I am asked similar questions again and again about how to use this blog, how to read other stories, how to read older parts of all three stories and whether I will update or not. – Kindly visit the Home page of this blog, an icon showing on this page itself ( on the right sidebar on laptop and bottom of phones. You can directly ‘visit the site‘ from the WordPress app or type www.manitav.net – All three are the ways to visit the Main page of this blog.
You will find all the answers, announcements, and stories there. Every story under the ‘My stories’ section has an index to old parts, except Tangles & Ties, which has a link to Chapter 1, and further chapters can be read by clicking – Next chapter link of that part.
I hope a lot of issues get solved by this 🙂
Take care… lots of love…
Manik was still laughing when Nandini huffed and stomped her feet to make her way out of his office!
When Manik was back to Cabir, sitting right in front of him, he saw him gaping at his best friend with a look of disbelief on his face.
Manik chuckled, “What happened to you? Why are you looking at me like this?”
“What did you do to my friend, Manik?? Have you kidnapped him?? You are fake Manik, right??”
Manik rolled his eyes and stared at him.
Cabir continued, “See, I caught you… where is Manik now, come on tell me??!!”
Manik gave a flustered, disinterested look to Cabir and sporting a serious angry look on his face, he glared at him, “Ho gaya??”
“Ohhkayy… so it’s you? I was scared that someone else replaced you…”
Cabir laughed teasing Manik. “Of course it is… What has happened to you??”
“What happened to me?”
“Dude!!! Look at yourself in the mirror!! You were laughing!! Hard at that!! You were teasing her!! This girl is affecting you more than I had imagined…”
Manik tried to brush it off casually, “It’s nothing like that…”
“Really?? Nothing?? You got her training shifted to your company!!! I’m sure that must have taken a big deal of effort, getting the papers done, convincing her company and all… so Manik Malhotra, who is so busy that he hardly talks to anyone without appointment, who doesn’t give time even to crucial issues if they don’t benefit him, went out of his way to keep this girl close to him!!”
“Rubbish!! I just feel guilty and she was not forgiving me even when I apologised so many times… She refused to meet me or talk to me…So…” He shrugged casually.
“So??” Cabir laughed more, “So… you went ahead and hijacked her to work here!! God, I can’t believe it!!”
“Shut up, man!! What’s so hilarious about it?”
“It IS… trust me!! And I love this girl… she is giving you a tough fight! I mean she refused to forgive you for breaking her trust and now she added salt to your tea!!” He clapped.
“A silly step that I foiled!” Manik spoke victoriously, clearly happy at the first win against Nandini.
Cabir became serious and angry at him, “The same tea, which you offered to me despite knowing that it had salt in it!! You can’t trust friends these days, I tell you..!!” He sulked.
“Stop being a drama queen!! I was just teasing her… I knew she cares for you and likes you. She wouldn’t have let you have that tea. I wanted her to accept what she did!!” Manik laughed again.
“See?? Didn’t I tell you?? You were teasing her!! You were laughing so uninhibitedly!! I don’t remember if you have ever laughed like that on my jokes… you went ahead to get her to this company! That’s not Manik Malhotra!!”
“I told you… I want her to forgive me… It’s for an apology! For ME!! For my guilt!! It’s not for her… Is it so difficult to understand??” Manik spread his hands in air and tried to make a genuine point.
Cabir had a knowing subtle smile on his face, “Ask yourself!!”
“Okay… I may be a bit obsessed with her…”
“Bit?? Or lot????”
Manik glared at him and without replying to his question, moved his brows to point at the tray with breakfast before them, requesting Cabir to join him.
Cabir picked up a cheese croissant and declared, “You don’t want to accept what you feel, it’s fine… but at least you accept that it graduated from ‘attraction’ previously… to ‘obsession’ now… well, that’s a progress!!!”
Manik swayed his jaw and focused on his tea to avoid Cabir’s questions but it stirred him deep inside that Nandini was affecting him so much that he was doing things he had never done before! Subconsciously, she had started ruling his mind to such an extent that he was now making moves according to her even without him realising this!!
Nandini was back to the Designs Department and tried to control her raging emotions by leaning at the common display desk and taking deep breaths. She wondered what was going on with her!!
On one hand, Manik was being mean with her, he teased her and laughed at her. He even tried to dominate and intimidate her. But on the other, all she remembered were his eyes so deep that they could compete with an ocean in drowning someone… his expressions making her heart strings go haywire… his laughter, so candid and honest like a small kid’s laughter… His lips so soft and compelling!! She wondered how it would feel to move her thumb on those sexy lips… her thumb or maybe her own lips…
‘What am I thinking??? …Wake up, Nandini… get a firm ground…!!’
‘This guy is enemy…he is a menace… he is dangerous…’
‘He hurt you…broke your trust… forced you to join here… is Harshad’s cousin…is a Malhotra… everything goes against him…
‘To top it all… he belongs to someone else… Shittt… Shittt… Shittt!!! Does it always have to be so complicated?? Why Aiyappa, why??
Mukti came near her and tapped on her shoulder, startling Nandini. Nandini opened her eyes and managed a subtle smile.
“You look stressed?” Mukti commented.
“Nopes. Nothing!!” Nandini lowered her eyes and smiled.
“Don’t worry… Manik is like that!! He either doesn’t talk much and when he does, he can be rude, at time!!” Mukti commented.
Nandini smiled at that without replying to her. She wished she could tell Mukti that her boss was not at all quiet before her. On the contrary, he spoke his heart out…all that irritating, smug brag about his persona was… and he was not being rude, in fact, the brute was flirting with her!!
Nandini was reddened with a distinct blush on her cheeks when she said that. She just remembered Manik telling her that he was indeed flirting with her!!
Mukti was least bothered. She continued to explain, “See, the perfumes and bags sections are totally separate. I head the Designs. We have three wings in this company in the dressing department where we are nearly the pioneers. One is Couture. Second is Denims. And the third is Sweet Nothings. You must have heard about them.”
“Yeah!!” Nandini nodded. She had heard and read a lot about Zenith International… being in the same field and also because, she was supposed to be married in this family. Fortunately, no one in the company knew her or had any idea about her.
“Good!! So you know about us. Very well!! Your first posting is in Sweet Nothings… you’ll be there for a fortnight.”
Nandini nodded, though a bit awkward at the first posting, she hoped that this fortnight passed soon. She knew that Sweet Nothings was the lingerie brand of Zenith! They were near market rulers in this segment, competing neck to neck with Victoria’s Secrets.
It wasn’t over!!! What Mukti said next was the real bomb!!
“As the first assignment, the interns have to design exquisite lingerie to be added to our collection displayed in Paris fashion week. We do a complete show in the event but we need to showcase how talented our interns are! So start with that!!”
Nandini’s throat went dry at that!! She knew it must be Manik’s plan to embarrass her!! Manik was too fast at taking revenge, she thought. She had barely reached the department and there he sent Mukti to harrass her!
“No!” Nandini nodded, almost a chaos at the inside. Lingerie!!! Really ???!!!! I don’t even know what they are expecting from me, at this event!!”
“Good! I’m sure they must have taught you this particular speciality in your course at Delhi. I saw your file. You’ve done your graduation from NIFD New Delhi.. pretty impressive!! I’m glad you didn’t flinch or recoil at the idea of designing the bra and panty, like most desi girls do!!! People think what’s the big deal about designing something that is to be worn inside. But no!! They don’t understand that how many varieties of options are available these daysin the market. This is a complete industry…yeah?? We are a brand!! It’s our business and we provide luxurious options to what people are looking for!! Isn’t it??” Mukti kept talking.
“Hmm!” Nandini rotated her head, remembering Aiyappa!!
“Good!! Very good!! I like it that you speak less. And when you reply, you always agree!! Love that!!” Mukti chuckled with her eyes shining bright!!
Nandini smiled and nodded.
“So let’s go to the Sweet Nothings department. Come I’ll show you!! You need to design two pairs by the end of the first week. You can experiment with whatever you want. People love that. Just keep in the mind that both the sets should be attractive, sexy, easy to remove and so stylish that a girl picks them up immediately to buy it!! Especially the newly weds!! Got it!!” Mukti winked with that!
“I’ll come to you in case I need help!” Nandini replied, feeling goosebumps on her arms.
“Please… please do that!! I don’t want Manik to see the unpolished product!!”
“Manikkk???!!!!” Nandini tried to gulp the saliva, now stuck in her throat.
“Yeah, he is the one who selects final products from every department!!!”
“Aiyappaaaa…kill me already!!!!”
Manik was talking to Cabir about Harshad as he had not returned home and Cabir couldn’t find him at Versailles too. He had given the wrong address and was now absconding!
“He is such a loser. Dadu is not well, just because of him. I had not expected this from him!!” Manik was speaking when he received a message on his phone.
“Posted the new intern at Sweet Nothings for the first fortnight. She’ll be designing 2 sets by the end of this week. – Mukti.”
It was a normal routine for the staff to send each and every development, changes, roster and progress to Manik as a message. It was a normal message from Mukti… according to her!!
But this message set Manik’s heart beat racing. The colour of his face faded and he moved his jaw in a helpless sway!!
“What happened? Looks like you saw a ghost!” Cabir waved his hand before Manik to distract him from the message on the phone, “Anything serious!!”
“I have no words to say! Really!!” He twitched his lips.
“But what happened??”
“Mukti has posted Nandini at Sweet Nothings and now that silly girl will think that I did it purposefully to embarrass her!”
Cabir laughed again, this time, louder than before, “Manik baba… why does it always happen with you!!”
Manik blushed, “Tell me something…what to do Cabir!! For the first time in my life, I can feel goosebumps!!”
“Hahaha!!!” Cabir couldn’t stop laughing at Manik’s hopeless expressions and the terror in his eyes.
“I was almost winning… and now she will hate me all the more… she must be thinking I’m so cheap and what a lowlife…”
“This is also a first for you, you know… Breaking News : Manik Malhotra is worried about what people are thinking about him!!! Tadaaa…”
“Not funny…now, tell me what to do!!”
“Go and tell her that you didn’t get her posted there!”
“Cabirrrr!!! Be serious, mannnn!!”
“I’m serious! Ignore it as if nothing happened and if she ever accuses you of trying to embarrass her, tell her straight that you have better work to do in life that making her feel awkward!”
“Will it work?!”
“Hundred percent. Confidence and attitude works with all girls!! And even if doesn’t… how does it matter to you…??”
“It does, Cabir!! … She is not any random girl! She is Nandini… and It really matters what SHE thinks about me!!
A/ N :
Your response is overwhelming and deeply moving!! I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart!!
More parts tomorrow :)))