Posted: 23 June 2008 at 1:25pm | IP Logged
A rude encounter
Tanu had already walked away from the car but the name she had just yelled out echoed in Adi's ears. Maithili Aggarwal. Maithili Aggarwal?
Adi was dumfounded as several thoughts bombarded one another in his
head. Maithili worked at SAG! Of course! It made sense. That's why he
had seen her there that day. She must've just left her interview since
Mamma mentioned that she was doing interviews that morning. In the
midst of all these realizations and with the stress of the upcoming
meeting, Adi nearly forgot about Tanu's outrageously bratty request to
him to have Maithili reprimanded by Mamma.
Once at the office, Adi composed himself for his high-profile
meeting. His secretary handed him the necessary files for the meeting.
"Thanks, Shivangi. Wish me luck!"
"But sir, I have some important updates first.."
"No time, Shivangi. I'm running a bit late this morning, tell me whatever it is after the meeting."
With this, Adi rushed into the meeting room, where he was met by a
couple of disgruntled executives. They complained that they were being
advised against doing business with Prism because of one of the human
rights violation cases that was filed against it this week. Adi tried
to manage things as best as possible, telling them he had just found
out about this. The executives would not hear any of it, insisting that
how could he not know about this when they had already been informed.
"Damn it, this is what Shivangi must have tried to tell me," Adi
thought to himself. Before Adi could try to convince the executives,
they walked out of the meeting, leaving Adi stunned. How could Prism of
all companies be accused of a human rights violation? Their company had
the top record in Mumbai for taking care of their workers' rights and
for not violating any human rights or environmental laws. After all,
his mother Shruti Mehra had been the previous M.D. as well as his guide
Adi rushed to Shivangi's desk to find out what this was all about.
She showed him the lawsuit notice that had arrived a day ago. Adi
stared at the notice in shock, his eyes fixed on the company that filed
the lawsuit – SAG, his mother's advocacy group.
* * *
Shruti Mehra was on the phone when Adi arrived, looking intensely
angry in a way that she hadn't seen him in a long time. She quickly
finished her call and asked him to sit down. Just like Adi, Shruti was
shocked to see the notice he had brought with her. She called her
secretary from the office phone, asking if they had really filed a
lawsuit against Prism. She got the answer over the phone that Maithili
Aggarwal had filed that lawsuit on behalf of SAG against Prism. Shruti
felt silent for a moment before saying, "ask her to come to my office."
"Is it a mistake, Mamma? Did you ask how this happened, and who is responsible?" Adi asked nervously.
"Calm down, Adi. Apparently the case has been filed by one of our
lawyers, and I've asked her to come in so we could discuss the matter,"
Maithili entered after a brief knock. "You asked to see me, Ma'am?" she asked with a smile, entering the room.
Adi's eyes narrowed when he heard that voice. He turned around and
came face to face with her, shocked to see her. In his panic about his
company, he had forgotten that Tanu told him that Maithili now worked
A thousand little angers spilled out of him. Maithili Aggarwal had
filed the case against his company and had, in a matter of a week, made
him lose what he had spent months worked towards. How dare she? She had
also insulted his sister. And she had given him such a hard time during
college, especially when she picked up and left without even saying
goodbye. Typical of her to be arrogant and inconsiderate, he thought,
adding to himself that it looked like she hadn't changed much.
A rage as hot as fire grew inside him as he faced her, about to
speak, whereas she looked at him with a confused expression on her
face, somewhat pleasantly surprised to see him there. Laying eyes upon
him after 5 years, and somewhat greedily absorbing the handsome sight
in front of her, Maithili wondered why he looked so upset.
Adi began to spit fire at Maithili, accusing her of not knowing
what she was doing as she was too eager to prove her mettle as a big
shot lawyer. Had she bothered to investigate the case properly? Had she
tried to resolve it with the employer? No, she went directly to file a
lawsuit. It was irresponsible, unacceptable, Adi went on screaming.
Maithili could barely contain her shock at what was happening. She
confusedly looked towards Shruti for help. Shruti explained that Prism
was their family company, and that she had helped Adi develop it into
an ideal company, so Maithili must've gotten the wrong impression.
Slowly, things began to make sense to Maithili. She was processing
everything she was hearing quietly, while Adi screamed at her and also
managed to throw in the accusation that she harassed his sister Tanu at
her college. Shruti Mehra was their mother, Maithili realized. She was
the mother of this snob that made her life miserable in college, and
here he was, yelling at her with as little manners as his sister.
In the middle of Adi's rant, Maithili walked up to him and threw
her palm up in front of his face. "Stop that," she ordered. Adi looked
at her incredulously, surprised that she had the audacity to talk back
even after all her mistakes. Surely, she hadn't changed from her
college days, he thought.
Maithili took a deep breath and tried to gather herself. Her face
started to get hot from all the anger that welled up inside her. She
did her best to compose herself.
"Mr. Mehra, is it too much to ask that you speak with some
civility?" she asked crisply. "Don't forget that we are in a
professional environment, and I expect to be treated with as much
courtesy as I'm currently showing you."
Adi sighed, looking at his mother and back at Maithili. "Badi
Meherbaani, thank you so much for the courtesy, Ms. Aggarwal," he said
sarcastically and added, "now do you care to explain why the hell
you've filed this case?"
"Firstly, you could have asked me that in the first place more
politely. You speak just like your sister. Maybe you are both the same
age mentally, but I digress. I've filed this case because it's my duty
to serve clients who come to me with labour rights complaints. If your
company is really in the clear, then the court can decide that." She
turned towards Shruti. "And Mrs. Mehra, don't worry, SAG will withdraw
the case against Prism." Hearing this, Shruti breathed a sigh of
Maithili continued, "Yes, SAG will withdraw the case, but I will
fight it as an independent lawyer. I'll have my resignation letter sent
to you in 15 minutes." Maithili then stormed out, leaving Adi and
Shruti standing in utter disbelief.
Shruti told Adi to get back to work.
"I'll handle this, Adi. If Maithili fights this case, you bet I
will find a damn good lawyer to oppose her. But none of that changes
the fact that you can't just storm into my office and start yelling at
the people who work here."
After sending off Adi, Shruti sat feeling appalled at Maithili's behaviour.
* * *
Maithili fought to hold her tears back. She typed up her
resignation letter using the strongest words possible to say that it
conflicted with her beliefs and convictions as an honest lawyer to work
for SAG. She would leave the letter with the secretary, because she
sure as hell didn't want to face Shruti Mehra or her son after
everything that had just happened.
She dropped off the letter to a secretary who looked bewildered,
and raced down the hallway carrying her bag and a folder full of files
related to the case and ran to catch the elevator which was leaving.
Tears of anger and contempt had already begun flowing from Maithili's
face. She felt humiliated, and she wanted to get out of that office
more than anything else.
She ran into the elevator carrying the files and her bag and
managed to make it inside before the doors closed. As she stepped in,
in a split second she lost her balance and started to fall sideways and
then backwards, also pushing the only other person standing in the
elevator onto the floor. Upon the elevator floor lay scattered all of
Upon the files lay Maithili.
And on top of her lay Aditya Mehra.
Edited by --arti-- - 17 July 2008 at 8:27pm