“25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30” counted Manny the sit ups he was doing in front of Suhani holding his ears. He was damn tired and sweating badly. But Suhani did not cool down. She stood angry folding her hands. “Jaane de Ani please? Look at him. He is asking sorry na.” said Rachna who came to Suhani to convince as she could not see Manny’s condition. Suhani looked at Rachna and then went to Manny and stopped him. “Did you forgive me?” he asked with a bright smile on his face. Suhani hugged him teary eyed as it pained her more than him to see him like that. Manny encircled his hands around her. He brought her out of the hug as he felt her tears on his shirt. “Jaan?” he asked her cupping her face. “I’m sorry. I should not have given you such punishment” said Suhani sobbing. He wiped her tears with his thumb and said “Shhh. Even I should not have told like that na. I’m sorry” he said shrinking his eyes. Suhani nodded teary eyed and hugged him again.
“Awwww so cute.” said Ragini making cute face looking at them. “Not more than you” said Nithin in her ear who was standing near her. Ragini’s eyes widened and she looked at him. He smiled at her. “What?” she asked nervous. “Sorry Golden words cannot be repeated” he said biting his chin inside and turning to Manny and Suhani. “Did he say I’m cute?” Ragini told inside her mind. “May be” Nithin told loudly. Ragini got shocked and looked at him and thought “How did he come to know what I’m thinking”
“Your face is like a mirror to your brain. So reading your brain is not that difficult” he said smirking at her. Ragini’s eyes widened like an owl and she opened her mouth in O shape. He smiled looking at her expression. He held her chin with his index finger and lifted it to close her mouth. “Careful dinosaurs may enter your mouth” he said smiling. Ragini took a lump of air inside from her nostrils to digest this side of Nithin. He looked at her with love filled eyes which made her nervous. She avoided eye contact with him and ran to stand near Rachna. Rachna looked at her and smiled. She smiled at her nervously. Nithin rubbed his head blushing at her antics. She turned and looked at him; he was still smiling. She turned quickly and closed her eyes cursing herself. A new kind of feeling she felt in her heart.
“Chalo. We will freshen up and come” said Shruthi to Manny and Nithin heading to the hostel. “We will wait near canteen” said Nithin and looked at Ragini who was still avoiding eye contact with him. She ran from there holding Shruthi’s hand. Shruthi looked at her smiling. Manny kept his hand around Nithin’s neck and asked “What did you do? Why she is behaving nervous?”
“I just told her the truth” said Nithin casually. “Oh really? And what’s that truth” asked Manny shrinking his eyes. He told whatever happened. “OMG.” said Manny shocked. “From where did you learn all this Nittu? Guruji please take me as your student” said Manny folding his hand in front of Nithin. He made Manny stand properly and hit his shoulder. “Seriously. Tell me one thing you were never in any relationship. And Ragu ma is the first girl who touched your heart. Then how do you know about love so much?” Manny asked surprised. “Because mere bhole Manny to understand love you need not be committed to someone, but just need to fall in love.” said Nithin putting his hand around Manny’s neck. Manny’s heart skipped a beat when he heard this. “To understand love you just need to fall in love not necessary you should be committed to someone” he remembered Ragini saying similar thing. He remembered the smile on Ragini’s face when she told that, then how she ran after she heard Nithin’s voice. How she turned when she saw Nithin came to congratulate him after he proposed Suhani and her tears when she hugged Suhani tightly. And during Drama when Shravanthi played Nithin’s wife how she ran to her room sad and during report reading how upset she was. How she left from the place upset when he was hugging Nithin after he admitted that he is in love during trekking. And how she ran when she heard him calling Nittu in canteen.
“This means Ragini also feels for Nittu even before he started feeling for her. That’s why she gets nervous around him” he said to himself in mind.
“What happened?” asked Nithin bringing Manny out of his thoughts. “Shall I tell this to Nittu? No. I may be wrong. It’s just my guess what if I’m wrong. Nittu will break down. I should not build his any expectations. Let Ragini accept it herself. It will be more appropriate.” he thought looking at Nithin. “Manny?” saying Nithin shook him. He smiled weakly and nodded nothing looking at Nithin who was damn happy which he saw after many years. After Nithin’s father died when he was in 8th standard Manny never saw Nithin smiling like this. It was not the age to lose your parent specially dad. We might say people can live without one parent but the reality is every parent has their own place in a kid’s heart. Nithin’s dad was his first best friend, a role model, partner in his naughty pranks. His mom fulfilled his dad’s duties. But his dad’s death took Nithin’s smile and innocence with it. His heart froze and he never let any feelings to enter his cold heart. His world revolved around his mom. Now Ragini had entered his world who melt the ice around his heart. She made him feel again. Nithin started living again. He started smiling from his heart after years. He enjoyed life again.
“Please Wahe Guru don’t separate them. They are meant for each other” Manny prayed in his heart
“What is this Gini. Again slawar kameez here also. Today we all are wearing western. Wear this” said Shruthi to Ragini who was lost combing her hair remembering morning incidents.”Haaa?” she asked again as she did not hear what Shruthi told. “Meri maa wear this today.” she said showing a sleeveless top and long skirt. “No ways. I’m not wearing this” said Ragini pleading. “Who is askig you. I’m ordering you” said Shruthi strictly. “Let it be Shru. She won’t feel comfortable” said Suhani coming to Ragini’s rescue. “Oh madam. After marriage na she has to live in London with Varun. See he has gone there to make arrangements for their future life. There also she will wear this oh what? Let her start wearing such dresses now only.” said Shruthi to Suhani. Ragini’s face fell. “Haa Ani. She is right. Ginu has to go to London na. She cannot wear salwar kameez there” said Rachna supporting Shruthi. Suhani’s face fell as she remembered their Gini will leave them and go to London after her marriage. Ragini hugged her from backside and said “I won’t leave my Ani. I will tell senior ji to shift his business to London and Ani will also join me”
Suhani smiled and caressed Ragini’s cheek. “Oye don’t call him that?” said Suhani. “Yeh lo Manny ki athma ghus gayi isme” said Rachna giving hifi to Shruthi. After much convincing Ragini agreed to wear the dress. It had a cut in the back which made her back visible. She felt uncomfortable due to it and was looking at it again and again. Shruthi combed her hair and divided the hair and put on both sides of her shoulder and pinned a clip at backside tucking some hair strands together. “Now perfect” said Shruthi looking at her in the mirror. Ragini smiled weakly. And they headed to canteen for breakfast.
“Oye Ragu maa tho behenji se ekdam modern mame ban gayi” said Manny looking at the side girls entered. Nithin turned and saw Ragini and got mesmerized. He saw her face and understood that she was not comfortable wearing it. She was continuously looking her back and she was feeling nervous as guys looked at her. When she went to the wash basin Nithin dragged her to a side. She jerked his hand and looked at him. He was damn angry. She wondered what she did now. He turned her and took the clip out and made her hair to cover her back. He turned her to face him and made some hair strands to fall on her shoulders evenly. He pinned the clip in her hair near her forehead to the left side and touched her hair strands. She was just staring at him without opposing him.
“What was the need to wear something in which you are not comfortable?” asked Nithin folding his hands bringing her to the world. “Wo Shru and Rachu forced so…” she said nervously. Before she could say further he said “Don’t change yourself for anybody. People should like you for what you are” and left from there.
“Where is this Gini?” said Rachna searching Ragini. Manny looked in his pocket and said “Not in my pocket, Sorry” pouting sadly. “Very funny” said Rachna twisting her face. “Guys don’t start again” said Shruthi annoyed. “There she is” said Suhani pointing to Ragini who came from the wash basin side. “Wow Gini this hairstyle is cool” said Shruthi. She smiled weakly and looked at Nithin who was standing facing his back talking to Manny.
“Sorry. I did not know that you will get angry if I wear western outfits” said Ragini standing behind Nithin who was washing his hands after breakfast as he avoided her during breakfast. His smile was missing. His anger broke and he turned and held her shoulders angry and said “Dumbo I don’t have any problem if you wear anything. But don’t wear something which makes you uncomfortable. You drag more attention of lustful eyes when you are not confident wearing something. I’m just worried for you.”
She looked at his hands and his face; tears formed in her eyes. Nithin’s anger cooled and he loosened his grip. “I’m sorry” he said and started leaving from there sad. Ragini could not control herself. She held his hand. He turned and looked at her. “Thank you” she said smiling through her tears. His heart started beating ghastly with her touch. He smiled widely looking at her. “Thank you for accepting my friendship heart fully” he said. “In friendship no thanks no sorry” said Ragini complaining with teary eyes. He nodded his head fast up down and smiled pursing his lips. She laughed and he joined her.
“Shall I tell you something? You won’t misunderstand me na?” asked Nithin standing beside Ragini when they were enjoying the classical dance performance. She smiled and nodded. “You are looking beautiful” he said in her ears. He said it normally only but she felt butterflies in her stomach. She looked at him. Again the world stopped when their eyes met. “Nittu” called Manny bringing them back to world when he felt they will not stop looking at each other ever. Both got embarrassed and looked here and there. Ragini blushed and tuck her hair strand behind her ears and smiled. Nithin smiled at her blush and looked at the stage happy.
Manny dragged Suhani to a side and encircled his hands around her waist. “What are you doing? If somebody sees? Leave me” said Suhani trying to get out of his hold. He tightened his grip and dragged her closer and said looking into her eyes “How many times should I tell you I did not hold you to leave you” Suhani blushed and lowered her eyes. Manny could not control himself looking at Suhani blushing. He leaned to kiss her. Suhani’s heart started racing as she felt Manny’s hot breath near her lips. “Eham eham” said Rachna clearing her throat. Manny jerked and touched Suhani’s forehead with his forehead and closed his eyes frustrated. “My first kiss’s enemy. What is your problem Siyappa queen? Because of you I could not complete my first kiss” he said annoyed still holding Suhani. Suhani hit his chest playfully. “Have patience till marriage Manny. I promise I will let you kiss her on your first night pakka” said Rachna innocently holding her neck. “Rachu” shouting Suhani chased her. Manny smiled and caressed his hair blushing.
“What? You are here? Wait I’ll come there” said Shruthi over the phone. Ragini heard and looked at her doubtfully. Shruthi saw around and headed out of campus. “Where are you going at this time?’ asked Nithin as Ragini started moving. “Nothing I will just go to Hostel. Shruthi messaged me to come” trying to avoid explanation. “Careful. Come back soon” said Nithin. “Hmmm” she said and headed behind Shruthi. Her heart was flying due to Nithin’s care. She smiled walking. Nithin felt restless. He felt something bad is gonna happen. As she walked he felt she is going very far from him to a distance where he cannot reach her. “Ragini. What have you done to me? I cannot stay even for a minute away from you” he said to himself. As usual his heart raced at mention of her name. He smiled holding his heart and said “Relax dude. She will come back soon” and looked at direction Ragini was walking and said “Turn. Turn. One time please turn”. Ragini felt as if Nithin called her and she turned. Nithin smiled widely and inhaled a deep breath as his Ragini responded to his heart feelings and waved his hand. She smiled looking at him and asked through eyebrows what happened. He nodded his head saying nothing. She again turned and walked hitting her head with her fingers and nodding her head. “Pagal” she said to herself smiling. He felt he is falling on a cloud bed.
“Where is she going?” Ragini told to herself and went behind Shruthi. As she reached the gate she saw Shruthi hugging somebody. She went near. Shruthi saw her and smiled. She turned the person and he faced Ragini. “Mohit?” said Ragini shocked.