Oberoi Conference room.
Mr. Mehra signs a bunch of documents and then shakes hands with Shivaay and Om. “Congratulations Mr. Shivaay and Omkaara Singh Oberoi. Sunset-Point Resort is now part of Oberoi group of Hotels. The only reason I am selling is because I cannot manage this business anymore and my son is not interested in joining it. I just want to enjoy my retirement with my wife, my friends and children now. But I wanted a buyer who would respect me and my business ethics. I found that in Mr. Omkaara Singh Oberoi. The way he discussed this deal spoke to my heart and I try to keep as much heart as practically possible in business decision too. It may not have made me the most successful businessman but I am happy with all that I have achieved. Which brings me to my humble request, make whatever changes you want to make to the building of my, sorry, your resort but please try to retain as much staff as possible. I have treated them like family and would not want to see them struggle financially. But I can only request. Rest is in your hands. When you visit the site, try to meet some of the key managers at least and see what I mean. I trust you Mr. Omkaara Oberoi.”
Om: Please Mr. Mehra. The business deal is done. I am younger than even your son probably. Please call me Om.
I thank you for trusting my brother and me.We promise to retain the name of the resort with minor changes and the basic essence of warm service your family has excellently conducted over the years.
As the resort is in a prime location we want to expand it but I think there is plenty of room for expansion without hurting the current structure too much.
Shivaay smiles as he looks at Om with pride.
Mehra: When do you plan to visit there.
Shivaay: We will leave in our private jet this evening for Coimbatore and then drive to Ooty tomorrow morning. We want to see the roadways approach to the resort. Please don’t inform your staff about this visit. We want to see the functioning of the place in its natural setting. We also don’t want them to be unnecessarily stressed.
Mehra: Ok. As you wish.
The main Kitchen- The hustle and bustle of a busy hotel kitchen is going on. One staff girl, Neeta, whom Anika is helping says
“Didi, Do you know Mehra Saab has gone to Mumbai?
Neeta: Nahi didi, I have heard that he has gone for some business deal about the resort.
Neeta: Yes. Mehra Saab is thinking of selling everything and retiring. His son and daughter are both anyway settled in the U.S. He wants to be able to visit them often and enjoy his retirement. Didi , I just hope whoever the new owners are won’t fire us from our jobs.
Anika: How come I am always the last to know such news!!??
Neeta: Didi, besides work and Saahil, most of the time you are lost in some other world. Pataa nahi kyaa sochti rehti ho! Or should I say, kiske baare me.
Neeta winks at Anika and giggles. Anika shows fake anger and continues working. When she gets a chance to take a break , she thinks about what Neeta said and worries.
Later she goes back to work . Saahil comes to the kitchen in the afternoon. Anika feeds him. Then he does his homework and plays around while Anika works. In the evening they go to their accommodation behind the resort. Anika gives him dinner and asks him to go to bed.
She goes back to work and stays there till it’s time for the kitchen to close. Then she goes back to her apartment.
The night air has a slight chill. She makes a hot cup of coffee for herself. Black. No sugar, no milk.This is what helps her relax now.
Anika: Chal Saira Bano, ( what she used to call Americano coffee), mere dard baant mere saath.
She sits on the reclining chair next to the window covered with a warm blanket and goes into deep thought.
Three months have passed since I last saw him. When I kept a huge rock on my chest and walked out of his home. I knew that the divorce papers were coming. He had become quieter and more rude than usual. Tia’s nonsense was evergreen. OmRu were continuing to support but I knew that soon I’d have to leave this place and never look back. If I maintained any ties , I’d be reduced to a pathetic, pitiful creature. The realization that I loved Shivaay had hit me. Why else did I feel more hurt than angry at his behavior. I knew something had happened. I thought a lot about the sudden change in his behavior with me. I am not an idiot. I knew he had some huge misunderstanding about me and Tia had something to do with it. Anger was one thing but the way he was torturing and humiliating me was a whole other level of resentment. I also knew that explaining anything to Shivaay was impossible right now. Saahil’s kidnapping incident and seeing that car blow up had shaken me badly. I wanted to leave and not become a pitiful wretch who put up with abuse Cos she was in love with the abuser. Saahil needed me. So I started planning. I had to disappear as soon as I signed the divorce papers. But how!? I thought for an entire week about all possibilities but they all resulted in Shivaay being able to find me. I did not know if he would want to find me, but I did not want him to be able to, if he tried. Not easily at least. Finally, it came to me. Savitri mausi- The caretaker at the orphanage from where Papa had brought me when I was 12. We had changed homes after my adoption so noone in my new neighborhood knew the details of my history. Savitri mausi had always been fond of me and my only good memory from that wretched place. I had been able to stay in touch with her. She now lived in Pune with her nephew’s family and I called her every once in a while. I called her. soon everything was arranged. Now I just had to wait for the right time. And it came one week later.
I don’t recall ever feeling the kind of pain that I felt when Shivaay coldly handed me the divorce papers. And I don’t recall ever being so upset with myself for feeling pain for such a heartless beast who had blasted all of my self-respect. This is not love, this is mental disorder I thought. The sooner I run the better it will be for me. With that thought I tried my best to remove all emotions from my eyes and my voice. I spoke in as few words as possible. How much I succeeded , I don’t know. As I signed those papers, I felt like my hand was made of iron and that pen of lead. Everything felt so heavy. Somehow, I handed him the papers and walked out of the room not daring to look back as my eyes had betrayed me and a steady stream of tears was flowing from them.
Soumya was at college so I went to her room for a while to compose myself. I heard his angry footsteps on the stairs and then heard the front door slam. Then there was no time to lose. God knows what new insult he was going to hurl on me when he saw me next. Dadi had gone to the temple and everyone else seemed to be busy in their respective rooms. I ran back to my room. Frantically pulled down the small leather bag with mine and Saahil’s essentials and all of my savings from the bank in cash. Then I left the house and took a cab to Saahil’s school. My good luck that it was recess. I told the teacher that I wanted to take him out for lunch. She allowed. Then I rushed to the address that Savitri Mausi had given.
Saahil, my smart brother knew something was up and kept mum throughout. When we reached my destination, I went into the warehouse and gave the details to a man inside. He greeted me with respect and after waiting there for four hours I was on a small truck carrying food supplies, headed to Pune.
Savitri mausi’s nephew, Alok bhaiya, is a small time food supplier to restaurants and grocery stores. He is based in Pune but also has some business in Mumbai. He has a food truck coming to and from Mumbai to Pune 5 days week. Alok Bhaiya had lost a sister to an abusive marriage and cursed himself for not being able to rescue her on time. When I told him my situation, I think I became a mission to him. He made all arrangements for me to travel to Pune, undetected, as soon as I was ready for it. I also told him about my work experience and that I would need a job as soon as possible. He promised, he would look for a job for me.
The truck took all of 6 hours with one break at a rest area, to reach Savitri mausi’s place in Pune. It was evening already. Savitri mausi marvelled at how much I had grown and laughed at Saahil’s antics. I spent a very sheltered but depressing two weeks there under Savitri Mausi’s Alok Bhaiya and his wife Radhika bhabhi’s care. They were childless and took to Saahil very affectionately. Everything was good there but I missed Dadi, OmRu, Priyanka, and Soumya. They were my family. I didn’t miss “him” but every time I closed my eyes I saw him. His face barely half an inch of mine and his blue-green eyes trying to bore a hole in my soul leaving me with an undefined and maddening craving to touch him. That gave new meaning to pure torture.
During this time I saw on some tabloid type news that Shivaay Singh Oberoi’s marriage to Tia Kapoor had been annulled due to fraud . Tia had voluntarily come forward and confessed to the media that she was married from before and that she had married Shivaay due to business reasons. Shivaay had decided not to pursue any charges against her. The whole exchange looked fishy to me. Tia confessing her cheating and Shivaay letting go of betrayal. Impossible!There must have been some internal settlement! I had told noone whom I had married and so noone at Savitri Mausi’s home thought this news to be of any importance. I thought it best to ignore it as it was not going to make any difference on the divorce. I still had no khoon khaandaan, and lineage.I was still sadakchhap Anika.
Two weeks later, Alok bhaiya brought me the good news. One of his contacts had found out about a job opening for a kitchen manager at a small resort in Ooty and had talked to the owner about me. I came here, gave my interview to an extremely pleasant and fatherly gentleman, and got the job. It’s been two months since I’ve been here but I can’t say I have settled down. I feel uprooted and restless. But I am thankful that I am safe , working, and supporting Saahil well. ”
Anika felt tired and sleepy. She kept the empty coffee cup in the tiny kitchenette sink and curled up next to Saahil and fell asleep.
Shivaay and Om got out of there posh hotel in Coimbatore. A shining black BMW was waiting for them to take them to Ooty. Both had decided to not look too business like. Om was dressed in a blue jeans and a red and black plaid shirt and sneakers. Shivaay wore semi-formal Khaki pants and a black shirt and brown leather shoes. Both gave off the cool vibe of casual tourists.
The car started on its journey. It was to take roughly three hours to reach Sunset-Point Resort. Shivaay and Omkaara were enjoying the view out side. Soon the beautiful landscapes and views of Nilgiri mountains rendered them awestruck and speechless. Speaking felt like a sacrilege when viewing such divine scenery. But the views were mundane to the driver who drove on this route several times a week. He took permission to play songs and Omkaara allowed him for the fear that the driver might fall asleep while driving. Slowly a melodious tune filled the insides of the luxurious car.
Haale dil ko sukoon chaahiye
Poori ek aarzoo chaahiye
Jaise pehle kabhi, Kuch bhi chaahe nahi
Waise hi kyun chaahiye
Dil ko Teri maujoodgi, kaa ehsaass yun chaahiye
Tu chaahiye, tu chaahiye
Shaamo Subah, tu chaahiye
Tu chaahiye, tu chaahiye,
Har martaba tu chaahiye
Jitne Dafaa zid ho meri
Utni Dafaa tu chaahiye
Seene me agar tu dard hai
Na koi davaa chaahiye
Tu lahoo ki tarah
Rago me ravaaa chaahiye
Anjaam Jo chaahe Mera
Ho Agaaz yun chaahiye
Tu chaahiye tu chaahiye
Shaamo subah tu chaahiye
Tu chaahiye tu chaahiye
Har martaba tu chaahiye
Jitnee Dafaa zid ho Meri
Utni Dafaa Haan tu chaahiye
Shivaay was lost in this song and the views and absentmindedly caressed the pocket on the left side of his chest. His breathing got heavy andhe felt restless. A shiver went up his spine and cold sweat broke out on his forehead. Om noticed him caressing his shirt pocket and knew only too well what was in it. Shivaay’s life support system.
Sunset-Point Resort Kitchen
Anika was working. She had a growing sense of uneasiness and restlessness. She hadn’t been able to keep any food down since this morning. Now lunch time was approaching. It had been three hours since she had attempted to eat breakfast. She decided to have some lemon water. That energized her a little. However, she felt a strange chill go up her spine and cold sweat broke out on her forehead. Her hands shivered as she handled the utensils in the kitchen and she felt that a nerve in her brain was going to bust. She felt terrified and she had no idea why. She stepped out of the kitchen for a breath of fresh air.
A black BMW screeched to a halt under the porte-cochère (portico), at the front main entrance of Sunset-Point Resort. Shivaay and Omkaara stepped out of the car.
No Precap (Cos I have no idea?)
My dear readers, this story is turning out to be like a novella and it is controlling me rather than me controlling it. I don’t know if my long explanations and descriptions are turning out to be boring. Please let me know what is not good. I will try to improve it. God give me strength to finish this story successfully while living up to your expectations.???
Road To Redemption-Sequel to RegretOS Part1