Saturday, 1 February 2020

Part 1: I See You!


He sat in the shadows on the porch as saw as the twilight turned into evening. There was a drop in the temperature a bite to the wind as the evening shadows lengthened but he sat there in his shirt sleeves apparently oblivious to the chill. He took a puff of the cigarette he held between his fingers blowing out smoke through his mouth as he continued to stare at the stars which emerged as the sky turned dark after the sunset. The passerby who noted him saw a young man of 30 something dressed in pair of dark pants over which he wore a white dress shirt with sleeves rolled up to elbow. There was designer watch on the wrist and some very expensive shiny Italian shoes on his feet.

But all this was from far, on a closer look one could see the grin set of his full mouth, the slash of his eyebrows over eyes which changed color from grey to blue with hi moods. At the moment they looked like ice as the frown deepened the furrows on his forehead. The forearms that were exposed by the rolling of the sleeves showed tattoos in inexplicable shapes and language. The hand that clasped the chair was broad at the palm with tapered fingers but they didn't look soft as his appearance indicated money.



He took a last drag of the cigarette and stubbed the rest out as he got up and made his way inside the house. The house inside looked like a ghost bungalow with white sheets covering most of the furniture and the power turned off from the main circuit. The lack of light didn't seem to bother him as he made his way across the sitting area and grabbed the cell phone he dropped on the table. Ignoring the missed calls and messages he quickly dialed a number and waited for the line to connect.

As the call got through in lieu of a greeting he asked a question: so how is it going!

The voice on the other end hesitated for a second: not good! But this is only ignorance and panic selling, things will look up in a couple of days.

Keeping his voice free of any emotion: how many days? Give me a worst case scenario!(sensing the hesitation on the other end) tell me about the share price? How many points has it gone down?

Trying to tone down the panic that had already caused so much damage: it has dropped 15 points! But I still think there is no need to panic! All we need is someone to show us some support, the price would definitely come up again!(when there was silence on the other end) we are sending out press releases about the new venture, all the leading newspapers would run a full page coverage of the businesses and a special one on the new project. I think we will be ok as the promotion and publicity will pick up the negative rumours would go down.

As the silence stretched on line as there was no answer to the numerous actions which were taken: Armaan you there? I'm telling you man! Things will work out, why don't you talk to your dad, he would surely help out!

Armaan: I know he will but as he and mom at present are on their second honeymoon in Europe I have no intention of disrupting their plans.(sensing an argument coming up) Atul! Don't! this was my decision, my responsibility! I'll deal with it!

Atul quietly: Uncle wouldn't have minded!

Armaan: he wouldn't! I would! I'm 31 years old and I have officially taken over the business, when I take the credit for all the successful projects than I should also take the responsibility for the failures if any we face.

Atul: what are you going to do?

Armaan: we need a backer! What do you think about Singhania?

Atul: he's one of our oldest business associates! I think if he were to show us his support things would surely pick up! But Singhania is a shrewd businessman he won't do this without some gain.

Armaan: oh don't worry! He'll surely gain!

Atul as if a thought struck him: please tell me you are not thinking what I am thinking?

Armaan: I don't think there is any harm in it! Its not as if I have any attachment somewhere else!

Atul: but still! I don't think this is necessary!

Armaan: Atul chill! I'm not acting a martyr here! This business here means everything to me. Its my heritage my father's legacy and I will do everything in my power to make it a success that any one has ever dreamed of. Call Singhania iron out the details with him.

Atul: you are sure he would agree to it!

Armaan: he's been angling for it for some time, I'm just going to give him what he want but on my terms.

Atul: think about it! Take a couple of days!

Armaan: I don't need time! I have decided tell Singhania that I'll come to Mumbai in a month's time and we can make things official then.

Atul surprised: where are you now? And why after a month?

Armaan: I've taken some time off! Where you don't need to know but you can contact me on my cell.

Atul: and here I thought I was your friend!

Armaan smiled: you are but I'm doing this to keep the press away! You know how they can be! So what you don't know won't cause you any harm.

Atul: ok! Fine! Enjoy your time away from here, you've been working non stop for quite some months.

Armaan seriously: this conversation stays between us! You don't tell your family or mine! Understood!

Atul: orders! Orders! Ok I hear you!

Armaan disconnected the call and made his way outside, he stood staring in to the darkness that had fallen. He kept staring out in the night when his cell beeped indicating that a message had been received, he couldn't help but smile as he saw the message.

It read:

            Don't worry things will happen as you want!

            Relax and enjoy your time!

                                    Atul

Armaan: silly guy!

Armaan is the heir apparent of the Malik Industries that were spread nationally and internationally. The eldest son of Billy and Ananya Malik took over the family business at the age of 25. He took over the business and the Malik Industries was taken to another level, whatever he touched turned to gold. This new venture was another of his projects but this time the market was not responding the way was expected. The market was rife with rumours that the project was going to flop even before it had officially launched. The stakeholders had come to the front with their concerns and had shown their double mindedness.

Armaan had listened to all and tried to allay their fears but they were from sold, Armaan left Mumbai on  a whim. Driving directly from the office to Panchgani without informing anyone about it. Panchgani and its link with Armaan was only known to Armaan's parents and no one else.

Armaan stood looking at the night sky he turned around and went back into the house locking the door behind him. He made his way to the bedroom from memory and pulled the bedspread off, he checked the mattress and decided it would have to do for the night. He fell on the bed fully clothed, lying across the bed he toed off his shoes and closed his eyes.

The events of the day and the last few weeks of too many work hours caught up with him. He closed his eyes and instantly fell into deep sleep. He woke up to the sound of birds chirping and sun light streaming through the window whose curtain he had forgotten to pull last night. Feeling refreshed he got up and made his way to the bathroom.

Once showered and dressed, the clothes he had found in the closet he had left behind the last time he had made the visit, he  decided to head out to get some breakfast. He had just opened the door when his cell rang displaying Atul's name.

Armaan took the call: what now?

Atul getting to the point: Singhania wants it on paper!

Armaan didn't react for a moment and in then deathly calm voice asked: he wants what?

Atul exasperated: I talked to him yesterday! You were right about his interest! I closed the deal and told him you were in agreement, that you'll be back whenever you are and then formal announcement would be made.

Armaan: but he disagreed?

Atul: he says he want things in writing so that the agreement is valid!

Armaan: does he know whom he is talking to?(without waiting for Atul's response) I'm Arman Malik and my word is bankable.(he didn't shout but the precise way he spoke was sharp enough to cut anyone in half) tell him if he wants the deal then he'll wait for my return otherwise he can withdraw his support I don't need his backing. Atul! Don't call me again!(he cut the line)

A furious Armaan walked out of the house shutting the door with a bang and locking it. He started off the steps of the porch and started walking ignoring the car hoping to walk off the anger. He turned left not paying attention and kept a brisk pace trying to control his temper.

To himself: he had the audacity to dictate terms to me to Armaan Malik! He was the one of the most successful businessman of the country, he signed deals of billions of dollar on his word alone and Singhania was asking for a written deal.

Armaan wasn't arrogant but he knew his strengths, Billy Malik, Armaan's dad was a good businessman; so business came naturally to Armaan. Armaan was born with a silver spoon in his mouth by the time Armaan had grown up, Billy with his shrewdness and hardwork had turned that silver spoon into gold.

Armaan kept walking, looking at his right saw a park and started towards it. Armaan thought to himself: he liked money, he liked the challenge of creating more, creating something different. Malik Industries comprised of a Construction company, Interior decorating company Armaan had started, along with a Paint company. Last year he had started a telecommunication company and the newest venture armaan was emabarking was launching a entertainment related magazine.

So what if he had a golden spoon in his mouth as he grew up but now he wanted that spoon studded with gems, better yet with diamonds.

With a furious frown on his face he kept walking in the park oblivious to the sound of kids playing. Irritated by all the noise and chatter he looked toward the group of children who were screaming and laughing playing the game of blindman bluff with a grownup female. Not in the mood he kept walking trying to  calm his mood . After walking for another twenty minutes he felt his mood change and felt his temper lessen.

He looked around and saw the girl he had initially seen playing the blind man bluff standing with her arms around a kid, who was laughing hysterically. Not yet in a very good mood armaan decided to leave as the chatter wasn't helping his mood. He started to walk past the kids quickly and saw the girl turn around, he turned his to the other side avoiding eye contact with the intention of getting away. When he banged into a female form, his hands immediately shot out and grabbed the arms before she could fall on her back.

Annoyed beyond words his already frazzled temper got the better of him and he spoke harshly: what are you blind? Can't you see where you are going?

There was a moment hesitation and then a calm female voice: actually I am blind!

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