26. WEDDING BELLS!!

Manik is smiling sheepishly while the two girls shoot daggers at him whereas his best friend is enjoying the ongoing show at his expense. 

Manik:- don’t look at me like that…… I am sorry. 

Navya:- ( frustratedly ) what sorry?….huh! Now, how can I go home? ( pointing at her attire ) in this hospital gown?

Hearing her question, Cabir chirped in. 

Cabir:- baby, you look cute in this dress…… ( he stopped abruptly seeing Navya’s glares ) but you can change into my clothes. 

Nandini:- I think Cabir is saying the right thing. Navya changed into his clothes. At least his clothes are better than hospital gowns. 

Manik:- see, my baby is so smart. 

Nandini:- shut up, Manik. Who brought the PlayStation to the hospital? 

Cabir:- or what you expect from him, Nandini? 

Manik:- ( innocently ) trust me, Nandini I was so tense at that time………. that I didn’t even know what I was packing in this bag. 

Nandini melted on his innocent answer.

Nandini:- it’s ok! But never repeat such things. Always pack a bag with open eyes. 

Manik nods innocently. 

Navya:- what next time? I won’t come here with him ever again. 

Manik:- ( with a bad face ) I am also not dying to bring you here every time. 

Manik and Navya both look at each other with angry eyes and soon turn their faces in opposite directions in anger. Seeing their childish behavior Nandini nods her head in disbelief. 

Nandini:- guys, stop being overdramatic. Let’s pack everything we have to take Kaira to her new home. 

Listening to her they come back on earth and squeals excitedly. All of them were excited to take the baby to her new home, their home. 

Within 20 minutes everyone is ready to leave. Cabir is with Navya, helping her in walking. Nandini is carrying Kaira in her arms securely. 

Nandini:- where is Manik? 

Cabir:- don’t know, he said he will be back within 10 minutes. But it’s been 20 minutes since he is not here. 

Soon Manik enters, gaining their attention.

Nandini:- where were you, Manik? 

Manik:- nowhere.

Nandini:- ( sternly ) Manik!

Manik:- it’s a surprise, baby. Let’s wait and watch. 

Nandini:- ok….. Now, pick up…………

Before she could complete her statement Manik concluded something and picked her up in bridal style keeping her and Kaira’s safety in mind. 

Seeing his move Nandini widens her eyes and her hold on Kaira tightens. Whereas the other couple looks at them amusingly. 

Nandini:- ( angrily ) Manik, what are you doing? Put me down. 

Manik:- ( confusingly ) why?….. You wanted me to pick you up. 

Cabir:- guys, at least don’t start your romance in front of my little girl. 

Nandini:- Manik, put me down. Hear me out completely first before doing something. I was saying to pick up those bags, not me. ( pointing towards the two bags which are kept on the bed )

Manik makes an “oh” face and puts her down.

Manik:- Nandini, you weigh like a feather. You need to put on some weight. 

Nandini rolls her eyes on his overprotectiveness and walks out of the room with Kaira. Others followed her too, with little chat, they all left the hospital and reached their happy place in Manik’s car. 

Everyone waited for Manik to come from the car and open the door but before that, someone opened the door from inside. Seeing the most unexpected person on the door, Nandini’s eyes filled with slight tears and she yelled in happiness. 

Nandini:- Kaku…… 

Yes, her kaka ( uncle ) is on the door with a very big smile welcoming them. She runs to hug him like a kid but her kaka stops her. 

Ashok ( kaka ):- Nandu, baby dhyan se. Tumhare hath mai baby hai. ( careful Nandu, you are holding a baby ) 

Nandini apologized cutely and everyone smiled seeing the little kid in her. Then, Ashok welcomes Cabir and Navya inside after doing their aarti. 

As soon as they enter, Ashok takes Kaira in his arms and adores her before blessing her with a long and healthy life. He safely placed the baby in her new crib which he bought exclusively for her.

After placing the baby in the crib he turns towards Nandini only to be engulfed by her in a strong hug which stumbles him for a moment. 

Ashok:- aw….. Araam se bacha. ( careful baby ) 

Without giving any heed to his words Nandini tightens her hold around him and weeps in his arms like a kid. 

Nandini:- I miss you a lot….. I miss you so much. 

Ashok laughs at her acts and caresses her hair. When Nandini breaks the hug Manik comes forward and bends down to take his blessings but Ashok stops him in mid and hugs him, affectionately. He kisses his forehead with all fatherly love and murmurs in his ear.

Ashok:- dhanyawad Manik, meri Nandini ka itna khayal rakhne ke liye aur usse beshumar pyar dene ke liye. ( thank you Manik for taking care of my Nandini and loving her to no end ) 

Manik:- she is my whole world, Kaka. so, how can’t I shower my love on her? 

Ashok’s doubts about his only daughter’s future vanished with Manik’s single statement. No…. he is not doubting their love but being a father he can’t take a small risk when it’s about his daughter. He patted his back proudly. Unknown to him he is giving Manik fatherly love which he craves for the last few months. 

Manik felt fatherly love in his arms and closed his eyes to stop his tears which were on the edge to fall. Cabir noticed his emotional state and tried to divert the situation only then he noticed the decoration. 

Cabir:- wow!!! Who did this? 

Hearing him, others too noticed the decoration and the cake on which “WELCOME BABY GIRL” was written. The whole living area is decorated with balloons and stars giving a proper celebration feel. 

When everyone is busy seeing the decorations Manik walks behind Nandini and slowly whispers in her ear. 

Manik:- how is the surprise, baby? 

He is talking about Ashok which she understands like a pro and smiles brightly. 

Nandini:- thank you, I was missing Kaku like hell. 

Manik:- no need to thank me because your smile is enough. 

He placed a sweet kiss on her temple from back on which she closed her eyes seeking his love and presence. 

After the little celebration and cake cutting all sit down to chat or I say settle down to hear Nandini’s ratting about how she spends these months here. Out of nowhere, Navya asks. 

Navya:- Kaku, if you are here then, why don’t we decide their wedding date? ( pointing towards Manik and Nandini ). 

Hearing her, Manik becomes attentive towards the conversation who is till now snoozing on the couch. 

Manik:- first time, I am loving this lady. ( eyeing Navya )

Ashok laughs seeing Manik’s desperation for the wedding while Nandini blushes hard.

Ashok:- Maine pehle se hi tarikh tay karli hai. ( I already finalized the dates ) 

Both Manik and Nandini look at him cutely waiting to hear the dates but unfortunately, all the excitement went into the drain after hearing him further. 

Ashok:- is saal koi shubh din nahi hai toh hume shadi to aage talna hoga. ( There is no auspicious day this year. So, we have to postpone the wedding )

The blood drains out from the couple’s face listening to him. They bend their heads down and curse their faith but Manik tries to convince him. 

Manik:- ( with extra sugar-coated voice ) Kaku, I don’t believe in auspicious days and all. Every day is auspicious for me when Nandini is with me. 

Ashok:- lekin main manta ho, Manik. ( but I believe in all this, Manik )

Manik has no replies hearing him so he kept quiet. The sadness is dripping from his face. Nandini is sad too because she has to wait for more to become his officially wedded wife.

Seeing their situation rest burst out in laughter and seeing their laugh Manik understood that they were teasing them. Both of them blush to see Cabir and Navya teasing smirk. 

Nandini:- ( accusingly ) are you guys playing with our feelings? 

Ashok:- maffi, par tum dono ke chere dekhne yogye thai. ( sorry, but your faces were worth watching )

Nandini:- i hate you, kaku. 

Ashok:- Phir toh mujhe nahi lagta ki mujhe tumhe sahi tarikh batani chahiye shaadi ki. Kyunki tum toh mujhse nafrat karti hona. ( then, I don’t think that I should tell you the real wedding dates because you hate me naa… )

Nandini looks at him cutely while pouting her lips. 

Nandini:- I love you naaa……. 

Everyone giggles at their cute bundle of joy. 

Ashok:- ok…ok…. Maine Shadi ki tarikh do mahine baad ki fix ki hai kyuki  ( kissing Nandini’s forehead fondly ) mujhe bahut saari taiyariya karni hai apni ek lauti beti ki shadi ki. ( ok…ok…. I fixed the date after two months as we have to plan a grand wedding for my baby. ( kissing Nandini’s forehead fondly ) I will grandly marry my only daughter )

Nandini:- but kaku, money? How will you arrange lots of money for my grand wedding? 

Ashok:- mai sab kuch ka bandobust kar luga tum chinta mat karo. Mere pass mera kuch bachat aur ek zameen hai use mai bech duga. ( I will arrange it for you, don’t worry. I have my savings and one farm. I will sell that ) 

Nandini:- ( frantically ) Noo….no….. 

Cabir:- you don’t have to sell anything, Kaka. She is like my sister, so I will also help you with planning a grand royal wedding for them. 

Manik:- hey guys, you forgot about me!………… 

Cabir:- ( mocked him ) how can we forget this Romeo who will always be on his toes to fulfill his Juliet’s every wish. 

Manik:- I will take it as a compliment. 

Cabir:- neither you have any option, duh! 

To be continued…

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