Dear readers, a general announcement- the scene that you read in the first page is a promo and not a prologue- I think some were confused so I had to give this clarification- Kushi and Arnav havent yet met in the story. Thanks for your lovely comments. PMs for this will come a little later
Chapter 1: The Raizada Mansion
Part 2: Building up Hopes
"When I was informed about Father's activities, and the rapid disposal of half the estates, I didnt think that there would be more problems than this. Our father was very unfortunate to have friends who only took advantage of his weekness and encouraged him into these activities.
The bonds that were signed by him have been verified to be legal and accurate- which means that we must pay them what the bond says that he owed them- We do not know if he was in his sentient state when he signed them all- we dont have any means to know that-
we have to pay the debts of our father- within a month- thats what all the notices say. - the total figures come to nearly 40 crores- Also the ones which are mortgaged and the ones in dispute cannot be touched atleast for now.
The family funds are low and we are nowhere near 40 crores- Looking at the current affairs, I propose that we dispose off the remaining estates. There is a prospective buyer who is ready to pay us 45 crores as the whole- The estimate comes to little over 48 crores- I decided to let go of that 3 crores because we do not have the luxury of time. I say, dispose it off- Settle the debts and then invest on business so that we can grow stable. This is possible if you both and Anjali give your consent" Arnav paused looking at his brothers.
They both nodded immediately- but were little shaken.
"As far as the business is concerned it is in a really bad state- We need to move drastically into positive advertising, new fashion lines and all that- Moreover We have to provide salary for our employees - We should lay off people if we have to manage- I reckon that the remaining left over amount from the estates can be used to invest on new plans for our business.
Also I have been working on a new project at UK-Which is ready to be kicked off- which can be handled by Akaash.- after investment there will be little less than a crore - added to our family funds. In the meanwhile- I can look at the business back here-at India- I would need some funds here too to rejuvenate everything here- Which I think I can manage with my own savings-" Arnav paused as Akaash interuppted him
"Your own savings? - No Arnav- you dont have to do this"
"We dont have any option Akaash- I had anyways been saving it to invest my money in UK project- but now since the plans have changed, I am pooling in money to that project from our estates- to give you a much bigger start than the one that I had planned for the project- So I am compensating that for this- " He paused to look at Akaash who fell silent- though disturbed by the idea at his brother is letting go his dream project and his saving for the family. Arnav shrugged continued further.
"Our family funds can last upto four months at most. And the salary fund cannot come for more than 2 months- even after the layoffs- which will force us to release the business reserve and the left over from the estates disposal- to cover up for the rest two months. We need to pull everything up fast- because this plan will hold good only for four months- by end of three months- both the firms should start spurning profit if we have to continue in business- Otherwise we are doomed." Arnav finished telling them all.
The severity of the situation, began to sink in all the family members.
"Oh my god" Nani gasped "Why did he do this to you all... He has left you all with literally nothing..." She started crying
"We still have our mansion Nani" Arnav told her "and ofcourse the business is intact- albeit in a bad shape- but still we have our name in it" Arnav smiled cynically
Dadi was all quiet, the shocking facts of the last hour had impacted her a lot.
She silently stood up.
"Dadi" Akaash called out
"The parampara, the rich heritage of this family- has been crushed and put to shame by my own son. A man given birth to and raised by me- I have failed as a mother- there is no bigger shame" She told them in a broken voice.
"You grandsons are ready to rectify it- infact I am sure the plan will work out- Have faith Maaji" Mama called out
"yes Dadi, We will work it out... you still have us" Akaash told her.
Dadi looked at them all and then quietly left the place to her room. Nani stood up too.
"Maa" Mama called out
"She is a broken mother Manohar, She needs someone by her side now" Nani answered her son in a broken tone before she followed Dadi
"But why didnt you people tell us about this before itself? I mean you should have informed us when we could have still stopped this all" NK's anger was still evident in his tone
"We were not aware of it Nk" Mama told him "I didnt know about this until 6 months back when Roy came to me. And Roy didnt know until Mr.Iyer and Mr.Roy met coincidently at a party. And Also you all were abroad for your studies... I thought I will be able to manage here- I didnt want to force one of you to take a break from education. Only when I thought things went out of my hands, I asked Arnav to come back. Also we were not aware of the bonds until your father died"
"I am sorry I didnt tell you all about this at the early stages itself" Mr Iyer who was quiet until now spoke. "I came to know that the estates were falling short every year when I did the annual audits- But then I was only associated with mr.Raizada with the audits and not on the personal level. I didnt know that you all were not aware of his activites- I didnt guess"
"You dont have to apologise to us, Mr.Iyer- It was clearly my Father's irresponsibility- We dont not hold you responsible" Arnav spoke out standing up, signalling the other men the end of the meeting.
"so do we finalise on Mr.Kher's offer for the estates?" Mr.Roy asked as he got up as well.
"Give us two days time- My brothers and sister need some time to think over" Arnav told him.
"But thats not necessary" Akaash interuppted.
"Thats right Arnav- We know you would take the right decision" NK supported Akaash.
"No its only prudent that I give you both and Anjali time to say yes to this" Arnav told with finality.
"but thats not going to change our affirmation to your plan" Nk told as Akaash nodded his approval.
The Auditor and Lawyer left just as a heels sounded across the steps to the dining hall
"Hey" a cheerful bubbly voice rang out "I am sorry we are late" Anjali came into the dining hall, her hands full of bags.
"Hello hi bye bye...So what did we miss?" Mamiji's loud voice rang out soon after and she came in too.
"Where were you both?" Mama asked Mami sharply
"We went for shopping.. did you forget? tomorrow is Anjali's 19th birthday, she was feeling low- thinking about her father and all that- she was all gloomy- I took her out for shopping- and why are you screaming at me?"
"Shopping?" NK asked Anjali shocked "You shopped today? when you were told we have a family meeting?"
"Yes. Meetings are boring- some board meeting it was is it? so I went for shopping! " Anjali replied cheerfully "taking out all her 6 sets of designer suits and gowns and lehengas that she had purchased and flaunting them to her brothers and her mama.
"Do you even realise what we-" Nk was stopped by Arnav as he placed a hand on his shoulder
"Its a lovely collection Kiddo" Arnav commented smoothly smiling at his sister.
"Thanks Arnav" Anjali beemed throwing flying kisses at him "what about the rest of you? do you like it?"
"you like it- we like it. " Akaash told her giving her a hifi.
"Ok.. good" Anjali said satisfied, dumping her dresses again into the shopping bag "So what did you discuss in this board meeting? " Anjali asked finally
"Oh you remembered we had one today is it? and it was not board meeting- for your information" Nk started sarcastically
"Then? what was it about?"
"Nothing to be bothered about Kiddo- just some property matter" Arnav interuppted again, with a warning look towards NK to shut up
"Ok.. come on Anjali bitiya- we need to prepare for tomorrow's party" Mamiji called out
"What party?" Mama asked his wife
"Didnt you realise- tomorrow is her birthday.. I know its been only 4 days after her father's death and all that...but still she is turning 19- we have to celebrate - atleast a low profile party with family and her close friends.. Hello hi bye bye"
"ofcourse, we should celebrate our little sister's birthday- This is the last birthday for her as a teenager- we will have a party" Arnav informed them before anyone could respond- the other three men looked at him baffled. Anjali looked positively beaming with joy...
"Next year I am going to Step out of teenage- that doesnt sound good... but still the last teen birthday for me- I am excited!" she said happily as she and Mami left the dining hall with their shopping bags
"Arnav - party in this crisis- " Mama started
"I have never said no to my sister yet Mama" Arnav replied
"But still- the funds are already low- and you both have to work on tight deadlines already- If she goes on like this-" Mama started to tell something fell silent and sighed looking at his elder nephew
"Akaash and I have to shorten the deadline from 4 months to 3 months" Arnav told calmly as he looked at Akaash - and his younger brother nodded his head. Mama shook his head
"How much stress can you both handle ?" Mama asked worried "I am there for you whenever you need me... I know nothing about business- But still I will always be there. You know that right?" Mama asked as he placed a hand on Arnav's shoulder
"ofcourse Mama- We know" Arnav told him.
"I need to talk to manorama- she needs to understand not to spoil Anjali like this" Mama told as he ventured to move out
"Dont tell anything to Anjali yet- Not until tomorrow- She deserves to be happy on her birthday" Arnav called out to Mama as he moved out
"I think you should let me do my share also" NK quipped from behind "I feel left out in all this"
"You should finish your education first NK" Arnav told him firmly
"Akaash hasnt finished his internship yet as well" NK reminded Arnav
"Thats one of the reasons I have asked him to do the new project at UK- he can show it as his internship project as well- and attend his classes too" Arnav answered him
"But when the family needs me- I feel its selfish of me to continue my education" NK argued
"Its not selfish- its your right- We both can manage until you finish NK- then you can join us" Akaash told
"you are not quitting education NK- thats final" Arnav told his brother curtly as Nk kept brooding standing there.
"I rely on you Akaash- for the UK proposal- Will you be able to do it? Arnav asked his other brother
"Ofcourse I can- But isnt this your dream project Arnav? You have been planning this for a year - and are you sure you want me to do this? Why dont you let me handle things here and pursue your dream? I am sure you will be able to do this better - because your heart is in it"
"I suppose we cant ask for everything Akaash- Business is in a very bad shape here- I cant run away from this and let you handle this mess- This is quiet a challenging task- you are just out of university and it will be hectic for you to manage without prior experience- and the UK project is not so - I have done all the ground work... it will be a piece of cake for you- if you put your heart and soul into it.." Arnav told as he moved towards the window near which he was standing earlier in the day.
He was suddenly taken aback when he saw the figure by the window. He was surprised that he didnt notice until the pretty figure knocked on the french window gesturing him to open it. He opened it involuntarily only to realise the girl had climbed all the way up the first floor and had been hanging on to the window sil to gain one of their attention-
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