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Yash picked the paper up which had a few lines scribbled on it. One glance and he realized it was Payal's handwriting, but what she could have written that infuriated her teacher so much was beyond his imagination! Without wasting any more time he proceeded to read the offending document.
Dear Aarti Ma'am...You are very nice . I love you lots. Will you be my mother ?...Payal.
"Now, Mr. Scindhia, if you would care to explain...? This is abominable behaviour. You used your 5 year old child for such dirty tricks? How dare you make such indecent proposals to me?"
Yash looked at her blankly for few seconds , unable to grasp what she was accusing him of. Finally realization dawned upon him, and with a shocked expression he said ," I am sorry. I had no idea about this. I will talk to Payal." Having said that, he left without giving Aarti any further opportunity to speak.
Aarti was confused. There had been genuine shock on his face Well, it seemed like that, but could she trust him! He was probably pretending. After all, she had faced this before, in the previous school she taught. The same thing had happened. Only instead of "will u be my mother?", it was " my father wanted to see you after school ". The said father was a filthy rich pervert, who had a wife at home! The complaint that she lodged to the principal was not taken seriously because she was not as important as the one against whom she was fighting. She began to be harassed frequently until her tolerance and patience failed. He had tried to touch her, and in return she had slapped him...!
The next day, the principal told her that he was helpless. The man was too powerful, and the school trust would not offend him. So, they wanted her sacked instead. The principal was an old man, weak, but kind at heart. He felt pangs of guilt when he looked at her stunned face, and requested her to resign herself, so that she would not be sacked. That would help her to get a job somewhere else. She felt too disgusted to fight against the authorities, and quietly left.
It was unbelievable that the exact same thing had happened to her again! So, this time she had lost her cool. Without informing the principal, or any other senior, she had called Yash Scindhia, and spoken her mind. But, now that he had gone, his demeanor puzzled her. Was he actually pretending? Probably...but still...had she been too impatient? Perhaps she should have found out more about this Yash Scindhia before calling him to school. The more she thought about it, the more foolish her actions seemed. What if she lost the job again? She needed to consult Maansi immediately. She had been working in the school for the past two years and had been very helpful always Maansi would tell her what to do.
"Yash ji. '..I was saying that you are supposed to have lunch with Mr. Mehta today"
Mr. Dubey was concerned. He had been working with The Scindhias since 35 long years. SurajPratap Scindhia trusted him more than any other employee. In fact, he was more than an employee. He was part of the family. That was the reason Scindhia saab had requested him to shift to London with Yash to look after their event management business there. He had been worried about Yash, and wanted Dubey to be with him. The Scindhias settled him and his wife Shobha in London, and ever since then he had always been by Yash's side. Suraj Pratap Scindhia had been right. This was not the same Yash Dubey had worked with in India before the tragedy happened. He was not talking about efficiency at work. If it was possible, Yash's efficiency had increased. He worked with a frenzy, and but for Dubey in office and Dai Maa at home, he would have fallen sick due to lack of rest. He was talking about the man himself.
Dubey remembered Yash as the lovely little boy ,naughty but gracious, always happy. He remembered him as the charming young man who was such a natural at his job...the Best wedding planner in Bhopal, one of the Best event managers in India...Yash had taken the Schindia's a notch higher in the event management world. Along with being the most hard working, he had also been the most jovial and approachable person in office. Yash exuded happiness, and inspired his co workers to take pride in their work, to love and enjoy it. But the man who sat before him now seemed to be always carrying a burden on his soul. He worked harder now, but never seemed to take pleasure in it. He was still the best in his field. The business in London had benefited a lot since he started handling it but he hardly took pride in it. Work was like a drug which kept him alive, a drug taken out of necessity, not willingness. It pained Dubey to see such a bright young man lose his zeal for life and be a mere shadow of his former self.
"Yash ji...whats the matter? Is there any problem? You look very disturbed"
"I don't know how to help Payal, Dubey Ji...I am such a miserable father! Such a failure!", he blurted out.
This was the first time since they shifted to London that he had spoken about his personal life in office.. Dubey ji was sure that something out of the ordinary had happened. It would take a lot for Yash to express his agitations to him.
"Whats wrong Yash?" He couldn't bring himself to add the 'Ji ' now. Yash looked so vulnerable, so troubled that Mr. Dubey's fatherly instincts craved to pat him lovingly and console him.
"I forced her to do this Dubey ji...it was my negligence, my inability to shower her with all the love she deserved, my lack of time which led her to take this step..."
"What has she done? Yash, calm down..its no use blaming yourself...What has she done?"
"I am to be blamed Dubey Ji...and, I must accept it. Payal wrote a note to her teacher, requesting her to be her mother...I don't know what to do Dubey ji...I don't want to lose Payal now...Palak already hates me...We have drifted so far apart...and I am scared the same is going to happen with me and Payal! ".
"Its no use consoling Dubey ji...You know as well as me that this is the truth. Palak hates me, and rightfully so. I came to London to escape from her accusing eyes, and also so that she did not have to see me everyday...but Payal didn't leave me ubey ji. She had such unwavering faith in me...she chose to come with me . And yet I have failed her! God Damn me! ...But its not that I haven't tried Dubey ji...I have, I really have, you know it , right? I love her...but her eyes...Dubey ji...I can't look at her eyes for long...they are just like...like...Arpita's. Payal reminds me so much of her Dubey Ji, and my guilt does not allow me to be with her as much as I would love to! I have been such a coward...running away from her inspite of knowing how much she wants me. And look, what I have done! How do I make it up to her now? How do I make her understand that her mother is gone..gone forever...and she can never come back!"
"Yash...its probably not my place to say what I am about to, but you are like my son...and it grieves me to see you and your children shattered. I know Scindhia saab had told you before and you refused...I really do understand your reasons .but...just think about your children...they have their whole life before them...You blame yourself for messing their lives up, but destiny is offering you one chance of making it all up...You asked me what you should do...Yash, get them a mother...Don't look at me like that Yash...I am not out of my senses...your children need a mother Yash, do it for them...think about them..not yourself"
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