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Performance Bonus: By Garima Srivastava

One stormy day, when clouds were raining in torrents, there was a loud peel at the bell.

Happy Sim’ was leisurely lying off in his quilt, reading his favorite book for the fiftieth time.

“Umm!” He groaned whimsically, ogling at the ringing bell, “Why can’t I have a silent door-bell?” He gurgled, and then with biggest lethargy, tossed his quilt in the air, pulled his torn socks till the edge of his plastered dungarees and dragged himself to open a pinch of door, when, a blaring voice blasted in;

“Someone there?”

 “Zoink! Have I gone invisible?” Sim laughed in reply.

“Are you the owner here?” The visitor enquired again.

“Um.... depends! If you are here to collect some old dues then ...” Happy giggled oddly.

“Nup, I am just a passer-by.”

“Passer-by? In my house!” Sim drummed holding his belly.

“I am in great trouble, my car has crashed. Can you let me in till the storm fades?”


“Please. I will do anything in lieu of this help!”

“And I thought ‘you’ are in trouble!” Sim smirked.

With greatest displeasure he let the visitor in;

“Thanks Sim.”

“Just Sim? No sir, call me ‘HAPPY’. That’s obligatory.” Sim imposed stringently, “But who are you?”

“I am An.”

“An? An what? An antelope?”

“No, just An, that’s my name.”

“Haha... just An!”


“Oh nothing. It’s a great name. So Mr. An, you write articles?”

“Who said that?”

“Your name!”

“No, I am a dealer in diamonds.” An replied with arrogant pride.

“Fantastic. So how do you deal with them?” Sim chortled again.

“Ha! You are a funny man mister. You laugh on almost everything! Have you no ambitions in life?’

“I do Mr. An.” Sim defended the disparaging remark with twisted brows. “Look at this book, half of its pages are eaten by termites, so every day I assume a new climax, and that makes ten new versions of this book for me. Ha ha.”

“So dis-rated? I am sure you have never earned any respect in the society.”

“Aw! I never thought about it!” Happy scratched his head thoughtfully. “But yes, that’s true. Oh Mr. An! Why do I have no respect?”

“Umm ... looks like you have no worries!”

“That’s not correct. I was really worried last month.”

“I see. Why?”

“Because my iron was not pressing flakes out of corn!”

“Ho ho! You call it a worry? No doubt you are a meager.” An contorted his face at Happy.

 “But isn’t it good to have no-worries Mr. An?”

“Not-at-all. If you wish to earn high status in society, you must have worries.” An dictated, “Look at me, I am a high profile man and I own uncountable worries. People bow unconditionally in my feet.”

“Oh Mr. An, can I also have ‘high status’?” Happy pleaded rapaciously.


“Please sir.” Happy begged.

“Then have worries!”

“But how to produce worries Mr. An?”

“Here, you got your first reason, you should worry because you have no worries.”

“Hurray! I got it, my first worry… thank you Mr. An, you are so charitable.” Sim danced twisting his waist.

“No. Stop it. What are you doing?”

“Celebrating my first worry!”

“Foolish man. With worries in head your every expression must be that of an inverted ‘U’, your lips, your eyes, even your shoulders.... and to laugh is a big ‘No’.”

“Icks! What blunder!” Happy immediately arrested his dancing feet. “Oh Mr. An, for Jesus sake, help me practice these expressions.”


“Yipee!” Sim happily tossed out of his seat and stood right in front of An. He was desperate to be a man of high status.

For hours the session went on, An worked on every finest detail of Happy, and finally, his efforts came out with flying colors. Sim was no more the man he was earlier.

“Bravo, now you look like a man of fame. But your walk is still incorrect. Come on Happy, slouch your head deeper, droop your eyelids little more and hang your shoulders still bigger, that’s right ... now try walking.”

Happy obeyed every instruction and tried some steps, “Hey Mr. An, it’s getting difficult, my eyes are so drooped that I cannot see anything, please allow me to open them a little more.”

“No, no, you cannot be liberal with the rules of worrying. It’s sophistication dear.”

“Oh!” Sim nodded and was about to pick his feet again, when, with a loud thud he toppled down ... head over heels. “Mr. An, I think my nose has fractured.” Sim cried aloud.

“Aha! Another reason to worry. Congrats Happy. And don’t lose heart, obstacles do come when we try to achieve big.”

“Ok.” Happy obeyed and practiced again holding his dangling nose. This time he succeeded.

“Mwah!” An clapped for Sim.

“Grateful Mr. An, but my nose… I ‘worry’ if it will ever stop dangling.” Sim sobbed.

“Bravo Happy, see how you are learning to produce worries out of nothing! This is the beauty of ‘worry,’ you sow a seed and it quickly blooms into a big tree. But ...”


“Do you have any disease?”

“No Mr. An.” Sim replied nervously.


“Now what?”

“Cool it! Diseases are a basic by-product of worries, you will get them anyway.”

“Phew!” Sim was relieved, “But Mr. An, my worries are still too less, please help me own some more.”

“Yay! You are getting addicted to worries! Superb going.”

“Please Mr. An, transfer your worries to me!” Sim pleaded with folded hands.



“No.” An flared, “Even I have to maintain my status!”

“Please Mr. An.” Sim flooded with tears. “Just for few days, till I earn good status ... please.”

“Ok, ok, but only because I promised to pay your help.”

Finally an agreement was signed; For one year, An transferred all his worries to Happy.

“Go, fetch your status Happy, but remember only one year.”

“Happy? No, call me Sim, just Sim. I lend my name ‘Happy’ to you for one year.” Sim replied gravely and stormed out.

Two Years later:

A headline flashed in newspapers; ‘World renowned diamond merchant admitted in hospital; calls his friend.’

A man comes to meet him. He was immediately escorted to the VIP room where the merchant was admitted.

There laid the merchant in a huge machine.

Painfully he opened his eyes and huffed; “You never came back. Take… your… worries back …”

“Worries back? Haha... no Sim!” An chortled, “It was only after I transferred all my worries to you that I realized the mysticism of life, the magic of buoyancy. What fool I was to hold such crap for so long. But now I have evolved Sim, evolved from nobody to somebody.”

“Our… deal?”

“But my deal was with ‘Happy’.”

“I am Happy.”

“No, you are not.” An roared clipping his lips, “I am Happy. You yourself transferred your name to me.”

“Oh An… I am dying of multiple diseases.” Sim moaned.

“Awesome Sim, this is the ultimate perquisite of worrying, your performance bonus bro.” An jiggled in jubilation, “Only few, who are consistent and obstinate about worrying, achieve it. So lavish it and enjoy your famed death man.” An guffawed as he pulled his torn socks till the edge of his plastered dungarees and walked out.

Garima Srivastava is a commercial artist, graphic and web designer. She has done creative writing course from ‘Writers Bureau’ U.K. She lives in Cupertino, Calif.


Click here to read the Current Issue in Magazine format

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