In a nutshell, Arnav and Aakash had undertaken a joint deal for a London client. And Arnav, eager to rectify his past mistakes and atone for his guilt (of lording over Aakash leading him to split from the parent company), had handed over the fine print to Aakash as a show of trust and faith in his brother. He had allowed Aakash to suggest Rajeev, a relative of Aakash’ close business friend as an Aman replacement. Aman, handling other deals and now based at Gurgaon, was largely kept out the loop. All was going well and everything was going hunky-dory, the moolah kept flowing, i.e. until tragedy struck a couple of months ago.
A shipment carrying their stuff to a London based client sank without a trace. And that is when the whole deal blew up in their face. The cost to the company, in case of failure to deliver, was very steep and as per the deal, the complete responsibility of A&Ddesigns. ASR being the big brother hadn’t really objected to it, because he was used to taking responsibility and in so many years of his career, he had never failed to deliver. Besides, what were insurance companies for? Their shipment too was insured and at a premium.
But this was where the real crisis arose – the insurance company was new and hired on the recommendation of Aakash and Rajeev. But the company turned out to be a fraud company that had vanished without a trace and now Rajeev too was absconding. Aakash refused to share the burden of losses claiming that the ‘deal’ they had on black and white absolved him of all such responsibilities. He agreed he had referred Rajeev but then ASR had been free to make his decision, after all he hadn’t forced him to take him on board – his only culpability was in trying to help aur aage se who aisi galati nahi karega!
Intensive investigations revealed other financial irregularities at the head office (under the aegis of Rajeev) and there was no denying that A&Ddesigns was on shaky ground. Arnav had flown to London to cut a deal with their London client and minimize their losses. But they were uncooperative and demanded their pound of flesh and at short notice too.
The actual fact of the matter was that they had an eye on A&Ddesigns – their offer was pay up or let us in. They were willing to go easy on the payback provided they were handed thirty percent stocks of A&Ddesigns. But that would mean Arnav would no longer call the shots at A&Ddesigns.
Arnav had been working day and night to sort out the matter, but the alternatives were few, limited and impractical. Arnav would have to sell off everything and be left with nothing except RM if he were to pay off all his debts.
The London team had been here for the last couple of days, pressing their case and demanding immediate repayment of costs and damages suffered due to loss of face and inability to fulfill their part of the delivery to another customer up in the chain – tomorrow was their final meeting before they went to court and of course, the media.
Khushi listened in growing horror as the full implications of the deal gone wrong sank in – Arnav in so much trouble and she didn’t know! He was right in pushing her off – where was she when he needed her the most? Happy playing ghar-ghar and moaning about how she hardly had any time to breathe! Aur Jijaji! Tabhi Jiji…
Khushi went pale and then red, she clenched her fists and attempted to sort out her thoughts – this wasn’t the time for personal recriminations and guilt. Khushi, think dammit think how to face this problem – soch Khushi soch. Hey Devi Maiyya koi rasta dikhao please DM, please, she closed her eyes and channelized her energies and indeed her entire being into that one thought – how to save A&Ddesigns for that was the only way to save Arnav. Arnav was A&Ddesigns and vice versa, ek nahi toh doosra bhi nahi.
Just then Aman’s phone rang, an emergency board of director’s meeting had been called for at 3 pm to ratify disposal of assets to pay off debts.
Khushi looked at Aman in surprise, “I am on that board too, mujhe toh koi intimation nahi hai!”
Aman looked away, “Umm, your presence cannot be avoided so I guess you will be receiving a call,” he hesitated, “At the last minute.”
“I see,” Khushi’s eyes hardened, “What about Di? Does she know about this and she is not even in town!”
Aman flushed, Khushi nodded her head knowingly, “I see, so Di is also out of the loop and last minute par inform karke Arnav is ensuring that she wont be able to come back to Delhi, basically he is making sure there is no opposition on board taki woh apni manmani aaram se kar sakte hain,” she fumed.
Aman shuffled the papers scattered all over his table.
“Well we will see about kaun kiski manmani karta hai,” Khushi nodded her head decisively, “Just mail me all the details of our liabilities will you? And that is an order Aman and oh no need to inform Arnav,” she stared haughtily at Aman, who lowered his eyes and nodded meekly, “Good,” Khushi nodded briskly and walked off, “see you at the meeting Aman.”
It was a small select group of barely five people – Arnav, Aman, Khushi, Di (was absent with full power of attorney with Khushi) and two other business colleagues of Arnav (again one was absent with POA to Arnav) – who met later that day at Arnav’s cabin. There were a couple of high profile lawyers and accountants as well.
All the members shuffled in silently, nodding heads at the others without really meeting anyone’s eyes. Arnav sat cold, pale and silent; only his eyes flickered when Khushi entered and a flush rose up his cheeks and faded leaving him paler than before. Khushi’s heart broke a little more – itna bhi nahi bharosa hum par aur ab bhi nahi – itne saalon baad bhi nahi? This is your opinion about me?
The meeting was of course a formality, where ASR announced that he was disposing off all his shares once and for all. There was a chorus of protests and suggestions to accede to the client’s request of 30 % share and be done with it but that would mean ASR would no longer call the shots – he would be left with only 21% which was not acceptable to ASR, “all or nothing”, he declared in a tone that brooked no opposition, “All agreed?” his bleak eyes swept the room perfunctorily not really expecting any opposition. After all what objection could there be?
“Mrs Anjali Gupta and I disagree,” Khushi’s voice rang out loud and clear.
Arnav and the others looked at her in surprise, “Excuse me?” Arnav raised his eyebrow, “Do you have any idea what is at stake here or even what the issue is over here?” his tone dripped cold sarcasm.
Khushi looked at him equally coldly, “Very well, although Mrs Gupta and I have a serious axe to grind with you for not keeping all the board members in the loop regarding this crisis,” she glared at him.
Arnav had the grace to blush, he fumbled and looked away but swiftly looked away, “I have discretionary powers,” he dismissed arrogantly, “And I didn’t think it necessary to involve everybody.”
“I see,” Khushi nodded her head, promising just retribution later at a more appropriate stage; she picked up a thick file, “Well anyway for the moment, here are the documents which will take care of the losses,” she waved to the accountants to have a look, who pounced on the papers and began rifling whispering urgently amongst themselves.
“What nonsense is this Khushi?” snapped Arnav testily, “Khulkar baat karo.”
“All the shares which are in my name in this company and your other companies, the various properties you have invested for me along with,” she looked at Arnav full in the face, “AKC would cover much the losses, am I right?”
“AKC!” Arnav shot to his feet, “Your shares! No dammit no! I forbid it,” he shouted.
A/N I admit that I have no knowledge of how businesses run (or stop!) and I have made liberal use of creative license in this update. Please do forgive me in case of glaring oversights and obvious loopholes – basically bhavnao ko samjho – plijj.
Click here for Chapter 407