Rananjay started a business career with milk and then diversified into cooking oil, but he wanted to do something big. So he bought a cotton mill in Mumbai and ran it successfully.
He saw the fortune in cotton and textiles. He set up a company “Rising Star” and started three more cotton mills in Pune, Surat and Indore. He was unstoppable thereafter. Rananjay took his company to new heights of success glory in the textile industry, making it one of the most trusted apparel brand in the country by dint of his sheer labour and skill.
He had also many other feathers in his cap. He had made a name in the field of aviation. Sky and height always fascinated him. He learnt flying. He had also showcased his paintings by holding exhibitions in Art Galleries at Mumbai. He appeared fully satisfied with the height he had reached from his humble, middle-class background.
Rananjay was the son of a simple school-teacher, in a village near Satara in Maharashtra. He studied in his father’s school, where he got fee remission. He saw the miseries his family was going through. He never liked his mother doing all sorts of menial jobs.
The place was dormant and had a laid-back lifestyle. As a child, he always used to think,
“Should I continue here? There will be no future for me. I’m not born to live such a mediocre life.”
His father had limited means, but had a good reputation in the society, and always tried to inculcate an ethical but fighting spirit in him. Rananjay passed High School board examination at the top of his school, but the crucial question before him was, “What next.”
His parents wanted him to pursue higher studies, but Rananjay had something else in mind. He wanted to ameliorate the financial condition of the family as quickly as possible and spending time for higher studies looked worse than futile.
One day Rananjay left for Mumbai against the wishes of parents to write his own destiny, and he did write, but he always gave credit of his all-round success to the silent, but active support of his wife, Sumitra, a meek and amiable girl, who had fallen for him when he was nothing, just a milkman. But she had seen sparks in his eyes, while buying milk daily from him.
The same meek girl now suggested,
“Let’s get Dhananjay married off. He is now 32. Remember your age, just 23, when you married me. I’m already getting several proposals for him every day.”
“But have you asked Dhananjay? Does he have someone in mind?” Rananjay asked Sumitra.
“Yes, I talked to him,” Sumitra replied. “He has left everything to us.”
The fact was that she already had Sheetal in mind. Sheetal was the daughter of a reputed businessman dealing in shoes and leather products. She knew Sheetal very well and liked her reserved demeanour and the way she used to carry herself.
Rananjay also liked the idea, as he wanted his only son to take up his responsibilities. This will help put a stop on his weird and vagabond lifestyle too. So after a few days, he designated Dhananjay as the Production Manager of the company.
Dhananjay’s marriage with Sheetal was solemnised with great fanfare. The house acquired a new look and vibrancy with the entry of a new bride for the first time. All were happy, but Sumitra’s happiness knew no bounds. With the marriage of his son, Rananjay had fulfilled this family responsibility too. As a business tycoon, he had already achieved what he wanted to in his life.
After three years, he wanted to see Dhananjay to make a mark for himself in the industry, and as a self contented person at 70, he decided to call it quits. Away from the hustle and bustle of the company, he wanted to devote his remaining time to pursue his hobbies and passions like travelling, photography, painting and above all aviation, for which he couldn’t spare enough time from his busy schedule.
Rananjay finally retired from the active life by transferring his entire stake in the business empire founded by him to Dhananjay and made him the CEO and Chairman of his company, “Rising Star.” Soon in the Rising Star, the rising son, Dhananjay started calling the shots. He overturned many decisions taken by his father just a few months ago.
Rananjay was in for surprise and trouble, when Dhananjay set up a new advisory board, roping in new professionals of his own choice. When he countered him, Dhananjay’s reply was short and crisp,
“My responsibility as Chairman of the Rising Star is different from that as a son. I have to ensure that the company follows the best corporate practices.”
That was the point when things started moving very fast from bad to worse. At domestic front too, the clashes started with Dhananjay, who would object to extravagant hobbies of his father, while he himself was enjoying all sorts of luxurious hobbies at the cost of the company.
The fact was that both father and son were known for their adventurous lifestyle- one for flying in the sky and the other for racing on the circuits. Rananjay was a keen aviator flying his own plane and microlight, apart from being the admirer and buyer of expensive paintings by the renowned artists. Dhananjay, on the other hand, was fond of fast car racing, apart from owning a collection of luxury cars including Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Sumitra was not at all happy with the quick turn of events. There was a change in the attitude of Sheetal too. Initial sparks started from the kitchen. Sheetal also started siding with her husband and disobeying her in-laws. Finally the wordy duels and clashes between the young and old couples became the order of the day. They were on the brink of war.
When the situation became intolerable, Rananjay along with Sumitra left his 3-storey mansion that he had built by giving his blood and sweat. They started living in a rented accommodation. His requests to the company to reimburse the rent went unheeded. The same people who had once worked under him, had become the yesmen of Dhananjay.
But ‘done’ can’t be ‘undone’. The old couple in the new house was a dejected lot repenting what they had done with their own hands. Dhananjay said,
“I accept my follies and foibles. Blind faith in the son was my biggest blunder that changed our lives for worse. It’s unbelievable that a businessman of my stature could be so vulnerable as any ordinary person.”
Wiping her eyes, Sumitra said, “I was also at fault. How could I err in judging Sheetal? She was so meek, obedient and unembellished. How could she be so rude to me? After all, I had brought her as my daughter-in-law. I can’t believe her startling transformation in her appearance and behaviour. She is an out-and-out party animal now.”
“It’s futile to blame that girl, when our own blood betrayed us,” Dhananjay quickly replied. “If you bring up a pet, it won’t betray you throughout the life, but you can’t say the same thing about human beings including your own progenies.”
The final blow came when Dhanajay removed his father from the Board of Directors in the name of corporate governance. He blamed his father that he was using his position on the Board to divert assets and wealth of the company. So now Rananjay was completely out of his company.
Rananjay was now short of funds. He wanted to have his paintings and artifacts to generate some money by selling those costly pieces, but Dhananjay bluntly refused to part with. Rananjay had also handsome amounts in the PF and gratuity and also in the company’s group saving account, but Dhananjay withheld all amounts blaming his father of malfeasance.
Gaping wounds inflicted by the son had riddled the souls of the old couple. Despite all odds, with heavy heart, Rananjay decided to approach the court, against his estranged son, as he had no option other than the protracted litigation to recover at least some portion of what he had lost.
Whatever little money Rananjay had was getting spent on rent and legal fees. And one day, he found no roof over his head.
He realised that his life had reached its nadir, and the path of recovery won’t be so easy.
“But what option do I have?”, he pondered.
He had to change his ways. He reconciled with the stark realities and decided to start from scratch once again at the ripe age of 73 to build another empire.
Rananjay started selling tea and snacks on a hand cart in front of his own company, hanging a placard from the cart which read,
“Love your children, but don’t love so much that you are blinded.”