The glittering facade of the Grand Hyatt looked lovely and stunning in contrast with the dark sky.

The 25th anniversary bash of Rishi and Simran Chopra had been a
much-awaited event. The paparazzi was having a ball covering the numerous theme parties. Rishi Chopra was a self-made millionaire who had married his long-time girlfriend, Simran, 25 years ago.

This extravaganza was attended by many celebrities. Raj had invited his senior-level employees, too. The decor, the food menu, the live DJ … everything was tastefully planned. Simran and Rishi made for a smashing pair. Simran looked stunning in a sexy red gown accentuated by a glittering emerald necklace, and a dapper Rishi by her side.

Siddharth, one of the marketing executives in Rishi’s company, attended the party with his wife, Shalini, who was a school teacher. Shalini couldn’t help looking at Simran and her lovely necklace. It must have cost a bomb, she thought. The party continued till the wee hours and the guests had a rollicking time.

Shalini and Siddharth couldn’t help raving about the party, the next morning on the breakfast table.

“Siddharth, I had an awesome time. Oh! how I wish we could celebrate our upcoming silver jubilee like that! And I couldn’t take my eyes off that necklace. I heard someone gossiping that it was gifted by  Mr.Chopra,” Shalini said excitedly. “Ya, it really was an amazing party. Shalu, why don’t you buy some jewellery from the money we have saved. I want to gift you something for our 25th anniversary.” Siddharth said.

“Of course not, Siddharth! You know, we have saved up the money for a vacation with the kids. We are all looking forward to going. We can’t disappoint them,” Shalini replied. Radha, their maid heard their conversation while serving tea .

Siddharth really wanted to surprise his wife on their anniversary. He applied for a loan to buy a pair of earrings. Shalini had some savings. She decided to buy a nice watch for Siddharth. They both waited excitedly for their anniversary.

Simran woke up with a massive hangover. Instructing her maid to get her a cup of black coffee, she went to her room to freshen up. When she went to the dining room, she found Rishi there. Even looking at him angered her. “You scoundrel! How could you behave like that? You were literally ogling that secretary of yours and she wasn’t exactly shying away,” she said accusingly. “Don’t make me open my mouth. I saw you dancing shamelessly with that gigolo, Harsh,” Rishi replied angrily.

Simran changed the topic knowing she had been caught red-handed  “The party was a huge success wasn’t it? Every woman there was getting jealous looking at that necklace,” She faked a smile.

Rishi and Simran had drifted away from each other with the rise in their fortunes.They lived together for appearances’ sake and because of their children.

“Shalini madam is so lucky,” Radha reflected while walking home from work, “Siddharth sir pampers her so much.” She thought of her husband, Bansi, who undoubtedly loved her but due to poverty, couldn’t think beyond the bare survival.” Let me make onion bhajiyas for him today. He loves them.” She felt like pampering him. She bought some gram flour from the kirana shop to make them. “I will pay when I get my next salary,” she promised the shopkeeper.

Bansi was already home. He had brought panipuris for Radha as she loved them. They cooked the bhajiyas together and devoured this unexpected treat. The pitter patter of rain drops falling on their roof felt like the best music in the world.

Financial Scams

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Vandana Sarawagi

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