Let this image inspire your creative muse to write me a story.
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Indira Sharma stared at the bronze replica of her company’s insignia adorning her desk-a representation of a human hand. She squinted her eyes to read the familiar inscription on its pedestal before returning to the numbers on a page in front of her. Her brows creased with concern when she analyzed those figures in her mind. There was a knock on her door.
“Come in,” she said, bracing herself for an unpleasant meeting.
“You called for me, Mrs. Sharma?”
She nodded at the young man. Her practiced eyes carefully passed over the entire length of his body-ruffled hair, t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Her stern expression made no secret that she disapproved of his cavalier attire. She motioned him to the chair in front.
Indira straightened her glasses and cleared her throat. “Arun, I’m concerned about an employee of your department. He is constantly running up expensive travel bills, but hasn't sold anything and hasn't made any new account.”
“We should sack him. Give me his name,” he responded.
“Before that, have you completed the task I gave you?”
She shook her head when he pulled out a folded sheet from the pocket of his jeans and straightened it on the table.
“So what did you want me to know?” he questioned with a smug expression.
“Whatever you discovered,” she shot back.
“We make Rupees 20 per liter of paint we produce and sell.”
“This gentleman in your department has spent Rs 250,000 in the past three months without making any new customer or selling a single liter of paint. How much do we have to sell to recover his expenses?”
“12,500 liters,” he replied, calculating quickly. Her pointed questioning was beginning to make him feel uncomfortable. Who is this joker she keeps talking about? he wondered.
“Let me know when you’re sacking him,” she said, sliding the paper in her hand before him.
He was aghast to see the name and stood up in shock. “It says my name, Mom.”
“This is business, Arun. I’m not your Mom here, but just the President of the company which your grandfather built and your father served. I’m not going to have it run down by an irresponsible young man who just happens to be sole heir,” she announced.
He slouched on his chair and beads of sweat broke out on his brow.
“Do you know what this is?” She pointed to the statue of the hand.
“Read what is written below,” she coaxed.
“THE ONLY TRUTH A MAN NEEDS TO KNOW IS THAT HIS DESTINY IS IN HIS OWN HANDS,” he read.
“Do you know why your grandfather selected a hand as the emblem of his company? Because a hand stands for work and he believed in it. I fail to understand what made you like this when the same blood runs through your veins. Perhaps, my womb is cursed,” she lamented.
The words scathed his soul. He was not accustomed to such acerbity.
“Thank God your father or grandfather are not alive. They would have been shattered to see you.”
“I try my best, Mom. But luck always seems to fail me,” he insisted. He saw her staring at the Hand. My destiny is in my own hands, he remembered. He rose quietly and dragged himself out of her sight.
Three months later, Indira was in the Board Room rehearsing for the Annual General Meeting.
“How can I present these figures?” She glared at Raman Desai, the Finance Director.
“I’m afraid the results aren’t good. Ever since your husband passed away our sales have only declined. We need a good team in Marketing, Mrs. Sharma,” he replied, shaking his head.
Indira sighed. I should have taken the decision long ago. In the best interest of the company, Arun has to go.
She picked up her cell phone to make a call when it lighted up with her son’s number.
“What is it?” she snapped.
“I need an urgent meeting of all Head of Departments.”
“Why?” Her voice did not mask her annoyance.
“Can I explain when I get back? I will be there in an hour.”
“Where are you now? There is so much noise.”
“I’m at Churchgate station,” he said and hung up.
“Churchgate?” she screamed at the dead phone.
“Yes, Mrs. Sharma. For the last three months Arun uses only local trains and buses. He has released his car,” explained Raman.
“I’ve news, Gentlemen, Mrs. Sharma. We bagged the prestigious Ford project. We will be supplying paints for all models of their cars produced in this country,” announced Arun facing his mother and all department heads.
There were cheers and loud applauses. Indira couldn’t believe her ears. It meant a fresh lease of life for her company.
“But the time to celebrate is not here yet. An order of this magnitude needs meticulous planning. Production, raw material, manpower, working capital. Could we meet tomorrow morning tomorrow at 7 A.M.? I need the evening to make my preparations,” he concluded, bringing the meeting to a close.
It was late evening when Indira entered Arun’s office. She realized that till he called today they had not seen or spoken to each other ever since that meeting in her office.
“Shall we go home, Arun?”
“You carry on, Mrs. Sharma. I’ve to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting.”
“Can I ask you how you made it happen?” He looks smart in that suit.
“Remembered grandfather’s advice. Worked hard, researched for my meetings, pulled out my college contacts and got a bit lucky,” he said with a smile.
She was tempted to stroke his hair.
“Good night, Mrs. Sharma.” He returned to his laptop.
Call me Mom. She moved to the door.
She turned, delighted to hear that word.
‘’Your womb is not cursed!”
With a brave effort she held back her tears.
“I’m proud of you, my boy.”
Word Count : 993