Joined: 14 October 2006
(Note: Whatever plan I have hatched for Arjun is purely fictional. Don't have any idea whether any of it is practical in real life)
Arjun received a phone call from Vikram, his spy at the Garodia Hotel that morning. Vikram informed him that Maan had submitted a tender for obtaining the lease of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation's (MTDC) hotel at Alibaug, a tourist centre. As the State Government was strapped for resources it had decided to disinvest its stake in commercial undertakings. Leasing out its hotels at tourist centres is one such effort. Arjun called in Yash to consult him on the matter. Yash was secretly happy that his plan was slowly taking shape. He told him that Maan seemed to be quite intelligent and sharp in identifying a potential goose that would lay golden eggs. The MTDC hotel at Alibaug was currently making losses but with the right handling it can easily be turned around. As Alibaug is a frequently visited tourist spot, especially by the Mumbaikers, one can get back more than what one invests in a very short time. Arjun called his financial adviser, Mr.Pradeep Malhotra in. He too felt that the MTDC hotel was a good investment.
Arjun called back Vikram and asked him to find out how much Maan had quoted in his tender for the deal. Vikram told him that it would be difficult as he was not in the finance department but he will snoop around for information. A couple of days later Vikram called Arjun and told him that he managed to find out that Maan had quoted an astronomical Rs.50 crore for the lease. Arjun nearly fell off his chair hearing the amount. Fifty crores for a lease to a hotel in obscure Alibaug? Is the guy crazy? It is not even an outright purchase but only a lease. He buzzed in both Yash and Pradeep and told them about Maan's stupidity. They gave each other a knowing look but did not tell him anything.
"What is it Yash? What is it Pradeep?" he looked from one to the other, puzzled by their strange silence. "Is there something that I should know?"
Yash cleared his throat and said that the investment is worth that much. Maan is a very shrewd business. He has worked out a number which will not only ensure he gets the tender but he will recover much more than that very soon. He had got some insider information that a Hollywood company was planning to undertake a shooting in Alibaug in three months time. They will require the accommodation at Alibaug for atleast three months from then. The MTDC hotel was the best in the locality. So Maan can recover a substantial portion of his investment by charging them high rates which they should not have problems paying. The coverage his hotel will get once Hollywood actors stay there will be good for further promoting the hotel and soon there will be a stream of income from it which should enable him to settle the loan. Maan seems to be aware of the Hollywood company's plans going by the rate he had quoted for the lease.
turned to Pradeep who nodded his head solemnly in agreement with what Yash had
"Then that settles it. We are applying for the lease and we'll quote Rs.50.1 crore for the lease," he said with finality.
"But Arjun, we will need the board's approval for it. The board will take its time approving it. They may even reject it since not everybody understands the potential of this deal. You will have to convince them of it. The last day for submitting the tender is tomorrow. Half the board members are on Diwali vacation. So it would be difficult to convene an emergency board meeting to obtain their approval at such short notice."
"Find a way to get around this problem then," he pleaded with them. "I want that hotel really bad. I want to thwart that Maan's idea of making money," he said, biting the last words.
"Well, there is a way out," said Yash, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "You can take a loan in your individual capacity for the amount and take the lease in your name. That way the company will not be involved in the deal. Since the business deal is good, you will get to enjoy all the profits once you reap them."
"But I need the finances urgently. Will I be able to get a loan for Rs.50 crore at such short notice?" asked Arjun sceptically.
"I have a way out for that too! I know a friend of mine from my Harvard days. He is with a leading investment bank in the U.S. and is loaded with cash. He is looking out for a productive investment of the money. You can obtain loan from him and repay him once the hotel starts yielding you the results."
"Yash! You are a saviour. What will I do without you," exclaimed Arjun appreciatively and slapped his back. "Go ahead and make the arrangements with him. Also submit our tender immediately. We are getting this hotel at any cost."
"Done!" assured Yash and the two of them took leave of him. Outside Arjun's cabin both of them shook their hands and winked at each other. The bait has been flung into the river and the fish has bitten it. Now they have to wait till it is irrevocably trapped before drawing in the line.
walked up and down her cabin pensively, worry lines marring her beautiful face.
She has to move out of her chawl house the next day and she had no place to
go. The altercation with Mrs.Shukla over Dev's accidental hitting with
dandiya stick had serious repercussions. The woman who had managed to
become the secretary of the chawl association was infuriated by Sameera's
public admonition and decided to get her evicted from the chawl. She influenced
the other members of the association by citing Sameera's returning home late at
night on a daily basis as the reason. The members agreed that it did not look
nice that an unmarried young woman was reaching home at unearthly hours and
that too being dropped by a young man who they heard was a divorcee.
Since their chawl's reputation was at stake, they wanted her to either come at
a decent hour or leave the chawl within a month.
Manju, Venkat, Adi, Pinky and Mrs.Vandana Malhotra were the only ones supporting Sameera, with the rest of the chawl residents pitching themselves against her. As Sameera knew that she cannot avoid the late sittings, given the nature of her job, she decided to move out of the chawl. However, only when she went house hunting did she realise the difficulties of a single woman finding a decent accommodation for a reasonable rent. Her working hours, her gender and her marital status, all went against her. She will be literally on the streets from the next day. She could move in with one of her friends for a short while but she was not sure when she will find an accommodation. While a working women's hostel could have been an alternative, these hostels were even more strict on the time issue. She took that day's newspaper and looked at the classifieds, circling off the paying guest accommodations. Half a dozen calls later, she was still where she started - nowhere.
Just then Dev knocked at her door and walked in. Seeing her worried look he asked her what was the matter. Although she was reluctant to unburden her problems, his repeated prodding made her finally brief him about her plight. He looked thoughtful for a moment and asked with a poker face, "Ms.Singhania, why don't you move into my house?"
Her eyes widened in shock and she went red with anger. Before she could open her mouth to retort, he raised his hand and said, "Hear me out first. I have a palatial house where only Nandu kaka, my man-servant and I live. You can easily occupy one of my guest rooms. I will ensure that the room is as far away from mine as possible. Food is not a problem as Nandu kaka will have to cook only for one extra person. Your conveyance would also be taken care of since you can come to work and leave with me. In any case I have been taking care of your one-way transportation till now since I was dropping you practically every night. It will also be less of a hassle for me now because I don't need to go to the opposite side of the town to drop you before getting back home."
"I don't want anybody's charity," said Sameera categorically.
"Who talked of charity, Ms.Singhania?" he asked amusedly. "You will be paying me rent, mess charges and conveyance charges. You will in effect be a superior paying guest in my house, for a normal paying guest accommodation may not come with the additional frills of food and conveyance. How much rent do you pay now for your accommodation?"
"Well, you can pay me Rs.1,000, since I am offering you only part of my house instead of a whole flat."
"What about the food and the conveyance?" she asked.
"OK, you can pay me another Rs.1,000 for that. You will not have to spend more than what you are currently spending on your rent. In fact you can save quite a bit on the establishment cost. In addition you will also get my intellectual company," he winked.
"But I have lots of things in my flat such as furniture and other household articles. Where will I keep them?"
"Don't worry, Ms.Singhania, my house is big enough to accommodate all your things. You can store them all in another guest room for you will not be requiring them as long as you are staying in my house. Once you find a place of your own, you can take them all with you."
She still looked sceptical.
"What is it, Ms.Singhania? Do you not trust me? Do you think that I will take advantage of you? Are you still keeping in mind my atrocious behaviour the last time you visited my residence?"
"No. I know you are a decent man. Moreover, if you behave improperly, I can always tackle you the way I did on the previous occasion."
Dev rubbed his cheek reminiscently and smiled saying, "Yes, I know you are more than capable of taking care of yourself. Then what is holding you back?"
"It will only be a temporary arrangement until I find a suitable accommodation," she warned.
"Of course it will only be a temporary arrangement," he agreed. "You are free to leave the minute you find some place for yourself. So do we have a deal?" he stretched his hand.
She gave it a serious thought. She did not have much of an alternative but accept his offer if she did not want to land on the streets. It was not as though she would be living with him. In a way she would be, considering that she would be in the same house as him, but not really 'living' with him. She would only be his paying guest. The guy has been nothing less than a gentleman except for that one slip up. So she did not have much fear on that count. As to what others would think of her, that really did not matter as she always lived life in her own terms. Finally making up her mind, she shook his outstretched hand.
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