That night for the first time in many years she had the same dream that had haunted her nights in her childhood. She saw a huge house in her dreams. In the living room of that house she saw two babies barely a few months old were crawling and two boys only a couple of years older than those babies crawling with them of all fours. Then the scene shifted to a few months later where one baby was trying to get up and stand and both the boys hovering over her protectively. There were few adults, their faces blurred but clearly standing there looking at the kids adoringly. It was a happy dream, everyone was happy in that dream but even then it made her fear for that happy family. She knew that something bad had happened to all of them. Their happiness had not lasted for long. That night she once again after many years woke up drenched in sweat, shaking with fear and crying bitterly, that family's pain hurting her like a physical wound.
That girl was Vibha Sharma.Edited by The.Wanderer - 2018-11-18T21:17:20Z
PROLOGUE (Part I)
A small six year old boy was being dragged by his hand towards a car, while a four year old girl cried in her mom's arms. There was another little boy standing in a corner clutching his father's hand as he watched his friend being dragged away and his mother trying to console the lady. The boy was fighting tooth and nail to get back to his mother, but the man pulling him away did not show any mercy. The woman holding the girl had tears in her eyes as she tried to console the crying child in her arms. That day she had lost everything she thought as watched her only son, her first born child being dragged away from her by the very man whom she had loved, for whom she had left her parents, for whom she had fought with the world. She stood there helplessly watching her child being put into a car, his tear stained face that would haunt her dreams for years to come; was the last thing she saw as the car went out of her sight. She was Sumitra Sehgal. The baby in her arms was Kuhu Sehgal.
He did not want to leave his mother and go. But still this strange man, who claimed to be his father, kept pulling him towards a car. He could see a strange woman sitting in the car, waiting for him. He wanted to be with his sister, she was crying bitterly for him, he wanted to go and comfort her but he could not fight the stranger pulling him towards the car. He saw his mother crying and trying to comfort his baby sister but just then the man who was pulling him, put him inside the car and slammed the door on his face. He peered out of the window just as the car started. The last thing he saw was his mother's tear stained face and his sister attempting to follow after the car as his mother held her back, then the car turned around the corner and he could see them no more. He turned his face away from the window and felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at the lady sitting besides him. That boy was Mahir and the lady was Poloumi. And the man in question was Andy Singhania.
Sumitra Sehgal was the only daughter of famous industrialist Jaiprakash Sehgal. She was the sole heir to the gigantic Sehgal Empire. Her training had started at the tender age of eight when her father sat her down and told her of her responsibilities as his only daughter. Jaiprakash Sehgal was an orthodox man, with a very patriarchal mindset. He always wanted a boy, but his wife gave birth to a girl. They tried for many years, but his wife couldn't conceive again and eventually the doctor declared that she would not be able to conceive again. He had to accept that it was his daughter who would take his legacy forward. Sumitra was eight then.
And so her training began. Her father began to involve in the company's matters right from the tender age of sixteen. She was not allowed to mingle with girls of her age; she was never allowed to go out with her friends. Whenever she was not busy studying, she would be busy with some or the other work related to office. Sumitra was a free spirited girl who resented the restrictions that were being put on her by her father. She would have been happy if her father had praised her for her good work but that never happened. Instead she would be constantly criticized by even the smallest of mistakes. She had to constantly hear her father express his disappointment over having a daughter instead of a son.
She met Andy Singhania at work when he worked for her father as a small time manager. He was an ambitious fellow and quite ruthless. Sumitra was eighteen when she first met him. He guessed the kind of relationship which the father-daughter duo shared and decided to advantage of the sweet, simple and innocent Sumitra. He slowly began to befriend her, gained her confidence gradually. He was careful to never reveal his real intentions to her. He gave her all the attention which she never received at home. He would listen to her problems, remember her birthday, which her father almost never did, he would get gifts for her. He knew that Sumitra revelled in small pleasures of life. In short he knew how exactly to manipulate her.
He knew she resented her father and he used that resentment of hers to get her to rebel against her father. When she was barely twenty one, he proposed marriage to which she readily agreed. He had thought that Mr. Sehgal would not let go of his only daughter and would hand over the entire business to her. But Jaiprakash Sehgal was as ruthless as Andy himself. Despite knowing the Sumitra leaving would mean that his Empire will be left with an heir, he did not succumb to the pressure that Andy was putting on him through Sumitra. Mahir was born about three years after their wedding. Andy thought having a grandson would change the old man's heart, but even that did not happen. Old man Sehgal did not melt even after having a grandson. HE continued to deny the rights of a daughter to Sumitra. Eventually, Andy was forced to admit that he would never be the owner of the Sehgal Empire.
Sumitra's marriage began to crumble after that. She could slowly feel Andy slipping from her grasp. She did everything in her power to keep Andy with her and happy but Andy wanted money and power and she couldn't give him that. Andy never wanted a second child but Sumitra kept her pregnancy hidden till the very later stages when it impossible to go for abortion. She had hoped the birth of a second child might mend things between her and Andy. After Kuhu's birth, Andy left Sumitra to fend for herself and their two kids and began to pursue Poloumi Chatterjee, only daughter of another wealthy businessman. Although Mr. Chatterjee was not as wealthy or powerful as Mr. Sehgal, he was someone who loved his daughter tremendously and was quite willing to give everything to his son-in-law after their wedding.
Sumitra, left with no other option had to return to her parents house where she was accepted back very ungraciously. The only reason why she was accepted back was because her father did want society to point finger at him for abandoning his daughter. Sumitra's mother was nothing more than a puppet in her father's hands. She neither had a voice of her own nor did she have brains. Whatever her husband said, she would do it without any questions. So Sumitra did not get support from either of her parents.
A couple of years later Mr. Sehgal's health began to deteriorate and he was forced to admit that managing the business was no longer possible. He would have to announce an heir very soon and hand over the reins. Sumitrra had continued to work for the companies partly because she had been told that she would have to earn her and her kid's stay in the Sehgal house and partly because she wanted to prove that even she could handle the business just as well. Mr. Sehgal eventually held a press meet where he announced his retirement and Sumitra's appointment as the new MD of the Sehgal Empire. Privately, he had made it very clear that this decision was taken not because she was his daughter but because she was the most capable person who had a chance to carry forward his legacy. Post his retirement he and his wife shifted to the UK, never to come back.
It was in a way a cruel test for her. She now had to look after her kids all alone along with the business. Andy, being his usual greedy self had taken this opportunity to prove that Sumitra was a careless mother who was not able to manage the responsibilities of two kids. After fighting the custody battle for nearly one and a half year, he managed to wrestle Mahir's custody from her. His aim was simple; Mahir being the only son and the heir apparent would eventually get all the Sehgal wealth. If he kept Mahir manipulated right from his childhood, it would be easy to sway his opinion later on. He did not have any love for Mahir, but he wanted the money that would eventually come Mahir's way.
Poloumi was a simple woman with little brains and even little interest in anything other than make-up and clothes. She had fallen for Andy's charms just like Sumitra had. Poulomi's father was a ruthless man but he loved his daughter in his own way. He got her married to Andy and made his son-in-law his business partner. Andy was happy with this arrangement till he found out that Sumitra was inheriting the Sehgal Empire; then his greediness came to the fore. Once he his dream of ruling over the Sehgal Empire began to shine in his eyes. He began to contemplate ways of getting back Sumitra in his life. But his father-in-law was a shrewd man. He knew that his son-in-law will gravitate towards money. He did everything in his power to keep that from happening but even Andy was not a foolish man. He knew Sumitra was hurt beyond words and she would not come back to him at any cost.
So he decided to hit where it would hurt the most; her son Mahir. He decided to separate Mahir from Sumitra. His father-in-law was worried about his daughter having to take care of a step-son but Andy convinced him that the money that Mahir will eventually get would be used to advance their company if Mahir was kept manipulated with love right from his childhood. So Mr. Chatterjee convinced a clueless Poloumi to raise Mahir as her own.
Poloumi never scolded Mahir, never stopped him from doing anything and never denied him anything; partly because that was how she was raised and partly because she did not want to come across an evil step-mom who tortured her step-son. Whatever Mahir wanted, he got. When Andy Poloumi had a son Adi, she raised him in a similar manner because she did not want him to hate her for favouring Mahir all the time. So both of them got what they wanted. For Adi it was even better as Mahir would give double of what he asked for. Adi had no love for his brother, but Mahir loved Adi like his own brother. Mahir missed Kuhu tremendously while growing up. His only wish was that he should get to know his sister, but Andy never allowed him to meet her.
The reason that he gave was that Sumitra did not want Mahir anywhere near his sister. Andy told that despite requesting her a thousand times, she did not allow Mahir to meet her. He created such an impression in little Mahir's mind that Sumitra did not want him in her life and that was why she had given him away to him. Little Mahir while growing up forgot his mother's pain which he had witnessed as saw her pack his bags, and began to believe Andy's lies. He hated his biological mother and simply adored his step-mom as she did have some semblance of love for him. Mahir grew up to be a complete jerk and a pervert; he treated most women like sexual objects that existed only to satisfy him. Andy ensured that he grew up to be a monster. He knew one day Sumitra would strike back and snatch Mahir from him and when that day comes he wanted to ensure that nothing in this world would sway Mahir.
Mahir began smoking at the age of fourteen and drinking at fifteen; he was addicted to both the things by the time he was sixteen. Sumitra managed to reopen the custody case when Mahir was around fourteen and a half years of age and managed to win his custody when he was fifteen. The thought of leaving his father and step-mom and going to that woman's house who had abandoned him as a child caused him to slip into depression and accelerated the process of getting addicted to smoking and drinking. Andy faked sadness and bid a very loud and tearful good bye to his son, while Poloumi really cried for Mahir; Adi on the other hand was glad to get rid of his step-brother. He was tired of sharing his parent's affection with Mahir. Sumitra had hoped to reconnect with her son but to her dismay she realised that Mahir hated her. She also saw that he had a number of bad habits and treated girls like dirt.
She wanted to pamper her son but she knew at that moment Mahir needed firm handling, so she became the strict mom that Mahir needed. But that made Mahir resent her even more. In the meanwhile Andy continued to supply Mahir money for his enjoyment. Even Poloumi gave him money whenever he asked for it. So no amount of grounding and restricting pocket money could stop Mahir.
Mahir had hoped that Kuhu would welcome him with open arms but his utter shock and dismay; she was disgusted by him and his behaviour. He had looked forward to meeting his sister again and his love for her had not lessened in the years that they had spent apart but when he realised that Kuhu wanted nothing to do with him, his hatred for his mom increased tenfold. He thought it was Sumitra who had made Kuhu against him. He did not realise that it his behaviour that drove Kuhu away from him. Kuhu on her part had looked forward to meet her brother. She had heard numerous stories of how Mahir loved her, and how she would stop crying only when he would pick her up when she was a kid. She had this image of an ideal brother in her mind and that image was badly shattered when she met Mahir.
So all in all, Mahir proved to be a disappointment to both his mother and his sister. When he turned eighteen, Mahir threatened to go back to Andy. Sumitra did the only thing that she knew would make Andy force Mahir to stay with her. She told Andy that if Mahir ever left her house and went back to him, Mahir would lose his inheritance. So Andy convinced Mahir to stay with Sumitra. That depressed Mahir even more. He began drinking heavily.
Mahir had a girl friend in college. Her name was Anu Mittal. She came from a normal middle class family but she had big dreams. The only reason she was with Mahir was because of the never-ending supply of cash that he had. Her father's salary was not enough to satisfy her big dreams and expensive habits and that was where Mahir came handy. He would buy her expensive gifts, dresses, he would take her out expensive places for dates and in return she would satisfy his every whim.
She was a shrewd girl who was well aware of the fact that there was no such thing as a free lunch in life. Every single favour had to be paid back, every gift returned in cash or on kind. If Mahir's price was sex, then she would pay it. There was no love in that relationship. It was pure give and take kind of relationship. The added bonus was that Mahir had beautiful arm candy to flaunt about and Anu got THE Mahir Singhania as her boyfriend.
Mahir was a good looking boy, tall, fair, with dark expressive eyes and well built body. Many girls had a crush on Mahir, and he thoroughly enjoyed all the attention that he got. Mahir had quick brains but he rarely used them. He had failed multiple times in the first year itself but then Sumitra threatened to disown him and Andy somehow convinced him to clear his examinations. So by the time this story started, Mahir was in the last year of his college and twenty-three years of age. Kuhu was barely twenty-one and was in last year too.
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