Azure here….back with the next part.
Ria Khanna – Ragini
Shiv Kapoor – Sanskar
Lav Khanna – Laksh
Shikha Lav Khanna – Swara
Sharad Khanna – Shekhar
Jaya Khanna – Janki
Deepak Kapoor – DP
Aarti Kapoor – AP
Arun Kapoor – Adarsh
Preeti Kapoor – Parineeta
As Ria entered the presentation room, at Rahejas’s office, with Lav, she realized that Shiv was already there with a few people. A well-dressed man almost the same age as her brother was talking to him about something. She guessed he must be Shiv’s elder brother Arun.
As they entered the office, the room temperature seemed to have dropped a few degrees. She felt as much as saw her brother clench his fist, and his jaw, when he looked at Arun Kapoor. Arun Kapoor, for his part, shot a condescending side glance towards her brother before turning back to Shiv.
The only one in the room, who seemed to be enjoying it, was Shiv. He threw her a lopsided grin, which she returned with a firm rise of her eyebrow. It made him smile more before he turned back to his brother. Arrogant idiot! Ria muttered, in her head, as she headed towards the chairs right opposite them.
Shiv was confident in presenting his proposal to the Rahejas. She had to give it to him. Rahejas seemed impressed. Of course, they hadn’t seen her yet. She wasn’t one to underestimate the enemy. Neither was she one to put herself down or get scared by a challenge. Especially not when it concerned him.
Midway through the presentations, as she put up a slide on the project profitability, Shiv cut in.
“I didn’t realize we were going to see our proposal all over again” he said with a raised eyebrow and an almost victorious grin “I can, of course, understand that it was the best proposal, but I would have loved to something different”
Ria smiled at him “I am glad you brought this up” she told him, before turning to the Rahejas “That was exactly what I was going to say. Most of the competitors on the street will present you these numbers” she explained before adding “Of course, we aren’t every other player on the street. We are different. Which is why we are not proposing this.”
She moved to the next slide “This is our proposal” she told them “On first glance, the profitability numbers might seem similar. But there are some big difference” she explained “We all know the new regulation that is likely to come in next year. Though nothing is confirmed yet, the possibility of that coming in are increasing. Our numbers give you the 15% profit margins after accounting for this. In short, what it means is that if the regulation doesn’t go through, the profits will shoot up by 5%”
She shot him a smile, with a tilt of her head. His face had gone serious by then. She looked at the Rahejas. They seemed to be warming up to the proposal.
“We have made some changes of course” she told them, before slide a sheet of paper “Some, though not all, of them are here. As you can see, this are very realistic”
“Interesting” admitted the eldest of the Rahejas brothers, Vikas, as he glanced over the sheet
“We don’t want to sell you something Mr Raheja. We are here as your partner” Ria told him confidently “And that means providing you with sustainable solutions that are profitable not short term covers up that will cause you more harm than good”
There was a look that passed between the brothers and their father.
“Normally we love to analyze the proposal in more detail before we get back on our decision, but I think in this one it is quiet obvious” Vikas Raheja said “Congratulations Mr Khanna, Miss Khanna. Let’s work out the details of the deal” he added with a smile as he extended his hand towards them.
After the handshake, Rahejas got up to leave the office. That was when Ria looked at Shiv again. His jaw was clenched. Your fault for underestimating me! Ria shot at him, in her head.
He got up from the chairs. Shook hands with the Rahejas, with what Ria was sure was a fake smile and walked out along with this brother.
“Yes!” Her brother let out shaking his fist. He beamed at her and hugged her tight. Ria was happy. She had taken her first step in proving herself. Lav ruffled her hair and put his hand around her shoulder
“Bhai!” Ria muttered, being pretend angry as he messed up her hair.
As Shiv entered his office, he was angry. Very angry. Angry at himself for underestimating Ria. Angry at her for being responsible for making him lose. Angry for losing. No one had seen him this angry. May be because he had never lost before.
Shiv pressed the intercom in his office “Rakesh!” he called out
Rakesh knocked on the door and gently peeped into the office, two minutes later
“What are you waiting for? You need some special invitation to get in?” Shiv yelled at him
Rakesh quickly rushed in “You called me” Shiv shot him a look that meant ‘shut up’ “Sorry” Rakesh added quickly
“I want you to find out every single piece of information you can on Lav Khanna’s sister, Ria” Shiv looked at him pointedly “I want it today” Rakesh’s head shot up at this, but he didn’t counter. “I don’t care how late you have to sit. I want this information” Rakesh nodded. Not that it would have mattered what he did. “Go! Now!” Shiv yelled at him when he saw Rakesh standing rooted on the spot. Rakesh didn’t need to be told twice. He ran out in a second.
Ria was in her room, working on a presentation for Ahuja’s. They had to present it next week and Lav had given the responsibility for that one, to her, after the success that day.
“Riyu” her mother called out her name as she entered the room “It is getting late. All of us are waiting for you to have dinner”
“Has Bhai come home?” Ria asked her
Her mother sighed “No. He is running late today. You don’t wait for him. I don’t know when he will be home. Come now”
“Mom, just some more time. I have to finish some work” Ria told her, focused on her laptop “Why don’t all of you start? I will just in few minutes”
Her mom walked over to her laptop and shut it
“Mom!” Ria exclaimed confused
“Enough! You are coming and having dinner with us. This can wait” she told Ria firmly
“Okay” Ria told her, looking confused, unsure of the sudden reaction
“Come now!” her mom ordered “I don’t know why you are working right now. I thought you won that contract already” she said in an annoyed tone
“Mom, Kapoors are not going to sit quietly. They lost this contract. They are going to come back aggressively in the next one. I don’t want to lose the next one” Ria explained
“Kapoors! Kapoors! I am tired of that name!” her mother muttered almost to herself, but Ria heard it
What was going on? What was her Mom so annoyed with her wanting to work for a few more minutes? It wasn’t as though this didn’t happen during her exams. So what was different now? And why was she so annoyed with Kapoors? Ria had a reason. But her mom?
Shiv was glued to his laptop in his room. He has messed up this contract. He wasn’t about to mess up the next one. He was determined to win it and even more important, he was determined to make Ria lose it. She had thrown a lot of attitude towards him in the presentation. It was one thing to play hard to get, and quiet another to put him down when it came to business, he though annoyed.
His mom walked into his room without him realizing it. It was too lost in the presentation and his thoughts.
“Shivu. Baby, come. Let’s have dinner” she told him, ruffling his hair
Shiv shoved her hand away, in annoyance “Maa! Please not now”
“Shivu!” his mother uttered, feeling hurt
“Maa! I have a lot of work” Shiv said without glancing at her
She stood there for a second before trying to make her way out. Shiv sighed, realizing what he had done. He held her hand as she was walking away “I am really sorry, Maa” he told her sincerely. His eyes reflecting the guilt of hurting her.
She sighed and sat down next to him on the bed “Don’t beat yourself so much” she told him softly “Come. You must be hungry”
Shiv shook his head, looking away from
“Shivu” she called out softly, turning his head to face her.
Shiv rested his head on her lap
“What is wrong?” she asked running her fingers through his hair
“Villain and Minion” he muttered referring to his father and elder brother. He very rarely referred to them in this way. He loved them, but there were times he wished he had more leeway. Losing was usually not an option at their house. Not that he minded it. He loved winning as much as they did and hated losing equally.
“Shivu! He is your father” she said, hitting him lightly “They won’t do anything. I won’t let them”
“You don’t know them” he said pouting like a small kid
“I know both well and they won’t dare to say anything with me there” she assured him, but he didn’t move. She sighed “Shivu, you remember when you were in fourth standard/class at school. You lost your first football match that year” she told him softly, still running his fingers through his hair “You were so angry. You told me you were never going to lose. And you didn’t. Not once after that” she said with pride
“Until now” he muttered annoyed
“Shivu! If you could win everything after that, you can do it now as well” she told him firmly “I know you, baby. You love winning as much as Villain and Minion” she said, just to make him smile
“Maa!” he turned to look at her, his eyes wide in surprise from hearing her call his father and brother by the nicknames he had given them
She chuckled “Don’t tell them I said this” she mock warned him, before getting up “Come on now” she told him, walking out
Shiv nodded and made to follow her, when his phone rung. He saw ‘Rakesh’s’ name flashing and quickly picked it up, telling him mother that he would join her right after this call.
“What do you have for me?” Shiv asked, as soon as he picked up the call. He had no time for pleasantries.
Rakesh started filling him in with some details
“What!” Shiv exclaimed as Rakesh came to a particular detail “Are you sure?” Shiv asked surprised “What year?”
Shiv stood at the spot for a few minutes after the call, trying to make sense of the information. He ran his book case and pulled out the year book for the final year of his schooling at Bombay Scottish. He flipped through the pages until he came to her name.
“You are Ria Khanna?” he said softly, surprised. Trying to reconcile the picture he saw in front of him with the girl he had met just that very day. She had changed so much. It seemed difficult to believe there were one and the same, and yet there were clear signs that they were. How had he not seen this? True he never remembered or referred to her by her name, but how could he not have seen any resemblance? How had he not recognized her?
“So you really haven’t changed” he muttered, referring to her personality “You want a clash again. Fine! Let the battle begin” He said, his jaw clenched even as his eyes turned cold.
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