TWO YEARS LATER
SHARMA & GADODIA PARTNERSHIP FIRM
“Riya, I really need these papers done by today evening” Ragini instructed her secretary “Where is Dhruv?” “Mam, sir is in a meeting with Mr Kumar” she informed. “Alright, please get these papers done today” She said and signalled her to leave. She sighed and reclined herself with her eyes closed. It had been two years since that New Year’s Eve, two years since she last saw him. She never thought a brief encounter with someone could have such an impact on her. She must have met hundreds of strangers over the course of two years but never one who had an impact like Laksh did. Damn I don’t even know his last name she thought. She clearly remembered that night, every time their eyes met, every time their hands brushed against each other and that hug, dear god if only there were words to express the feeling she had when they hugged. She considered herself as an idiot for still feeling in a certain way about a guy who was practically a stranger. Stop it Ragini Gadodia, you’ll go mad someday she scolded herself.
There was a knock on her cabin door and someone spoke in a funny tone “May I come in madam?”. She looked up to see “Dhruv when will you stop acting so childish”. He laughed and sat opposite to her. “Why are you such an amazing mood today” he asked. “I was wondering why I ever agreed for this partnership with you” she said sarcastically. “That’s because you had no choice sweetheart, no one else could work with an overbearing person like you” he teased. “Are you done with today’s joke? Can we do some work now?” she asked. “Not now please, I’m hungry lets go out for lunch” he said. She gave him an exasperated look “Let’s order in please”. “Nope, we’re going out and I’m driving” he said while pulling her from the chair, “Get up, let’s go”. She reluctantly agreed. They were having lunch “We got an invitation for a business conference in Mumbai. You’re going to attend that” he said. “But I went for the previous one. You go this time” she whined. “Stop whining, I went these conferences two consecutive years and it was so boring. It’s your turn”; “and in any case I RSVP’d on your behalf and booked your tickets”. “You did WHAT?” she glared at him. “Relax, we’re in public” he said while laughing at her “You can kill me later”. “Dhruv yaar, do this last favour to me, please”. “No to that” he said with a grin. “Why did I ever agree to be your partner” she murmured. “I heard that, shut up and finish your lunch” he laughed at her irritated face.
“What if I meet him again?” she thought
He was on a call impatiently tapping the pen on his desk “Mr Shaw, till now I patiently heard what you had to say, I just have one thing to tell you, you’ll be hearing from our lawyer and trust me when I say this, I will not spare you for the fraud you have done with us” and he banged the phone down. “Madhav get me a cup of coffee”. “Sir, your coffee” Madhav said while setting the cup on the table “and sir, there is an invitation for a business conference in Mumbai” he said while handing the envelope. “Thanks” Laksh said. He sat there staring at the invitation. He was not really interested in the conference, but he was more interested in the venue.
Mumbai, the place that triggered memories of that New Year’s night, the night he met her. Ragini. He remembered that night crystal clear, it was not that night, and he remembered the moments he spent with her clearly. He remembered the smile on her face, the bliss that she had when she looked at the fireworks. Ragini had etched herself in his mind, and every time he thought of her, regret came over him for not asking for her last name. A knock on the door got him back to the present. “Come in” he said, Durgaprasad Maheshwari, owner of Maheshwari industries and Laksh’s father entered the cabin. “Dad, why didn’t you call me, I would have come to you” he said while standing up. “Don’t worry about it son, sit down. I wanted to talk to you about this conference. I want you to attend it; it’s a very good opportunity for networking. You might find some potential clients there”. Laksh nodded in agreement, “We need to find the good corporate law firm for our company now, the current lawyer is giving me a migraine, every time he opens his mouth, something stupid comes out, I wonder how did he even manage to get a degree” Durgaprasad said while Laksh laughed “I’m already on it dad, I’ll find a good firm by next week” “when do I have to leave for the conference?” he asked. “Tomorrow evening, the conference starts day after tomorrow” “So get done with your bookings now, I’ll take your leave” Durgaprasad said while walking out.
“Mumbai, after two years, what if I meet her again” the mere thought brought a smile on his face.
“Ma, I’m just going for a week. You’re packing stuff as if I’m going for a month” Ragini scowled. “Arre baba, I’m packing essentials for you” Shramishtha said, “Ma, you filled a large suitcase with essentials? Please move, I’ll pack my bag” she said while forcing Sumi out of her way. Shramishtha sat exasperated on the bed and “Ragini, why do you work so much, you’ll go mad someday. The only time I’ve seen you take a trip in the past two years are for your business conferences. Learn to take a vacation beta”. Ragini laughed as she finished packing her bag “Ma, trust me these conferences are like vacations. Plus if it wasn’t for the apple-of-your-eye Dhruv, I wouldn’t have to go today”. Just then Dhruv entered with Shekhar “I heard someone take my name” he said with a knowing grin while Ragini frowned at him. He went to hug Shramishtha and asked “How are you Mother India?”, she playfully hit on his back “Do you realise how long it has been since you came to meet us”. He laughed and said “Blame your daughter for that. She makes me work so much. Dekho, how thin I have grown”. Ragini and Shekhar looked at each other and said “Drama queen”. “Why aren’t you going with her for the conference?” Shekhar asked. “Actually, I have a few arbitration cases for the next few days, and they can’t be avoided” Dhruv said. “Kaam nahi hai. He just doesn’t want to go for the boring conference” Ragini said frowned and Dhruv made a face. Shekhar and Shramishtha laughed at their childishness.
“Chup chap baitho wahaan” Annapurna ordered. “Ma, when will you stop treating me like a kid” Laksh whined, Annapurna continued packing his bag and laughed “Never. Now let me pack you bag, don’t disturb me”. Durgaprasad entered and handed some papers to Laksh “Here are your air tickets and hotel bookings. The conference is at Radisson Blu, and your booking is in the same hotel. It will be a week-long conference” Laksh nodded while taking the papers. “Papa, I have initiated the legal action against Mr Shaw and his firm for the fraud, so there should be no direct contact with them, I have also sent intimation in the office to bar all calls from their firm.” Annapurna interrupted their conversation “Do you both every talk about anything except for business? Chalo abhi, have your dinner”. Both of them laughed and obediently followed her out of the room.
“I have explained Riya everything, whichever file you want as her, she is aware of every document and Mr Kumar’s case, the papers are to be drawn up ask Raghav to assist you in that, and-” Dhruv interrupted her “Ragini, please breathe, this is the fifth time you’re repeating yourself, since I’ve picked you from home and we’ve almost reached the airport and your cassette is stuck at the same record”. Ragini sighed “I just don’t want to miss out on anything”. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered. Now I’ve made your bookings at Radisson Blu, the conference is at the same hotel. I’ll try to join you mid-week if I can.” She nodded as he pulled on the side “Alright, then I’ll see you in a week” she kissed him on the cheek and got off the car.
AT THE AIRPORT
Ragini took her boarding and after completing the security check, she sat and started reading a novel. After a while she heard the boarding announcement and moved towards the gate for boarding. “I don’t know why Dhruv always books business class, waste of money” she though as she put her bang in the overhead compartment. She settled in her seat and started reading her book, someone occupied the seat beside her but she didn’t turn to see the person and continued reading her book. “Excuse me, do you mind if I take that magazine” the person asked her. She took the magazine from the seat pouch and turned to hand it over to him, and then she froze as her eyes met with his eyes. “Ragini” she heard him say her and then saw him grin. “Laksh” she whispered.
Credit to: Eshana