He gripped her shoulders. “YES… I lost it. I lost everything… just everything… but you know Namrata… what hurt the most?”
She just kept staring tears flowing…
He brought his face close to hers. “…what hurt most was BETREYAL… being stabbed in the back by the one person whom you trusted the most… Just…just tell me ….just ONCE… WHY DID YOU DO IT?”
Namrata shoved his hands away. She raised her hands and cried, “… I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT… okay?”
He glared at her his nostrils flared with rage as he removed his phone from his pocket. He showed her a video and said, “Explain THIS”
Namrata was stunned to the core. It was her video accepting money from Smriti and another accepting the envelope from Jatin … Just the part where they were giving it to her. It was edited to show her in bad light. Only the part where Smriti thanked her for everything was there in the clip. Her initial refusal and later talk was missing. Even Jatin’s conversation was missing.
She looked at him through tears and pleaded, “This… this is not what it looks like. It’s edited… I…I don’t know who did it but it’s not…”
“….JUST SHUT THE HELL UP… “He bellowed and she startled. “…Did you receive the money or not? Twenty thousand in cash … twice? Besides the gold ear studs. They cost forty thousand…”
She nodded…”It was…. Because of my work on the gig….” she spoke softly unable to trust her own words.
“…Ha… look at the naivety. Do you think I am a fool? Who gives that kind of money as a perk to a mere employee who had completed just over a month in the company? So don’t…. just don’t fool me. Enough –of- your -deception. I just want to know why and how… I want answers….”
She was shaking now… “You have to trust me on this. I have no idea…”
He held her arm and pulled her to him. “Trust you? Trust you? You know what? I was a fool…. I was a lovesick idiot. You used yourself so well… what a charade… I have to give it to you…You traded me… My future… my everything… I only want to know why you did that. HOW DID YOU GIVE OUT OUR FIGURES AND WHY?”
“What… figures…?” she asked still crying. He furiously backed her till she landed on the sofa. He leaned over her and spoke with a sneer. “I am sure now that you don’t know the relationship between me and your father. Then what was it? The money? You could have asked me. I could have given you more… a lot more… I want to know… what was in it for you?”
“N…n…nothing… I don’t know anything. My mother just told me…. About you knowing my father…just before you got here. Don’t… don’t know what…” she tried speaking between tears.
“That’s it… though it’s very tempting, I can’t strangle you…. I can’t… believe it. I believed a lie… Fell for your deceit… I had prided myself on being the Giant Eagle…. A great trader…. But today …I realised I was the one being traded all this while…” saying he stood up straight and started to leave. He turned his back to her and as he approached her door, he stood for a moment and rubbed his eyes.
Then as he opened the door as he took out his phone again. She yelled, “Wait Ranvijay… it’s not what you…” He banged the door after him.
She dropped on the floor sobbing. Things were now making sense to her… the money, the earstuds… how she could be so stupid. She should have realised something was amiss…
The alarm sounded and she woke up. Her eyelids were heavy because she had cried herself to sleep. She remembered the events of the earlier night and fresh tears started to flow. But today… she HAD to get some answers. She quickly dressed up had a cup of coffee and rushed to office. As she entered the building she saw it was heavily decorated… The old ‘for you forever’ sign–board was replaced by a new one and it was lit up. All the employees were present. Namrata’s confusion prevailed. She was getting angrier by the minute. She met James and asked him what was going on. “for you forever has been taken over by a new conglomerate. Merged… to be precise. Celebrations are on.”
“Who… who took over?” she asked with her heart thudding.
“Some…. PC infotech…”
Now where did she hear the name before? Probably on the TV. Her head was spinning. She rushed towards Smriti’s cabin. Today she didn’t knock…and entered directly.
Smriti was standing and talking to an old man with a crooked nose sitting on her chair. They both stopped talking as Namrata barged in.
“What is it Namrata?” Smriti asked with a smile…
That angered her all the more. “Smriti M’am, I want some answers. Why did you… Why was that video taken…and why was it edited?”
“Aww, look at her….” She told the old man waving a hand towards Namrata. “… So you are in love with that asshole is it? Your GIANT EAGLE…” She looked at the old man and both started to laugh. The old man suddenly started to wheeze and Smriti helped him with the inhaler.
The old man sighed and spoke, “Look Namrata, you should thank us…we did you a favour. That man didn’t deserve you after what he did to your father. And after what he did to us…he got a taste of his own medicine…”
Namrata stared at him… “How… how do you know my father?”
The old man regarded her for a while and spoke, “…Abhinav Kiri and I go a long way back…He was a good man. An emotional fool though… My late wife always said, ‘being emotional was ok but not an emotional fool’….”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she remembered her father. “I…I… want answers…Why…” she waved her hands around not able to form the words to voice her turmoil.
“Of course… you are Abhinav’s daughter… you would want answers….” the old man wheezed as he spoke. He typed something on his laptop. After a moment he turned it around. She saw news articles dating seven years ago.
RM Industries’ meteoric rise….
RM Industries to takeover Suvarna guddi jewellery group…..
Deal goes down….
Ranvijay Mehrotra Director of RM Industries arrested…. Fraud…. Released on bail…
Major accident on Mumai –Ahmedabad highway… Venture capitalist dead, wife seriously injured….
Mehrotra free…. Case closed …. No evidence.
Namrata started sobbing as she read about the accident which resulted in her father’s death.
The old man got up and walked towards her. He patted her back and made her sit down. He walked with a slow gait towards the window and said, “Your father’s accident investigation too was suspended by Ranvijay. That man destroyed all our lives. You see my daughter Smriti? I had another daughter… Rhea. She was engaged to Ranvijay. But after this fall out the alliance broke and she… she hung herself. She was addicted to that man…” He wheezed again… “…I saw him do that to you too. He lured you. And you caught the bait….”
Smriti spoke then, “…that’s why we decided to …. to use you, as well as open your eyes.” Then she took Namrata’s purse. She zipped it open and emptied it on the table. Her meagre contents fell out. She then pulled the inner lining of the purse outside and tore it. A chip like thing fell out of it. “This…” Smriti showed her and said, “… this is an advanced microphone made by my genius father. It can catch human vocal frequencies to up to 300 metres radius…. I got it stitched to your bag before the Five star hotel gig. You did the rest of it dear…” she laughed as she said it.
Namrata just couldn’t believe anything anymore…she realised she was being played all this while. She had thought she had made it big in her career… but she was just being… traded. She stood up. She had already removed those ear studs and placed them in the box. She took the second envelope given by Jatin the other day and placed both on the table. “I… I can’t work here anymore… you…all of you are full of lies and deceit…. You may keep the rest of my salary and allowances against the twenty thousand you had given me. I haven’t taken anything from this… you may check….”
Her heart was already crumbled… she was now totally shattered. As she opened the door, she heard the old man, “He is not worth it Namrata…
As she came out of the cabin she wondered if she could trust Ranvijay ever again… her mother’s word kept ringing in her ears,
‘There is nothing like free lunch’
The old man smiled to himself. Today he had his revenge. Premnath Chopra had done it. He had stolen RM Industries right under The Eagle’s nose and Ranvijay couldn’t do anything. That man was hit where it hurt the most… his baby RM Industries and then his lady love… Now that Namrata knew the Eagle was responsible for her family’s condition, she would hate him…
Premnath laughed… he had avenged the death… of his dreams, his wife and Rhea. Finally Smriti would inherit everything and he could die in peace…
Had he done anything wrong? No…he didn’t think so.
His wife always said, “the law of karma is also the law of cause and effects…as you sow so shall you reap…”
He coughed into oblivion as he thought of her disapproving looks….
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