“Time is money”. It has been a principle preached by the wisest of the wise, paradoxically since the beginning of time itself. Human beings are naturally born with a fixed span of lifetime. Nevertheless, one couldn’t actually realise the significance of this most limited resource till the time the very phrase ‘time is money’ came to be true. Yes! As the prevalent global cryptocurrency dissolved in the 23rd century A.D., a phoenix, in the form of a new solar currency, emerged from its ashes- Time.

My name is Sasha Kumari, born in the year 2447 A.D. Just like every human born in my era, I was given a basic quota of 150 years to leverage during my supposed lifetime. The rest… Well, I had to earn it. The phrase ‘Spending time’ meant differently for us. With the advent of advanced genetic engineering, nanotech and holistic synthetic healing, human beings could be presumably immortal. But, with such a godly power in the hands of a few, it would have just created chaos. So, just as we do with every godly power we have possessed since time immemorial, we limited our ability to channel it through restricting organisation. Laws and Protocols were formulated to regulate the use of this power and normalise access to it across the solar system. Eventually, it aided in the evolution of time as the sole currency in the known Universe. Every child born had to be implanted with the soul-clocks, that were small chips in our wrists that controlled everything from our existence to our well-being. It was a metaphorical as well as literal symbolism of an hourglass that showed our worth in the form of the time we have left. Everything from remuneration to penalisation had a new form. The punishments for crime were in terms of time, with the minutest of crimes cutting off days from your clock whereas the harshest of crimes turning your clocks off. And as soon as they went off, so did you. The crimes that were considered the worst often had something or else to do with stealing time. There was no disease and very slight chances of permanent injury since the self-healing was near-perfect. Still, people died. In such an apparently utopian society, you would expect that there be no classes, right? But there were. And worse than earlier. Penury diffused through the evolution and sustained. Now, the poor were lacking in time. Because of two major reasons- Firstly, with a day’s work, they could only earn a few hours; some only a few minutes. And secondly, many chose to barter their time for other resources. The soul-clocks couldn’t save people from hunger, or the lust for comfort and leisure. As has been, the rich became richer and the poor poorer. I still remember how we used to find clock-beggars round the clock at every nook and corner of spaceways and skyways. Those desperate to just get a few days’ worth so as to buy a quarter meal for their loved ones; some to buy the cheapest liquor they could find.

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