterday. The shivers, the screams and the gunshots. Though the wounds have been filled , but still Everything is so fresh.
Manik is more devastated in the process of healing Nandini. Because he lost his so called mother in this mishap. He kept a constant smile on his face since Nandini recovered her consciousness.
Despite of him doing all the last rituals of his mother. He still kept his senses intact.
He didn't let himself breakdown. Even now after everything is getting back to normal, he remembers the day when it's Nyonika's funeral.
Right after Nandini got consciousness he checked on Nyonika to know her condition. But to his dismay she and Harshad were pronounced dead as soon as they brought them to the hospital. They have been dead long back.
At the time of the funeral Manik stood on the grounds of the funeral place without any emotions. The priest was doing all the chanting and Manik's mind was thinking the thing which he goes through since he was a child.
He lived a life without a mothers love or her care inspite of his mother being alive. She never care for him. She's always after his dad's money. She never even wanted him as her son. She just kept him so that she can get money out of his dad.
He never knew what's a mothers touch is. His life has been lonely because of the devoid ness of his parents love. He never felt that concern and that care from them.
Today his heart felt a pain and that twinge when he sees her mother laying on the woods lifeless. Thousands of daggers pierced his heart seeing her like that. Few drops of tears fell on his cheek.
He was standing still when the priest came and ask him to lit the woods.
His dad came forward and side hugged him to bring him out of his thoughts.
He took a glance at his dad and then at the priest. He grabbed the fire from the priest and went forward to lit up the woods.
He stand back and watched her mother passing on to another world. She could have been a good mother to him.
Silent tears flowed from his eyes which he wiped after some time.
Nandini knew his state, but because of her weakness she was being quiet. She wanted to talk to him. She wanted him to take out his frustration, his aggression, his helplessness everything he has bottled up inside him.
Nandini has been discharged after five days from the hospital. She came back home and all the family decided to stay in Goa till she fully recovered.
And as per her wish they both will exchange their vows after she completely recovered.
But a very beautiful thing happened in this chaotics.
Abhimanyu and Mukti decided to get married.
It was when Nandini discharged from the hospital, when they announced their good news.
FLASHBACK NANDINI's DISCHARGE DAY
"Guys we have something to tell you..."Mukti said when Nandini was settled on the couch after she came home. She rest her head on Manik's shoulders who was sitting beside her.
They settled down in the backyard on the chairs to get the fresh breeze from the ocean and also the free atmosphere which Nandini was missing staying in the hospital.
"I don't know if this is the right time or not, but you guys are my family and I can't do anything without letting you know..." Mukti said and took a deep breath.
"We decided to get married... I know it's not the right time... but after seeing you both..." she pointed towards Manik and Nandini...
"Me and Abhi realized one thing... that life is too short and very unpredictable... and it's really insane to waste it when you have such a nice companion and a loving partner standing beside you to spend the life with you..." she took a breath again and continued.
"Manik Nandini yours is a very different kind of love... unconditional... everlasting... no one can really describe your love and your bond in words.
A very special kind of love. But I'm not that strong like you guys... staying away from each other for so many years you both have never stopped loving each other. You are made for each other. No one can separate you... both of you fought with the Mother Nature for each other's life..." hearing Mukti saying such good words for them, Manik held Nandini's hand in his and took it to his heart.
"I pray that you both stay like this always... but guys for us we decided that when you all are here then it's the right time for this... so what do you say...". She asked.
Manik gave a kiss on Nandini's head and said
"Mukti... if you feel the time is right than it's right... there's no questions or further discussion after that... kyun guys..." Manik looked around at others.
"Yea Mukti I'm happy for you..." Aliya added.
"So we thought of getting married here in our backyard in a small ceremony like the way we decided for you both... in a catholic way..." Mukti said excitedly.
Abhimanyu who was listening to her conversation said
"I only have my dad from my side so that's it for me..."
"But only one question... Nandini..." Mukti looked at her and said.
"Will you be able to stay up and handle it... the exhaustion.."
Nandini smiled at her and forwards a hand to Mukti.
Mukti grabbed her hand bending forward.
"Mukti... I will be the most happiest person if you get married... with my brother like friend... it's always the right time when you think it's right...
I am recovering... so don't worry about me... I will handle it... aur Waise bhi Mujhe koi kaam thodi na karna hai... I'm already bored staying in the hospital for so many days. It's gonna be fun..." Nandini gave her ok...
"So guys tomorrow... in the evening we will invite the priest here and we will exchange the vows..." Mukti said.
"Waise Mukti... I have one question..."
"Tu itni intelligent kab se ho gayi... itni badi badi baatein... and now shaadi... wow yaar... manna padega..." Cabir can never let any occasion or time leave without giving out his jokes.
"Oye... don't be smart huh... I'm always like this... it's just that I do not show my smartness... warna I'm tou intelligent than all of you..." Mukti praised herself.
Everyone smiled at her.
Aliya came up and said.
"Guys even I have something to tell you..." all of them kept quiet.
"I don't know about you Dhruv, but I want to tell you what I feel for you in front of these sweet people who happened to be my family and keeping all of you as my witness I want to confess my feelings for him..." turning to him who was sitting beside her Aliya hold his hands and said
"I love you Dhruv, I've been in love with you for a long time... in fact for so many years... but I was expecting that maybe you will come forward and accept me... I can see that you are still shy in confessing your feelings...even if I do not get the positive response from you... I will still love you..." Aliya was looking directly into his eyes constantly to hear something from him. Dhruv didn't say anything.
Instead Cabir is the one who said.
"Wow Aliya... I salute you... in this time and generation if you are expressing your feelings without hesitation... it doesn't mean that you are out of line... and if Dhruv do not response even now than I will say that he is the most unlucky person..." he got up from his place and hugged her.
Dhruv's gaze at her didn't move. He held on to her hand and making her sit he said looking into her eyes.
"No Cabir, I'm not unlucky... but I'm the luckiest person alive... it's not that I don't love her... it's just that I was hesitant to say it out loud... but now that I know... I'm going to accept it... Aliya... I love you... I've loved you like forever... I don't know since when... I don't even know myself... and I wanted to be with you till my last breath... will you be mine..." he asked.
"Yess..." without waiting for a second she answered and hugged him in the same sitting position.
Now that all of them know about them they applauded being happy for them.
"Chalo... at least Manik and Nandini's love story had inspired them to realize their love for each other..." Cabir said again.
"I'm happy for you guys too..." Said Nandini sitting properly.
"So guys we will take rest and get ready for tomorrow..." Mukti got up and went inside. Abhimanyu followed her.
Cabir and Navya excused themselves calling the night off..
Aliya and Dhruv also went away from there to take a walk on the beach now that they declared their love for each other.
Manik and Nandini were only left in the porch.
Manik got up and offers his hand to Nandini.
"Nandini let's go inside... tumhe sardi lag jaayegi... your body is still weak...". Nandini slide her fingers in his hand and gave a little nudge on it.
"Manik... let's sit hear for sometime... Acha lag raha hai... itne Dino baad... itna peaceful and calming atmosphere... sit naa..." she said with a request.
Manik didn't say anything and sat beside her.
She took his hands in his and slide her fingers in between his fingers.
With her other hand she started making circles on his hands.
They both were enjoying the quietness and the silence. The only noise thatis coming is from the waves of the water and the crickets chirping.
"Manik I wanted to tell you something..." she broke the silence by her sweet voice.
He looked at her with a surprise. His eyes were still holding so much of pain and depth in it... that spark and that zing was missing from there. There's an uneasiness and loneliness in them.
"Manik... you know since I have this accident and I gain my consciousness... I didn't see you smile openly..." she turned and looked into his eyes. Cupping his face in her soft hands. She continued.
"Itne din ho Gaye Manik... tumne khul kar hasa bhi nahi aur roye bhi nahi... I miss your smile your laugh Manik..." she said.
Manik was looking at her clueless without blinking his eyes.
"You have been taking care of me like your baby. Making sure that I get my medicine on time... I eat properly... I do my exercise daily... everything... you feed me... you clean me... every little thing you have been taking care of...but..." she took a breath.
"You didn't gave a pure and hearty smile to me..."
"Manik please mujhse baat karo..., apne dil ki saari bhadaas nikalo... I know you have bottled up so much here..." she kept her hand on his heart... I want you to blurt it out... whatever is in here... please take it out..." Nandini's voice got emotional and heavy.
He didn't say anything still. He stayed like that for few minutes. Then he lays himself down on the long couch resting his head on Nandini's lap spreading his feet across the couch.
"Main thak Gaya hoon Nandini... I'm tired...I want to sleep..." he said and closed his eyes.
Nandini combed his hair with her fingers. She started rubbing his forehead with so much of love.
"You know Nandini... since I was young... I didn't get my parents love... main apne maa baap ke pyaar ke liye tarasta raha... I have both my parents... but I never felt like I have any one of them for me... dad was always busy with his business... and Nyonika never cared for me..." his eyes were closed and Nandini continued to Combe his hair.
Nandini herself didn't know a mothers love as she lost her mother and father when she was very young... but the two motherly women in her life, her chachi and her grandmother has never make her feel like she don't have a mother. They both took care of her and loved her more than her anything.
"Dad makes sure that I got all the luxury of life and I was raised in the hands of nannies and care takers... Nyonika never wanted me... but when I was born she always used me as her ticket for getting out money from my dad..."
"You know I never call her mom... because I never felt or got that motherly love from her..."
"When I grew more I found my friends... Cabir Dhruv Aliya and Mukti... they understands me my pain... because they also came from broken families and they can feel what I feel... loneliness... emptiness... darkness around us...loveless life..."
"Then we became close as one family... and we started living for each other... taking care of each other..."
He took one of Nandini's hand and hold it near his heart.
"But you know Nandini..." he took a deep breath.
"When I was doing Nyonika's last rituals... I felt bad... in fact it hurts Nandini... it hurts here ...a lot..." he rubbed her hand on his heart.
Nandini can feel his heart beat racing faster under her palm.
"I felt like something was taken away from me... I feel empty again..."
"Even though she was not a good mother... but my existence is because of her... she gave birth to me... I felt like I became an orphan now..." Manik's voice choked in his throat. And tears started rolling down from the side of his eyes.
"Why Nandini... why did this happened with me... I shouldn't feel bad... I shouldn't feel this pain... because she never loved me... she never cared for me...as a matter of fact she hated me... she always plotted how to hurt me... how to bring me down... than why... why Nandini why does it hurt so much here... why does it makes a difference... that she is gone... she is gone from this world..." he turned around and snuggle his face into her stomach and cried like a baby.
Nandini's heart felt heavy seeing him hurting so much. He kept so much of pain inside him. His heart was feeling the emptiness because his mother is dead.
That mother who never been a good mother to him at all but still he feels for her.
She can feel her top getting wet due to his tears. She didn't disturbed him nor does she stopped him from crying. Instead she cries with him. She wanted him to blurt out his inner pain through his tears.
"She didn't deserve such a horrible death Nandini... she didn't..." Nandini heard him again in his sniffing.
"I felt bad it still hurts Nandini it still hurts..." he hugged her tight from her waist and cried his heart out. She caresses his head and cries with him. She wanted this. She wanted him to empty his pain, clear his mind and lighten himself.
She knew that he was having loads of pain inside him. But seeing him suffering so much hurts her too. She was sad that he has gone through so much alone. His life was lonely all the while.
But now she will fill his life with all her love and care and she will not leave a single second of his life empty.
After few minutes she felt his body relaxed against her stomach. His heartbeat evens out. His body was calm and his breathing was settled. She slouched backwards and checked on him. A smile crept on her lips and her teary face seeing him asleep in her lap holding her waist like a baby.
She caresses his head softly without disturbing his sleep. His facial expressions were showing peace on it. His sleep makes him an innocent child. She rest her head at the back of the couch and closed her eyes.
She didn't remember when sleep took over her. But When she opens her eyes she found herself on the bed cuddling herself in her mans arms. Her head was resting on his heart and he was holding her tight and sleeping peacefully on the bed.
When he woke up he studied her face intensely. Feeling the constant gaze on her Nandini stirred in her sleep and opened her yes.
Manik gave a heartfelt smile to her.
"Good morning sunshine.. how are you feeling..." he asked giving her a kiss on her forehead.
"Good morning to you too... I'm feeling fresh and taaza..." she said and remembered last nights confession.
She lift her face and rest it on his chest.
"How are you feeling Manik... last night you were very... sad... are you feeling ok now..." she touched his cheek with her palm.
Manik read her face and hugged her pulling her on top of him. But being careful with her bruises on her stomach.
"Nandini... you are really truly a very pure person... you live here you know... in my heart..." he pointed his fingers towards his heart.
"How did you know I was suffering so much... that I was keeping so much of pain in my heart..."
"Because of you I feel light... I feel relaxed... I let out my pain my devastation from my heart... and I even slept on your lap... i slept peacefully after so long...I even gave your tiny and weak body pain by making you sit for so long..." he said smiling.
She smiled in return.
"No Manik you didn't hurt me... but if I helped you in bringing out the pain from your heart than I think that I succeeded in doing my job and fulfilling my duty... that's what we are for sharing each other's pain and sorrow and happiness..."
"I love you Manik... so much that you can't even imagine... you are a very good human being... after hearing you last night... about how you feel for your late mother... my respect for you has risen to a higher level..."
"Even though you went through a lot in your life with your mother... you still feel for her... you know why... because you have a very good and pure heart... and somewhere deep down in your heart you loved her... as your mom... "
"And there's nothing wrong about it at all... she is going to be your mother whether anyone like it or not... I'm very glad that even though you being her son... you came out to be such a gentleman... and I love you and respect you for that...". She concluded.
Manik's heart overwhelmed by her words. She thinks such highly of him that his love for her have grown even more in this few minutes. He didn't say anything in return just hugged her close to him and whispered.
"I love you too sweetheart... more than you know...".
Nandini speaks after few moments.
"If you don't mind can I ask you something..."
"Aisi koi cheese nahi mangna jiski wajah se yeh ho jaaye..." he laughed and showed her bandages on her stomach.
She smiled too with him.
he was still laughing.
"Acha ok... bolo..."
"I wanted to go see Nyonika's grave and pray for her soul..."
He went quiet.
She waited for his reply.
"She has make you suffer so much... still you wanted to pray for... " Manik said with a surprise.
"Yes Manik... whatever she was... doesn't matter anymore... she's gone now... at least we can pray so that she can get her soul in peace... you should come with me too..." she said.
He didn't answer again.
"Can we go..." she asked again.
"Yes we can... but after Mukti's marriage... and after you healed completely..." he said.
"Thank you..." she climbed more on his heart and gave a kiss on his chin.
In the evening the wedding ceremony was held in the backyard of the villa. The priest has been invited to offer the essential rules and to pronounce them man and wife.
Mukti and Abhimanyu were married at last.
They were all sitting on the chairs when Mukti and Abhimanyu were gone to the hotel after their wedding.
Manik was smiling constantly. Seeing his nonstop smile Nandini felt happy but got curious.
"What happened Manik... you were smiling since a long time... not that I don't like it... but is something going on..." Nandini asked.
His smile widens more.
"I was just smiling on my stupidity... or I can say my... dumbness..." he said.
"Why...what did you do..." Cabir asked this time..
Manik wrapped his hand in Nandini's shoulder and took her hand in his. His expressions became serious.
"When she was laying on that hospital bed unconscious fighting for her life... you know what I did..." he asked.
No one asked what. He continued.
"I went to the same church from where she got disappeared and fight with her Aiyyappa... and I don't know what all I said..."
Everyone still went quiet. No know said a word.
And Cabir broke the silence.
"I was the witness..." Cabir was sitting by navya. He looked at her and said.
"You know Navya... Mukti bilkul sahi kehti hai... yeh dono ajeeb hai... we can't describe their love in words... when Manik was in hospital in Delhi... fighting for his life... Nandini fought with her Aiyyappa... to save him..," he paused.
"And when Nandini was doing the same..., fighting for her life Manik fought with her Aiyyappa again... yeh tum dono hi kar sakte ho..." Cabir said.
"Tum dono ke pyaar ke saamne Aiyyappa bhi Kuch nahi kar sake..." Navya added.
"But I was thinking something..." Manik said interrupting everyone.
"I thought... why not we do our wedding in the same church.. you know just so we say thanks to God... that he returned our lives happiness and makes us all happy again..." Manik said.
"That's a very good idea Manik... and I'm so glad that you started believing in God again..." Nandini was excited hearing him. Because he never talked openly about believing in God.
"So done... it's decided then...we will do all the arrangements over there... deal.." Manik clapped his hand and said.
"Yup..." everyone agreed with him.
Edited by Redcrystal - 01 March 2017 at 9:43am