Memoirs of A Rocking Chair

Memoirs of a rocking chair.Nandini Bhattacharjee-05 Loading

Theme: Memoirs of a piece of furniture

“Oww!” “Aah!” “Please let me be!” But all of this was falling on deaf ears. Besides, who cocks an ear to listen to what the rocking chair says? Namita and Ashok’s youngest grand-daughter was visiting and, as usual, dancing while standing on me as she hummed the latest Bollywood number. I love this family, believe me, I do but at my age I can do without these ‘jhatkas’. I wasn’t always a spoilsport like this… Anyway, let me start from the beginning.

I first came into their house all new and polished on their first wedding anniversary, as a gift to Ashok from Namita. I still remember how embarrassed Ashok was that he had completely forgotten their big day. They made up by rocking the life out of me but then I was young and always game for a bit of action! When the children came along, being gently rocked in my arms was an intrinsic part of getting them to sleep or soothing them whenever they were unwell. As the boys grew up, I did have to take a few kicks and hits from the cricket bat but I was always glad to be the buffer for their frustrations. Better have a go at me than each other, I always thought. I loved listening in on the variety of conversations that would take place in my presence – colourful and expletive ridden between the boys (that’s where I picked up my entire repertoire from, actually); the hushed words of tenderness that Ashok and Namita always had for each other; the rare but strident fights between the husband and wife; the alternately patient and teeth-grinding disciplining that the boys were subjected to. The best part was that the conversations would always end with one or more of them piling onto me.

When it was time for the elder boy to leave home, he actually wanted to take me away with him and a huge fight ensued among all 4 of them. While I would’ve hated to leave this house I must admit I was rather flattered to be wanted so much by all of them. When the children got married, the whole house was painted and done up and I got a new look too. My joints were strengthened and the wood polished to a gleam and I could’ve been the groom myself! Things became rather quiet once the children left the house to settle in different cities. Truth be told, I was happy to have Ashok and Namita to myself again, just like old times. I did look forward to hearing about the boys, men now, whenever the parents discussed them. Then grandchildren were born and I was left behind for weeks at a time while Namita and Ashok went to visit them. Once both of them retired, their entire lives seemed even closer to me. At times they fought like little children as to who would sit on me and once in a while, I believe, both of them would. Only there would be no frenzied rocking anymore, just the quiet, sighing kind of happy silence shared by two people who understood each other well.

One morning when Ashok came to sit on me, I realized he was shaking with noiseless sobs but there was no sound from Namita. I kept on imploring Namita to come in and take care of whatever was bothering Ashok but she never came. When the house was over-run with grieving visitors, I was forced to accept that Namita was no more.

Now it is just Ashok and I most of the time. He spends a lot of his waking hours, and quite a few of his sleeping ones, in my arms while I watch over him. I know he reminisces about those 45 years with his wife as he lovingly wipes me with a duster every morning. While both of us look forward to the increasingly infrequent visits by his sons and their families, we’ve sighed together with guilt-tinged relief when the house became empty again and we were left to our memories.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nandini Bhattacharjee, 47, has lived in Kolkata, Durgapur, Hospet and now resides in Pune. She worked for 18 years in a steel plant mainly in environment management. Nandini has been a trainer for management training programmes for 21 years. She took an early retirement from 'paid' work and spends some time volunteering when she's not mentally wrestling with her teenage sons.

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