1: He Knows What He Wants
A month later: ~
“Congratulations Sir! This project will be huge for our company. Could I have the good fortune of being assigned to it? Since you are busy handling multiple projects here, you need someone reliable on the other end. What do you think sir?”
Shantanu perused Gautam, his Project Manager with interest. His tenure with their company was just six months old and he was already looking greedy. His aggressiveness could be both good and bad. Shantanu offered him an enigmatic smile; “Thanks. I will consider it.”
Gautam walked out of the office with dejection written clearly on his face. He was greeted with a pitying look from Shantanu’s new secretary, Sheila. “Take my advice and hold on to your horses Gautam. Boss hates upstarts;” she giggled as he glared at her and went back to filing her nails.
Meanwhile Shantanu was on the phone with his brother…
“Yes Akshay bro! Kaho kaise yaad kiya? What’s up?”
“Thanks. It’s no big deal,” Shantanu said as he gazed out at the Mumbai skyline.
“What do you mean by no big deal? It is for our company. I saw a smile on Dad’s face after a long time. So that two-month trip did pay off finally huh?”
“Yes bro. Bahut papad belne pade (I had to work really hard) but it was all worth it. I’m glad you and dad are happy.”“We are proud of you little bro no shaq! Welcome to the company!”
“Thanks bro, thank you very much.”
So this is Shantanu Khandelwal. Young, rich, ambitious, smart and ruthless when it came to doing business. He knew what he wanted and would not stop at anything to get it, as long as it did not involve breaking the law. He had inherited this trait from his father who had worked tirelessly all his life to build his empire. His advice to him had always been not to let emotions come in the way of progress and he agreed with him so far. Anyhow he had only just started. He wanted to make a name for himself apart from his dad and big brother—Shantanu Khandelwal, renowned architect, town planner etc. etc.
There was a knock on the door and his secretary walked in without asking for his permission. He wondered what had it been about her that had impressed old Mrs. Khatri so much to recommend her. Mrs. Khatri had left happily. She had retired after working faithfully for the company for over thirty years. But she had left him with this piece of work. Sheila had decent diction, was punctual, her turnaround time for letters and such was acceptable but she had an abysmal dress sense and of late was behaving a little too familiar with him. That was one of the reasons why he had trouble taking women seriously. They always seemed to have an ulterior motive. Just then an image of a pair of beautiful black eyes flashed in his mind. No not like that woman. She was something else.
“Sir! I was wondering if you would like me to get you something? You must be feeling exhausted after that looong conference this afternoon. I could even give you a quick relaxing massage, I have been told I have magic in my fingers,” Sheila gushed eagerly.
“Ms. Sheila your job description is of a personal secretary. It doesn’t include providing any additional services. Though a massage at this time doesn’t sound like a bad idea, I’d rather get it at my regular place with no strings attached. Sorry but that’s how way I am; the sooner you know the better!” Shantanu uttered a little louder than he had intended. But his patience was wearing thin.
His secretary’s pretty face turned pale and she turned to walk out. Shantanu raised his voice a few decibels; “And before you check out Ms. Sheila, let me tell you one more thing. I’m not in favor of excessive display of skin in the workplace. If you want to flaunt it do it at home or anywhere else but not in my office. I don’t want our clients to be tempted to look down the front of your dress every time they come by. I want their complete attention. So cover it from now on or you can look for another job!”
Sheila turned beet red. She raised both her hands to her chest and hurried out the door.
Shantanu grinned. He almost felt sorry for her but it was for the best. He would see a new avatar of Sheila tomorrow.
His phone rang twice before he picked it up. A bright smile transformed his face when he saw who it was.
He didn’t get a response.
Shantanu smiled, “How come my darling Megha is not talking today? Did the cat get her tongue?”
“How did you know it was me chachu?”
“Because you called me with the phone I gave you last Christmas. Remember you were going to use it only to call me?”
“Okay, I guess you are not that dumb after all unlike Dad who always mistakes me for Mom! God these men!”
Shantanu burst into a loud guffaw.
“Have you forgotten our date?”
Shantanu glanced at his watch, “No! I’m just about to leave the building. How could I forget a date with my one and only girlfriend?” He grabbed his jacket and bolted out of his office.
“Really chachu! So when are we going to get married?”
“Married? Megha aren’t you too young to be talking about such things.”
“But you just called me your girlfriend! Don’t good boys marry their girlfriends?”
Shantanu smiled, “Of course they do. But I didn’t mean it that way Megha. You and I are much more than that.”
“Okay chachu, I understand. Anyway you are too old for me. But when will you get married like mommy and daddy?”
Shantanu sighed, “It’s a long story sweetie pie, something you shouldn’t bother your pretty head with.”
“Well I guess if you get married you won’t have much time for me just like mom and dad. So don’t get married, okay! Just get here quickly and don’t make excuses or I will never speak to you again!”
“Okay meri maa! I’ll be there before you can say abracadabra!” Shantanu said and floored the accelerator.
Chachu– uncle; ather’s younger brother.