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Sheila could not sleep.  She turned this way and that in bed.  Her husband was working on his computer as usual to meet yet another deadline. 

Life is about meeting deadlines these days, she thought as she turned yet again letting the bed sheet fall off her body.  She could never sleep without a bed sheet on her body, however hot the weather might be.

Has little Robin’s angst entered my body like a ghost?  Sheila wondered.  Robin was a student of hers in class 4.  Sheila was a teacher in a residential school.  Robin, one of her students, had lost his usual cheer and grace in the last few days.

“What happened to you, young man?”  Sheila confronted Robin in the hostel before his bedtime.  The little boy wouldn’t speak.  He began to sob instead. 

“Come on, tell me, what’s the problem.  I assure you of a solution whatever the problem.”

It took much cajoling and more tenderness to get words through Robin’s sobs.  “They not believe, Ma’m... Dad has a BMW, I say them.  They make fun...”

“So you want to prove to your friends that your dad has a BMW, is that all?”

“He has, Ma’m.  You also not believe?”

“I know, dear.  I know that your dad has a BMW.  So why don’t you ask him to come in that BMW to meet you tomorrow, the Parents’ Visiting Day?”

“Dad too busy, Ma’m.  Only Mum comes.  In old City Honda.”

“We’ll get your dad here,” said Sheila confidently though she was not sure how she would do it.  

She dialled the number of Robin’s Dad on her mobile phone and he agreed to come the next day in his BMW.  Not a bad dad, thought Sheila who was familiar with too many dads who would normally need more cajoling and tenderness than their sons and daughters.

Robin fell asleep in the cosy comfort of the woollen blanket that protected him against a chill that the air-conditioner could cause.

Teachers had no air-conditioners.  Sheila’s husband worked in an air-conditioned office.  He was a manufacturer of computer software for a reputed firm which worked for Bill Gates.  He met deadlines every night.  Sheila met curlicues every day.

Her husband had finished his deadline.  His computer sang its turn off music.

“When can we change our Maruti 800?  Don’t we deserve a little better ... comfortable car?”  Sheila asked when her husband came to sleep.

“Can we discuss that on Sunday?  I’m tired.”

“I’m on duty on Sunday.  I work in a residential school.  And we have a residence because of my job, don’t forget that.”

Her husband sighed.

“Suppose I buy a new car,” said her husband.  “Where will you go?  When on earth do you get the time to go anywhere?”

“We can at least show the people that we have a good car,” said Sheila. 

Sigh, again.  “How obnoxious, these sighs,” thought Sheila.

“Darling,” said Husband.  “My job is at stake.  The day I don’t meet the deadline, I’m dead...”

Sheila fell asleep in the cradle of her husband’s elbow.  In her dream she drove a BMW.


  1. Money and time - inversely proportional to each other !

    1. Not necessarily, Paresh. It depends on what you want from life. Time is money, if you want money. Time is love, if you want love. Time is fun, if you want fun.

  2. Beautifully ended!
    And I agree with you that one can use 'time' according to one's requirement be it money, fun, or love and contentment.

  3. Your story portarys the 'life in trend', the way we all dream of luxuries and materialistic amenities amidst the lack of resources and financial crisis....The dream of an A grade life and the shaky economy.. I felt while reading the kind of restessness these desires imparts. Very nicely written sir. :)

    And if you find time please visit my place and share your reviews...

    Have a good day! :)

    1. Keeping up with Joneses is another theme... In many ways, the adults are no different from the child in the story for whom self-image is dependent on what he can show off...

      I'll visit your blog.

  4. Sir,

    I think I am beginning to see a pattern here. After your comment came in your last post, I had a healthy discussion on it with my mom. And she gave me the exact same line of argument as you did. But I would still dismiss your generations argument as an attempt to romanticize socialism. Maybe I am intentionally or otherwise missing the point here. Maybe I'll understand your logic when I start turning grey. But as of this instance there is no doubt in my mind that only and only a liberal market has the potential of pulling the oppressed out of their misery. A little patience is all that is needed.

    - Sid

    1. There, indeed, is a pattern, Sid, and I'm glad you perceived it. Whatever a writer writes follows a pattern, based on his/her philosophy and world view.

      I don't consider myself a socialist. I view myself as a critic. Even if socialism comes into force, in the place of today's crass capitalism, people like me will find fault with it. Take away that label from me and you will discover another me which may give a better idea of me to you.

      I have no problem with the market, liberal or controlled. My problems are with the outcome. What ensures the welfare of the majority (ideally, welfare of all people) is what is needed. My problem with this market-focused economy is that it commodifies everything. Even people are commodities. That's a very dangerous trend.

  5. Beautiful story once again Sir

  6. Your work of fiction came as a pleasant surprise!

    1. The last one year has done much to liberate the creative side in my mind, Purba. I wrote quite a few stories in this period. Glad you hit upon one now. :)

  7. So.. real; happiness, time money It do exist in our dreams only....

  8. What use is of BMW? Four wheeler is a four wheeler is a four wheeler. I know...if only we thought like that, we wouldn't be a slave to materialistic things.

    1. We are not so much slaves to materialism as to the ego! The BMW is an ego-booster more than a convenience or even luxury.

  9. It is so scary to think that we may never live a peaceful life running madly after money meeting deadlines. It really takes out the last ounce of energy to earn money these days. When we straighten up, life might have ended or we may be still bent on our work and die overwrought. I wish I had army retirement period of service in residential school teaching job!

    1. I have already been asked by quite many of my relatives what we (my wife and I) are living for? Is it only to work in a school day and night? When do we live for ourselves? Yesterday my brother-in-law rang me almost ordering me to leave this job opting for another which he was ready to find for us... Yes, residential school can be a pain in the posterior in the hands of certain leaders.

  10. reality seems scary. butt i guess it's going to be fine as long as we set our priorities right. short n profound story!


    1. Reality has become scary with too many people running after dreams and ghosts and shadows.


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