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C1 1

Shravan Maheswari was having breakfast with his family in their ancestral haveli in Jodhpur.

To say that he is here suffering would be an understatement.

His mother had literally dragged him here, kicking and screaming, when he was supposed to be in Bangalore working on an important business deal.

Why Bangalore?? Is that what you people are wondering?

From Jodhpur to Bangalore, it has been a really long journey. Not just literally!

His grandfather, Tej Maheswari, is the wealthiest landowner in Jodhpur and belongs to one of the oldest royal families here.

His father, Pratap Maheswari, wanted him to make a name for himself, so after his studies, he started a business of his own and shifted to Mumbai.

Mumbai is where his mother is from.

Dad met Mom, sparks flew, they got married, and it resulted in him and his two siblings.

And as he grew up, his father became his inspiration, and he decided to follow in his footsteps.

So instead of taking over Maheshwari Textiles, he made his own empire.

And at twenty-seven, he is the proud co-CCEO of the SM Group of luxury resorts.

And his business is based in Bangalore, where he did his undergraduate work.

He did his postgraduate work at Harvard.

Oh Yes!! He is smart.

You can call him pompous if you want, because it really doesn't matter to him.

He simply doesn't care what people think of him.

He has been called many names by many people since he made his first billion and made an appearance in the Times of India.

"Shravuu. Have one more roti," his mother said, and he inwardly cringed.

He hates being called Shravuu.

What am I? A five-year-old?

"I am full, mom. And please stop calling me that." He told her again, knowing very well that she wasn't going to stop that.

"Why should I?" I am your mother. I carried you in my womb for nine months. I went through labour pain for hours and hours to give birth to you. And is this how you behave towards your mother?" His mom, ever the drama queen, said it, and he saw his dad rolling his eyes beside her.

"Whatever, mom," he said and continued eating.

Then he heard some whisperings between his parents and looked up to see them nudging each other and pointing at him with their eyes.

He sat back in his chair and gave them his full attention.

Anyway, they have dragged him away from his business.

Let's hear what it is that they want.

"Shoot," he said.

"Shravuu. You know we love you, don't you?" His mother asked, and he raised an eyebrow in confusion.

What's happening??

"Of course, Mom."

"Then you should also know that we would love you regardless of your preferences," his mother said, making him frown.

"What's going on?" Am I missing something?" He asked while sipping the water from his tumbler.

"Do you?? Do you have a man in your life, Shravu?" His mother asked, and he choked, spluttering the water. He heard a snicker, and he turned to see Isha, his friend, trying to hide her laughter.

"Mom. What the hell!!" He yelled in disbelief.

She had been after him for a while to get him married, and he had outright refused to be tied to anyone.

And how did she come to such a conclusion from that?

"You mean you are..."

"Of course I am a straight guy, mom!" He shook his head, still in disbelief.

His mother grinned widely.

"I knew. I was just making sure."

"And now, please don't start the topic of you and me not getting any younger. Today's quota is over, mom," he said, and she pouted.

"Shravan. I want you to attend the community wedding ceremony held tomorrow as a part of your dadu's birthday celebration." Dad said, and he inwardly groaned.

Yes, he knows it's a wonderful thing that his family is doing by getting ten orphan girls married.

But he hates attending weddings.

It's not really the wedding that bothers him.

It's all the aunties attending the wedding, who take it upon themselves to find a suitable bride for him, that bother him.

I mean, seriously! What's their problem? Why can't they just mind their own business?

"Is it really necessary for me to attend, dad?"

"Of course. Both of your siblings are not here. So you will be there representing all three of you," his father said.

"And I have brought a new sherwani for you to wear to the wedding," his mother said.

"Wah!! Shravan in a sherwani? It would be a vision to see." Isha winked at him, and he glared at her.

Why did he bring her with him again?

"Mom?? Why the hell should I wear a sherwani? I am attending the wedding. I am not getting married."

"Who knows if some pretty girl will see you in a sherwani and fall in love with you?" I could get you married, maybe tomorrow itself," his mom said, and he rolled his eyes.

"You are just impossible, mom!"

"Aunty, girls always fall in love with your son. It's your son who doesn't. So wearing a sherwani or not wouldn't matter. Maybe we will have to do a heart transplant surgery for him. Maybe a new heart is what he needs," Isha said.

"Very funny," he said sarcastically.

"Oh, I am very serious, Shravuu." Isha teased him.

"Just shut up. We have business to do, Isha. If you forgot, let me remind you that I brought you here so that we could work on the deal here. Not for you to gang up with my mom against me."

"Sure boss. It's your command." Isha said it with a mock salute.

They both stood up from the dining table and were going to the study when his mom called him again.

"I really want you to get married, Shravan. I am dying to be a grandma," she said.

"Mom. I have to focus on my business. I am working on an important business deal now. Please don't bring up the topic of marriage and spoil my mood," he said and walked away.

"What are we going to do with him, Pratap ji?" Anuradha Maheswari asked her husband, who simply shrugged in return.

"We can't force him to get married, Anu. If we do, he won't be happy in his life."

"He is twenty-seven. I want him married before he turns thirty."

"If he is destined to get married before thirty, he would, Anu. Stop worrying and give him some space. He will come around." Pratap Maheswari said, making his wife sigh in defeat.

She is leaving it all to destiny.

In the study, Ravan was ready to pull out his hair.

"What do you mean by we can't get an appointment with the man for another two months?" Shravan asked in frustration.

He had been trying very hard for this deal with the Malhotras for a while.

"Vihaan Malhotra and his family are abroad on vacation. They won't be coming back for another two months."

"Damn it!! I want that island. It's the best spot for our new resort."

"I think we are wasting time on this deal, Shravan. I did a little research. The island holds personal significance for Vihaan Malhotra and his family. I don't think he would be willing to sell it."

"Well, Vihaan Malhotra is a fool. Who would turn their back on such a fortune for sentimental reasons? He could have built a resort there, and it would have been the paragon of his business ventures. He failed to do it. It's about time someone made some smart decisions."

"Sometimes you can be so cold-hearted, Shravan. I don't understand why. You have a wonderful family who all love each other, and you grew up happily. Then how come you turned into a stone?" Isha asked.

"Cold hearted?? I am not being cold-hearted, Isha. I am just being practical. And I am not a stone. I do have feelings. I am just not very expressive like other people. And for me, emotions exist between people. Their hearts. I don't understand the significance of a place, a date, or any materialistic things where feelings are concerned."

"Whatever Shravan. I am not arguing with you."

"That's good. I have to get D. Love. And the first thing I do will be to change that stupid name of the island."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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