Hey, Bela is back again! Am I on time? I think by my standards, yes!
So here is for you guys, as promised, Banjaare Ko Ghar❤❤❤
Pausing for a while, I calmly took a sip of my black coffee before continuing to curse my dearest father in-law, Mr. Shekhar Gadodia.
The old bat had once again suffered an ailment, this time, a heat stroke. What the hell? “Pehle heart stroke, phir heat stroke, what next, haan?” I muttered in frustration as I took another sip of my coffee.
As usual, Sir Gadodia’s dearest eldest daughter Ragini had rushed off to see her father, leaving me, her poor husband, alone with nothing to do, other than work, eat and sleep. I am talented though, I have managed to mope around in the corridors, glaring at all the servants, making them drop expensive crockery in fear. I feel so good about it!
A feeble vibration inside my pocket alerted me to an incoming call. I whipped out my phone and on seeing the caller ID, broke into a dance.
“Hi dear!” I said breathlessly, waiting to hear the voice of my beloved wife.
Oh fish! She is crying. I know it. Oh God! Why? What happened?
“Kya hua mera bacha? Why do you sound so upset?”
What did her Papa do NOW? Was he b*t*hing about me again? But what would he have to say now? Last time, I didn’t have something to hide. Now, this isn’t the case. I didn’t pay him anymore for anything…………….
“Haan…….I am listening. Calm down my love, take a deep breath and tell me.”
Abbey……….kahin Buddha marr toh nahi gaya?
“I am so sorry Ragini………I…..please take heart……”
“He is very weak. And he needs so much attention. *Sniff*. I think I will have to stay with him for a few days to monitor him. He is really ill.”
Oh. So he is alive. Damn. Umm, I mean, okay good for him and my Ragini but then why should she stay there in his ill decorated house? The furniture is so ostentatious plus that purple carpet in the front hall is so ugly………….
“I will have to live here for a few days. I know you don’t like spending time away from me but it is necessary……..”
My heart broke at her weak voice. She obviously cares so much for that old useless fellow, bless her kind soul. I couldn’t bring her more uncertainty and inconvenience by trying to fight her, however much I found living without her painful.
“I will tell Martha to pack some of your clothes and other essentials. I will personally come to deliver them and meet him as well. Okay? Now chill, and smile that beautiful smile which makes my stomach flip flop.”
“Are you sure…….”
“Cent percent Ragini. Nothing is more important than your happiness and peace of mind. And if you want to achieve the latter by spending some days in the poorly furnished Gadodia Mansion, then so be it.”
I heard her giggle and smiled goofily at the thought that I helped cheer her up. She softly whispered a goodbye and I replied the same, eager to start packing so that I could meet her as soon as possible.
I looked at the sleeping form of my father. He looked a little peaceful in his sleep. I smiled sadly as I gently took his weak face in. Age isn’t favouring him. The wrinkles are prominent on his sallow face and his skin has lost the glow it had when he was younger. He is becoming weaker, losing weight and also quite a lot of hair. It disturbed me greatly to see him in such a state.
Next to him, with her head on the bed, Swara was also lightly dozing. With some features that matched my father’s, the comparison was very remarkable. One was the epitome of youth and energy while the other was sinking into old age and lethargy. One was completely healthy while the other was really ill. It was striking, and that too, in an uncomfortable way. I gulped down the bile that rose in my throat as the thought of another death started swarming my mind. What was happening to Dad?
A slow creak brought me out of my thoughts. I saw a staff member bringing a tray of light onion soup and coconut water for Dad. I nodded to him to change Dad’s clothes and make him consume the food while I gently tapped on Swara’s shoulder.
Swara woke up with a jerk and looked around. On gathering her wits and seeing the servant, she nodded to me and we both stood up, allowing him to work without interruptions. Swara turned to me. “Mom wished to talk to you after you were done with Dad.” she said nervously. I smiled at her gently. “Of course she would want to talk to me. Her husband isn’t in the best of healths. Give me a few minutes to freshen up, I will talk to her as soon as I am done.”
“The lunch has been spread. You can talk to her while having your food. I will inform her.” Swara said. I nodded and went to the guest room selected for me by Swara herself. It faced the best part of the gardens and also had the view of the sculptured foundation pond favoured by the elite class when they came here for parties.
The room itself was a large and airy one, the best among the five guestrooms in the house. It had a bathroom attached to it along with a ‘powder-room’, used for storing the little luggage carried by the guests and preparing themselves. The powder room had large mirrors for that particular use. The main room was painted in a light cream tone with one wall painted white and adorned with paintings and photographs. The room was well furnished and had on a better carpet than the one in the drawing rooms and with the view, I could understand why Swara chose this one for me. Typical of her to be the best hostess even at her father’s house!
After washing my face and tying my hair up in a messy bun, I quickly made my way to the dining room where Swara and her mother were already seated, munching their sandwiches. I took the seat opposite to Swara, next to her mother, and filled my plate, darting my eyes between the duo to fill in the silence.
Sharmishtha Gadodia neé Bose is a strikingly pretty woman with out and out Bengali genes in her. With her black glossy mane, round face, honey brown skin, round red pout and large dark eyes, a large red bindi on her forehead complementing the silk sari she wore, she is still a beauty. Swara majorly has her looks from her, although some features are a sore reminder of who her father is. My eyes went to her large nose(which Lakshya calls the ‘Shekhar Gadodia-like nose) and mentally winced.
I looked at Sharmishtha Aunty with trepidation. What would she talk about?
“I hope you are comfortably settled. If there is anything you need, do tell me. I would not tolerate any guest of mine wanting for anything in my home.”
“Sure ma’am. Although Swara has taken exemplary care of me till now. I am occupying the East Room.”
Sharmishtha Aunty nodded her approval. After taking a sip of her juice, she turned her large eyes on me.
“How is Shekhar?”
The concern in her voice didn’t faze me. The fear did. She was scared, just like I was, with the image of losing him any moment if enough care wasn’t taken. I tried giving her a reassuring smile.
“He is okay. I won’t say he is fine, for he isn’t. No fine person gets heat strokes in August.”
“That is what is troubling me. He shouldn’t be having a heat stroke when he lives in an air conditioned room with all cooling facilities and also drinks cold beverages. Why could this happen?”
“With age, people find themselves vulnerable to heat more than others. Also, Dad has a heart condition and diabetes, plus he has been drinking too much these days. The above sort of people are also at risk. Even medications of blood pressure may increase the risk and Dad has been taking blood pressure pills now, after the stroke last time. I think he just increased his chances with having all the above problems together.”
“So what should be done?”
“Cut down his alcohol consumption, for one. Reducing his medicine intake too would help although he has to be on the ones for his diabetes and BP. I think he needs to do yoga, instead of the more rigorous exercises. Yoga would have overall benefit. And we will have to change his diet and regulate it too. Does he get his routine checkup done?”
“We go together for it. He has been missing his for some time now.”
“It won’t do. He HAS to get checked up periodically. A stroke is enough reason to start taking his health seriously. I will talk to him and knock some sense into him myself. Do talk to him too about this.”
“Sure. And Ragini?”
“Thank you. I…I am sorry the relations between us are such. I fell in love with Shekhar and I got to know about his wife and you later. But I was too deep in it to turn back. I never meant to break your family. I just………got selfish in wanting to start my own.”
I looked at her hard. There was no excuse to be accepted for having an affair with a married man. Nor was there one for pardoning having a child with him. I could never accept her as anything but my Dad’s second wife. I nodded to her, keeping Lakshya’s advice in mind, the one he gave to me for his own relationship with his biological mother: Forget it like a nightmare and move on. It’s not like your life depends on it.
“I can’t particularly say that it’s okay, because it isn’t. I have suffered a life like an orphan does, although with far more financial security. But yes, I understand your point about love. Although the moral part of it would have prickled my conscience. But it’s all in the past now. It’s been years, and I don’t think we can do anything.”
With that, we went back to completing our lunch. I rose and went back to my room. Swara followed me. I gestured her to sit down. She took a seat and started speaking.
“Ragini, can I talk to you?”
“I am glad we are friends. Like, yeah, we are sisters but still, I am glad the relationship between us has improved. I always wanted a sister and I realise just how much I missed one in my childhood whenever we talk and meet. Really, you have been great, despite of what my mother did to you and your mother……..”
“It doesn’t matter Swara. Your mother is not the only one to be blamed for what happened. Our father wasn’t a child who was led into the situation. He chose to have an affair too. I would never blame you. I am glad that you found love and left Lakshya, because I found mine!”
“Lakshya was never mine. In hindsight, he was probably always meant for you. He had some qualities in mind that he favoured in a wife and I had none. He required his wife to be smart, mature and intelligent. And he needed love, even though he didn’t realise that. I could never love him, he annoys me a lot. And I may be a lot of things but I have never claimed to be intelligent, rightly so. I like to believe that I was the path which led to two people fated to be together, to unite.”
I smiled and sat down next to her. “That you are. I would have never had a chance to meet someone like Lakshya ever. We just didn’t belong to the same circles.”
“The circles he would move in before his bankruptcy were whole lot stupider than me. Their IQ goes in the negative. Plus, he would be hounded by matchmaking mamas throwing their wealthy heiress daughters at him!”
I imagined Lakshya surrounded by beautiful women and felt anger rising in me. Lakshya must have met a lot of beautiful and wealthy ladies. Why did he marry me then? Beside me, Swara was still chattering away. “And there was this one particular incident that was very funny. Mrs. Sahai introduced their daughter Preeti to Lakshya, hoping he would ask her to dance. He asked her if she would like a drink? She started flirting with him and said a yes. He went to get the drink but he never returned! My gawwddd, I laughed so hard with my friends…………..”
I imagined Preeti Sahai, the wannabe, waiting with hopeful eyes for Lakshya and giggled myself. He is such a jerk!
“He has NEVER paid attention to any woman. He never paid that much attention to me even when he made up his mind about marrying me. But he paid a LOT of attention to you the first time you met at my reception. I noticed.” Swara said with a smirk. I blushed red as I registered her words.
A staff member entered just then. “Mrs. Maheshwari? You husband has arrived with your belongings. Shall I escort him up?” he asked. I nodded happily and stood up. Swara stood up beside me as well.
“What is he doing here?” she asked, making a face. I told her about Lakshya’s plans and she smiled suggestively. I shooed her away just as my handsome husband made his entry inside my room.
He quickly engulfed me in a bone-crushing hug and kissed the top of my head affectionately. I smiled in his loving embrace, once again sniffing him. His smell is so comforting……….
“So they put you in the East Room? I am glad. You deserve to be in the best! Why, I prefer this room even to the master bedroom because Shekhar Gadodia has painted the walls yellow. Chhee. Yellow yellow, dirty fellow! And Swara’s room is so pink, I would faint before saying eewww!” Lakshya said as he sat down on the bed. I smiled widely as I heard him. Typical.
“I love this room. It has a fine view.”
“Ahaan, the grounds? And that fountain? That’s the only redeemable thing about this property, these people got no taste otherwise………..”
I felt a rush of affection as I looked at him, hearing him criticise the quality of the paintings in each room. I missed him for the few hours we spent apart. His chatter and even mine, is so different from the quiet in this house. Not for the first time, I rethought my decision of spending a few days here.
“……..but what can be done, even if we can convince them to change the carpet, their taste would remain as hideous as ever. Speaking of hideous, I just recalled, how is your father?” Lakshya asked me.
I told him about Dad’s condition. Lakshya had a pondering look on his face, as I relayed to him the facts about the heart stroke as well. “What is he drinking so much for? Any issues?” he asked. I shook my head, explaining that no one had any idea about it. Lakshya nodded and then stood up. Shrugging off imaginary flecks of dust from his blazer, he turned towards me. “Lead the way to the oldie’s den!”
I smacked his arm as he rubbed it and followed me to my father’s room. Just as I was about to enter, I received a call. I motioned Lakshya to enter the room while I took the call. He nodded and giving me a quick peck on the cheek, went inside.
I looked as Shekhar lightly dozed on his bed. And I may be sounding rude, but he looked as if he was about to die. He was frail and bony and his wrinkled skin had lost all its glow. Not that he had any glow previously………..
Ragini may not say it out loud but I know that she is worried sick over him. And anything that worries Ragini is my enemy. I walked up to his bedside and sat down on the chair. My movement woke him up and he looked at me in confusion.
“What are you doing here?”
“What the hell? Why are you here?”
“To see you and talk to to you, since you are so ill.”
“Why this sudden concern? As far as I remember, you never really cared for me.”
“And I still don’t care about you. But I do care for your daughter, actually scratch that, I freaking love your daughter crazily. And you know that. She is worried about you and it is my concern. So here I am, your beloved elder son in-law!”
I could feel him staring at me and I couldn’t care less. I stared right back. The stare that has brought several great men to tears. I guess it worked for Shekhar averted his eyes and took a deep sigh.
“Mr. Shekhar Gadodia, you see I am a very busy man. I don’t have much time. Your health is deteriorating due to your own vices but I know that you have been indulging in alcohol too much. And that means that you are hiding something which is bothering you. My idea is to help you fix the issue before you drop down dead and convert my beloved wife into a full orphan. You may not have been there for her when she needed you but the last thing she needs is another parent to die right in front of her eyes while she remains helpless.”
“You worry a lot, nothing is going to happen to me.”
I snorted and leaned back against the chair. “Your impending demise is not MY worry. It is Ragini’s worry. She is dead scared that something would happen to you and she doesn’t want to lose you. So before I lose my patience and kill you myself, spit it out.”
“No one will be able to help me in this.”
“You give me too less credits Sasur Ji. The name is Maheshwari. Lakshya Maheshwari. There is NOTHING I cannot do, unless it is leaving my wife. And anyway, doing anything is the later step. At least trust me with what it is. You could take heart that you tried.”
Shekhar took a deep sigh. I sat patiently, waiting for him to tell his tale. At last, he opened his mouth.
“For many years now, I have been dabbling in casinos overseas. I have been gambling. This is one of the reasons I am always short of funds. I had no money when Ragini came to request for her medical school fees and I couldn’t tell about my condition to Sharmishtha, she is a terrible gossip and if word had spread, my stocks would have started falling.”
I nodded to him to continue.
“Well, my debts have reached an all time high now. I have learned that even Sharmishtha has left many bills for me and combined with my debts, I am basically a pauper these days. Plus Swara is asking for that goddam ring………..”
“I am not interested in knowing that Swara is lusting after the jewellery that I gifted my wife. Keep speaking.”
“You could at least be sympathetic………..”
“You are too ugly to get any sympathy from me.”
An awkward silence followed this statement of mine. I felt the tiniest bit of guilt wash over me as I recalled what I said. I may hate him but I can never change the fact that he is, was and will always remain my wife’s father and that commands that I respect him. I felt a little bad over my outburst. It isn’t his fault that he looks that way, not everyone has the best of genes. The thought of genes reminded me of my father(who was the son of a poor driver) and I winced mentally. Shaking my head, I motioned for him to continue.
“Well, the thing that troubles me is the person I am indebted to. You see I have managed to create massive debts figuring more than a hundred crores. And…….the person who I have to pay has connections with the Underworld mafia.”
A feeling of dread settled over me as I came to terms with the depth of the problem my father in-law was in. Being at odds with the mafia is never good. Especially not for someone with as clean a reputation as Shekhar Gadodia. I watched the beads of sweat on his forehead, eyes mirroring the panic I felt in my heart.
“What now?” I asked him apprehensively.
“I have to pay them back. But how? See, I cannot take out such a large sum from the company’s account since the investors would question and the Board of Directors would have to be consulted. Meanwhile, I can’t withdraw such a large amount from the banks in cash as well, not that I have much ready money anyway.”
We sat silently, trying to figure out a solution. I got an idea but just as I was about to voice it out, Ragini entered the room. Masking my features to a neutral look, I watched as she fussed over her father.
I watched Swara as she blew on her nails, waiting for the nail polish to dry. Once it was done, she smiled in satisfaction. “So you mean, Lakshya just went away? Without saying or doing much? Without a fuss? And now he isn’t talking to you properly?” she asked for the hundredth time. I nodded.
Lakshya had acted way OOC when we came out of Dad’s room. He just kissed me on my forehead, hugged me tightly and muttering something about some important work, left quickly. Not that I had much to say to him but some time spent with him would have been nice. And now, whenever I felt like talking to him, he was either very busy or didn’t take my calls much. It has been four days since he came that day and not talking to him as we usually did was killing me more than I would have liked to admit openly. But seems like my gloom was obvious, for today Swara cornered me and grilled me for an hour before I finally told her everything.
Swara’s response had been ridiculous. She claimed that Lakshya was probably enjoying the time away from me and was probably partying with beautiful women. Maybe , he had even kept a mistress. While her words before had been worrying me, the last part made me laugh. Lakshya could NEVER cheat on me. I told Swara so and she smiled at me. “See. You are so sure that nothing of that sort would happen. Then what is the problem? You know that he won’t ignore you for something which isn’t too important for him. So something genuinely urgent must have come up. Don’t worry. At least he CAME. Sanskaar is so busy with work, he wouldn’t be in India for three days. I am missing him so much, plus, that romantic ‘Jerk Jija’ decided to walk in as if he owned the place……….”
I smiled fondly. Seems like Lakshya and Swara would never come around. They are content being at loggerheads with each other always. Well, it does give me amusing moments, so I don’t mind at all. A voice at the back of my head also reasoned that I absolutely hated to think of Lakshya and Swara talking. He had been courting her once, for God’s sake! How am I supposed to feel?
I shook my head to rid it off these thoughts as I listened to Swara telling me about her plan to burn the ugly purple carpet so that it could be changed.
I sat down on the plush leather couch of the posh dining bar and looked around. Gosh, this place is so tacky. The smell of cigar and whiskey drifted across the room while the aroma of freshly cooked meat and vegetables mixed in the air as well. The decor was normal, the room dim but what worked in favour of this place was the privacy it gave to its customers. Each table was surrounded by heavy lace curtains, hiding it’s occupants and providing privacy. That’s the only redeeming factor of this place. No wonder it was visited by business men to take care of their ‘shady’ deals.
I waited for my ‘dates’ for the evening, boredom engulfing me. I had taken great pains to contact the people and arrange a clandestine meeting, away from any scrutiny. If anyone got a whiff of what was going to happen here, I would lose my reputation faster than I could say “Ouch”!
I heard the footsteps coming closer to me and correctly assuming who it would be, I braced myself for what was about to happen.
Pesky Sanskaar Singhania walked in with a burly man and looking at me, nodded. I nodded back and stood up, shaking hands with the man. After all of us settled down, the man started speaking.
“What work could you both have with me?”
Sanskaar and I glanced at each other. Clearing his throat, he started replying. “We….umm, you see we…”
“We are Shekhar Gadodia’s sons in-law.” I interrupted, annoyed by the fear evident in Sanskaar’s voice. This was not the time to show weakness.
The man gave a slow nod of understanding. I continued. “He has debts with you and we both wanted to know if there was anything we could do to get them cleared.”
The man sat back and took out a cigarette. I made a face. Passive smoking is as dangerous as active smoking. What if my lungs got affected and something happened to me? How will Ragini cope?
“He has debts upto 120cr. You toddlers willing to cough it up?”
Sanskaar’s eyes widened. “120 crore? Are you serious?”
“No. Absolutely not. I like wasting my time telling jokes, you son of a…..”
“There, there. No need to get angry. The thing is, you don’t have a clean reputation at all. So if there is such a massive debt, do you have any proof of it?” I butted in, giving a glare to Sanskaar. He shut up cooperatively.
The man took out some documents from the inner pocket of his coat and slipped them towards me. Sanskaar scooted closer and we both looked in dismay as that buffoon Shekhar Gadodia’s signatures shone bright over the debt amounts.
I looked up and took a deep breath, visualising Ragini’s face and remembering her tearful voice. I had to drag her father out and at the same time, curb his lifestyle and teach him a lesson. I turned to Sanskaar who looked to be in a similar state. He had been lying to Swara about some important business work while he had been trying to contact the man in front of us.
“So what all has to be done?” Sanskaar asked in a cool voice. Bravo, this chicken just turned into a rooster!
“Pay it up. Cash.” the man replied.
“Give Sanskaar and I five minutes to solve it amongst ourselves. We will tell you about our decision.” I told him. He nodded and stood up, walking away.
Sanskaar took a sigh and settled back. “What is wrong with PapaJi? 120 crores? His business is in loss, he is always short of funds, his wife and Swara leave huge bills and he has no control over any finance!”
“That is why he is currently lying on his bed, looking like he is about to meet his Maker. I would recommend that he ask Him why he was given such a weird nose…………..”
“Yeah yeah. But still. Now what? It is too large a sum for us to pay individually, and we anyway cannot take out so much money without the Board of Directors interfering. And even if we split, 60 each, damn man, I am still too young to be economising due to my father in-law’s stupidity. Plus Swara…….” Sanskaar shuddered as he probably recalled his wife’s spending habits.
“How about we all split it? And well……I have an idea to go about it. What say, Sanky boi?” I asked. I could see Sanskaar gulping, detecting the brightness in my eyes.
I smiled as Dad stood up and walked about. The servants were helping him in that activity and beside me, Swara was urging him on.
“Yes Baba, one step at a time. Arrey don’t step on the dog’s potty……”
On my other side was Sharmishtha Aunty who was looking at the scene with a small smile on her face. I looked around and found Lucky imitating my father in a comical way while beside him, Sanskaar was desperately trying to control his laughter.
It had been two weeks to the day I came to stay with Dad. He had completely healed and was now walking comfortably again. These two weeks spent away from my Lucky were the worst I had ever lived. After a week of neglect, Lakshya had come to meet me, looking very tired and overworked and the rebuke that had been on my lips died down seeing him in that condition. I had smothered him with hugs and kisses and fed him till he had gone to the washroom to puke it all out. Sanskaar had followed him here and after a suspicious conversation with my father, who had seemed rather put off by their visit, Dad had started recovering. Lakshya had disappeared off again with Sanskaar and came with him today.
After lunch, everyone went to their rooms to take a nap but I pulled Lakshya in for a walk across the garden. I wanted nothing more than to spend some time with him, despite knowing that I would be back home with him by dinner time. We walked in silence, hand in hand while I figured out ways to ask him the questions that had been in my mind.
I looked up at Lucky in surprise. He gave his lopsided grin as he repeated, “Shoot. Ask the questions you want to.”
I gave him a beaming smile in return. He always reads me perfectly. I snuggled closer to him and asked, “What were you up to these days?”
“Work and workout. And sleep and eat. And obsess over your pictures.”
“Dad was sort of upset after you came last week with Sanskaar. I was worried that the stress would deteriorate his health but he surprisingly recovered. What did you three talk about?”
“Are you hiding stuff from me Maheshwari?”
“I want to know why. And what are you up to. I am no fool, you were so engrossed in the Mehra tender yet you always talked to me properly. You have not been eating properly, sleeping properly and I read the newspapers daily so I know that you have signed no new deal. Now spit it out.”
“I love you so much, you are so smart….”
“Oh okay, fine, chill. Relax. Sanskaar and I…..we are…..”
“WHAT? Why would I want to date that lady finger Sanskaar? I am happily married and perfectly straight!”
“Well, you did ask me once if Swara and I were having an affair…….but anyway, tell me.”
“I……I think…..no, I know…..”
I pressed his arm comfortingly, pleadingly looking at him. He took a deep breath.
“I know now why your father had that heart attack and this sudden heat stroke.”
“He was in a massive debt. ₹120 crore. That too, against someone from the mafia.”
My eyes widened. 120 crores? I felt faint as the amount and the creditor of the debt registered in my mind. Goodness, what was Dad up to? As if reading my thoughts, Lakshya slowly answered.
“He had been gambling for many years, from even before you started your medical school. He says his ever growing debts were the reason he couldn’t pay your fees. Well I think that’s a load of crap, but still. He was now almost bankrupt because the creditor wanted the payment in cash and it was a really huge sum. He couldn’t have taken a loan and couldn’t have taken money out without the board questioning it. So he got a stroke.”
“Oh God, that’s painful. I mean, he is to be blamed but you and I know what it’s like be to penniless. Dad has never learned poverty, how would he have managed? Why was he even gambling?”
“From what he tells me, it was to increase his income. His company is struggling to be in the top since the new rivals are taking over most of the market. For a new investment, he needed capital.”
“So what will he do now?”
“It has been settled.”
I looked at him in surprise. What does he mean? Has Dad sold off his company to pay the amount? I started feeling very bad. “How was it settled?”
“Umm…..It isn’t necessary.”
“It is. Speak up or sleep in the guest room for a week.”
“That is cruel. But I cannot hide it from you forever, I guess. You see, Sanskaar and I decided to help him settle the debts.”
My eyes widened as I looked at him in surprise. He was perfectly serious and was looking a little nervous. I tightened my hold on his arm as my silent form of approval, urging him to continue.
“When I came to meet him that day, I talked to him regarding his failing health. He confided in me about the debts. I called up Sanskaar and we decided to help him for your and Swara’s sake. We arranged for a meeting with the creditor and after the amount was quoted, we decided to split the whole of the amount between us. 60 crores is easy for both of us to give, even if it limits Sanskaar’s finances. I am okay, I just got richer recently, after winning the Mehra tender……..”
I stared at him. He paid 60 crores to get my father rid off a debt. Is he crazy?
“Have you lost it Lakshya? 60 crores? Both of you paid from your own pockets to save my father who is now intact with his business and has no stain on his reputation! He has lost not even a dime, while you have paid crores! Damn, Dad could have sold his company or something! Why did you both have to pay? Especially when HE never pays……”
“Ragini, what makes you think your father didn’t pay for it? Sanskaar and I are businessmen. Even though this deal had some familial touch, it was a deal, nonetheless. Between the three of us, it was decided that Sanskaar and I would pay the amount on the condition that we got shares worth them in his company. So while your Dad may not have lost cash, he has become poorer by kindly transferring in our name some shares which were on his name. We both are now part of the Board of Directors at the Gadodia Industries and if we have our say, the company will likely see profits in the coming years. In three or so years, I believe I would have recovered my money as well as mighty interest on it. So yes, it’s a deal. Your father hadn’t been too happy to be paying up but he understood that he couldn’t let someone from the mafia be in his Board instead of us and nor could he arrange for the cash. Meanwhile, Sanskaar and I could pay it in cash and even if the shares were named on us, it wouldn’t look extraordinary since we are the sons in-law.”
I looked at the smug smile on Lakshya’s face and laughed hard. Even though I was happy with what had been done, one question still nagged me.
“Lakshya, I am sure that all of this masterplan was yours. Why did you take so much pain?”
“For you. You were upset Ragini and I just couldn’t see you that way, crying over something you did not even have control over. I…I just cannot see you sad and upset. I did tell you, didn’t I, that you are the only family I have? I would do anything in my power to see you happy. Plus, I did make way for my own benefit, so it isn’t that big of a deal…….”
On a wild impulse, I turned him towards me and kissed him hard. Warmth filled my chest as I repeated in my head the words he had just spoken and recalled the expression in his eyes while he had been speaking. I felt so loved that I couldn’t even be thankful enough to God. Or Lakshya. We broke apart for air and I hugged him tightly, whispering a thanks.
“Ragu, your passport arrived yesterday.”
I smiled as I kissed his chest lovingly.
Phewwww. Shekhar Gadodia, done and dusted. Now it’s Raglak for us❤
Plus I don’t know what next. Most probably, Cocktail. Else, Dil Dhoondta Hai❤