Mauli Abheek - Book 3 - The Saga Begins

STAR CROSSED LOVE

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2014 -Berlin, Germany- Indian Consulate - Abheek's Cabin Abheek was seated at his desk, going through some important files. There was a call on his secure line, indicating it was a call from the big man himself. He spoke politely and when the call was over, proceeded to the Chamber of the Indian Ambassador Sri Gurucharan Singh. He knocked and entered the chambers and was surprised that the Ambassador was entertaining a guest. He certainly did not know of any high profile visits that day. But if this person was calling on the Ambassador, she must be some one important.

 

"Come in Abheek. We have been waiting for you," turning to his guest Mr Singh said "This is Mr Abheek Singh Shekhawat, the Counsellor for Science & Technology in our mission here. Abheek, I would like you to meet the lady of the moment. She is revolutionizing Indian Enterprise and soon she is going to be the talk of town here in Germany. This is Ms Mauli Pasupati Raju" Abheek looked at the young lady sitting in front of the Ambassador. Her face was beautifully sculpted. High cheekbones, wide eyes, she had luscious lips and all the features came together as one gorgeous face.

 

He had always imagined Mauli Raju as some middle aged, grey haired women. But was stunned to find this young and beautiful lady. She seemed to have a natural poise and grace about her. Her eyes were sharp, focused. She carried a certain aura of authority, something that you couldn't put a finger to, but commanded respect. He could smell her perfume, mild, sandalwood along with some unknown spice. He put out his hand, "It's an honor meeting you mam," he said. She took his hand. Both looked into each other's eyes for a second longer than usual. Her grip was firm, determined. "Please, I prefer being called Mauli. Nice meeting you Abheek," said Mauli Abheek's eyebrow rose. She seemed interesting. "Abheek, Mauli here is trying to buy out Otto Kahn AG, She needs your help in understanding the company, their financials and get some familiarity with how they function," briefed the Ambassador. "Sure Sir, whatever help you need, I'll be glad to assist," said Abheek, studying Mauli and addressing her. "Good, we have a meeting scheduled tomorrow at 10:30 AM in our office. It will be nice if you could come in and observe it and give us your inputs," said Mauli. "Oh and one more thing. It would be nice if you could work from our office premises, till you are associated with this project," said Mauli.

 

Abheek did not like being ordered about like she was doing. She may be the big boss of her company, but right at that moment, she needed his help more than he needed her. And she definitely did not own him. "No Mauli," said Abheek definitively. "There are things that need my attention here. So I will continue to work from the mission," said Abheek flatly. Mauli was not used to being refused like Abheek had just done. When she asked for something, it simply got done. It showed that her personality and name had not intimidated him like most men. There was something about him, a charisma, which seemed very attractive. Abheek found Mauli smiling at him. "I appreciate that Abheek. But this project is very crucial for us. And there are a lot of parties who would want to sabotage it. So, if you work from our office, we can give you a secured Laptop, Wi-Fi etc. It's just for confidentiality," she explained. Abheek liked that Mauli did not throw her weight around, choosing instead to explain the risks involved to him.

 

He had no choice left. "Alright, but I will be shuttling between both places," he conceded. Mauli smiled. Abheek noticed the twinkle her smile brought to her eyes. His heart skipped a beat. After a few more minutes, Mauli left. Turning around at the door, she took a good look at Abheek. His tall frame bracketed by the unusual sunlight streaming into the room, created an aura around him. She turned abruptly and left. Mr Ambassador and Abheek exchanged glances. "This is a very prestigious moment for Indian Enterprise Abheek. I need this clinched at any cost. The GOI is insisting that we set up shop here. And you will be credited for this accomplishment," he said, handing out the incentive. "Don't worry Sir. Consider it done," said Abheek. By the time Abheek reached his desk, there was an email in his mail box with the address of Pasupati AG and contact numbers. It was sent by one Ms. Shobha, Personal Assistant to Mauli Pasupati Raju. He was impressed. He looked forward to visiting the Pasupati office the next day. Pasupati AG-Next Day-Central Berlin. He was there on time the next day. Pasupati AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pasupati Group of companies, had set up a small office in Potzamer Platz, in central Berlin. Abheek went into the elevator and went to the 23rd floor. It was a small, minimalist office.

 

There would probably be about 15 to 20 people working at the office he assumed. He was greeted by a pleasant looking lady the reception. "Good Morning Mr Shekhawat, this way please. I am Shobha," the lady waited for Abheek to follow her, as she greeted him. "Good Morning, so you are the one who sent me the email yesterday?" he asked smiling. "Yes that's right, please this way," she signaled Abheek to follow her. "After you," said Abheek politely. They entered a squarish looking office. The furniture was modern, minimalist. The walls, bore quotes from the "The Geeta" which he found rather unusual. Shobha lead Abheek to a meeting room and requested that he wait there. As he entered, he realized there was already someone sitting there. The gentleman was dressed in formals, wearing a suit and tie. He was immersed in what seemed like some presentation. "Hello," greeted Abheek, walking up to the gentleman. "Hello, I am Rishabh Batra, Senior Business Development Manager," he introduced himself. "Hi, Abheek Shekhawat, from the Indian Mission in Germany" he introduced himself. Both men sat down on opposite sides of the table. Mauli walked in a few minutes later. The meeting began as scheduled. Rishabh gave out details about how they planned to approach the takeover bid. "The first step is to approach the Sales team of Otto Kahn AG and put in an initial conservative offer. As per information at hand, Otto Kahn is under some sort of financial stress, although it is not clear how difficult their situation is. Their real assets can still be leveraged if nothing else.

 

So, a conservative offer should give us an idea of the mood of the other camp." As Rishabh was busy presenting various graphs and data to support his strategy, Mauli was studying Abheek. He was completely oblivious to the happenings in the room and was busy texting on his phone. Mauli waited for the presentation to get over. As soon as Rishabh finished, she turned to him and said "Well done Rishabh." Then turning to Abheek, with a dead pan expression, "I would like your views on this Mr Shekhawat," she asked. Abheek looked at Mauli sharply from his phone. "I prefer being addressed as Abheek," he retorted sharply. Without waiting for an answer he said "Mauli, if you want my opinion, pack up and shut shop. I don't see this deal going through." Rishabh's jaw dropped at what Abheek said. "Mam, this is outrageous. This man has no idea what we are trying to do here. This is not your bureaucracy man. This is the corporate world. Things don't just run the same way. You can take your attitude and take a hike," Rishabh was getting aggressive. Abheek simply stated, "no offense to you brother. But this just won't work. You can mark my words." Mauli watched the confidence with which Abheek expressed his views. He knew what he was talking about. She was studying him intently, but addressed Rishabh. "Rishabh, can you please wait for me in my cabin," she asked politely. "But mam, he's just not making sense, it's foolish to even listen to…" It was then that Mauli looked at him.

 

Her gaze was enough to quieten him. "Please wait in my cabin," she repeated herself, looking Rishabh straight in the eye. He left without another word. Abheek found it odd, that Rishabh addressed Mauli as mam. The previous day, she had made it clear to him that she preferred to be called by her first name. Strange- thought Abheek Mauli turned her attention back to Abheek. "Why do you say it won't work Abheek?" she asked him, her eyes narrowing out of curiosity. Abheek was witness to how Mauli dismissed a senior employee just by her gaze. He was reminded of the Chaudhary in his village, ordering people around, exploiting them ruthlessly, and striking terror. He immediately detested her for her behavior. "Otto Kahn AG is a pre - world war enterprise. During the war, they supplied much of the steel used for building battle tanks, helmets etc here in Germany. There is talk that they are having some problems at present, but it is the pride of Germany. If they even get an inkling of what you are planning to attempt, the German Government will put its might behind them, bail them out if needed. Secondly, they will do everything in their power to block you and anyfuture attempts that Pasupati makes to take over any other enterprise here in Germany," he stated emphasizing the any. He spoke with such authority that Mauli was amazed. But she did not give her thoughts away. She looked down for a few seconds and made a call with her cell phone.

 

She spoke as she looked at Abheek. "Dada, I want a confra call. There is someone I would like you to meet. I think you will like him," she said. Abheek was looking at Mauli with a dead pan face. The last sentence seemed like a back handed compliment to him. But the next second, she blinked as though she was not sure anymore. It seemed the person on the other line said something to trigger it. She seemed so vulnerable just for a nano second. It was gone so soon, he thought he had imagined it. She muttered something in a language he did not understand and disconnected. She looked up again, "We'll meet after lunch if that is OK with you? Say 14:30?" she asked. "Sure fine with me," said Abheek. Both walked out almost at the same time. It was then that he realized what a luscious, full bodied figure Mauli had, her suit accentuating her assets at just the right places. If they had met in different circumstances or if she had not been who she was, he would have definitely… Abheek caught himself. What was he thinking? She had just dismissed a Senior Executive before him. She was a corporate head honcho, how different could she be from the rest of them. 14:30 Hours, Confra Call with Sourav Dada in India. Mauli and Abheek sat in the conference room. The screen came alive and Sourav showed up. "Dada, I would like you to meet Mr Abheek Shekhawat," looking at Abheek "This is Mr Sourav Bhatacharjee, CFO, Pasupati Group." Then addressing Sourav, "Dada, Abheek here believes that conventional methods won't work here," said Mauli. It was obvious to Abheek that Sourav was a very close confidant of Mauli's. He also noticed the easy comradry between the two of them. "Hello Abheek," said Sourav politely, "So, what are you suggesting we do?" he asked. "Sir, first, there are some business gatherings and conferences happening here.

 

I should be able to get the invites. In one of these gatherings Mauli should accidentally meet one of the top executives of Otto Kahn. This can arranged. Once that is done, make small talk. The current Chairman of Otto Kahn, Hermann Kahn is quite a character. He throws all these parties where he invites the rich and the famous. Mauli must solicit an invitation to one of his parties. There we will need to humor him about his legacy and what not and I am sure he will start singing. Based on the information Hermann Kahn gives us, we should calibrate our next move," Abheek ended. "No, this is too farfetched and may take a lot of time," Mauli shot the idea down. But to her shock Sourav dada agreed. "No Mauli, right now Abheek is the only one, who can tell us exactly what the ground situation is. I think there is merit in what he says," Sourav agreed. Sourav da, was conservative by any standards. He did not approve of anything that did not tread the conventional path. For him to say what did, he must've been really impressed with Abheek's plan. So it was agreed that Abheek would arrange passes for Mauli and her team to be present at the Invest in Germany commercial fair. Abheek's plan worked. At the Commercial Fair, it was arranged for Mauli to sit alongside Hermann Kahn and the both got talking. Mr Kahn was quite impressed with Mauli's background, coming from a family of Steel Brewers as he called it and invited Mauli over to the Roof Top Lounge of Hotel Zoo Berlin the following Friday evening, where some high and mighty people from the Industry would be present. It was agreed that Abheek would escort Mauli to the party. The Hotel Zoo, is one of the oldest Hotels in uptown Berlin, which was the den for celebrities in the early1950s. On the 7th Floor is the roof top Bar with 270 degree view of Berlin and it is here that Herr Kahn liked to indulge his friends. He was quite impressed with the young Indian Entrepreneur and wanted to help her get an entry into the high society of Berlin. Herr Kahn didn't believe in small or little. He liked big, extravagant, and larger than life. And so he decided to invite an internationally acclaimed group of Indian dancers for a private performance. He would make sure Mauli felt welcome. Abheek was hoping to see Mauli Raju's residence that day, wondering where and how her house would be. It was not every day that one got an opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful and Abheek would take full advantage of the situation. But it was not to be. He was asked to pick up Mauli from the Pasupati office. He stood at the reception waiting for her to come. Outside the moon shone, brilliantly large that evening. And then she walked out. She was wearing a bottle green full length gown, but he couldn't make out what fabric it was. It hugged her body like second skin.

 

He just stood there watching her, his breath quickening without his knowledge. She looked like a perfectly sculpted form, from top to toe. Her eyes bore no trace of makeup, wide and black, her flawless complexion, beautiful weatish brown, her lips wore red lipstick. His eyes traversed further down to her slender neck and the following swell of her chest. His heartbeat now matched the rhythm of his breath, his eyes couldn't help traverse further down, the slender waist, and he imagined what it must feel like to touch. She had not seen him standing awestruck, as Shobha stood fussing over her. "Mauli, at least wear something in your ears. I understand minimalist, but just some emerald studs in your ears is minimalist," she tried to impress Mauli. Mauli gave in. "Ok, give me," she said putting on the Emerald square drops, checking herself in the mirror. She didn't like what she saw, one bit. She looked so overdressed. "Why can't I wear something more simple and easy to carry off," she complained, looking at Shobha. "Mauli, stop! You ARE going out in this dress," she scolded. Mauli just put her hands up. Its then that she noticed Abheek. Abheek didn't know how he was going to deal with the situation in hand. He smiled at her awkwardly. Mauli smiled too. "Let's go," she said, simply walking by. Abheek and Shobha exchanged glances, "She has no idea what she does to men, does she?" he asked her. Shobha burst out laughing. CLASH OF EGOS Hotel Zoo Berlin Mauli Pasupati Raju was the toast of the evening. She was introduced to most of the guests by Herr Kahn himself, who seemed to be taking a great deal of interest in ensuring that Mauli met some good people. Abheek couldn't help think if Kahn was pondering of Business opportunities with the Pasupati Group himself. Mr Kahn had recognized Abheek and asked him if he could escort Mauli around. Mauli didn't seem to mind and Abheek had no reason to refuse. So he went across to the bar and struck a conversation with a beautiful girl seated next to him. Out of the corner of his eyes, he watched Mauli. It seemed someone had handed her a drink and she was walking around with Mr Kahn, her hand locked with his. Abheek's eyes narrowed.

 

It seemed he had no problems spotting her in that Lounge full of people. He seemed to know instinctively where she was. He shrugged it off. A waiter walked across to Abheek, as he sat sipping his drink. He informed Abheek that Mauli was asking to see him. Abheek turned around to look where she was. She was being escorted into the indoor restaurant it seemed. A group of people were moving indoors and Mauli wanted Abheek with her. Perhaps the discussions were veering to more serious territories? He cleared the distance between them quickly. Out of the corner of her eyes, Mauli watched Abheek approach her. The reason for her coming to this party, was the discussion that was about to take place inside. "Hello there," said Abheek. "Remember me?" he asked Mauli casually. Mauli smiled at him. Abheek couldn't help smiling back. For those few seconds, the surroundings melted away. Mauli stood there, close, smiling like she was glad to see him again, for his eyes only. Mauli turned to Herr Kahn, "Herman, I have ignored Abheek long enough. I think you should let him join in. Besides, he is sworn to secrecy. You have my word," said Mauli. Kahn looked at Abheek for a second and agreed. After all, he came with Mauli's recommendation. Mauli let go of Kahn and locked her hands with Abheek's. They looked at each other and smiled an understanding smile, an unspoken code exchanged through the eyes. Kahn looked at both suspiciously. "You two, something's up between the two of you?" he asked. Mauli was the first to deny, "Oh please. Of course not. Abheek here works for me. Let's go," she said, too embarrassed to look at Abheek. Abheek was shocked at her statement. It seemed dismissing men came easily to her. He simply shrugged and walked in with the rest of the men. "Already on first name basis huh?" Abheek whispered, smiling at her. Mauli smiled back, turning to look at Abheek's face. Their eyes clashed, as Mauli and Abheek, looked at each other up close. His eyes raged with fire, while hers were cold like the Arctic Ice.

 

Mauli was often used to being the only women in a room full of men. After all, boardrooms were full of men who indulged in power play. This was no different. Each entrepreneur, regarded his business as his personal kingdom and thought of himself as no less than a king. In the age of merchants, these were the crème de la crème of German Enterprise. The steel industry was shrinking and margins were getting tighter and tighter. Add to this, too many new players, especially from the emerging markets and the bottom lines become even more unattractive. A few businessmen opined that the West needed to look at investments in India, Brazil etc. to make up for reduced consumption from West. Mauli and Abheek argued that the Indian steel manufacturers were not just a small pocket and that they now held global ambitions. They were capable of supplying to all corners of the world at competitive prizes. And with the Government of India encouraging brand "Make in India", even the logistical hassles were being addressed. Of course, it would take time. But, they impressed upon the gathering, that instead of looking at Indian Steel Enterprises as a possible M&A (Mergers and Aquisitions) option, they must look at partnering or signing JVs (Joint Ventures) with them. This would entail lesser costs and more profits. "Let the Indian's do their job, you bring in the technology, the expertise and let both prosper," Mauli commented famously. On the face it of it, everyone seemed to agree, but Mauli knew that they would do, only what they wished. They would still want to buy out some Indian Enterprise, just to keep their dominance. Be as it may, Abheek decided to set the ball rolling. "Mr Kahn, the Indian embassy is organizing an Indian Culture fest. And we would like to extend a special invitation to you as well as your senior executives. It'll be our honor and privilege to host and listen to your experiences as one Chairman of one of the oldest Steel Enterprices in Germany," he stated, offering an exclusive invitation to Kahn. Kahn was a sucker for praise.

 

He knew that people from the German Government would also attend this event and he could do with some help from them. So he agreed gladly. After successfully completing what they had set out to achieve, Mauli took leave of Herman Kahn, telling him how much she looked forward to meeting him again. On the way back, Mauli looked at Abheek as he explained why he had invited Herr Kahn. "Now that Mr Kahn is comfortable with you, it's a good time to get you to meet the others in his team, people who he depends on for running Otto Kahn. To the event, we will also invite the CEO of Otto Kahn and the Auditors. One if the Auditors is an especially useful man for us. He is a Frenchman by name Mathias Dubois," he told her. "Ok, send me a report, whatever you know about this CEO and the Auditor," stated Mauli, wanting to know all about the men Kahn depended on.\ Mauli had not said a word after their brief exchange about work. She looked out at the streets. Suddenly, she turned around, looking at Abheek, "how did you come?" she asked him. Abheek looked unsure, then realizing what she meant, "oh I got my car. It's parked in the office basement," he stated. "Can you drop me home?" she asked him. Abheek looked at her, his mind swimming with thoughts of what she meant. "I don't want to drive back from office. Is it ok for you to drop me home and then go to office?" she asked. Abheek didn't follow what she said. "Isn't this your car?" he asked her. "No, this is used for official visits only," she said. "Ok, I'll drop you first," he said. Mauli lived in the Mette Neighborhood of Berlin. The building she stayed at had 5 stories only and 1 apartment per floor. It was exclusive and very very expensive. Abheek knew the locality well, as it was right in the Central district of Berlin. All was quiet for most of the way, both lost in their own thoughts.

 

As they neared Mauli's house, Abheek broke the silence. "So, do you live alone?" he asked and immediately regretted it. "Yeah" she said. "What about you?" she asked, oblivious to what his question could have meant. "I live alone too," he said smiling. "But where I stay, there are some other Indians living as well. So I have lots of friends in the same building. We are perpetually living in each other's houses," he stated. "Don't their families have problems with that," Mauli asked quizzically. "No, some are students, others are single. So it works," he stated looking at her. "Oh, a boy gang," she said raising her brows. Abheek stopped the car and Mauli turned around. Abheek was studying Mauli. "Good night, see you at 9:00 tomorrow," she said simply. Abheek didn't reply, "which floor do you stay on," he asked. "Second," said Mauli, turning to open the door. He looked up and saw the lights on. He turned around, catching hold of Mauli's wrist. He held her hard and firm. Mauli looked at Abheek severely. "The lights are on, in your apartment," he said, his brows knotted. "Relax, it must be Devudu," said Mauli casually. "Who's Devudu?" the retort was too sharp for Abheek's liking. Mauli raised her captive arm up. Abheek let go immediately. She looked at him sharply. He returned her look with a stare. "Devudu is my house help," she said flatly, studying Abheek. His face relaxed. "Oh, lucky you. You have a full time help in Germany. Us ordinary mortals have no such luxury," he said, his face softening in a smile.

 

Mauli felt herself smiling back at him. "Hmm, good night," she said and walked out. Abheek could not move. He watched her go in, but couldn't move. At long last, he revved up the engines and drove away slowly. What Abheek did not realize was that, Mauli was watching him, from her apartment. For the next few days, Abheek was busy with preparations for the upcoming Navrang Event at the Embassy. They had to get a lot done in a very short span of time. It was important to impress the German Ministry officials, so that Mauli could get some advantages. Attached along with the Business Presentation, was also a cultural program, as with all events at the Indian Embassy. They had confirmed a famous Sitar Maestro for a concert. A week before the Event, the performer, declined to perform citing personal reasons. All hell broke loose. The invitations had already been printed and distributed. They could not suffer a loss of face. It was a tense time. Mauli was expecting some information regarding the German Delegation from Abheek and it was inadvertently getting delayed. She spoke to Shobha, asking her to send a reminder. Later in the day, Mauli received a call from Abheek. "Hi Mauli. How are you?" he asked formally. "I am good," she said, her voice devoid of any emotion. "Ah.. I know I promised to get that report out to you sometime back, but, the truth is I haven't even prepared it. Ah… I need some more time. I have been completely caught up in some stuff at the embassy. So, you should get the details by 10:00 AM the day after. Is that OK?" he asked, sounding embarrassed. "Sure, no problem," she said, asking no further questions. "Ahh umm, I am very sorry about this… It wouldn't have got delayed..." he tried to explain further. "Its OK Abheek. Don't worry," She reassured him. Mauli was curious as to what was keeping him so occupied. But forgot about that through the day. She had come to the Embassy to call on the Ambassador that day and found out about the issue with the event. She realized Abheek was responsible for the event and went to see him in his office. There was no answer to her knocks.

 

She had been told by the Ambassador himself that, he was working in his cabin. She decided to walk in and pushed the door open. The door shut behind her as she stepped in. It was not a very big cabin. Just the usual squarish room with a desk strewn with papers and pens and his laptop. There was a desktop and some phones cramped up on the table too. It was the messiest desk she had ever seen. But what really caught her attention, was Abheek lying face down on his desk. He probably stayed in all night to finish some project. He had taken off his suite which was hanging on a Coat stand in the corner of the room. The white shirt that he wore was stretched taut due to the way he slept. Mauli moved to the side of the table to catch a glimpse of his face. His wide eyes, half open, half closed, his breath steady, the line on the bridge of his nose just a little accentuated, he looked so handsome, so lovable…….Mauli's palm rose to touch his cheek. She stroked his cheek ever so gently and stopped abruptly. She jerked her hand back and marched out of the room as quickly as she could, yanking the door open. Abheek woke up at the soft thud, as the door closed. He looked up totally disoriented. It took him a few minutes to realize where he was. His head was throbbing with a bad headache and he needed some strong coffee. Abheek stood up unsteadily, going up to the coat stand.

 

He stopped abruptly and looked around, her lingering perfume too hard to miss. Mauli reached her office and walked into her cabin. Shobha watched her walk by and wondered as to what probable causes could make Mauli as furious as she was. This was a side to Mauli that she wished she didn't have to deal with. Mauli opened her laptop furiously and looked at all the mail. There was one mail from Abheek too. She opened it first, as her brows knotted. It read. "It is 7:35 in the morning. Glad I met this deadline" and an attachment. Mauli kept staring at the mail. She realized why Abheek was working so late.She immediately summoned Shobha. By the time Abheek had returned back to the embassy, it was mid-day. As soon as he came in, he got a call to see the Ambassador urgently. He rushed to meet the Big man and as soon as he entered Mr Ambassador came to him and patted him on the back. Abheek was puzzled. "Oh Come on. You have pulled off a coup of sorts. Ms. Anoushka Shanker has agreed to perform at the event. Good job," said the Ambassador. Abheek walked out feeling more puzzled than ever. He had no clue how that had happened. The Navrang Culture fest was a big hit, with the performance of Anoushka Shanker becoming the talk of the town. Abheek's presentation after the performance was very well received too. And the best part was the invitation Mauli and her team received from Otto Kahn AG, to visit their steel factory. This was the breakthrough they were hoping to achieve. So far, it seemed the Otto Kahn group had no reason to suspect any other motives from Pasupati team. But this visit to the factory was crucial. If Pasupati group didn't play its cards well, there was a real danger that Mathias Dubois and his team would see through the smokescreen. Pasupati Office-Berlin Mauli and Abheek were in a conference call with Sourav. "Sir, I think we should use the excuse of Costs. We know our costs are higher because of supply and price of coal and broken up operations. Let's get them to share technology with us," suggested Abheek. "No, it's no use. We are deviating from the purpose of our operation.

 

Abheek, we need someone from their team, working for us," suggested Mauli. Abheek looked shocked. "What! This is unethical," he protested. Mauli looked at him, in a calm and self-assured manner. "How would you like it, if I tried to teach you your job," she asked him, looking him straight in the eye. "You wouldn't have hired me, if I had to be told how to do my job," retorted Abheek, bypassing her question. "You have done a good job so far Abheek. It's what I expected of you. But this is where I take over," said Mauli calmly. Abheek's face fell. Sourav was watching the goings on disapprovingly. "You want to buy out a man on their side, just to take over that company. I thought you were different from other Businessmen. But I am so disappointed to say, you're all the same," said Abheek, his eyes narrowed. "This is trade, not charity. I will use every trick there is to set up my presence in Europe. No means is unfair. If I don't do it, someone else will. My benevolence means nothing here. What do you think Hermann Kahn must be thinking about right at this moment? Do you think the thought of buying out Pasupati has not crossed his mind?" She questioned Abheek, sarcasm oozing from her words. Sourav did not like the way things were going. And he did not know Mauli, to argue with an executive, on issues of ethics either. "What Kahn does, is none of my business. But I am afraid I can't be a part of this operation anymore, if this is how you intend running it," stated Abheek, finality in his voice. "It's not a choice you have Abheek," said Mauli tersely. "What more can I do? I think my job here is done," he said flatly. "Has Pasupati group started production in Germany?" she asked checking some mails. "No?" said Abheek, agitated at her dismissive attitude. "Has Otto Kahn been taken over by Pasupati?" she asked again, looking up at him. "No?" he said, realizing where the conversation was headed. "So your job is not done. There is a cocktail event I will host at my official residence. I want an invitation sent to Dubois," she said looking at Abheek. Abheek stood quietly in front of Mauli, gritting his teeth. His nostrils flared with anger, he was barely able to control. Without a word he turned around and left the cabin. Mauli turned to Sourav dada, who looked very concerned. Abheek's Apartment: Abheek couldn't sleep all night.

 

His mind kept playing the scenes from Mauli's cabin over and over again. The way Mauli had said almost casually, that she needed to get Dubois on her side shocked Abheek. Is this how she had gotten to where she was today? Of course, was any other way possible? He should have known better. How could anyone so young acquire such a huge empire? It was impossible. Unless the person used any and all means to get to where she was. Abheek did not understand why he felt so let down and agitated. What else could one expect from the Head of one of India's fastest growing business empires? They were all the same. Blood sucking parasites. All they ever wanted, was to fill their coffers at the expense of others. But there was something about this particular deal, which Abheek felt personally responsible about. He wondered why and if it was the deal or….

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2018