Joined: 13 November 2011
If Anjali was angry, she didn't show. Shyam felt this was the Anjali that would have been if she had taken over the company if her father was still alive. There were many possible directions their lives could have taken but this wasn't the path Shyam or Shankar ever expected to find themselves at. Anjali was sitting where Arnav sat for a decade and half, and her father before that. Shyam and Shankar exchanged another glance and his father's tiny nod, Shankar clears his throat.
"Anjali, we have to talk about papa's role in the company. It has been sidelined for so many years with Arnav interfering and now I think its time he starts reaching for his old contacts and reestablishing them.
Shyam falters at Anjali's blank gaze. "What contacts? She asks, suddenly remembering Suman's parting warning. Anjali's love for her husband was absolute since they were in their late teens. As they grew out of teenage years, their perceptions had dramatically changed. Anjali could find herself disagreeing with her husband and father-in-law often but she hadn't particularly cared about anything other than the anger that had rooted in heart all those years ago.
Shankar bristles. "You don't have to worry about all those things beta. When I get involved in getting new customers and handling company finances, you can rest assured half the headache of running the company will be easy.
Anjali stares at her father-in-law next. There is a heaviness in her gaze that neither men had ever seen before. Well not on her face but it was a constant expression that Arnav had carried. "So, which is it? She asks slowly, leaning back in her chair. Shankar feels mildly insulted but swallows the curse that's about burst out of his chest.
"I will work with the current CFO but she will have to be replaced beta. She is too close to Arnav. I will be working with my own marketing guy who will take over whoever is running this shit show. I mean, look at our margins and look at the market. We aren't filling even ten percent of market demands and our clients are going to foreign companies to fulfill their requirements.
"Who else are you planning on replacing? Anjali's voice is calm. Shankar knows its deadly serious.
"For now, just the two. Shankar replies callously. "Oh, and you should fire your executive assistant as well. Isn't she Arnav's friend?
Anjali smiles. "No. She turns back to her laptop and scrolls through one of the thousands of documents that Suman had pointed her to get through urgently.
Shankar was livid but he controls his temper. "And why not?
Anjali shrugs. "Because they are all good at their jobs.
"My guys are better. Shankar challenges her.
Anjali smiles again. Shyam doesn't like the way the conversation is turning to. "Bring them in. I will interview them and we will go from there.
Shankar changes the mode of attack then. "You don't believe your father-in-law? He asks softly. This tone has never failed him and has always worked with Anjali.
Anjali leans forward and smiles indulgently. "I do believe in you papa. But this is how my father has set up the company and we are still following the guidelines the company is based on. I don't want to step on many toes right off the bat.
Shankar gives her a shrewd look. "I understand but-
"If you want your guys to be in positions of execution, then they must be better than current CXOs. If you give me their names I will get Suman to arrange for a background check on them. We can start running this right now and when its time, it will be quicker to replace existing employees.
Shankar feels chill run through his spine. He hadn't expected this. "Background check? He asks.
Anjali nods. "It is something daddy should have done but he didn't and look at the mess we are in because of that. Arnav started this process of background checks of all senior managers and it has been a good tool to weed out the weird ones. We are in the business of weapons manufacturing papa. We have to exercise due diligence.
Shankar's irritation shows on his face. "This isn't what I expected when you said you are going to take over the company.
Anjali raises an eyebrow and Shankar knows it was the wrong thing to say. He hastily adds. "Shyam has been denied promotions and opportunities when Arnav was here. He could start sharing your responsibilities. He is more experienced than you, you know? Shankar's derision is obvious.
"Do you know what I have been doing for last four months when Arnav decided to go on a little vacation? As expected she gets no response. "I have been going through every piece of history that involves my parents and their foreign trade. You were looking after foreign deals and company finance, right papa? Surprisingly, your name never comes up in any documentation. Its either of my parents or some company executive. How is that a person does so many deals, traveled so often to different countries and drew a healthy salary, never put his name on paper?
Shankar lost his cool then. "If you are accusing me of something, then come out and say it in open Anjali. I don't like these what-if games that your family likes to play.
"My family? She asks coldly.
Shankar laughs harshly and stands up rattling the table a little. "I know when I am not wanted. Shyam?
Anjali turns around and looks at her husband, eyes taunting. "Shyam? Are you staying or are you leaving?
Shyam looks torn between his father and his wife. He smiles wearily at his father. "I will see you at home papa, he says softly and turns his back.
"As will I papa. I think its time you cut back your hours at office. Anjali adds casually. "You are the only parent figure left for me. I don't want to lose you too, she says carefully.
Shankar looks at her unreadable face. He doesn't know if Anjali is being genuinely worried about his health or if she is doing what Arnav did the moment he took over the company. One thing was certain though. She was definitely a Raizada.
"I didn't want to do this in front of papa but now that we are alone, we have to talk. Shyam begins after tension leaves the room along with his father. Anjali motions for him to go on.
"I don't like the way you talk to my father Anjali. He has nothing but good intentions. He always did. Arnav never saw it and accused my father for instigating the whole mess instead of Vimal's decisions.
Anjali smiled coldly at her husband. "You have a post-graduate degree and have common sense, I imagine. So explain why after my parents death your father liquified some of the assets. Why did he write off most of his foreign country travels as vacations kept it off the books when it was clearly business related?
Shyam squirmed in his chair. "It wasn't like that Anjali.
Anjali turned laptop towards him. "These are all the proposals that you authored and worked on, drawing a salary that a CXO gets here. It has less than five percent success rate and you have that many successes because the clients knew who they were dealing with not you but Arnav.
Shyam matched her anger now. "Are you saying I am useless?
Anjali's expression reminded him a lot of Arnav and realized that the siblings were too alike for their own good. "I am saying I don't know why Arnav retained you in this company with the kind of contribution you made. And this is just last five years. I will dig my way through to the very first day of the company and filter out the...weeds, she declares pointedly.
Shyam is visibly upset about it. "Don't do it Anjali, he says.
Anjali's temper reaches boiling point. "Did you just threaten me? Shyam's cold smile in response falters her.
"I have enough evidence to drive this company to the ground. Arnav wasn't bluffing when he investigated your parents and their deals. When he was investigating your own parents, papa and I were safeguarding our future. Till this day the plan included you, but now I am not sure.
If Anjali was shocked, she didn't show.
Shyam laughs at her expression. "You have been distancing yourself for four months since Arnav left Anjali. You think I didn't realize you are going to do exactly what your brother had done? You wouldn't hesitate to crucify me and papa if you saw it fit. So, I made plans the moment I saw the data dump on your laptop.
The cruelty in his voice isn't lost on her. She leans back in her chair and smiles at him. "Okay. She says simply.
"Okay what? He blurts. "What do you mean?
Anjali shrugs carelessly at that. "I kind of thought you would pull a shitty stunt like this since you have done this already in my father's time. So, I took extra measures as well.
"What do you mean? Shyam asks slowly.
Anjali smiles brightly. "You think I am not aware of every petty little funds you have managed to scrounge? The villas and estates you have tucked away for rainy day? And for some idiotic reason most of this property is in your name?
Shyam's face ashen. "So, what?
Anjali continues to smile extra brightly. "I am your wife sweety darling. Your precious little wife who has her thumb in every f**king pie you own.
Shyam rages at that. "No f**king way.
Anjali leans forward and grins maniacally. "Watch me drain every penny from you and your father. It will be nothing compared to what you both have done to my family but it's the least I can do.
"I will destroy you. Shyam says, vibrating with anger. "The company will be in ruins once I release the evidence I have against Vimal.
"Do you know what's the difference between me and Arnav? Anjali asks instead.
"You are a bigger idiot, Shyam sneers, standing up and fixing his suit.
"I lack my brother's patience. My anger has blood lust. I came very close to destroying my brother's sanity brother who I loved the most in the world. Imagine what would happen when I turn this bloodlust against two f**kers who destroyed my family. Anjali smiled with all teeth. "I will never leave you Shyam. You want to get a divorce and fight me in court? We can do that. I will be there in court for every hearing sharing my emotional stories with everyone who will listen. Every time you start a business venture, my lawyer will remind you who your wife is.
"Don't test me Anjali, Shyam says easily. "You don't know the depths I can go to, to get I want.
Anjali leans back in her chair again and watches her husband.
"Good to know darling.
Shyam spares a final glance at Anjali and walks out of her office. Her voice stops him just after he steps into corridor.
"Shyam, I will give you a week to walk away from all this. If you drag this on, I will not be responsible for what's coming for you.
"What is coming for me? Shyam snaps.
"When my father died, the deals you and your father were making couldn't go through because Arnav had taken over the company. I happen to locate all those clients and disclosed the assets you own so that they can now get the advance they gave you.
"You f**king bitch. Shyam snarled.
Anjali threw her head and laughed. "Now you know who I am darling husband. Now get out of this building.
Shyam walked out in a hurry and seething with anger.
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