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The Time piece

Short Story - By Subhadeep Bandyopadhyay


“When are we going to grandpa’s farmhouse?” little Dorothy asked her dad.

Mr. Sanchez Miller was busy thinking about the presentation, he was supposed to deliver the next day and tried his best to avoid the question, but Dorothy was nagging enough. “Tell Na papa……..uh….oh….!”

“Don’t know dear, really don’t know, this presentation is occupying so much space of my mind that cooling my heals at your grandpa’s farm appears to be a distant dream. Perhaps I should have chosen a job that gave me some time to myself”, exclaimed Mr. Miller.

Mr.Miller, a widower of 40 was the Chief Operating Officer of Utility World Technological Solutions, a multinational company which looked after shipping of computer hard wares to overseas firms.

 “Papa, my teacher says that the world is a very beautiful place, is it so?”

 “Why don’t you go outside and see it for yourself? Maybe you will find a fairy. When you return I will prepare vegetable strew for you and we will have bread and hot soup for dinner. Meanwhile I will tell Mrs. Gomes to clean the fireplace and make our drawing room warm and cozy”.

 Mrs. Gomes was the nanny appointed to take care of Dorothy after her mother’s death. Although really efficient in her work, Dorothy missed the absence of motherly tenderness very much. “Papa what color will a green butterfly appear if we see through the red glass?”

“Everything will appear black because it is better to visualize everything with our eyes rather than glasses, which are nothing but a handicap”,This made him remember that his wife always appreciated the bespectacled look of his and it really made him emotional. “Now please don’t disturb papa and be a good girl. I have a presentation tomorrow. Go outside and play, but return before dark, sweetheart!”

 “Promise me papa, you will tell me a fable at night”

 “Ok promise!”

When Dorothy was gone, Mr. Miller’s mind raced to those days when he was an executive at the same firm, where he now holds the vital designation. He had met Mrs. Miller or Suzzane Anna Miller over the induction session and was impressed with her warm, affectionate and attending nature. He was pressed for time his first presentation too and actually ended up presenting the ideas of Suzzane.

The huge applause followed and Suzanne’s smile came as a huge bonus. That was then and now as he was approaching another presentation, the floodgate of memories opened without invitation, while creating channels of expression, brought out those tears that he had somehow dumped deep inside his heart.

Mr. Miller always visualized himself giving the presentation in his mind before the actual event. In a way it was the psychic habituation as well as a potent ritual and he was very comfortable with it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you through the growth curve of the last quarter” and he imaginatively touched the visual histogram depicting the company’s phenomenal growth for which he was the driving force. Yes he was happy and successful financially and otherwise but something within him broke beyond repair long ago. If only he could save Suzzane Anna at childbirth. Perhaps God has his way of snatching his greatest asset before bestowing him with a gift in the form of a little angel.

The presentation, the next day, was to be covered by the State’s media and watched with anticipation worldwide as the phenomenally successful business story of the decade. Wow! what a feeling and he remembered himself thumping the fist in the air when he took the first wicket in inter college cricket competition. He used to be an excellent bowler and after that he had achieved success, in whichever venture he was a part of at the wink of an eye. Credit should also be given to Mrs. Miller being with him emotionally and making him happy and content.

It was a crowded auditorium, as anticipated the following day. Being an expert orator and true to his name, he was a tag enough for the corporate bees and the news mongers. Before moving to the podium he had made his mind. “This should be my last…..let this be the ultimate…!”

Towards the end of his presentation, he rallied his wife’s words “True success is always an aberration…with times we have learnt to repeat it!”

 The story continued here ......