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Untitled Series XXXIV

Mansi waited until she heard the door being closed after Manish Kumar walked out of the apartment and then she eased herself into the comforting bed. She made a mental note of asking Pallavi about Manish when she came back from the office. 
Manish’s question had taken her by surprise, which she had tried her best to hide. 

It was hard to believe that Manish and Pallavi had never crossed path. It was strange that he did not know who stayed in the apartment opposite to his. She was too tired to think; she voluntarily put an end to her thoughts and tried to sleep. Her ankle felt better thanks to the painkiller Manish had given her. She thought about how pretentious she must have sounded when she said that she would call him. The truth was; since the painkiller had started taking effect and she was already tired she could not remember the number Manish had given her orally. It was either a genuine mistake from him or he had done that on purpose. Mansi exhaled sharply. She wondered why she thought the way she did. 

The fact was, she always thought like this. This was how she was programmed to behave; until she had met Rohan. Even though she had followed the same do-not-trust rules initially she had found herself walking past the fence she had created around her for safety. Unfortunately, she thought, it had not ended well justifying the way she was originally programmed.


Untitled Series - XXXIII


Manish Kumar knew that Mansi was being careful; she had her own doubts and that’s why she asked him about the bus – route to their offices. He did not miss the plural ‘offices’. She wanted to learn more about his day job. She was being sceptical and he admired that about her. He did not like the girls who blindly trusted someone. He knew he would have to strive hard to win her trust but he was also aware that once he did; it would be permanent.

He opened a bottle of chilled beer and took a sip. He smiled as he thought about their chance meeting in the staircase. He was thankful that she had not seen him earlier or it would have been difficult to explain stepping out of the Mercedes. This apartment was one of the few he had scattered around the city. He’d come here to collect few clothes – the ones he could wear to the office where Mansi worked. He wanted to step into the role as soon as he could. However, when he saw Mansi and realised that she would be staying here for a while, he changed his mind and decided to stay in this apartment to get to know her better. He could go to office with her every evening and get to spend more time with her, getting to know her. Finding out more about Mansi had become his priority. He thought about the events that led to his first 'encounter' with Mansi.



Untitled Series XXXII


Manish Kumar walked out of the apartment and closed the door behind him. He had not expected to see her here, nevertheless, he was glad.

He opened the door to his own apartment and stepped in. The posh interior was reflection of his lifestyle. Even though he was born to a rich father life was not easy in the beginning because his father believed in ‘earning’ what he deserved rather than ‘inheriting’ easily. However, once the old man died things changed. He had all that he had ever wanted, until the day Mansi came in his life.



Untitled Series - XXXI

Part Thirty One (Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part SevenPart Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five | Part Twenty Six | Part Twenty Seven |  Part Twenty Eight | Part Twenty Nine and  Part Thirty)


Mansi entered the flat and placed the duffel bag on the floor, she closed the door behind her trying not to think about Manish Kumar occupying the flat opposite to Pallavi’s. Mansi wondered how much Pallavi knew about Manish Kumar. It was her mistake she had not discussed the interviews with Pallavi. Maybe if she had told her about the candidates and about selecting Manish Kumar to work night shifts with her; Pallavi would have shared the information about Manish Kumar staying opposite to her apartment. Knowing Pallavi, in addition to this information, she could have possibly gotten a profile reading of him. It was not too late; she could ask her about Manish Kumar when she met her the next time.

Only after the pain in her ankle became unbearable did Mansi realize that she was still standing near the door. She hopped towards the couch and sat down resting her head on the back-rest. Suddenly, she felt very tired. Checking out the bus-stops would have to wait, she thought. She had almost fallen asleep when the doorbell rang. She checked her wrist watch; it was not past the office hours, so it could not be Pallavi. Was she supposed to answer the door or let it be? She was still making up her mind when she heard a voice calling out from outside the door.
“Hey, it’s me, Manish. I am sorry to bother but could you open the door?”



Untitled Series - XXX

Part Thirty (Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part SevenPart Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five | Part Twenty Six | Part Twenty Seven | Twenty Eight and Twenty Nine)


Never before in his life had he cared what others thought of him. He had lived his life on his terms. This was the first time, someone else’s opinion of him mattered and he hated the feeling that came from being unable to understand what the other person was thinking about him. He did not even want to consider the option that for some unknown reason she hated him.

Even though a couple of times he felt that Mansi’s mind was like an open book with the content written in simple language, which he could read and understand; he realized that she often shut herself off – pushing herself behind a wall she constructed around her to save herself from being hurt. He wanted to cross that wall and enter into her trust zone. For a moment he believed he had. He thought Mansi had finally let down her guard while being with him. She had been uptight for a long time, disappointing him several times with her uncertainty. If there were moments when it seemed she was enjoying her time with him; there were also the moments that indicated she did not trust Rohan and hated being seen with him – for what reason, he did not know. As long as he was concerned he had not done anything wrong or anything offensive to deserve this kind of attitude from her.


Untitled Series XXIX

Part Twenty Nine (Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part SevenPart Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five | Part Twenty Six | Part Twenty Seven and Twenty Eight)


Mansi walked to her room and packed few clothes and whatever she thought was worth taking away from the room. Not that she had anything expensive in her room, all that she had was valuable in the sense that mattered only to her.

Mansi thought about the recent development in her life. She disliked being in this chawl since the day she came to stay here. Right from day one she had been planning on leaving. It had taken her all this time to finally make the move. The trigger was a bit disappointing though.


Untitled Series - XXVIII

Part Twenty Eight (Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part SevenPart Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five | Part Twenty Six and Part Twenty Seven)


Mansi would have loved sitting in the park until the sun swam into the sea at the horizon but there was still a lot of time for that. The bench they were sitting on was no longer under the shadow of the tree that protected them from the sun’s rays.

The heat was beginning to be intolerable. As if reading her mind, Pallavi said, “We need to go; I am dying to step into the air-conditioned environment of the office.”

Mansi smiled. Had it not been for the air conditioning, office would have been the last place Pallavi would have wanted to be. Yes, she needed the job and she was best in what she did but she did not really love working there. The salary was low but she, like others, could not complain. The office was like a family – a weird one; where everyone loved each other but was nevertheless finding a way to leave.

They got up from the bench and were about to walk towards the gate when Mansi’s stomach gave a loud hunger-call. Mansi rolled her eyes, a bit embarrassed and said, “Would an air-conditioned restaurant work for you?” Both smiled and walked out of the park.

On their way to the restaurant, Mansi thought about what Pallavi had said. She had been right about everything. Mansi had spent most of her life feeling bad for herself; cursing her luck. She needed to change that. She had to take control of her life. She knew it felt good, she had the taste of it once; even if it meant for a short time. She wondered how Pallavi would feel about it if she told her about that moment when she had felt in control of her life. Pallavi was not the kind of person to judge her and even if she did Mansi cared a damn. That’s what she told herself even though in her heart she knew that when someone said I care a damn, that’s when and that’s what they really care about. Pallavi’s opinion did matter to her.