The only purpose of removing stories from different platforms is to safeguard them under my name. Nothing else!
I’ve written MaNan stories for MaNan fans and after I get them copyrighted and published, I will post links to all Manan stories in Manik-Nandini version only.
You can download and keep them with you forever. No one needs to buy my MaNan books if you don’t want to.
Your love and appreciation have been tremendous for me. And that is all I need.
Love you all 🙂
Manik went to the office and met people who were with him in this fight. He was officially on compulsory leave till a decision was taken about the complaints against him. So, he was not allotted any new work and he was not supposed to be in the office. So, he stayed only for a few hours. Cabir helped him gather all the data he needed. Meanwhile, Manik sorted all the evidence he had in his favour and against Shobha Diwan, sought important documents supporting him and wrote a detailed mail regarding his stand on the issue.
The entire day and next 2 days were spent in serious efforts at the professional front. Nandini met a few old seniors from her college, working in Bangalore and inquired about job openings/SR-ship/ research options and fellowships in Gynae and Obs. She also met the director of Hinduja and explained her inability to join the Chennai hospital.
Two days later…
Manik was called for a meeting with MD of the Phoenix International, along with the Internal Committee that investigated and analyzed the disputes within the company and settled issues among the employees and the company. Shobha Diwan, as CEO and main complainant, was called too and likewise, some other Board of Directors.
The office was already divided between employees loyal to Shobha and people loyal to Manik.
Shobha, Dhruv and people from Shobha’s side were given a chance to speak first. Cabir was back too and he didn’t leave Manik’s side. The neutral committee had finished it’s investigations already. It was a final hearing.
The four-hour-long meeting was loaded with tensed accusations, complaints, allegations, and counter-allegations. It went on and on from all sides, especially Shobha and her allies.
Finally, Manik was asked to speak. He had prepared few points in his favour and he had already mailed them to Cabir, the staff, MD and the investigation committee.
The first thought that came to his mind was that he had already sent an email about his arguments defending himself, Shobha had already spoken, the investigation committee had already finished their work and was at the final call to be made and probably MD had already taken a decision too. It didn’t even matter if he spoke or not.
But the very next moment, he was reminded of a small interaction in the morning when he was getting ready to go to the office. Nandini had come to stand facing him, easing herself between the mirror and him and took over from his fingers to button his shirt from the lowermost button moving upwards. His hands, free now, took the opportunity to curl around her back, holding her steady. She looked adorable in white cotton kurta and pink salwar. Like baby soft. He could melt any day when she stood like that before him. And he knew that she knew that. He knew that she wanted to say something to him.
With hopeful eyes, she had requested him, “Manik, promise me that if they ask you to speak, you will defend yourself with all that you have. The best that you can!”
“Nandini, you know that…” He had started speaking but she interrupted him.
“Yeah, I know that you have done the best you could do. You have done everything in your might, sent emails, laid down your points, got the support, everything… and I know that you don’t believe in explanations… you think, people will eventually believe what they want to… but just for today, do it for my sake!” She finished buttoning his shirt with the top button and gave him his tie.
“Nandini…” He had huffed, not knowing how to turn her down.
She used this time to twinkle her loving eyes, “Please??!! For Me??!!”
“I’ll try!” He had dismissed any further discussion with two words and she had been happy with that.
At this moment, in the office, Manik was not sure how things were going to take a turn from here but he was sure of one thing. He didn’t want to let Nandu down. She had faith in him and she had requested him to do something for her. He could do that!
Instead of refusing to speak, as he had thought a few days back, he stood up and went around the oblong conference table to face the audience and started speaking, “Ladies and gentlemen, as you have already heard before, all the relevant arguments related to this issue, the opinions of each and every important member of this office, I would like to say that I have sent the details and documents in my defense in form of email to everyone concerned. Still, something needs to be said and highlighted. So, I will speak on how it was made difficult for me to operate in this company in last 4 months and how things gradually started going against me because MD Sir gave me a promotion as the Head of the Creative Team, leading to a threat to Miss Shobha.”
He then spoke strongly against each and every case where Shobha had made it difficult for him to evenly spread the work of the creative team, the deal with Artemis which was foiled due to undue advances of the representative, which was actually a plan of Shobha. He showed the relevant defense documents on the screen, and then he laid down the list of 151 employees which were with him because they had seen him working in last 4 years and how dedicated he was. He spoke about all the projects which were successful and praised because of him and how Shobha had nothing to do with him. Getting replaced by Dhruv was out of the question as Dhruv was not only a year junior to him but also inexperienced for this position. He would prefer to leave the company in that case.
His words were lauded widely and he felt lighter after releasing all that was troubling him. Writing it on email hadn’t been that liberating.
Cabir and others spoke in his favour too.
After the meeting, they were sent away so that a decision was taken after due consideration of all the aspects. They were asked to wait until the evening for the final decision.
Manik and Cabir decided to have coffee in the office canteen. While coming out of the elevator, Cabir patted Manik’s back, “Well done, bro! I had read the mail. It was too good but trust me, the written word made half the impact of the speech you gave. It was too direct, authoritative and clear. It sent the message across that you won’t take any nonsense against you.”
Manik smirked and nodded, “I was not planning to speak…but…” Then he stopped.
“I know, you never clarify. So, it must be ‘some-very-strong-influence’ who convinced you!” Cabir smirked too.
Manik rolled his eyes, “Stop over-acting! Yeah, it was Nandini’s request!”
“I knew it!!” Cabir laughed, teasing him more.
In the evening…
Manik couldn’t wait to enter the house so he kept pressing the doorbell for around 4-5 times, till Nandini came to open the door. on usual days, Nandini got irritated at his impatience, but today, she knew that he was not in his usual state of mind so she wasn’t going to nag him to spare the doorbell from his torture.
She opened the door and stepped sideways to let him enter. He entered inside slowly with a serious look on his face, making her worried.
“What happened, Manik!” She asked in a low voice, walking behind him.
He kept his laptop bag, aviators and phone on the dining table and turned around to shrug, with eyes kept low, “Whatever! I didn’t expect this…”
“Whaa-ttt???!! I mean… tell me!! Please!!” She nervously held his hand and insisted. He didn’t speak anything and just nodded. She hesitated and then spoke in very low, broken voice, “It’s okay, Manik… things happen… we can deal with it… what you didn’t expect? You can share with me…”
He raised his eyes and smirked slightly, “That I will be given an apology letter by the company!!”
“What… whhat…what??!!” Nandini had her mouth opened and eyes widened when he dropped that bomb on her.
He grinned and couldn’t hold the excitement anymore. He laughed more looking at her shocked face. She frowned, “Such a jerk, you are!! You scared me…”
Unable to stop grinning, he wiggled his brows and held her shoulders, “I knew that I will be given the clean chit… but I got more… Apology letter for putting me through the stress, also – the fifteen days that I was sent on leave, they will pay me for that too!!”
Shock, excitement, and happiness mingled together and she almost jumped. “Wowww!!! That’s super!!!”
“I was tensed and worried for a small time… as it was about my hard work of four years!”
“But you won!… Whoaaa!!!”
“I knew that they can’t afford to lose 151 employees.”
“Come on!!! Maybe… they can’t afford to lose you?!!”
He moved away to take a sip from the water bottle kept at the dining table and grinned modestly, “Don’t be too kind! I know, I’m good, but they would have dispensed me if I was alone!”
She brushed it off so lovingly that he was mesmerized. She turned around the table to stand facing him, “I don’t believe it, Manik that it was because of others! It’s ‘you’ and just ‘you’ who won!!”
“And how are you so sure??”
She just spoke in flow, even without thinking much, “Because, I know you… You can never go wrong and you don’t need anyone else to stand by you… you can manage everything… You are my hero!”
What she spoke in just an overwhelmed flow of words touched him, somewhere deep. No one had ever said that to him before. It was the first time that someone had called him ‘a hero’… and it was the first time that he felt so heavy at his chest. As if his heart couldn’t hold that thrill, that happiness, that bliss.
“Hero?!” He softly murmured, raising one of his brows, keeping the bottle back.
She slightly leaned at one of the sides of the table, looking straight into his eyes, “Yup!! The invincible hero!! I’m sooooo soooo soooo proud of you!!”
He tucked his lower lip inside his mouth and smiled, before revealing to her, “You know what, Nandu… I had written the emails… I had decided that I have defended myself enough and I won’t do that anymore. But one last time, when they called me to speak for me, instead of refusing them, I thought of the promise I made to you in the morning. So, thanks!! You helped me fight my case strongly. I would have fought otherwise too but only subtly. Today, I realized that speaking for yourself and speaking at the right time does make a lot of difference!!”
She blushed, “You really thought about me!”
“I always think of you… at all times…” He confessed it in a husky voice and reached for her hand to play with her fingers softly wrapping his fingers around them.
“That’s a lie!”
“Mmm… how can you say that??” He tugged at her fingers and dragged her closer to him.
“Because when you think about someone all day, it shows in the way you look at them!”
“Really?” He frowned. This was news to him. He had neither heard something like this before nor read. But then, he had read or seen very little romantic stuff. So he had to go with her experience in this. “Like how?”
Looking deep into his eyes, she blushed, and spoke in a extremely soft whisper, “You get to know that someone was thinking about you all day when he looks at you with a distinct droopiness in the eyes, with a soft dreaminess, with a diffident charm and a possessive, compulsive ownership… as if you are the only important thing in the world and then…”
“Violins play in the background!!!”
He smiled lovingly, and said, “Nandu…”
In the same, husky, loving voice, he asked, “Are you on weed?”
“Shuuuttttt Uppppp!!! That is how I AM!!”
“Told you not to speak it like that… It does something to me!”