Namrata rushed outside and ran to catch an auto to reach home. Her mother was coming back tomorrow itself. She must have taken the news seriously. Namrata was relieved. She wanted to confide in her mother about all that had happened… all that she had found out…
She kept crying even as she entered her house. Suddenly her lower abdomen started to pain… she held her midsection and bent down… when the pain passed; she went to the washroom and freshened herself. She hadn’t eaten anything so she fixed herself a snack and after having it with a coffee she went to bed. She was tired to the core…drained out mentally. She desperately wanted to speak to someone… unfortunately the only person she had trusted and given her heart to had crushed it under his feet… first by hiding his identity and then by distrusting her.
She kept her phone on silent mode and went off to sleep.
Her mother arrived the next morning. As she wheeled her mother inside, she patted her hands. Her mother got busy with her exercise and unpacking her bag. After lunch as her mother lay on the bed, resting, Namrata sat on a chair beside her. Namrata was wondering how to broach the topic.
“Namu…” her mother called out to her. “… He… I mean that client in the car was Ranvijay isn’t it?”
Namrata looked up stunned… Her mother knew? She turned beet red with embarrassment.
“Namu… dear, I was initially not happy but then… you were glowing… I saw you happy after years…so … I am really happy for you dear.”
Namrata started to cry, “ma you don’t know…he was responsible for what happened to papa…. I don’t trust him anymore…” her heart clenched as she said the words.
“Namu… you don’t know anything at all…” She sat up supported by pillows. She then took Namrata’s hand in hers and said, “Namu my child, irrespective of what people tell you, remember one thing. Your papa was solely responsible for his decisions and no one else should be blamed for that….” She raised her palm as Namrata tried to interrupt. “…Just hear me out alright?”
When Namrata nodded she continued. “Your papa was a whiz when it came to financial transactions and investment decisions. He gave up his job and started freelancing a couple of years before he… passed. He was yet to make profits but things were looking up. It was when RM industries approached him. RM industries was trying to acquire some jewellery making unit… it had huge potential He studied the finances of the unit for over a period of two months and along with two other investors he raised about two crores of the needed four crores in funding.. Your father too saw potential and pooled in everything he had as well as took loans to raise the major amount. Not just that, he was a guarantor for the other two investors as well….RM industries was a major stakeholder in the same. Ranvijay too had put in almost everything he had at stake…. What Namu…?” she looked at her daughter. “… You don’t believe me?”
Namrata shook her head… she actually couldn’t believe her mother knew so much.
“Namu… your father told me everything. I was his partner not just in life but in business too… I was not active because you and Nirmay need me more at home. I was not in favour of this investment decision because of Premnath Chopra.”
“How do you know Premnath Chopra ma?” to say Namrata was shocked would have been an understatement.
Her mother sighed as she said, “Premnath was your father’s childhood friend. He was much older to your father and considered and respected by your father like an elder brother. They grew up together in their village in Punjab. Both were equally brilliant. Your father in Finance and Premnath in both Finance and electronics. He was street-smart though and your father was… a very emotional person…
…Actually when we got married and had you, Premnath had visited us few times along with his wife and daughters… His wife was a wonderful woman…very wise but Premnath dominated her…put her down. He didn’t give me good vibes from day one. But your father trusted him. He was the finance head of that jewellery making unit. In fact he was the reason; your father was emotionally attached to the project. …”
Her mother looked away…she was lost in thought. She took a deep breath and said, “Premnath wanted to achieve a lot in life… in a short span of time. He fudged the documents so that the valuation of his sinking company increased. Your father blindly trusted him… his biggest error of judgement. Ranvijay trusted your father and Premnath, since he was engaged to Premnath’s older daughter Rhea. That was an arranged alliance. However on the day of the merger the money got transferred indirectly to a proxy account. That account was owned by Premnath and another insider man from Ranvijay’s office. Premnath had played with the software. Those days’ electronic transfers were fairly new and not very secure like today. That other man later turned out to be Rhea’s boyfriend. The engagement was a farce…there was total deception everywhere. The papers were signed but were fraudulent too… the owners sued both, us and RM industries… Premnath had been planning the coup for a long time…”
“….suddenly everything fell around like a pack of cards. Ranvijay tried damage control but the media had caught wind of it and all those involved were tried by the media… Namu it was like a living hell for your papa… He tried his best to consolidate things but this time it was way beyond his league. Premnath escaped within a day but his wife didn’t go with him. She called me and I in turn informed Ranvijay and your papa. Ranvijay had a strong IT team and they took action immediately. They got back some of the money but the rest was already withdrawn and put away… they couldn’t find a trial. Premnath was that good. That man from Ranvijay’s company confessed… Premnath’s family back here hardly had anything and your father refused to allow anyone to trouble his wife and daughters. His wife died of a heart attack as these events unfolded and Rhea hanged herself out of depression after her boyfriend’s arrest. ….”
“…Premnath disappeared from the face of the earth with his daughter Smriti… only to be heard of now…” Her mother wiped her cheeks…
Namrata sniffed a cry and asked, “… what about that man who confessed and what about papa?”
“Namu on the day of the accident your papa was driving to Ahmedabad along with that man to lodge him in some safe house Ranvijay had arranged till they went on trial. They had to recover the money somehow from the insurance….It was almost a year since everything had fallen apart. Your papa had become depressed and… had given up… I was a last minute addition to that trip. I didn’t want him to go alone…. “
Her mother started to sob… Namrata went up to her and hugged her tight. But she pushed Namrata and said, “… just hear this… you have to know… He… your papa…. We didn’t meet with an accident that day…. “
“…what?” Namrata could barely hear herself.
“…. Your papa rammed the car to the road divider…. On purpose… I saw him do that. He dropped off that other man just couple of minutes before asking him to take a taxi. I was sitting right behind….He…he just gave up….He must have even forgotten I was in that car…” She covered her face with her palms and cried. Though Namrata was stunned and shaken by the revelation she tried to calm her mother.
After a while her mother stopped crying and said hoarsely, “When I regained consciousness in the hospital, Ranvijay visited me. He was acquitted from the case put by those company owners because of lack of evidence and neat paperwork by your father, which helped. Your father had apparently dug deep and had found massive corruptions related to Premnath. That actually killed him from within. He had felt responsible for the entire debacle.The case was dismissed. Ranvijay compensated the other two investors. He was broken too…”
“Ma… he… I was told he got the accident investigation…. stopped? Why?” Namrata asked.
“He got the accident investigation averted because he didn’t want to tarnish your father’s image further…. Yes… he knew what had happened. The police probably were guessing it too….He paid some of our debts. The creditor’s list that was shown to you Namu was only half of it. If he hadn’t helped us we would have been ruined even more. But… I dint want him near any of us at that time. He reminded me of what I had lost. However he has been discreetly paying the NGO all these years. He paid a deposit for Nirmay’s school once we moved here. He didn’t personally meet me after that. …”
She held Namrata’s hands again and said, “…Namu… he is… a good man. Good at heart… He didn’t have it easy in life either… he could have just left us to our fates but he didn’t. Unfortunately for him he got cheated…. Again…. Yesterday’s news… it was like… history repeating itself… Namu I am feeling so bad for him…”
“….Ma… I … I … am partly responsible for this too…” Namrata said softly. When her mother looked at her questioningly she revealed everything that had happened. Smriti’s deception, her whirlwind affair with Ranvijay minus details… and what the old man, Premnath Chopra told her…
Her mom took in a deep breath. “It’s not your fault Namu. You were cheated too. Given the circumstances I would have probably believed that slimy Premnath. He is a snake. But… if I understand Ranvijay well… he has a reputation for being a ruthless trader, an eagle… but to me he is a rising phoenix. I am sure he has something planned. Don’t worry… he must be busy working something out… And you learnt a lesson too isn’t it?”
When Namrata nodded, she continued, “…Come let’s start dinner. Nirmay’s coming today….”
As they got busy, Namrata kept thinking about him… was he alright? Would he ever know the truth about her? Her breathing got heavier as she remembered their last encounter. Could the chasm of misunderstanding get any deeper?
But she had other things to worry. Namely… finding a new job…
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