Krishiv Batra aka Krish Batra aka KB picked up a fallen paper and read the press release, that was supposed to be. Through the peripheral vision he saw another paper, probably the young lady’s gate pass. He picked that up as well and read the name.
Kajal M. Shinde… her pretty innocent eyes had made his heart flutter a little, when he had seen her under the spotlight for the first time. The nervousness in them palpable, they attracted him to them like never before. But no… he couldn’t make the same mistake his father did years ago when he fell for the wrong woman. That ruined him for good.
His nana would then get another chance of saying ‘like father-like son’. Not that Krish cared.
He never cared when his father who had a roving eye brought in a different woman every night to their Bungalow in Madh Island. His mother had passed away when he was barely 8years old. His father had never settled for any woman after that or probably even before that. Initially he would be tempted when his father’s flavor of the month or the week would speak with him or shower him a little kindness and he would already dream of a complete family. But that would soon be shattered when the woman would change and soon, he had given up expecting stability.
However, that last woman had been so kind to him, even cooked for him whenever she visited and even tended to him once when he had the fever. That was the most anyone had ever done for him. Though he was sixteen at the time he felt like a little kid before her and for once he wished she would become his mother. He remembered expressing it to her and she had looked at him with sad eyes. She hadn’t replied anything but had brought him lots of goodies and home-made eatables post that day.
He didn’t recall anything she spoke because she rarely did but her beautiful face was etched in his memory. He didn’t even know her name… He remembered only talking to her, telling her about his passions, his dreams, his crushes in school… and for once in his life someone gave him a patient ear. Another factor was she came for a long time, at least for 8 months and one fine day she suddenly disappeared.
His father rarely had time for him, given the vast business expanses or at least that was what he had thought until that fateful day 11 years ago when everything had come crashing down. It was just a week after that lady had stopped coming to their home and he had already been devastated. As usual he had not asked his father about her because he knew he wouldn’t get a straight answer.
He was away with his friends in his usual hangout of the Portuguese fort corner which only they were privy to. His clandestine associations with booze and drugs went unnoticed by his absentee father and he knew his limits well…to never get caught. There was nothing a swim in the rough seas couldn’t remedy and he was a pro. Ever since that wonderful lady had gone, he swam to drown his heartbreak… everyone left him. There were times he wished the rough waves swallowed him…
That evening 11 years ago, a week short of his seventeenth birthday, he had come home to a swarm of policemen and other men in black suits whom he later got to know were ED officials. His father had killed himself in his library where he spent most of his time at home. The man had shot himself, leaving no note behind. He wasn’t allowed to see the body for the last time though he had wailed… He had tried to figure out what went so wrong that his old man had to resort to drastic measures…Yet another element in his life gone forever.
That evening changed his life forever. He realized he had been living a façade and his father wasn’t the man he though he was. His womanizing ways were just the tip of the iceberg.
The property and businesses were seized and before he became the subject of hatred among locals or a hot topic for the media, his industrialist nana got him to Mumbai and he was forced to start all over again. His nana-naani never liked their only daughter’s choice of life partner and their opinion now stood vindicated.
Krish was forced to attend a college of their choice and though he wanted to study arts he was forced to go in for commerce, his nana not wanting to loosen his reins on his only remaining blood relative.
He had been through a whirlwind of emotional rollercoasters and had been the perennial rebel. He didn’t have much of an option but he missed Madh island and his buddies terribly. The sea called out to him whenever he felt lonely. His nani however tried her best to shower him with love and care but unfortunately it came a little too late in his life. Though he loved and respected her he couldn’t get close. He was touted to take over the business empire after his nana but he wasn’t interested.
He had been waiting to turn 18 and use his trust fund set aside by his nana when he had been a baby. He wanted to buy back his bungalow at Madh island and start a fisheries business with his childhood friends. That was something they had all dreamt together.
He had made two good friends here, Gyan and Ruhaan who happened to be children of his nana’s political friends and loved weed just like him. But unlike him they didn’t know the limits and often he bailed them out. They had taught him a lot as well… especially Gyan was the one who had insisted and made him lose his virginity and boy… it had been an amazing experience. The lady was a hooker and had been amused although hesitant to handle a kid but a wad of notes had done the trick.
Then there was no looking back where the trio frequented night pubs and spent the night in one of Ruhaan’s father’s empty flat away from prying eyes bedding any woman they could find. Group study was never more fun.
Finally, the day arrived for which he had waited for a year… His eighteenth birthday and Gyan and Ruhaan who had already crossed the threshold to adulthood, wanted to celebrate in style. Gyan had procured something strong that night he had said from a new dealer and in the club that night as they partied away from the cautious eyes of his nana-nani, he had snorted a tiny bit of the new product on the block. It wasn’t as strong as he was used to but he was fine because he knew he had to face his nana tomorrow morning to discuss his trust fund. He didn’t want a hangover.
He had been dancing just fine with that chick in that figure-hugging shimmering red dress… he took a break to have a drink for he was parched, the rich malt calling him. He had taken only a few sips and resumed dancing but within few minutes the world had spun. He never reacted to booze or drugs in this manner before and that night he barely had consumed anything.
But he was suddenly delirious and even saw Gyan and Ruhaan laughing and crying out loud as they sung along with the music. The strobe lights blinded him and all he could see was the shimmering gown getting closer.
Gyan then declared spending the night in the club rooms itself and they had found a couple of girls for themselves and he had the shimmery. However, he had that all important meet with nana the next day and had to leave for home.
He had insisted they call a driver given their states but Gyan would never let anyone else touch his father’s brand-new Audi that was yet to be registered. A foreboding sensation had prickled his neck as he had wanted to refrain from traveling in the Audi but his voice was clogged in his throat….
Krish rubbed his face as the memories of the ghastly accident from a decade ago surfaced and he began to sweat. He had been through series of therapists and medications following the ill-fated tragedy and his nani had rallied behind him. Though he had physically been unscathed, mentally he was a mess for the last decade. He couldn’t believe Gyan, Ruhaan and that girl whose name he didn’t even know, had died such horrific deaths and he had escaped without a scratch. The guilt ate at him even today.
The memories at best stayed as nightmares that haunted his sleep often and because of his work and special activities, he had managed to keep them at bay. No one knew about his past…
But today the woman had pushed him to the brink. He had never lost his cool with a woman, never raised a finger on them… unless it was in the confines of his special chamber and that was a different ball game altogether. With the number of women fawning over him he was spoilt for choice. But everything till date, even his longest affair with Anushka Pandey though physically gratifying, had been listless in the emotions department…
Even Hetal, who had resigned to his lifestyle wasn’t able to tug at his heartstrings but something about this woman did. Kajal was the first woman to talk back to him and not agree with everything he said. He had acted like a jerk. Whatever had happened wasn’t her fault and for that matter not his as well…
No one knew the true Krishiv. He was an absolute oxymoron to his on-screen persona. Not even his nana-nani knew him truly. To them he was the revolting wayward grandson gone astray years ago. His nana had now set up a team of administrators for the businesses and the board of directors had taken it for granted that Krishiv wouldn’t be taking over the reins.
He had not been bothered. He had been successful in this industry but there was no free lunch. To survive here, they had to play a game card and Shipra had been a pro at designing it. All had been well so far but last night it had all gone wrong… it was his birthday night… again not the date which the world was made to believe but his real birthday which was hidden from everyone… even Shipra. He hadn’t been himself and had misbehaved with Hetal’s ex-boyfriend who had crashed their date. The guy had gone overboard and Krish had lost his cool. But he hadn’t done anything that was mentioned in the viral news articles. That was all Shipra’s doing.
He had objected this time and insisted on a press release and Shipra had sent a novice…
Mr. Mehta showed him the viral news segments and he swore… he was used to the crap dolled out in this industry but he was now worried about the young woman who had been on tenterhooks…
He hoped and prayed she stayed sane…