Arnav Singh Raizada kept his file down as he concentrated on the voice on the other end..it was her...again! "Yes, Ms Gupta...how have you been? Can i help you with something?" he said in a controlled polite voice, this was the third time she was calling him, probably to complain about Anaya again, he heard her sigh from the other end and somehow that sent goosebumps over his skin...when he had spoken to her before, her lilting voice had affected him...but then her stern words had equally irritated him.
"Yes Mr Raizada...you can surely help me out...by coming to the school for a meeting" she said finding her voice, she could not believe she had sighed hearing his voice, husky and all male, she mentally slapped herself as she realized he had started talking "...so we can maybe postpone it for some other time? Thanks for calling though..have a nice day" she heard him say as he went to end the call, 'What!' she wondered as she quickly spoke "M..Mr Raizada...sorry I didn't quite catch what you said..." she said trying to form words in her jumbled mind.
"I said, its my company's AGM tomorrow...so its going to be a very busy day...and then I'm out of town the day after that...so i guess we'll need to postpone it" he said getting exasperated, he did not have free time for a chit chat with a primary school teacher, he thought scowling, he was about to end the call again when she spoke up "No.." she said with finality, as if what he just said made no sense to her..off course!
"Excuse me...what do you mean No?" he said his temper rising with every passing second "I mean, No you cannot cancel tomorrow..No it cannot be postponed till next week...so please let me know what time should i fix the meeting for?" khushi said, her voice getting sterner with each syllable she spoke, who the hell did he think he was!
"I don't think you understand what an AGM is Ms Gupta..and I can understand why! What more can i expect for a small time teacher like you!" he said sneering away, he had enough of this Ms Gupta..No one spoke to Arnav singh raizada like this...he never took orders from anyone, however tempting their voice was! "Mr Raizada..I do know what an Annual General Meeting is...and I also know that it does not run for an entire day..unless your shareholders have nothing better to do then sit around the whole day and ruminate on every tiny thing your company does!" she said caustically.
Arnav was taken aback, he never thought that sad little ms Gupta was this well informed, he was just about to reply to her when her voice came back on, more caustic then earlier "It would be lovely if you stop bothering about your company shareholders and stocks for an hour and instead think about your daughter...if you can only understand this lingo then let me explain Mr Raizada...consider your daughter to be an asset, a valuable asset...you hold stock in her company...by company i mean her life! And she owns some in yours...at least i hope she does!" she said getting ready to spew more.
"So, if this asset, which is right now in danger of deferring into loss...by which i mean that whatever investment you have done for her...from giving birth to providing for her whims and fancies...is in the unfortunate fear of becoming a complete waste...since you have not nurtured your investment! If you want fruitful profits from this...if you want this investment of yours to grow in the right way, then make time for it! Strategize how to foster it correctly and the profit margins will be huge!...so i hope you get my point? I'll see you tomorrow in Mrs D'Souza's cabin at sharp 4pm. Have a good day Mr Raizada" khushi said chirpily as she ended the call, a determined grin on her face.
'What the!' Arnav stood stiff as a rod, not believing what he had just heard...that bloody teacher...that mousy fat ugly woman!..ok he had no idea how she looked...but going by her tirade a few minutes ago he guessed she was one of those unfeminine feminists who were all about making a mark in the man's world..he had no qualms about such woman in fact he respected them...but he was sure this spitfire was a hag with an angel's voice...though she sounded like death's knell right now.
He locked his iPhone as he sat down on his chair and called his PA in, "Aman, what time will the AGM finish tomorrow?" he asked as aman his PA came inside his cabin, clumsily holding his tab with him "Uh...well the meeting will start at 9am...and will be done by 11...the elected board members and you will have your personal meeting on fiscals after that..then break-up for lunch" he said consulting his boss's agenda on his tab.
"Hmm...tell me aman...do all companies keep their AGM in the morning? I mean are there any who keep it perhaps in the afternoon?" arnav asked matter of factly...he felt like such a dud right now, aman looked at him with confidence and said in a chirpy tone "Off course they do! There's no hard and fast rule...but all public limited companies keep it in the morning...owing to the shareholders time...you know since majority are working people.." he said but stopped talking as he saw arnav's face getting agitated.
"Fine! I did not want a PhD paper on it dammit! Our next AGM will be in the afternoon!Do you understand? Note that down..." arnav said as his angry eyes flashed towards aman, who was busily making notes...his glasses fell off as he struggled to hold the tab, his phone and his glasses all at the same time. Arnav saw this and got more agitated, he picked up a marker from his desk and strode towards aman, uncapping the marker he wrote on his forehead ' AGM 2013 ' 3 PM', "Now scram!" arnav shouted as aman ran out of his cabin, hoping it wasn't a permanent marker.
Arnav went and stood by the large window in his office, he looked down into the busy street below as people made their way out for lunch, children returning from afternoon school, his heart constricted as he saw a man with his son trying to cross the road...the boy was clutching his father's hand tightly..he watched as the man picked him up and crossed the road with ease, both father and son laughing their way to the bus stop.
Arnav sighed...father...such a simple word...but it meant so much...he leaned against the window frame as he remembered his childhood...his father...their simple home, his mother making hot roti's to go with the simple fare of vegetables and lentils in the evening..the way his father made up odd songs to teach him everything from maths to science...how his mother ran her tired fingers through his hair as her voice lulled him to sleep...the small space where all three slept..content in whatever they had..happy in their little world.
He walked slowly to his table wiping the tears which threatened to fall any moment, he sat down on his chair and took out a frame from his bottom drawer, he placed it on his table and stared at the photo looking back at him, those cute curls..chubby pink cheeks, her toothy grin...it was anaya's 3rd b'day picture...she was so happy then, not aware of so many things...still not aware...He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair, he had not been a good father...she deserved so much more...he opened his eyes and looked at her picture again, he would go tomorrow...he would make sure that he sorts out his daughter's life...he had to do it, for anaya...for..Akash.