Redness Imposed

I’m a chair. I don’t exactly remember when or how I was born. I had been too young then to begin the drudgery of assimilating ideas or accumulating memories. However, I’ve been a chair for as long as I can remember.

I sit here day and night. I know you’d have never imagined a chair, sitting. Some chairs that I’ve known, stand. They live in the houses of rich men who spend their days surrounded by flatterers. Those chairs wait. “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Luckily, I’ve sat all my life in this garden. I watch the red earth brimming in the flower pots and cobwebs growing and disappearing in the stalks of the overgrowth. I’m a chair in the garden under the sunshine and the rain.

Sometimes, the old lady of the house spends her time in the garden. She places her walking stick against me and sits down. She religiously places both her hands upon mine. I hold her. I’ve seen her cry at times. She is alone. Alone and old. Alone, old and doddering. Clumsy and alone.

Some children came once. They preferred the swing to me. A small child chose me. The child imagined I was the safest place to be. He was tender and I wished I was cushiony for once. I held my cast-iron frame and legs firmly to the ground so as to not fall. The child began all his antics on me. He tried sitting on my head. Scratched my hands and rocked me back and forth. I almost fell over a couple of times. I was very frightened. Then he got off and ran away for want of better mischief to do. I heaved a sigh of relief.

Twice a day, severe sunlight beat down upon me. Every part of me turned hot, fiery and unfriendly. I only wished the shade would come over me soon. Then, when shade came back, the tendril patterns on my frame cooled down and I once again became contented being a chair.

Rain is pouring down on me. Sometimes it feels salty and smells exotic. My feet get buried in the red soil. I watch the grass and mushrooms sprout around my legs. There is green moss spreading over me. Some black ants scuttle over me while the rain clouds take a short nap. I love the fragrance of rain. For days on end, I listen to the pitter patter. I watch the rain trickle down in small rivulets all over the ground. The leaves endlessly drip. It becomes silent and sad. A puddle forms on me and under my legs. I get chilled to the bones. Sometimes I contemplate over rain but without too many answers. A chair can only think so much.

When at last sunlight comes around, there is red dust in my crevices. Life bustles in the garden and bird droppings are generously shed on me. Of late I’ve noticed I’m turning orange. How does it feel when you’re turning orange when all your life you’ve been a harmless green? Ask me! It feels cold and sour. It smells pungent. And as time passes, it feels awkwardly warm, like you’re some new wood with caterpillars tingling on your twigs. And embarassingly enough, the sun keeps shining on you. Till grandmother comes back to me, I’ll remain orange, dusty and beautifully ugly.

A catastrophe. Nobody listens to the complaints of a chair. I vehemently disapprove of what happened to me in the recent past. They have dug up myu legs from out of the ground, massaged me with slimy oil and painted me red. I smell horrible and and feel sticky. The ants avoid me. The birds are worried if I am some new animal. I really wish I could go where the broken swing and grandmother went, than sit here painted and shiny.

Painted, shiny and red I was hauled to a strange room beyond the garden. Some old lamps sit here, dry, dusty and solemn. They try to look their once-immaculate selves but fail miserably. A red carpet is rolled up and parked against the wall. Some sunlight enters this room through tiny holes in the wall. The wind also trespasses through these holes with a lot of dust. There are a hundred barrels sleeping quietly. Occasionally someone enters, fumbling in the dark, lights a match, and collects trickling old memories from the barrels. It is moistly cold in here. I miss the pigeon smells. I smell dampness instead. I miss the swing, orangeness and the mushrooms.

And here I sit awkwardly amidst solemn old lamps, a rolled red carpet and barrels of intoxication fermenting in the cold. Here I sit painted, red, and smelling intolerably perfect.

8 thoughts on “Redness Imposed

  1. The kids have such a small part. And, there are fluctuations of your addressing people and being desolated; a deviation from your usual style, methinks. Quite likable, though.

    p.s.: That pseud Sudish Kamath is in college. Apparently he’s made a movie that’s going to be premiered at our coll [some cultural fest going on]. And he’s conducting some digital film making workshop. I’m gonna try my hand at talking stuff like “loser tinyballs” and “wazza” and “yo”.

  2. I enjoyed reading it. Very nice imagination mingled with true facts of life. We miss the nature to shut ourselves up in the four corners of a made up house. The thing I liked is the way you were able to bring up the image of the garden and also the inside of an materialistic richness with zero nature. I liked it.

  3. A beautifully written story. The simple yet poetic words has made it a really good read.

    By the way, have U read “The Writerly Life” by R.K.Narayan? It is a collection of essays of a similar kind. It is laced with wit & humor that only Narayan can bring to the common & mundane things.


  4. Hey Howard

    Thanks a lot for the genuine comments.

    I have not read this particular work of Narayan’s though I have read others. I am certainly aware of his simple style and his ability to make fiction come alive with aphoristic insights.

    Yet, I’m not sure if I’m that level. Haha.. 🙂

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