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I could have had $20,000.00!

I could have had $20,000.00!

सवाल है 20,000.00 का

I could have had $20,000.00!

I could have had $20,000.00!


“I saw Bharat Times. Congratulations… You must have some money saved to start a newspaper like that..”

“Yes, thank you,” I replied without understanding what he meant because I didn’t have any money saved. Regardless, my nodding helped the conversation continue for a few more minutes till the lunch arrived.

I was so happy that a prominent professor asked me on luncheon. Here I was sitting here thinking Bharat Times will receive some well-paid advertisement for its only mode of revenue. In fact, the prof. had mentioned that himself over the phone before inviting me.

“I like this restaurant. We come here often, being close to the University and all. How do you like the food here, Monika?” asked his wife, I think.

“Oh, just fine. It’s really good,” I quickly commented gulping down the bite and still wondering when they will talk about advertisements. They chatted about their ultra extra long incomprehensible titles at the university. I was impressed and still waiting to be handed some advertisements.

“I see you did your Bachelors at UBC. Come and work with us. You can prepare a paper on all the prominent South-Asians in Montreal and even in Canada. This has never been done before. What do you think?”

“Sounds great and doable. I have done a lot of field work and reports already,” I was getting excited. So what if no advertisements so far, at least my intellect is being appreciated.

“See! If you have $20,000.00 in the bank or on you then put in the application at the university. I will help you get your degree.”

“You mean I should give my application for PhD at…”

“Yes, but you can’t work while you are doing your degree. You’ll need to close Bharat times or get someone else to take care of it. You will need undivided attention during the time of your degree.”

“O…K… and I’ll need $20,000.00,” I kept chewing my mouthful and started to access the situation.

Bharat Times has no advertisements from these profs. I need to close it because I run it myself making it cost effective. On top of that I need $20,000.00. And I need money to live during the two years I will be studying. I tried hard but could not piece the puzzle together at the time for the shining future of the intellect.

$20,000.00! Only If I had $20,000.00!


            “Mona, don’t worry. Run your newspaper. Get social assistance. Government gives help. You collect social assistance for yourself and the rest of expenses will come from the ads. Listen to me.

“If you want a house and $20,000.00, I know a guy, our own Punjabi brother. You do have to settle down one day. Think about it and let me know.”

“Thank you. I will let you know.”

The rest of the conversation went right over my head.

$20,000.00! I could have had $20,000.00!


            It is true, if you disregard the money, the money disregards you. But how could I have?

I was in my early twenties – young, smart, intelligent, energetic, full of life and with a lot of potential.

I found it extremely hard to fall for the offer of my 70s boss to bear a child for him. 70s refers to his age. He also offered a rent-free place and $20,000.00. I could understand that he was lonely without a heir… but my life had just begun and I didn’t want to market it for a price.

And another thing – no love, no marriage, no caring and sharing. Here I thought the West was the epitome of that. He wanted me to bear his child only to provide good genes of looks and intelligence.

This hit me later. I apparently wasn’t intelligent enough to fall for it. Though I thought about it often enough riding the rollercoaster of ups and downs of life.

$20,000.00! I could have had $20,000.00!


            “Monikaji, every time my profit nears $20,000.00, I go for the Lord’s prayers and put it in some business. I like you. You are a good business woman. I respect that.”

“Thank youji. It’s good to stick with legal businesses. Canada provides all means of safe and legal businesses. So, why not!” said I while reaching to coat another apple piece with chocolate fondue.

The food was delicious. The company was good. And a business opportunity in the air. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

“So, what kind of business do you want to start this time?” I was curious.

“This I will tell you after my brothers decide.”

“I thought one of your brothers was in India and the other one in UK? They will decide?” It seemed odd to me.

“Oh! my brothers at the Lord’s house. Eat. Eat. Let’s not waste this delicious food. I will let you know as soon as we decide. You are one of us now. Saade mitar pyare. Friends. Cheers!” He raised his glass to mine.

I quickly picked up my glass and had a sip.

I smiled wide. He smiled. I ate some more fondue. He did also. We talked shortly about the ambience of the place and retired in our own worlds for some moments.


“Bill, please. Do you want anything else?” His question brought me back to earth and I swayed my head sideways.

“Let’s go dancing. I feel like dancing. Show me the places where you go.” He already had his jacket on.


“I don’t want to get home too late. We’ll try just one dance club.”

“Theek hai, Mitro. OK.”


I felt something hard touching my thigh as I was dancing facing him because he wanted me to teach him some dance steps. I took a step back and started dancing again. Again I felt something and I went back to sit at the chair refusing to dance again.

“Let’s go then. I’ll drop you home.”

“Thank you.”

I got in the car reflecting on the $20,000.00 business deal which I might have lost.


Two weeks later, he asked me to meet him somewhere to discuss the business deal. He picked me up, drove around the burger places but not buying any. I insisted on talking about the business deal. He insisted on talking about it in a motel room. Exasperated, I told him I had to be home early tonight, so he can just drop me home soon. He did.

I lost the $20,000.00 business deal. We never met again.


$20,000.00! I could have had $20,000.00!


            “Namaste, Behanji. Sister, you are the only one who can do this. Nobody else can help us. Please help us, Didi.”

“Alright come on in. Sit down.”

“No Didi. I won’t sit down. They have one of our guys. You don’t know, they are going to deport him.”

“What is going on? Who is being deported? This is 8am. I am not even fully awake yet.”

“Didi, hamara bhai, my brother is being deported in a week. Only you can save him. Marry him, Didi. We’ll pay all the expenses. And we’ll give you $20,000.00 in cash for you to keep. We take care of everything. You don’t do anything. You just go to court now and get married. We have no time. We have to go now.”


“Please, Didi. Say yes. Save my brother. We can not ask anyone else. You are our only hope. Please help us, Didi. Save my brother. Please.”

“No, I am not going to marry anyone. There must be another way to save him. Let’s think.”

“No, Didi. We have no time. Ok, forget it. Don’t tell no one. I go now. Sorry Didi. Forgive me. I will go now. Don’t tell anyone please. Think about it.”

“Yes, Rahim bhai. Namaste. Bye.”

I closed the door and reflected on the incident. I was glad it was over before it began. But –


$20,000.00!  I could have had $20,000.00!


            This triggered memories of the past. Once a classmate brought a young French man with a proposal to our wicca class. I appreciated his openness and honesty.

“My visa is expiring but I can stay if I marry a citizen.” He searched our faces with a questioning look.

He openly suggested to each of us to think about is. A very charming and charismatic man but without the luck on his side at the time. He left on a positive note that we will think about it.

He didn’t offer any money.

No deal made.

No deal done.


by Dr. Monika Spolia

About Monika Spolia

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