The Study Table

I am spending the day at my parents’. I look forward to catching up with family gossip and news, without having to worry about the children and their next meal. They are out with their dad for a day of fun.

I follow my mom and dad, in turns, chit-chatting, laughing and arguing. I sit on the kitchen counter, just as I did when I was a little girl, as my mom cooks a special lunch for me.

My dad ambles into the kitchen and tells me, “We are planning to dispose some of the furniture, books and a few other things around the house. If there’s anything you’d like, please take it.”

After a lovely lunch followed by coffee, I walk around the house. Nothing much has changed. My eyes take-in the various pieces, the corner table, the old book shelf, the tall teak wood stool, the two coffee wood branches, the study table, the chest of drawers and the old rocking chair.

My eyes keep going back to the study table. It is actually much more than a study table. We only call it that for identification.

It is made of teak wood and is 3 feet by 1.5 feet, not too big. The polish has long since worn off. As the afternoon sunlight falls on it, I remember long ago afternoons, when the sunlight streamed in and my sister & I sat on either side, doing our homework, legs kicking at each other for fun or in anger. We were territorial about our parts of the table.

I see my dad sitting at the table, a young dad, filling up important documents. I see my mom, using it to cut cloth for her sewing. I see the huge ink stain, faded with age, that resembled a cow with three horns. I see the scratches we made using our compasses. I see my grandma sitting up late into the night, with us, as we studied for exams.

I see the number of coffee mugs that the table has borne over the years, the weight of books, the weight of freshly ironed clothes, the scratches and thumps. I see young elbows pressed on the table as we leaned over it to see the first frost of winter.  I see my grandma leaning on it for support immediately after her surgery, before she sat down on her bed. I see the old wood that has absorbed many a tear, and has heard stories of the many successes, the joys and not so good moments of our family.

I run my hand lovingly over its contours. My mind is made up. I tell my dad that I want this study table.

My mom says, “It just needs a good polish.”

I don’t tell them, but I plan to keep it just as it is – a simple study table, with family stories in its scratches, years of wear and tear, and precious memories.


Will the Mummies return?

My sister and her family visited us during the December holidays and needless to say we had a lot of fun.  Our schedule was jam packed with visits to all the touristy spots.  One of those was a visit to the local theme park.

The day passed in a whirl of stomach-roiling rides, long, patient waits in various queues and, ticks on a crumpled map.  The kids proved to be never-ending fountains of energy, and we tried to cope with their enthusiasm.  Finally, at around 6.30 p.m, we were done with everything on the now, tattered map.  The kids pronounced themselves satisfied, and it was time to head home.

The men and children drove away in the family car, while the two mummies, my sister and I, decided to cab it home.  Bad decision! The taxi stand was in the basement of the theme park. When we reached the stand, the queue had about 100 people at least, and showed no signs of reducing any time soon.

One of the ushers asked us to continue walking in the parking lot, and head towards a hotel that also had its taxi stand in the basement, from where chances of getting a cab were higher.  We thought this was a sensible thing to do, and started walking away from the crowd and into a labyrinth of cars – greens, reds, greys and blacks. Cars that watched us silently, as we plodded across the huge parking lot.  Our feet hurt, and it was suffocatingly warm. We walked on and on, and at every turn, the arrow showing directions, only pointed further ahead.

Many more silent cars watched our progress. As we walked on, we also decided to call for a cab, just to ensure that we would not have to stand in line at another taxi stand! Though the signal was weak, I received a text message, giving me the number of the taxi.

Heartened now, we fastened our pace.  The taxi driver called to ask where we were.  We told him that we were walking towards the hotel’s basement parking.  He told us he would wait there for us.

When we finally reached the place, there was nobody there, except a door that said staircase to hotel.  We were stumped – to go up or stay where we were.  Just then, the taxi driver called us again. Surprisingly, we heard his voice loudly, and then realized that he was walking towards us.  We waved in glee and he waved back.  We had met! Hurray!

But our joy was short lived.  He came to us and said, “I can’t find my taxi.”

“Whaaaat?”, we asked.

He told us that he had parked it in the allocated place and come to look for us, and now he was unable to find it.

Sigh!  The three of us plodded across the parking lot, looking for his taxi, up and down, left and right. Blue, grey, green, red and black spectators, silently laughing at us, as we searched on and on.

We decided to go up one level and check. It was only then that the taxi driver realized that on his quest to find us, he had actually walked one level below.

And there it was! The coolest taxi in the world.  The taxi that finally took the mummies home.