Part 1: The last epistle
After a brief time at the hospital, where the doctors tried hard to stabilize a sinking Shashi, Arnav left the place.
He initially had decided to stay by Kushi who looked very broken. But there were no friendly vibes from her, thanks to his twisting the tale which told her a different story far from what was true.
But soon Happy made his way to the lobby where they both were sitting. Seeing him, she blurted out everything'everything except for the unbelievable events which made her sport the ornaments which indicated her marital status.
"I drove him into another Heart attack Happy ji" she whimpered to her ever faithful friend.
Arnav stood there annoyed and exasperated about her trusting happy but when he had tried to console her earlier, she had neglected all his advances in that sense. Though he understood why she behaved that way, a wilder side in him, a side that he wasn't aware of until recently was roaring at this behavior of hers. The annoyance finally paved way for anger when she muttered to herself that she shouldn't have in the first place decided to help 'innocent' looking liars, he decided to call it finale and head home.
He spoke to Happy briefly about letting him know if there is any kind of emergency, to which Kushi commented that his services are not needed anymore and since her father has already given the key to the locker which probably had the documents which he was looking for, their liaison has come to an end with that and there was no need for him to be bothered about them.
He rushed away angrily from there. He first thought of going home and hitting the sack. His head was throbbing from all the events of the morning and to top that a very cross Kushi was giving him inconsolable grief which he couldn't explain. Guessing that he would not even be able to have a peaceful sleep if he headed home this way, he decided to head to the metro station. That remained one thing which could divert his mind effortlessly or so he hoped.
Box number 293 at the Lakshmi nagar Metro station happened to be one of the lockers that Shashi had hired. When Arnav approached the Station Master, to his surprise he learnt that Shashi had given them written permission in advance to let Arnav operate the locker.
"Good that you came today." The station master told him "The locker was hired till this month end. Do you want to continue using it?"
"No.. I just need to look into it"
"Alright" the station master told him as he called one of the men under him and handed him a key.
"I have one key already" Arnav told him
"Yeah. These lockers are high security lockers ' they are double locked. We would need both the keys to open it. We have one key, the other will be with the person who rented it."
Soon Arnav was walking towards the lockers with anticipation. Why was a high security locker hired? Are the property papers really here? Is it safe enough? Why was this protection needed anyway? What was the threat?
The assistant used his key on the lock while Arnav looked on.
"You have to just shut it close once you are done." The boy informed him "If you don't want to use it you can leave your key with us and sign our ledger, if you have the key with you beyond this month, you might have to pay rent for that number of days too"
Arnav nodded and sighed in relief when the boy didn't linger there. He turned and left the place, giving him some privacy.
But when he opened the locker, he didn't find any property papers in there contrary to his belief. He only found some bank documents which spoke about an account which was a jointly created by his father and Shashi and also a big envelope which was addressed to him by his father.
Fighting the disappointment that was coursing through him, he quickly emptied the locker and walked back to return the key to the officer in charge.
Arnav decided to get back home before he went through the contents in the document. He went home as quickly as possible and reached his room, ignoring the surprised looks of the elderly ladies in the house.
When Arnav opened the document he found that it was a hand written letter to him by his deceased father. He sat down by the edge of the bed to read it. It started with a note
If you are reading this letter, it means that I am no more' and I was not able to tell you all that I have been yearning to tell you before I call it quits from this world'
Arnav felt as if a dagger was being pierced into his heart. He took in deep breaths before he could read further. He hadn't cried much when his father passed away, the grief was indeed there, but there was a higher sense of responsibility that encapsulated him and he suddenly realized that he hadn't mourned for his father in entirety. Reading the hand written letter gave him a sense of anguish, a longing and guilty feeling like he had betrayed the memory of his father with moving on with life so soon.
If that was the emotion that he was having when he started with the letter, by the time he finished it, he was feeling devastated as the raw, intense emotions of angst hit him. He felt drained of every ounce of vitality as he slumped to the floor.
He learnt a lot of things from his father's hand written letter' a lot of things that he didn't know about his father, the Struggle that the man had to undergo after he got addicted to alcohol. How he had to suffer with foes that he actually thought to be friends' How he had been wanting a helping hand and had at numerous occasions thought of confiding in his elder son. But as the destiny had it, his elder son had been always clear that he was not that much interested in the family business and was more interested to prove his mettle in the fashion world. As a father, Ajay had respected it and has refrained from involving Arnav in the business related challenges that he had been facing. It was always taken for granted by the family that Arnav would be starting his new venture and it would be Akaash who would be taking the reins of the family business.
And it was too early to Akaash to get involved as such. So Ajay had fought alone when he discovered that there were leakages in his proposal figures, When his there were moles in the company and he knew not where and who. At one point, he took to Alcohol and soon with disloyal group of friends he took to gambling as well. Soon he was so addicted that he didn't realize when in a fit of drunkenness he was being taken advantage of. The realization had come too late when in a broken state he had remembered his long lost friend, Shashi whom he met in a local club. He then went in search of his friend who was his volley ball team mate when he was at school. They both had represented their district for national level championship.
Ajay had no clue of who his traitors were, but he was sure he was made to sign a bunch of papers when he was in his highest level of inebriation. Also he suddenly became aware of the seriousness of the situation if there was an attempt to murder him. He had confessed all his fears and concerns to his faithful friend but all that Shashi was able to do was to give him his sympathy. Ajay was sure of the deed that was already done and Shashi was not able to help him much with the task at hand, but Ajay had an idea. He wanted to safeguard the most valuable of the lot and wanted a trusted member to be made his binami. He didn't want to use his brother in law or his daughter as he didn't want anyone to predict whom he would have chosen for the task, so made Shashi his temporary binami until he was sure of the people who were trying to cheat him or atleast until his sons returned back.
Shashi was first reluctant to be the guardian of such huge property but finally relented and promised to maintain secrecy on the entire matter. It was also then, Ajay had decided to open a account for Shashi and transfer the family funds to that account. Shashi had then insisted that the account should be in both their names and so that one cannot operate the account without the other's presence.
Ajay had mentioned that he had to take this action to safeguard the property against his traitors and also against his own evil weakness. Thus Shashi had ended up with the property in his name. Also the bank account which was created had a locker facility with all the property documents apart from a sufficient amount of family fund.
Ajay had apologized to Arnav for the mess that he had left him and his siblings in, He also had requested him to take up the reins of the business for some time until it was stabilized. For, Ajay knew the capabilities of each of his children and he also knew that only Arnav can save the business. Though Akaash was hard working, he lacked the shrewdness that was required for the galloping up the business which was broken down due to betrayal and a firm which was scattered with spies who knows where.
"I know your interests lie somewhere else, But this is something that I request you to do, so that Akaash can manage when he is ready- when you think he is ready' Would you do it for me Arnav?"
Arnav found it hard to read further as the lump in his throat grew very painful and his eyes blurred with tears.
The end of the paragraph was a touching tribute to all his children and how he loved each and every one of them, even his little girl' though he had been keeping himself away from his daughter during the early days, owing to the fact that their mother died immediately after her birth, leaving him to tend to 3 very young children and a few days old baby, he had been foolish to think in his anguish that the baby was the reason for his wife's separation from him. The baby was an exact replica of his wife, but since he refused to create the bond with her during the early days, the bond was never as good as it had been for the rest of his kids' But still he loved her a lot, and had regretted his behavior towards her during her early days, he was very proud of his sons and how much they have bonded over the years with their sister, being the very father that he had denied to be to her.
Arnav hadn't realised that the time went by, he didn't know how long he sat there until Akaash came by and knocked at his door.
Kushi stood stumped as the elder man stood before her with a sorry face.
"I am sorry Khushi, we tried our best but he couldn't save him"
She felt as if the entire world had come to a stop'
"No'No doctor' Oh my god' I didn't drive him to death' Please doctor' Do something' Get my father back'he'he'he was ok half an hour back' I spoke to him isn't it?"
"Yeah I know' we thought he stabilized but then he started sinking again and Sorry we couldn't do more'" the doctor said as he kindly held her hand'and then left the place.
The nurse Mariam touched her head sympathetically and kindly as she sank to the floor shaking with uncontrollable sobs.
Topic started by abavi
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