Hi friends, so here is my second ff with the mmz characters, it’s a crime suspense mystery with a tinge of romance. Enjoy….
Shades Of Love – Prologue
El Milagro Palace – Kensington, London
In one of the richest neighborhoods in central London, the el milagro palace stood firm in the scorching summer sun. El Milagro which means ‘the miracle’ in spanish was the name of the palace bcoz for a man born in poverty who decades ago was an immigrant in search for a better life to own a palace was no less than a miracle. The strong metal bar gate coated in gold opened to a vast lush green carpet of perfectly cut grass that led to a three story Victorian building, to an observer it looked like the building had no end. The palace was served by an army of staff and their commander was a plump British lady of fifty, Magdalene.
Young girls and boys in pink plaid shirts and black skirts or trousers uniform were running around in and out of the kitchen to set the breakfast table before their master comes down. Magdalene as strict as ever was looming over their each move “chop… chop… we are running out of time… and Jiya watermelons to the left, papayas to the right” she warned. They all sighed when there were done before time bcoz nobody wants to upset Amrish Khanna. Dressed in a royal blue sari, blue teardrop sapphire earrings, pearl necklace Piyali Khanna resembled a socialite going to a fundraiser party but she was dressed for breakfast. She inspected the 16ft dining table for a minute satisfied with the spread she smiled at Magdalene who just gave a warm smile in return.
As the clock strikes 7 the table was occupied by 3 people headed by the owner and the strict Amrish Khanna even at 70yrs he looked healthy and strong. Amrish Khanna was a billionaire, well networked or according to Forbes the “uncrowned royalty” His son and husband of Piyali, Samrat sat to his left and Piyali to his right. Amrish looked at Samrat “where is your son?” A young man came rushing in and almost dashed with one of the staff “u are late… again” said Amrish which sounded as a warning. The young man apologized a pulled a chair besides his father “did I say u could sit?”
Samrat turned to his father “pls dad, atleast don’t scold him in front of the help… and he apologized, didn’t he?”
Amrish: “stop babying your son… he is a grown man he can speak for himself” Piyali pleaded with her son through her eyes to obey and he obliged “good… now why are u late for breakfast?” but before he could answer Amrish cut him in btn “forget it, u will just cook up a lie”
Piyali: “sit down Jai” turning to Amrish “he can sit down now, right dad?” he nodded and Jai took his seat. “party preparations are going great… am even taking Prena along today to go over the menu… since her choice is the best when it comes to food… I won’t disappoint u”
Amrish: “u never disappoint me Piyali… your son is a bum thanks to his father” Jai just ignored he heard that and Samrat looked on displeased. Jiya, one of the staff was silently laughing at her boss’s comment but one stern look from Madgalene was enough to squeeze all the laughter out of her.
Samrat: “he will improve dad… just give him time”
Amrish smirked “time… I don’t think he will improve even in a million years” Amrish turned to Piyali again “and Radhika?”
Piyali: “I left that task to Mala… she will convince her” Amrish just nodded and they continued to have a silent breakfast.
The Mishras and Kapoors were also having breakfast, Mala Mishra who was born Mala Khanna fell in love with her college mate Dilip Mishra, but Amrish was never going to let his daughter marry a man who according to him was lowly and so Mala was married off to a rich businessma Manav Kapoor with whom she had twins Ridhima and Ankush. Soon after she had given birth she was widowed due to an air crash and Mala found comfort in Dilip. Determined to give her twins a family and not depriving herself a lifetime of happiness she remarried her college sweetheart Dilip which resulted in her being disowned by her father. But few yrs later after seeing how happy her daughter was and how Dilip loved Mala’s kids as his own Amrish changed his decision but never whole heartedly accepted Dilip as his son-in-law. Mala and Dilip later had a daughter, Radhika.
Kabir, Ridhima’s husband who lived with his in laws asked Ankush “I heard nanaji is throwing u an engangement party”
Ankush: “yes, Piyali aunty is looking after the arrangements”
Mala: “dad wants Radhika at the party, he said it’s important that she be there”
Ridhima fumed “what is the need of calling her and I thought nanaji doesn’t like her… why does he want her here”
Mala: “she is your sister Ridhi”
Ridhima: “she stopped being my sister the day she tried to seduce my husband… I hate her”
“that’s enough” screamed Ankush “I don’t know about nanaji but am not having my engagement party without Radhika… and I don’t care if u like it or not… and if this the attitude u will bring then it’s better u don’t attend the party at all” he then stormed out of the house angry and Ridhima ran to her bedroom. Kabir stared at his plate and scratched his head if he should go after his wife or finish his breakfast, deciding on the latter he picked up his fork and munched on the scrambled eggs. Mala sat helplessly while Dilip calmed her.
Taste Farm Company
Amrish Khanna stepped into his glass office, everytime he would see and read the large metal holding that read ‘taste farm company since 1965’ a sense of pride would wash over him. Taste farm company was one of the biggest food and beverages company in the world, with a wide range of more than 150 products that were sold all over the world, taste farm company was ranked in the top three in the best food company list. From baking flour to salt, from milk to root bear, from ready made masalas to breads, taste farm made it all, there was absolutely no meal that one can have in a day without having one product from taste farm company and to think the company was started in a one bedroom apartment.
The company was co-founded by three friends, Amrish Khanna, Balraj Mehra and Prateik Malhotra and though Amrish was the only living founder today their children and grandchildren were now working in different positions in the company only to take the legacy higher. At 70yrs old Amrish knew he was supposed to hand over the reigns to someone else and it was no secret that many people eyed his position and were eagerly awaiting his retirement but he was not ready to give up his presidency just yet. He was brought out of his thoughts by his executive secretary and PA, Tina. The brunette beauty in a black mini skirt and white ruffled top greeted her boss and handed him his schedule for the day “get me the financial statement of this month” he ordered and she rushed out to get the required report.
A handsome dimpled guy dressed in a formal blue suit knocked on production manager’s cabin, slightly opening the door he asked “may I come in?”
Ankush smiled “since when are u this formal Neil?” They greeted each other and sat on the couch in the office “so how have u been?”
Neil: “am good and I should ask u that since u are the one going to be sacrificed soon” Ankush guffawed at his words “is chashni coming to the party?”
Ankush: “that’s why I called u… am sure she will try to give excuses to not attend so I want u to convince her… since she only listens to u”
Neil: “consider the job done… If needed I will carry her here”
On the other side of the building Tina entered Kabir’s cabin, Kabir had his feet on the table leaning lazily on the chair talking on the phone. Tina knocked on the table to announce her presence, he ended the call and looked at her “welcome to my humble abode miss Tina… how can I help u?”
Tina: “I told on the phone I need financial statement… Sr. Khanna wants it”
Kabir: “u and your boss make a perfect team of bullies” Tina rolled her eyes and extended her hand expecting a file but Kabir placed both his hands on the back of his head instead. Pointing to the mess of files on his table “I don’t have time for this … look for yourself” Tina huffed and started going over the pile while he shamelessly checked her out. Having found the file she turned to him only to find him staring lustly at her, she smacked the file on his face in disgust and started to leave. Kabir held her wrist angrily “how dare u… don’t u know who I am?”
“an ungrateful stray dog” she said before jerking her hand off his grip and stromed out of his cabin leaving a fuming Kabir behind.
Kabir: “I will get u b***c” he spoke in a low maddened voice btn his clenched teeth.
On the third floor of the building where a canteen for the staff was situated Jai was decorating a table he had reserved earlier. He personally set the table and was contemplating on the right spot to place the rose flowers he had bought when he heard his name being called out. Without turning he knew whose voice it was, there was only one girl whose beautiful voice sounded like sweet music to him “why did u call me here Jai?”
Jai turned with the broadest smile on his face “to play kabadi” he then laughed at his own words “to have lunch of course…it’s been ages since I lunched with my sweetheart… so come on” he pulled a chair for her and she took the seat.
Looking at his effort from setting the table to ordering the kitchen staff to make her favourite food she asked “u did all this for me?… u didn’t have to do this Jai”
Jai: “stop it Priya… u are my bestfriend and friends do this for one another” seeing her serious face he joked “or is it that u fired me from being your friend and I wasn’t even informed” they both laughed and happily enjoyed their lunch.
Sun Publications – Los Angeles
A young beautiful girl dressed in a black short sleeved shirt tucked in a grey pencil skirt entered the office premises with her heels announcing her arrival with the clinking sound they made every time they were in contact with the marble floor. She gave warm good mornings with her chirpy voice all the way to her cabin, she was the assistant editor of the fiction division for the publishing company. Sitting on her chair behind her desk she pulled her ponytail to the side over her shoulder hiding her one diamond studded ear and got directly on her work until she got disturbed by a knock on the door. A dimpled blonde bombshell entered “good morning Rara”
“Isabel… how many times should I tell u to not call me that… call me Radhika, Radhu or whatever…. anything but Rara” Isabel shrugged and settled herself on the chair opposite to her. Radhika saw that she was fidgeting on the chair and new what it meant, Isabel has got a new scoop that she wants to share. Isabel was sweet lively girl, she had only one flaw, gossip. She had to know everything about everybody, she always had information about who did what, when, where and with whom. She was the boss’s secretary but would spend most of her time in others cabins, she always knew something about someone and that’s why she was nicknamed ‘gossip google’ Radhika stopped her work “what is it… who came in your satellite today”
Isabel excitingly leaned on the table “Jen and Chris are dating” she spoke in low voice as if someone will hear from the sound proof cabin. “remember last week I told they left the party together… and today I saw them in the parking lot acting lovey dovey with each other”
Radhika laughed hard, that was a morning treat she hadn’t expected and Isabel didn’t appreciate at her reaction “Isabel my God… where did u come up with this… Jen has a boyfriend” Isabel wanted to justify her claim but Radhika’s phone rang and she left her cabin. Radhika smiled seeing the name of the caller “hey bhai”
Ankush: “hey… so when are u coming?… party is in two weeks”
Radhika: “bhai I just got promoted… I can’t take a leave now”
Ankush: “don’t give me work excuses Radhu… come on, it won’t be the same without u… even nanaji wants u here… pls come”
Radhika laughed “now u are just blabbering… why would Amrish Puri want me at his house… and am not giving excuses”
Ankush: “okay, so u don’t want to come bcoz am not important to u… bcoz am your step brother, right?”
Radhika: “bhai, that blackmail trick is too old for u… come up with another one, okay” Ankush tried to convince her but she quickly ended the call saying that she had work to do.
Dinner was set and the three people on the table looked pleased with the food from their smiling faces. But it was not just the food it was the love btn them, Pranay, Prena and Neil Malhotra were a happy loving and a close knit family living in a peaceful atmosphere. No matter what happens in their life, they always had dinner together and dinner time was family time. It was when they would talk about their day. Neil looked at his mother who was sitting opposite to him “the food is good mom, as always” his mom just smiled in return.
The head of the table Neil’s dad who was also the chief finance officer at Taste farm without looking at his son spoke “I was talking to Amrish uncle… he is all praises about u, keep up the good work son”
Prena: “I was with Piyali earlier today… he told me that uncle is so keen on having Radhika at the party that it almost seems that the party is for her and not Ankush”
Neil: “Ankush is also keen on having her at the party… we all miss her terribly”
Prena: “she also told me Sam made a film”
Neil: “it’s a short film and it was selected to be showcased at the film festival”
Gautam sat silently listening to them, his mind replayed Prena’s words about Amrish’s too much interest in having Radhika in London. His POV: “doesn’t he despise Radhika?… then why does he want her here?… and now when he is supposed to retire and chose a new president… what is he planning now?”
Cannes Film Festival – France
The short films selected were presented at the Debussy theatre, their film makers gathered after the presentation in a small get together exchanging ideas, they were all competing for the same award but the crowd seemed to have already selected a favourite. ‘Stabbed’ a short film that projected how a beautiful young girl resorted to murder in the name of love. The bone chilling suspense was written, directed and shot by a small group of young talented people and what made it everyone’s favourite was the fact that the film ends with the audience neither feeling sorry nor hating the young girl, it gave auduence an argumentive judgement.
The team of ‘Stabbed’ even after the end of the gathering went to a local pub to congratulate themselves for the good reviews they had received. When their drinks had arrived, Justin the director of the short film raised his glass “I want to raise a toast… to Sam… this beautiful talented girl… for her vision, dedication… her beautiful smile… her beautiful eyes… her…” Sam looked uncomfortable with his words and his team members coughed to bring him out of his daze. He composed himself and continued “to us and especially to Sam” they all screamed “cheers” and gulped down their drink in a go.
Justin then took Sam aside “am sorry if I made u uncomfortable with my words… but it all came from my heart… u are so beautiful inside and out that I can’t take my eyes off u”
Sam: “Justin, u are my friend and colleague… let’s keep it that way… and u did make me uncomfortable just like now”
Justin: “am sorry again” Sam just nodded in reply. Looking at the people in the pub enjoying the music “would u like to dance with me Sam?”
Sam looked on with disbelief, does anything ever gets to his head she wondered “am tired, am going back to the hotel” she bid her friends goodbye and left the pub.
The Mehras were also having their dinner, Priya Mehra and her father Ajay Mehra were the only one at the table quietly enjoying the food that Priya had prepared. The doorbell rang and Priya hoped that it was her brother Arjun, she smiled seeing him at the door and took him in a warm hug “thank God u are back” she exclaimed “where were u all these days?”
Ajay: “u finally decided to grace us with your presense… am honoured” he spoke with sarcasm “didn’t u have the slightest sense to call and inform us that u were okay or where u were?”
Arjun: “I was working… and don’t tell me u care if anything happens to me… bcoz I clearly remember the last time we talked and u told me that I am a disappointment to u” Priya immediately intervened avoiding another fight btn the two which always ends in Arjun leaving the house for days.
Arjun was laying on his back on the bed when Priya entered with a tray of food and kept it on his side table. Arjun sat on the bed and started to explain himself “I know I should have informed u… but am a police inspector… my job sometimes doesn’t allow me to do that… I was going after a suspect and it took longer than expected…” All this while Priya waved her left hand before his eyes flashing a huge diamond ring on her ring finger. Arjun caught her hand and looked on surprised “Ankush proposed?” and Priya nodded confirmed his query “when did this happen?…. congratulations”
Priya: “thank u and he proposed on the same day u disappeared… but that’s not the best part… we are having an engagement party at the palace in two weeks and Radhika is coming” Arjun’s face lit up hearing the name Radhika, he quickly masked his excitement but he was too late Priya had already seen it “well, she hasn’t agreed yet but Ankush is sure he will convince her… and don’t let her go this time around”
Arjun avoiding his sister’s gaze “why would I stop her… it’s not like am in love with her or anything”
Priya laughed at his silly efforts to mask his feelings in front of her “who said about love am talking about your friendship with her” Arjun bit his tongue for revealing too much and wanted to justify himself but Priya just wished him for the night instead “and have a shower first before having your dinner” she ordered him lovingly and left his room.
So is this interesting enough to be continued? Please drop your precious views and suggestions in the comment section. Love u….