The marriage celebration organized by Regent Corporation was at full swing. Sidharth Sinha, the bride’s father looked happy with the party decoration. He walked to the bar to have first-hand experience of the arrangements.
Shabana moved ahead to meet the chief host, being the event organizer, she requested, “Sir, what is your preference?”
Sidharth Sinha was an IAS officer, he was also Director of CBSE Board.
By virtue of being responsible for the education of youth, he got interested to speak to the young girl, who was offering him the drink.
“I would like to have single malt on the rocks”.
She returned with a peg of Glenfiddich for the chief host.
He thanked her for the drink and asked her introduction.
“Sir, I am from Regent Corporation.”
“Are you with them for a long time?”
“No Sir, I joined them just a week back.”
“Oh, you are pretty new, have you completed your education?”
“Sir, I have appeared for CBSE exam and I am waiting for my result.”
“Cool, don’t you want to go for higher education.”
“Sir, it is my personal choice, I do not want to discuss it.”
Sidharth Sinha had a firsthand experience of being rebuffed by one of his CBSE board students.
His ego got deflated, which quietened him.
After rebuffing her chief host, she was a bit nervous. A few depressing thoughts were bombarding her brain. “Probably Rohit might have to bear the consequences of her misdemeanor”. To keep herself in positive frame of mind, she diverted her attention to the other arrangements. She moved away towards the kitchen to check the arrangements there.
As the luck would have it, by then some of the glitches in the arrangements were also showing up.
The orchestra team manager was waiting for her at the turn, when she passed him, “Madam. the crooner and the orchestra team will play the music after the intermission, only on one condition that you will pay the balance Rs2,00,000 in cash right now”.
She was bugged by his high handedness, yet she kept her cool, “We are supposed to clear your balance only after the show, that too by cheque at the office.”
“Our last payment was delayed by fifteen days; our musicians cannot bear the delay this time.”
She had no time to contact Rohit because he was busy in another engagement. She had five lacs as the emergency fund. She asked him to wait and went over to Heena, she asked her to pass on Rs2,00,000 from the bag. After ten minutes she met the manager again at the bend. She saw the crooner as well as the orchestra team were taking rest. She handed Rs2 L cash to the orchestra team manager and the orchestra restarted after the intermission without anyone knowing about the problem.
Around same time there was a lot of noise and she found a lot of workers running helter skelter. A gas cylinder had caught fire and the workers were running away due to the fear of its explosion. Two men brought fire extinguishers from the hall and sprayed on the burning cylinder for over ten minutes to finally be able to avert a crisis.
Almost everybody in the party was alarmed due to the incident.
Once the fire got extinguished, they had a sigh of relief and once again everybody got busy with the celebrations.
Shabana was free by eleven o’clock. She handed the charge to the main contractor and walked over to Heena, who was sitting at a corner table.
A waiter brought plates of chosen items for them. They hurriedly ate and then left the party. By the time they reached home it was past midnight.
Rohit and Shabana met at ten in the office next morning.
She briefed him about the party and gave him the accounts.
“The other things were fine but the fire during the marriage party was an unfortunate happening”. He said, “It would have left a lasting effect in the guests’ minds. It was a big budget party the guests would have expected better safety standards.”
She was sad that in spite of her best efforts and working hard from morning till late at night the results were unsatisfactory.
When she reached back at her seat, she saw a bouquet of roses with an attached envelope lying on her table. She was pleasantly surprised to read the note inside the envelope, “Dear Shabana, Thanks for the lovely arrangements.” She saw that Sidharth Sinha’s visiting card along with it.
She noticed that he was Director of Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi.
She thought that Delhi board must be having over hundred thousand students.
She was delighted that he had forgiven her rude behaviour and he had not held Regent Corporation responsible for the fire accident.
She took the bouquet as well as the note to show it to Rohit.
The complimentary note from Sidharth Sinha was very important for him. He was overjoyed because it had cleared his path to get the balance amount for the event.
He congratulated Shabana, “You are lucky for the company. The execution of your first order, that too a big one has been successful.”
The office atmosphere once more became joyous.
Rohit informed Shabana that Sinha owed Rs 20,00,000 towards the balance payment.
“Why not you pay him a courtesy call and get the dues cleared?”
“OK, I shall go their directly from my home tomorrow.”
Shabana rang up taxi service and asked them to pick her up from Dilli Gate the next day.
Rohit gave a thought to the fact that in just eight days from joining, she had become so important in the company.
Among her various qualities what he liked the most was that she didn’t hesitate to take up the responsibility and she didn’t waiver, irrespective of the time of the day or night. He didn’t know the kind of background she came from, that she had to cover herself in a burqa when in her neighbourhood.
On 1st of the month when Hanif returned after Azaan he found Shabana waiting for him at the courtyard.
She put both hands around his neck to garland him and gave him a peck on his cheek. He was quite pleased to notice Shabana’s exuberance. He went to freshen himself and then sat down on the takht.
Shabana presented him crisp Rs.10,000 notes with a broad smile on her face.
“I got my first salary of the last 15 days.”
Hanif was quite pleased to receive the cash, which was a relief in the hard times.
Your boss seems to be very prompt in discharging his responsibility.
“Abba in the last order, which was fully executed by me, our company made a clean profit of Rs 6,00,000, whereas I got my salary of 15 days as Rs10,000, so tell me who got more benefitted?”
Though it was common sense, yet it was difficult for an old maulvi, who had all his life experienced shortages comprehend her logic.
“Beti, you are very young you will not understand the complexities of business. After all your boss
has set it up.”
“I don’t deny that he is enterprising, yet only those who try can possibly get the reward.”
“OK, what do you want me to do?”
“Abba, if I want to set up my own, I have to learn the whole gambit of business which includes finance, marketing and HRD.”
“How do you propose to do that?”
“Right now, my boss is in a mood to delegate. I will try to learn the full business in 6 months and then I will start on my own.”
“I am happy to see your confidence, but I can only offer my good wishes.”
“That is more than enough, my only request is that you give me the freedom to go out whenever I want without any time restrictions.”
“I understand that in your business real work is executed mostly in the evenings. I trust you and I will not become a hindrance in your path.”
Shabana moved forward and held her Abba’s hand and gave him a hug.
When she went inside the kitchen, she met Ammi, she knew that she had overheard her conversation.
“Don’t you think you are moving too fast?”
“Ammi in today’s world one can err only by going too slow, not by going too fast! Have you heard about Greta Thundberg,16-year-old girl, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize? I am older than her and what am I aiming at only a small business.”
Ammi thought that one revolutionary in the family was enough. She didn’t want to break her head on the subject.
“Khuda tumko taraqui bakhshe.”