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A Narrow Escape
by Apurba Dutta

The cold and snowy morning outside looked so lovely. Maybe, not for those hapless souls out in the streets, but to me it was pure bliss as I snuggled with the girl I loved. Hidden from the world, huddled within the blankets, there could be nothing more ecstatic than a nice, cosy sleep.

It was the sharp ring of the telephone that woke me. I tried to show my annoyance, but failed in the face of some unwarranted self-control. The blurry image of the moon, which floated before my eyes, must have distracted me.

The sleep had been a little too strong, since it took some time for my senses to return. But then I stiffened. The moon-like object, which I had taken such a liking of, turned out to be quite something else.

It was a round, smooth pate, devoid of any vegetation. The boss’s head!

Forgive me lord, for daydreaming.”

And give us today our daily bread.” I continued my disoriented prayers.

The man in front of me was in an agitated state, barking at the fellow on the other end of the line. His bellowing over, he turned to me and glared with all the strength his eyes could muster. He looked like he would gobble me up.

“Give us today our daily bread.” I was trapped, like a stuck gramophone record.

“I am sorry, but your sales performance has been dismal for the past few weeks.” Boss sounded polite. Unbelievable.

The cold, snowy morning brought a chill to my spine. I found my excuse. “It is the snowstorms. The sales-people are finding it difficult to move around.”

“Rubbish, it is not the weather, it is you who isn’t behaving responsibly?” The civility had vanished.

“No sir, I am behaving with all responsibility.” I stammered.

“And what has happened to your administrative operations? I am receiving a number of complaints that payments are not being made to the suppliers on time.”

“The problem is that three people have proceeded on long leave.” Little hesitantly, I managed to blurt out.

“Long leave!” He shouted. Anybody would have thought he had gone deaf.

“Yes, sir.”

Sarcasm filled the air. “And would you mind telling me who has granted them the vacation?”

“Me, sir.”


“They had asked for maternity leave.”

“Three females of your office in the family way at the same time?”

I nodded.

All of a sudden, he became very angry.

“Now, who is responsible for this?”

“Me, sir.” I replied without thinking.

There was some silence before he spoke, albeit a little seriously.

“And now that you have had your fill, could you be a little more serious about your work?”

I caught the glint in his eye. I tried to protest, but then thought the better of it. I managed a faint smile.

I also thanked God for giving me the day’s bread.

My prayers had been answered, momentarily at least. It was a narrow escape.