Chapter 7

Kajal stood outside Shipra’s cabin holding the pile of folders about KB. It had been over a week post the viral video fiasco. Fortunately, Shipra had arranged to pull it down. The other pics were quite grainy and only a couple of sites had mentioned her name in passing. But since she was a nobody, no one cared. She thanked Bappa for His blessings. He had saved her from utmost embarrassment.

Irrespective of the type of person KB was, he had saved her ass and she was grateful. Fortunately, her cousins weren’t into this kind of internet news not that they would have recognized her. She was dressed in loaned clothes and had donned war-paint which was a far cry from her usual self. During the week, Shipra had insisted she read through the files to date so she could be ‘updated’.

There was a hush-hush rumor in office that Shipra had been responsible for all that transpired and KB had no role in the same. But from what she read in these files; KB had a nauseating personality. Bar brawls and fist-fights were common for the hero. He apparently had strong financial backing and had made a fortune from his five-year stint in the glamour world. At 29 he was the most searched celebrity online.

Then there were the innumerable arm candies, his clandestine affairs. Especially the one with veteran model and actress Anushka Pandey. Older to him by a good 7 years, the pair was always booed and jeered but they had gone strong for a whole year. Kajal had seen the pictures from the paper cuttings. There was no mention online though. She smirked wondering the kind of influence these guys had to keep news from going or not going viral. But something had happened four years ago and the couple had abruptly broken up.

She had asked around discreetly and Vijay had told her that KB was apparently an abusive boyfriend and that Anushka was often seen with bruises whenever she emerged out of his penthouse. She had once gone on record post their break-up accusing him of using her for her contacts and also physically assaulting her… but had soon withdrawn it all and there was no report or article available anymore.

Kajal sighed as she thought about her brother. He had given her a look that she had understood. He had seen the viral pictures and recognized her. Krunal wasn’t a kid anymore and she didn’t bother to clarify. She tried putting up a happy face so he would get his answers and be rest assured.

Shipra called her in and she walked in balancing the pile and her new stilettoes, Shipra insisted she wear.

“Look Kajal, now that you have read everything you know whom we are dealing with. You may not agree with everything you have read but trust me he is our biggest account and I can’t afford to antagonize him. Though I will be handling most of his stuff, there will be times when you will have to go in my place. I can’t trust anyone else. None of what happens should go to the media without the joint consent of his team’s spokesperson and I… am I clear?” Kajal nodded as she continued. “… and the most important thing… Do not… I repeat… DO NOT do anything on your own without asking me… got it?”

Kajal nodded yet again. She checked the time for the umpteenth time. Maami was away at the village for a prospective alliance for Poonam and wasn’t expected for a couple of days. Maama had gone with his friends for a pilgrimage and her older cousin brother Prathan dada was away on some outing with his friends. So, it was just Kunal and her for at least a couple of days and she wanted to use the solitude to talk to Krunal.

Also, she wanted to read that folder Ganpat kaka had given.  It was already touching 9 PM and it was next to impossible for her to reach before 11PM tonight. Tomorrow there was an event she had to go to from office. KB’s new show’s Muhurat was supposed to be huge fanfare and Shipra and his team had planned some events, like contests and give aways.

KB’s new show ‘Ishq kameena’ was a love story of a gangster and a doctor. The audience was eagerly awaiting the chemistry between him and the leading lady Alina Marfatia. The photoshoots were done yesterday and the pics were to be released tomorrow at the Muhurat.

As Shipra walked out to take a call, Kajal’s roving eyes fell on her laptop screen. Her heart skipped a beat as a rugged KB stared back at her. Her gut feeling told her, there was more to KB than what was projected in the media. She couldn’t explain the attraction towards the man who was not just out of her league but also too out of character for her. The moments in the vanity van where he had come close to her, swam before her eyes.

She shook her head. Those troubled eyes on a perfectly crafted face had bored into her heart every night. And she only hoped she could sleep tonight given the excitement she had in anticipation of seeing him tomorrow. She only had to accompany Shipra so she was relieved. She couldn’t have paid attention when KB was around.

She exhaled a forced breath and shook her head…trying to drive away unrealistic thoughts.

The next day she was at work before time to groom up as per Shipra’s standards. Right then Shipra called. Her son was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis and she wouldn’t be attending the event.

Kajal’s legs trembled at the memory of the last press event. Today it was an outdoor location and Shipra assured her she had to only get a couple of papers signed by KB that too through his PA, Mr. Mehta. Kajal was relieved and decided to do her job well. She could go home directly from the site which meant more time to read that impending folder.

She was dressed in a simple cotton salwar kameez with a designer yoke that cost more than her salary. Her eyes had been troubling her off late and she had been forced to wear her glasses. She picked up her folder and went through the schedule as she waited for the car. There was going to be a Ganesh puja with the traditional breaking of the coconut and invocation of the elephant Lord. Following that there was going to be a filming of the Muhurat shot.

She knew she had to get the signatures before KB went for the shoot else, she would be massively delayed. On her way to the location, she discussed the plans with Shipra over the phone. Feeling confident she strutted to the location. There was a huge pandal and there were barely any people at the early hour. The staff was running around preparing the floral decorations and Kajal smiled at the hustle-bustle. She loved festivities of any kind since it filled the atmosphere with frolic.

She looked around the open ground outside the pandal and saw the massive Vanity van parked at the corner. It only meant KB was already there. Was it her lucky day? Would KB sign the documents? Then she could just leave after the puja.

She dialed Mr. Mehta who told her KB was yet to arrive and to drop the documents in the vanity van. He would get KB to sign them. Excitement surging through her body she rushed to the van… she could pull this off without a glitch.

She opened the van using the code given by Mr. Mehta and stepped inside. She walked towards the makeup unit and placed the folder. As she was about to move away, she saw her reflection in the huge mirror. And her eyes fell on the assorted posters behind. She turned around and walked towards the posters. All form his hit serials and ad films… those she had seen umpteen times but one photo caught her attention. It was in the corner. Dressed in a black shirt with a haphazard collar, he had a beard unlike the last time she had seen him… but what made the picture distinct was the stormy look in his eyes….

It was as if the eyes were staring at a distance beyond the camera and the brewing turmoil in them reflecting his soul… she gasped clutching her heart. No… she shouldn’t be analyzing the man.

“Like what you see…?” a soft voice purred behind her and she startled, dropping her handbag. She swiftly turned to see KB barely a foot away staring at her with his lopsided grin. Good gracious he was in a striped vest and she could see his well-toned body and the huge biceps bulging with the veins pronounced. He bent and picked her bag giving it back to her.

“…seems you like dropping stuff in my Vanity… so what’s it this time? What is the accusation?” he sat on the chair crossing his hands on the table and smiled.

Her heart did a somersault as she saw him smile genuinely for the first time…it was different from the smirk in his pictures. She pointed towards the folder.

“Um… Please sign them… I shall get going…”

“…you won’t be staying for the Muhurat shot then?” he asked not making any move towards the folder.

She sighed and quickly moving to the make up unit, picked the folder and placed it on the table before him.

“Please sign here and another two pages later, exact same location…” she pointed to the opened folder but as she looked at him she saw he was glaring at her. “…um… sign… I can then leave…” she said softly looking away.

“…and what if I don’t…?”

She looked up as if she was slapped. “…Wha…what?”

“I said, what if I don’t sign… then will you stay?” he leaned back on the chair lazily looking at her.

She fidgeted with the ends of her dupatta not knowing how to react.

“What happened…? cat bit your tongue miss righteous firebrand?”

“Look KB sir, I am sorry for the way I spoke the other day… it wasn’t intended… please sign this…”

“…if you really are sorry and want to make amends then stay for the Muhurat shot. I shall sign the papers after the shot…Do you know what’s in the papers?”

“Yes… it’s the contract renewal for the next year…”

“…Exactly… so if you want Rhapsody to retain my account then stay for the Muhurat…” He winked at her and stood up lazily walking out of the Vanity van.

Kajal only stared at his retreating back and then the shut door. What the fuck just happened?


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