Sunday, May 27, 2012

Of furniture

I wonder if anyone remembers Champak magazine. If you have never heard the name before, you haven't missed much. It was a children's periodical (perhaps monthly?) and extremely shoddy. The language was bad, the illustrations badly-drawn, and the humour crude. The type of magazine, in fact, of which we would smirk 'humph, North Indian' as if that explained it all.

Hungry for reading matter, my sis and I would still occasionally  buy it. And one of those stories stuck in my mind. It was a tale of a chronically messy boy who was unable to clean his room. He just did not know where to start. One day, his mother gave him a vase of sunflowers. He couldn't bear to keep them on a messy table, and so cleared the top. This necessitated clearing the drawers, which required him to tidy the closet, and so on till finally, the boy stared wonderingly at a gleaming room.

Something of the sort happened to me  yesterday. The carpenters finished their work, and left me looking at three tables, two chairs and two shelves. The shelves called out for a vase of flowers, which called out for tidily arranged spice jars, which needed a clean space for the other vessels, and so on.

At the end of it, I stared wonderingly at a gleaming room. The kitchen appliances shone. In the center of the room stood a table with two chairs drawn up to it. A cloth had been spread on it and a teapot squatted in the centre. The light streamed in from the window next to the stove and created a bright orange square where Shona sat. The rose on the shelf glowed like a jewel.

I looked at it and burst into tears.

A table is so little to ask for. And it has taken us since November to get it. All winter, we have been squatting on the floor, or on camp stools. We have been cooking and prepping food on a stack of suitcases, or on the stone wall near the patio.

It seems like we are making a big deal of furniture. But think of all that it means. It means cooking side by side in comfort. It means a workspace where we can put books and papers without things sliding off our laps. It means goodbye to that incessant pain in my lower back. Above all, it means meals with grace. It means no more balancing plates on our laps and guarding food from the dog. It means a table laid for dinner. It means candles, and flowers, and conversation, and laughter.

It might have taken us since November. But it is worth it.

6 comments:

nadi said...

You work so hard to bring beauty in your home, your life..
You are lovely

chicu said...

so do you. This time, we were both wrestling with carpenters together, in our homes

chicu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nadi said...

if you remember it after so many years...

some Bollywood films have that place in my life. I cringe at the 'horrible-ness' :) of them, and yet, sometimes suddenly, there is a memory or something i learnt, something i remember.

chicu said...

and I do. Remember 'My Dear K' in Trishul? I have one of those now! dear Ks, i mean

Rohan said...

Since I don't cook, I use the table only for piling books up mile high. And I've never thought much of it, except that it is a bit of an eyesore. Your post will make me look at it in a more affectionate light.

BTW, I used to love Champak as a child. We used to memorise the jokes in the middle pages to tell it to our friends and watch 'em groan...