Joined: 02 December 2011
Joined: 02 December 2011
Joined: 02 December 2011
Joined: 02 December 2011
Joined: 02 December 2011
Joined: 02 December 2011
PRESENT DAY DEVGADH PALACE
"Jacques, we lost the tender, are you serious? How can this be? We have quoted the lowest rate for this and I'm pretty sure that nobody would have quoted that price" spoke Manyata looking at the large screen which showed the face of Mr. Jacques de Mure, an elderly gentleman, who was the head of the Devgadh palace hotels in the UK.
"I'm shocked myself Manyata. I'm trying to find out what happened. Just give me some more time and we will get to the bottom of this."
"We have to Jacques. The Blue moon group, I haven't heard of them ever and how did they register for this, when the tender notice is sent only to the leading companies. I just can't make any sense of this" said Manyata as she hit the desk.
"Manyata my dear, calm down, don't get so worked up. I will find out about this" he said
"Do you think I should come there?" she asked
"No, for now just stay put. Let me find out more details. One more thing I don't think you should discuss this with Brij as yet"
"Hmm, I will wait for your call Jacques" said Manyata and disconnected the line.
Manyata leaned on the plush leather chair and closed her eyes. The entire conversation with Jacques replayed in her mind. Jacques would find out and she trusted Jacques. She was cautious about everyone and everything, but the moment she met the elderly gentleman she knew she could trust him to be the partner of Devgadh palace hotels in UK.
London held a very special place in her heart and especially the place she was at right now. Maida Vale had been a private retreat of her grandmother Rajmata Mrinalini Devi. She heard various stories of her grandmother's glorious youth and the days she spent with two of her best friends. Her grandmother had finally bought the house, it hadn't been a cheap affair but what was cheap with the Devgadh royals. The first time Manyata came here was when she was thirteen years old and the moment she set eyes on the beautiful 18th century stone washed house, she lost her heart to it. From then on every vacation was in London, although her sister Jai Nandini scrunched her nose at the mention of London.
"Jiji, not London again, you should marry a British you know and settle here forever. Maybe Prince Harry?" said Jai Nandini which earned her a playful whack from her elder sister.
It was on one of these visits that she had met Jacques. Jacques and her father went to Oxford together. The only son of a French businessman whose lineage went back to the House of Bourbon related to the King of France. She immediately liked the elderly man. He was a true gentleman in every sense. A few years later when her father had decided to start the UK operations of the DPH, Manyata immediately suggested the name of Jacques. Her father had been pleasantly surprised, although he had doubts whether Jacques would agree.
"He is a dreamer, I don't know if he would agree to be pinned down" her father had said
"All the more reason father. We need a dreamer."
It just took just an hour for Manyata to convince him and once she had finished he had turned to her father
"Brij, if I had married at the right time and if in that marriage I had a son, I would have wanted him to marry your daughter" he said which invited a roar of laughter from her father and left her to turn as red as a tomato.
Her father agreed that she was right when Jacques proved to be more than a dreamer. He had purchased the title of DPH and had opened another hotel in Paris which was exclusively under him and the UK branch was so successful that they opened two other hotels in the same year.
The shrill sound of the mobile phone brought her back to the present. She reached for the instrument and saw Jacques name flash on the screen. She immediately picked it
"Yes Jacques. No, please go on. Hmm, okay….and who owns this?" she spoke while getting up from the chair.
"Jaques? What happened, why aren't you saying anything? Who owns this group?" she prompted as she poured herself a glass of water and held it to her lips.
As Jacques revealed the name, Manyata's eyes widened. There was an odd buzzing around her as she stood rooted. The glass of water crashed to the ground spilling its contents and breaking into hundreds of tiny pieces. She stood shell shocked wishing, hoping that she was dreaming. She could see images flash in front of her. The images were blurred but she could see the contours of what was supposedly a couple. The buzzing now became louder as the images started getting clearer. "No!" she tried to scream realizing that no voice was coming out. She didn't want to see the images; she didn't want to see – him.
"Rajkumari sa? Rajkumari sa? Are you alright?"
Manyata jerked back to reality and looked around a bit dazed. She too in large gulps of air and slowly she could feel her heart rate coming back to normal.
"Rajkumari sa" said her PA again which made her look up.
"Naina, please leave me alone for some time" she said regaining her composure.
"Yes maam" said Naina turning to leave
"Ah..is Jai Nandini in?"
"Okay, please let me know the moment she returns. Till then I don't want to be disturbed" said Manyata
"Yes maam" said Naina as she left the room.
Manyata's shoulders slumped as she thought of the recent conversation with Jacques.
"Are you busy Manyata?"
"No, please go on"
"Well, as I promised I have come to know who has won the bid. This is a new company established few months before the tender. The name of the group- as I said in our earlier conversation- is The Blue Moon Group"
"Hmm, okay….and who owns this?"
"Well… my sources say that the company is a subsidiary of….of The Jaigadh Group…and the .owner as you know is Uday, Prince Udayveer Singh"
Udayveer Singh. The name itself made her shiver. It wasn't fear and she knew that very well. She was a Rajput princess and she wasn't supposed to be scared of anything or anyone. Then what? she asked herself out loud as she closed her eyes. Images swarmed her minds eyes yet again as she recalled the first time she had met him.
DEVGADH PALACE 12th August, 2004
"Jiji, you look like an overstuffed Barbie doll – well the Indian version at least." said Jai Nandini looking at her sister with a critical eye. Manyata huffed and turned toward her baby sister and gave a wry smile.
"I think that's the point Jini although I fail to understand why I need to go through this torture"
"You need to go through "this torture" because you are the eldest of the family and very soon to be heiress apparent" said Maharani Komal Devi walking into the room.
"But maa, is all this necessary? Why can't we be like the foreign royals houses? I bet the other Princesses dress like humans and not some overstuffed version of Indian Barbie doll like Jini said"
Jai Nandini giggled and flopped on the bed enjoying the scene as her mother looked at Manyata with reproach.
"Beta, we are an Indian royal family and we have certain responsibility not only to the society but also to our people. They expect us to play the part and whatever we do we don't upset the people. Besides, it's just for a day and after that you can get back to your jeans and tee's" she smiled and continued "and moreover it is a very important day for you"
Jai Nandini looked up, "Why so mom?" she asked
Manyata turned to her mother and repeated her sister's question
"Well, today you would be officially meeting your betrothed"
"Bethrowed?? What the hell is that?" asked Jai coming over to where Manyata sat
"Jai language please" scolded her mother
Manyata sat still staring at her mother with narrow eyes
"Maa, tell me the truth, wasn't this pooja an excuse for the charade"
"What is bethrowed?"
"No Manyata, we always have had the pooja for your birthday beta, you know that?"
"And what is sha-raa-da"
"Its charade…and maa why all this now...I…I'm just seventeen!"
"I was married when I was nineteen"
"Get out…really mom"
"Language Jai" spoke Manyata and her mother together
"That's enough Manyata. I expect you to be down in fifteen minutes and I expect you to behave like the princess that you are when you meet him. Your father and I will not tolerate any nonsense. Is that understood?"
"Jee maa" said Manyata and bowed her head.
Maharani Komal smiled and walked out leaving behind her eldest who was looking upset and irritated.
"Jiji, what is bethrowed?" asked Jai coming up behind her.
Manyata sighed "It means that our parents have found a suitable boy for me and when I grow up I need to marry him."
Jai Nandini stood with her mouth wide open and blinked
"You mean you can't choose" she asked innocently
"No JIni, I can't choose because I'm the eldest and I'm going to be the crown princess very soon"
"Don't worry jiji, everything will be fine. We will tackle this bethrowed together okay?" she said hugging her older sister and kissed her cheek.
"Okay I'll meet you at the top of the stairs in 10 minutes. Oh and Happy birthday once again" she said walking out and Manyata could swear she heard the words "I'm so glad I'm not the crown princess" from Jai as she left.
"I wish so too Jini, I wish so too" she said out loud
"Excuse me, but you aren't supposed to be here" said Manyata with her arms crossed. The person in question turned to her with a smirk and let out a whistle.
"Pardon me," he smirked "I was just checking out"
"Checking out? This isn't a museum or a hotel that you can wander about. You need to know to respect the family's privacy" she said irritated at the way he was smiling.
"Lady, you're over reacting. I haven't done a grave mistake. I was just curious and now well" he said looking at her "I'm curious about you"
Manyata looked at him with narrow eyes and did her best to keep her temper on under check. She pointed a finger at him and said
"How dare you speak to me like that? Do you know who am I?"
"No, but I would definitely like to find out" he replied coming close which made Manyata take a step back
"Get out of here now before I call the guards" she said as she turned.
"Not so fast," he said as he pulled her toward him. Manyata was surprised at the sudden action that she landed in his arms with his hands around her waist. As her eyes met his she felt breathless and she shivered with an unknown feeling.
"Now, where were we?" he said huskily and Manyata snapped back to her senses. Anger blinded her as she twisted herself and tried to move away, but his arms were like steel bands and they got tighter by the minute.
"Stop it you will hurt yourself" he warned as she continued to struggle against him.
"Let me go this instant" she said strongly but softly making sure that no one was around.
"You will regret this, I promise"
"Let me go now"
"Not till you say please"
"Damn you…….alright please"
"Good girl" he said letting her go.
Manyata moved away and looked at him with daggers in her eyes.
"You are going to pay for this. How dare you treat me in this way! You are definitely going to pay for this and if my name is Rajkumari Manyata I'll make sure of it"
"Oh God you're the princess? Oh no…look I think we got off to a wrong start. Let's start over…what do you say…wipe the slate clean?" he said looking at her with what she thought was fear
"Oh yes you wish….just wait and watch" said Manyata and walked away after giving him a final look.
"Manyata beta, I would like you to meet Maharaj Giriraj of Jaigadh" said her father as he introduced her to the balding man in his fifties. She was trying her best to concentrate on the person in front of her but she was reminded of her earlier confrontation with the unknown guy.
"Khamma Khani" she said folding her hands.
"Khush rahiye. You look beautiful my dear" he said with a smile and snapped his fingers. Immediately a man approached with a silver tray which had something that was covered with a red silk cloth.
"This is for you dear and…." he looked around till he spotted someone and called out "Uday"
A boy brushed past her and came to stand beside Giriraj
"Manyata may I present to you, my son Yuvraj Udayveer Singh of Jaigadh"
She felt as if her breath was knocked out. Standing before her was the same guy whom she had met earlier. The same insolent, irritating jerk was a prince…no a Yuvraj. Realizing that her mouth was open, she shut it and looked at him as he smirked.
"You…you…." she said trying to get words
"Manyata beta, you know each other?" asked her father as she continued to look at him.
"We just met uncle Brij and it was quite a nice meeting" he said and winked
"Aha...that's nice. I'm glad you guys are getting along. Isn't that nice Giriraj?" he said
"Yes, it is very nice" smiled Giriraj as he continued "keeping in mind
So there we have a really long update...Manyata meets Uday for the first time and she hates him...i really hope you guys like this and please let me know if you like it and what you didnt like. Look forward to hear from you guys
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