The True Value
The True Value12 mins 330 12 mins 330
God knows why her parents named her Vasundhara. She had once asked her mother as to what that meant. “It is one of the names of mother earth. Let God bless you with the patience that mother earth has and may you be as generous as she is”, replied her mother.
Then Vasundhara little realised that she would be tested to the maximum extent to prove her limits of patience and capacity to bear sorrows! Would anybody in the world be dumped with mere sorrows for a long stretch of time? Yes. There are a few unlucky ones like Vasundhara. Today, after nearly twenty years of struggle, Vasudhara is breathing air of freshness. She too has started tasting happiness, which she had totally forgotten in all these years. Looking back, she could rummage just a few years of a happy life with her unfortunate husband Bhaskar.
‘Bhaskar. Where are you? Today your Vasu has proved herself and made your dreams come true. Look at this trophy. This means a lot to me not as a trophy for my success but as an acknowledgment from the world. of your splendid intellect. It is your moral support from wherever you are that I could withstand all the beatings all these years. Now, I am free Bhaskar. I want to join you soon. I am tired.’
“Amma. Why are you crying? You should be happy. Is Appa bothering you too much?” Bharat came and hugged Vasundhara.
“No Kanna. Why would Appa bother me? He was such a good soul that he could not hurt anybody. It was his memory that gave me this great strength to win this award today. I am thanking him.”
“Amma. I know. I know. I was just joking. Though I saw Appa for just 12 years, I had understood him perfectly. We are unlucky that we lost him so early in our lives. But, what is the use of crying over what is inevitable? Just enjoy this moment of achievement. After all, this was what Appa wanted and you have done it. You are great Amma”.
Yes. Vasundhara is a great woman. What she has received today is not just an award for her achievement but a symbol of recognition of the strength of womanhood!
Bharat was 12 and Bhargavi 9 when that doomsday arrived in Vasundhara’s life. Of course, the trouble started brewing 3-4 years before that day. Her husband Bhaskar kicked off a well-paid job to realise his much-cherished dream of running a business. He was a scientist and the job he was in did not satiate his hunger for creating. The chains of employment always had their limitations. He wanted to prove his intellect independently.
“Vasundhara. Anyway, you are employed. Can you support me in my venture till I stabilise?”
“Of course Bhaskar. Go ahead. Don’t worry about the family. I am here. You do what you crave to do.”
Bhaskar put up his small factory pitching in his savings. Vasundhara started taking care of the family's needs with her income from her employment in a school. She instilled good values in her children who understood their family’s conditions and compromised on many of their wants.
Bhaskar’s business picked up.
“Hello Bhaskar. Congrats!”
Bhaskar looked up at his college mate Jeevan, who entered his factory without notice one day. He was thrilled. He ran to him and hugged him.
“Welcome welcome Jeevan. How are you? Where are you? What are you doing right now?”
“I will tell you everything. I am so impressed by your courage to quit a Government job to start this venture. I heard you are doing very well. I just came back from the Gulf. I quit my job there yaar. I was fed up. I want to live here, with my family.”
Thus came Jeevan into Bhaskar’s life for the second time. While in college, Jeevan was a happy-go-lucky type, enjoying his youth to the fullest extent. He was an average student and somehow finished his degree course with difficulty. His boisterous nature attracted many girls, including Nalina, whom Bhaskar had secretly admired and liked. Nalina was a very studious girl and did very well in her academics. Bhaskar was stunned when he heard of their affair but just kept quiet and continued with his journey. Nalina did join M.Sc. with Bhaskar but quit halfway through, when she married Jeevan. After that, Bhaskar heard nothing about them, except that they lived in the Gulf.
Jeevan then started visiting Bhaskar often. He introduced Nalina to Vasundhara. His son Pankaj was an adorable kid and Bharat and Bhargavi grew very affectionate to him. After a few months, Jeevan slowly brought up his proposal of joining Bhaskar’s business. Bhaskar did think a lot, discussed with Vasundhara and tried to avoid but Jeevan’s excellent talking capacity finally cornered Bhaskar and he yielded. Jeevan joined the business with just a 25% share. He said, since he was technically weak, he would take care of the marketing and financial aspects and free Bhaskar of these responsibilities. Free he did! But not without a price. In just two years, Bhaskar realised he had committed a blunder by admitting Jeevan into his business.
Jeevan had swindled lakhs of rupees, diverted funds to his personal accounts, built a palatial house, invested in expensive cars and other assets and also put up his own factory slyly. On that terrible day, when Bhaskar came to know the whole story of how Jeevan had even spread fantastic stories about him among his clients and diverted orders worth crores of rupees to his factory, he was shell-shocked. He could not control himself and shouted at Jeevan.
“How can you cheat me like this Jeevan? I trusted you as a friend and this is what you do to me in return? Let’s say quits. Please leave me alone and get out of my business.”
“That’s not so easy Bhaskar. How can you just drive me away like this? After all, this is business. You should have also been vigilant. I have carried out my duties and hence taken due payments. What’s wrong?”
The argument continued and heated up. At once juncture, Bhaskar went close to Jeevan, shouting, when Jeevan pushed him against a machine, which was nearby. Bhaskar hit his head against the huge machine and collapsed. Of course, Jeevan did not intend to kill him but now things turned easier.
Vasundhara rushed to the factory on hearing about the sad demise of Bhaskar from Jeevan who very well played his role by crying and making a scene. He showed the oil on the floor and said, “Bhaskar was so upset that a client did not respond to him and stood up and started walking in anger. He slipped on this oil patch and fell. Before I could come into his cabin, everything was over. I am so sorry Vasundhara. He was such a wonderful person. How will I ever live without him?”
Vasundhara had known about Jeevan’s black deeds, as Bhaskar hid nothing from her and she did not fully believe what Jeevan said. But the sorrow of the big loss was too overwhelming for her to think about how Bhaskar would have otherwise died. Jeevan took lead and arranged for Bhaskar’s funeral, while Nalina took charge of the children. Everybody around kept praising Jeevan for his excellent service for a friend’s family.
When Vasundhara came out of the shock and started taking stock of her life, she found that the jackal had been too clever. She was stunned when she was not admitted into the factory after a month.
“Vasu. Why should you come here? I will take care of everything. You have your teacher’s job, your kids to take care of and your father-in-law to be attended to. I am here.”
“But I want to know everything Jeevan. After all, this is my husband’s factory.”
“This is not just Bhaskar’s factory Vasu. Don’t dare repeat that! I am also a co-owner.”
Vasundhara later consulted her lawyer and found out that Jeevan had done a lot of mischief. He had appointed himself as the Chairman and Managing Director of the company and fraudulently declared himself as a 75% stakeholder instead of 25%. He never allowed Vasundhara anywhere near the factory. Nalina also stopped visiting or entertaining Vasundhara in her house.
Vasundhara went to the courts. But Jeevan’s cunning hands were too long and Vasundhara could do nothing much but keep appealing in higher courts. All her time went in running to courts, Associations, and clients. She found that the lawyers too were cheating on her, just because she was a woman.
“After all, as a woman, how far can you fight madam? Accept an out-of-court settlement and put an end to all this struggle. Concentrate on your children. Even if you get the factory, how can you run it? You are not technically qualified.”
These words of a judge jolted her and challenged her womanhood. She decided to fight till the end. Seven precious years had gone by. Her sweet children cooperated a lot. Her father-in-law too supported her. She managed her school job in between. Her 19-year-old son said, “Amma. We will not spare that swine. We have to get back to Appa’s factory. I am with you. Carry on your fight.”
As she could not trust lawyers, she studied and got her law degree in the last 3 years. She fought her case herself. By then the deceitful Jeevan had even shifted the machinery from her factory to his factory. He had maligned her name in the books of the bankers, clients and every contact.
Meanwhile, one thing had been haunting Vasundhara. Did Bhaskar die an accidental death as claimed by Jeevan? She started collecting various pieces of evidence which proved that Bhaskar had in fact been pushed by Jeevan. The watchman of the building was an eye- witness, which Jeevan did not know. However, since Bhaskar’s body was cremated after a post mortem, which stated that he died because of the fall, the matter was allowed to rest. But Vasundhara was not satisfied. While arguing her case for getting back the factory, she did bring up this point also and the investigation began all over again. After prolonged proceedings, with the help of the only eye-witness, it was proved that Jeevan had in fact pushed Bhaskar in anger but since that was not with the intention of killing Bhaskar, the punishment would be light.
Thus went on a legal battle for various reasons – the death of Bhaskar, wrongful confiscation of the factory, wrongful transfer of machinery, misappropriation of funds, fraudulent alteration of documents of partnership, ownership, etc. and cheating – Vasundhara finally got possession of the factory just 3 years ago. Though her fight to get back the machinery shifted by Jeevan continued, she took possession of the factory and started running it with the help of her son and a small group of employees who were loyal to Bhaskar. Though she knew nothing about the technology, her dedication and sincerity and the excellent cooperation of the employees proved fruitful.
“Sir, please trust me and give me the orders. I do not want to explain how much damage Mr.Jeevan has done to me. I am not interested in convincing you of his bad intentions. My aim is to march ahead. I know I am not technically qualified. But I have an excellent group of employees. Please give me a sample order and we will prove our worth. Please give us an opportunity to prove ourselves Sir”, requested Vasundhara.
Dr.Das, who had known Bhaskar very closely was moved by her perseverance and wanted to give her a chance. He gave her a sample order. She came back on the deadline with her product and he was stunned to see the way the order had been executed.
“I am impressed Ms.Vasundhara. I have decided to hand over orders worth Rs.2 crores to you. I want to prove to the world how strong women are. They are not equal but stronger than men! Any man who would have been buried in so many problems like you would have killed himself or turned mad. But you have been so strong and positive minded. Wish you all the best!”
Last month that order was successfully executed. This award was in appreciation of that order. Ms.Vasundhara was recognised as the ‘Best Entrepreneur’ by the Government of India. Dr.Das was instrumental in recommending her name to the Government. Besides, his industry also recognised her with an award for the ‘Best Quality Maintenance’.
“I want to meet Ms.Vasundhara”, said the young lady at the door.
“Yes. I am Vasundhara”.
The lady looked astonished because she could not believe that a woman who had achieved so much would look so simple and humble.
“Madam, good morning. I am from the Impressions newspaper. I would like to write about you.”
“What is there to write about me? I am just an ordinary woman. I do not like publicity.”
“Madam, you are too modest. Do you think what you have achieved is that simple? I want to write about you not to boost your ego or give you publicity but to inspire other women who are in dire circumstances and prefer to commit suicide. You have proved that nothing is impossible with a positive attitude and grit. Women should never accept defeat weakly but fight back. Isn’t this a good enough message from your story?”
“Of course. You have to write about my great mom. Her story will definitely inspire millions of women in distress. I will give you all the information”, entered Bharat.