The Deciding Factor

The Deciding Factor

Two crows were building a nest, noisily communicating with each other. Sitting in the veranda, Sushma watched them distractedly as she sipped her elevenses. Her mind in turmoil, she couldn’t stop thinking of the fight she had witnessed between her son and his wife the previous night.  

Who would have thought two people so much in love were capable of being absolutely pig headed when it came to running a business? 

History repeating itself? 

Sushma and her husband had fought endlessly over business decisions. Finally, his father, the founder of the hugely popular jewellery brand, had stepped in and offered them a solution and it had worked brilliantly. It had not only helped in business expansion but had also helped them bond and grow as a couple.

When Sushma was just 40, fate had cruelly snatched both father and son in a road accident. Stoically, she had brought up their only son and run the shop single handed. Accusing his mother of loving the business more than him, Arun had chosen to pursue his MBA abroad and didn’t come back when he found a job. A few years later, much to her surprise, he had chosen to come back to the country accompanied by his wife. Bubbly, openly affectionate Poornima had won her heart. 

Observing them and imagining that they were ready to take over, she had handed over the business to them. To her dismay, it wasn’t working; there was a constant tug of war between two people who were equally strong headed.

Maybe she could use the same strategy her father-in-law had used. She had to find it but where had she kept it? The answer evaded her. 

Sushma went into the Puja room and sat in front of the Ganesh idol and closed her eyes. When she opened them, her eyes went straight to the familiar box on the second shelf. It was in there.

In the evening, she was reading when she heard quick footsteps approach the study.

“Hi Ma, I am back.” Poornima hugged Sushma as she came out. 

“Hi darling, did you have a good day?”

“It was good, Arun was out on a client meeting and I got a chance to make a few decisions. I am sure he’ll criticise them but the clients are happy and that’s what matters isn’t it?” she dimpled at her mother-in-law.

“I agree with you Pooni, I don’t understand why Arun has to oppose everything that you suggest and I have been wondering how I could help without interfering. Let Arun come back and we’ll talk tonight.”

“Ma, you don’t know how grateful I am for your support. I didn’t realize running a business with Arun would be so challenging.”

“It happens Pooni, marriage itself is difficult. It’s gets more complicated when you need to work together as well.”

“What becomes more complicated Ma?” Arun walked in frowning slightly at the sight of the two of them sitting comfortably ensconced on the sofa.

“Something that I have been wanting to share with the two of you. We’ll talk after dinner Arun.”

They were back on the sofas, this time she chose the single seater and they were forced to sit together facing her.

“I have decided that from now on, I shall be a small part of the major decisions with respect to the shop’s expansion ideas. I shall toss this coin and each of you shall decide whether you want heads or tails. The one who wins will take the decision and the other will help in carrying it out.” She held up her hand when she saw Arun’s mouth opening in protest.

“Arun, I am taking this step to help the two of you and the business, trust me, it worked to sort out differences between your dad and me and hopefully it’ll work for the two of you.”

It took a few months but slowly egos settled down. The coin was the deciding factor as to who would take a particular decision and slowly the magic manifested. Arun and Poornima started collaborating, using their individual strengths, they were able to take the business to greater heights. There was peace at home and at the shop.

It was only a few days after Sushma’s funeral that they looked at the coin. It had only one side, a minting mistake. 

A rejected coin that had helped two couples look at life through each other’s perspectives.
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