Arnav Singh Raizada entered his office striding over !! The buzz in the office suddenly stopped. He entered his cabin in pin drop silence. He took his chair. The Security Guard brought in his bag. He opened his laptop and started downloading his mails.
“Get me black coffee!” he ordered the office boy hearing his footsteps. The pile of promotional material of the upcoming fashion show caught up his attention. He picked up one brochure, flipped through the pages and fixed his gaze on the monumental building at the backdrop of the image of a model.
“Lavanya..!” he yelled looking down from his cabin and Lavanya shuddered at the coffee table in the cafeteria.
“Ye..Yes ASR!” she hurriedly climbed upto his cabin and stood before him.
“What the hell, Lavanya? Why are these still on my table?” he threw one brochure at her. She ducked reflexively.
“Ye.. Yes, ASR! Sending them today!” she stuttered picking up the pile of brochures. A office boy came running to taken them from her. She took a step ahead feeling little relieved.
“ASR! I will handle it! Don’t worry!” she said consolingly moving around the table to reach up to ASR.
He looked at her blankly. “ASR! “ she had placed her hand on his shoulder and had settled herself on the table.
“Lavanya!” he raised his hand to stop her. “I need those design files right now!” he barked. She got up at once and went out. He gazed at her back.
“Why is he so upset?” Lavanya couldn’t comprehend his mood.
“La? What happened?” her friends asked her. “Don’t know! He is very upset!” she said looking up at his cabin and hurriedly went to her table and pretended to be working.
ASR had got up from his chair and was glaring down at everyone in the office. Tensed silence filled the entire office. The terror had returned from his business tour.
The fashion show was fast approaching. The show had to be publicized widely since the location was very unique. No one understood the motive behind choosing Lucknow for this coveted fashion show. No one dared asking ASR, the reason. He just had declared the venue and location before going on his five days business tour. People in his administrative office knew only to execute his orders. They did! The brochures, catalogs, banners, promo material, the videos were kept ready before his return.
A smug appeared in eyes, he turned and came back to his chair. He moved his hand on the back of the plush leather black chair engulfed in his thoughts. The monumental building from Lucknow appeared before his eyes which transported him back to his childhood.
“I am not that earthen pot!” he suddenly got up jerking his head back, from his mom’s laps.
“Yes Chote! You are the golden one among these glittering brass ones!” His mom pulled him back on her laps and kissed his head.
“ASR!” Lavanya was back to break the trance. He opened his eyes and looked at her blankly. He had not yet come out of the haunting memories of Lucknow!!
“Your coffee?” she pointed at the coffee mug on his table. He had not taken a single sip.
“Umm… I will get another one for you!” she said picking up the mug.
“No need!” he dismissed her. She looked at him sulkily.
“Oh ASR! I will handle everything!” she assured him thinking that he was worried about the Fashion Event.
“Oh! Cut the crap, Lavanya!” he said. She took a step back. He realized.
“Its ok! I am not worried about the event!” he said in lower tone. Smile appeared on her face.
“Ask Aakash to meet me!” he ordered her. She went out. He closed his eyes.
The image of the building transported him back to his mother….
He went into the story again with his mom and his big sister, his Di, Anjali Di…!
“…. The metal pot pestered the earthen pot again… “Come on, let us go for a walk!” it said.
“No! I cannot come out… I am weak, fragile! I will trip over and break!” The earthen pot urged.
“The metal pot had a wicked smile and said “Darpoke! You are chicken hearted! You are weak!”
Earthen pot had tears …! But it did not budge. “No! I will not come with you!” it resisted…” his mom continued the story…!
Next day again… the room was filled with bright sunlight. The brass pot came to earthen pot…!
“Come on buddy! Look outside! Its such a bright morning…! Come on let us go out and play…!” the earthen pot did not answer.
“Hey come on! Look at this tiny little one…! Its ready to come and play with us! You are such a big guy! Why are you so scared?” asked the brass pot pointing at one tiny small pot.
“Its of metal!” said the earthen pot weakly. It stir a bit on the shelf. The brass pot had a loathing laugh and went away to play in the sunlight. The earthen pot looked on, crestfallen…! It wanted to go and play in the sunlight too! Both the kids were listening to their mom with rapt attention…! She continued…
“…. Again next day… the brass pot came…! The earthen pot turned away. The brass pot gathered its friends around and teased the earthen pot calling him Darpok! Weak! Chicken hearted! The earthen pot cried and dared not to go out with them. It knew…!” Mom was stroking Di’s head. She was sleepy but wanted to know what happened next….!
“The metal pots kept pestering the earthen pot, everyday… It did not budge…! But the humiliation was beyond tolerance..! One day it made up its mind!
“That night, the earthen pot could not sleep…! Next day, when the metal pots came and teased… it said “Chalo… I will come with you to play!” The other metal pots cheered and wooed… they helped the earthen pot to get down from the shelf and brought it out in open… The earthen pot felt very happy… the bright sunlight reflected and the brass glittered. The earthen pot had a broad smile and came out to play with the metal…! “ Mom pulled Anjali Di closer and went ahead with the story..!
“It couldn’t stop and ran forward to catch the tiny metal pot..!” she paused…. And with a big sigh, said,
“And the inevitable happened…! It tripped over… and broke into pieces…!” She had finished her story.
Arnav, her chote had suddenly got up with a jerk and had said “I am not the earthen pot… I can resist temptation..! I am a tough guy!!” he had a smug on his face. She had pulled him closer and keeping his hand on his Di’s back, had said.. “Yes Chote… you are the golden one! The real one! Precious and priceless!!” he had a smile on his face and she looked at his fast asleep sister, Anjali!!
“Bhai…! “ Aakash was at the door. He had come with the files and progress sheets to brief his bhai about the upcoming fashion show! They had a long talk and finally Aakash said,
“Bhai, why did you choose a town for the fashion show? Why not a metro like Mumbai or Bangalore?”
Arnav stared at his younger cousin for a while and said, “Aakash, I want to launch my cotton fabric range and Lucknow is the best place!” Aakash looked confused but nodded though. He knew his bhai was the best.
“Aakash, on the other note, did you read this?” Arnav threw a news paper in front of Aakash. Arnav had highlighted a news item. Aakash read on and looked up at his bhai.
“Are you planning to set up plants in those small towns?” he asked surprised.
“No Aakash, it’s the best time to diversify. Its time to enter realestate!”
Aakash gaped at his bhai.
“Aakash, look! Government has declared SEZs in smaller towns and most of them are reserved for IT! The real estate prices will zoom. This is the right time to invest in real estate!” Aakash gaped in admiration and nodded.
“Ok Aakash .. I have some plans… but before that we need to focus on this show. I will be flying to Lucknow tomorrow with Di!” he said getting up from the chair.