Memoirs of a Dining Chair

 

As some men are running around the house, picking up packed boxes to be moved, Kamya sits on a dining chair to witness what all is left behind.

The dining table is placed right in between the kitchen and the lobby area. The chair at the head of the table, right outside the kitchen is her favorite spot. She calls it as God Chair. While sitting on this chair she could know everything that was happening around the house. A spot that made her respond to lobby conversations as well as smell if the tadka in the kitchen was burning. Sometimes, if she got lucky, she could also eavesdrop on the chat of the ladies of the house, while she pretended to sip her evening tea.

Every day, after coming back from work, Kamya used to prepare a cup of tea for herself. Sometimes, she tiptoed to the kitchen to make her tea quickly so as to save herself from making a cup or two for other family members. She was not selfish, just tired from work. She remembers how before marriage, she used to call her mother on the way back from office, “Mummy, I am 10 minutes away from home. Keep my tea and something to eat ready.” Today she does not have the comfort of her mother, but this chair surely is a known spot to her.

It was the same dining table that comforted her in her pregnancy days. She used to sit on the chair, her back facing the lobby and lift her tired, swollen feet up on the chair opposite. Nobody could see the inappropriate sitting position of a daughter in law and she could get relief also. The few times she cheated on the dining chair were when no one was in the house. She could throw her laptop bag in one corner and lie down on the sofa. Who is there to judge a daughter in law sleeping in evening? She smiles at her immaturity back then.

Inappropriate sitting makes her remember the next day of her marriage when she sat down next to her father-in law on a sofa. Her husband hinted with his eyes to sit someplace else but she did not get it. He picked up that dining chair and pointed her to come sit on it only to be embarrassed by her remark, “Kavish, I am comfortable on the sofa. I don’t need chair.” Kamya shakes her head and gets it why at that moment her husband and mother in law exchanged ‘iska kuch nai ho sakta’ looks.

But she is thankful for her stupidity back then. It broke the barriers of formality between father in law and daughter in law and gave their family moments of togetherness. She remembers all of them sitting together at the dining, having their meals, laughing at the jokes. It did not matter who is sitting next to whom. What mattered was they all created a bond so special that will hold them securely in times of need.

Today, is that time of need indeed. Kamya is moving to a new house. She is having another baby and needs bigger space. However, rest of the family members are staying behind. She remembers the night when she left her maayka and came to live in this house. The first time after marriage she sat on this dining chair, her mother in law gave her khichdhi mixed with lots of ghee to eat. This traditional meal was a symbol that meant daughter in law gels with the new family the way ghee mixes with the khichdhi.

Kamya takes a deep breath, taking her face in her hands. She knew she might move to a new house but this home cannot move out of her now. She might be living a few blocks away, but in her heart she had come a lot closer to her husband’s family. The ghee and khichdhi have mixed…. very well. Kamya gets up, rests her one hand on the table and while pointing the other hand to her God Chair says, “Bhaiya, keep this dining chair also with all the packed stuff.”

 

 

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