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Great Grandpa’s Armchair

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“Mom, the guy who buys old furniture is coming at twelve. Have you emptied all that needs to be discarded?”
“Yes Sahil, everything is ready. We’ve ordered a new sofa set, when is that coming?”
“It will be delivered tomorrow. Before that, let’s get rid of all this old scrap today, so that the house is cleaned and there is room for our brand couch.”

Listening to the conversation between mother-son gave me cold feet, because the oldest piece of furniture in the house is me; that is, great grandfather’s armchair! I arrived in this house about fifty years ago.

On Ramji’s birthday, Sahil’s grandfather gave me as a gift to Ramji, that is his father. Decades have drifted since then. Ramji and his children have used me to their heart’s delight. Moreover, with passing time I received a lot of love from everyone. Now I am like a family member of this house. So they won’t think of abandoning me, will they?

But you never know with today’s generation, nothing can be said.
Only Shubhangi in this house, Sahil’s younger sister makes good use of me. She sits on me and does her studies, reads novels, listens to music and sings along as well. Many times when she’s tired, she simply scooches on me and I gently rock my darling girl into deep slumber.

I’m still in good shape and not even broken from anywhere. My colour has just faded a bit. But the other people in the house don’t care for me so much. Frequently I am taken in for other work besides sitting. You’ll often find wet clothes hanging on me or a heap of clothes that need to be folded is dumped in me.
“Hoof! God only knows what’s gonna happen of me today. Oh Lord please have mercy!”

At sharp twelve, the doorbell rang and scared the living daylights out of me. I was jittery to the hilt. Four men entered the house. Sahil brought all the old furniture and kept it in the hall.
“Look Mom, is everything alright?”
Mom skimmed her gaze around and said,
“Yes son. All this has to be given away.”
Out of the blue Sahil squealed
“Hey how did we forget this?”
With that, he leaped towards me and made me stand next to the rest of the jettisoned wooden scrap.
“No, I’m not going to leave this place! This is my house too!”
No matter how hard I screamed and cried, who could hear it? So my sorrow was obviously not visible to anyone.

Just then Shubhangi entered the house. As soon as she stepped in, she threw a question at her brother,
“Why is Grandpa’s chair lying here?”
Sahil replied irritatedly.
“Shubhangi you know we’re removing all the old furniture today.”
“Yes, but I won’t allow you to sell Grandpa’s chair. It’s my favourite.”
“Shubhangi, can’t you see it’s condition! The colour has faded from everywhere and how old it is. Ancient, to be specific.”
Shubhangi shook her head and commented with determination,
“I’m well aware of all that. Sell whatever else you want but not Grandpa’s chair.”

Seeing the argument going on between brother and sister, mom intervened.
“Shubhangi, if you like an armchair, I’ll buy you a new one. Let this debris go.”
“Mom please. Grandpa’s sweet memories will not be found in the new armchair. If this chair is so much of a hindrance for all of you, I shall put it in my room and take it with me when I go to my in-law’s house.”

Without leaving scope for any further debate, Shubhangi dragged me to her room. Breathing a sigh of relief, I blessed my girl profusely,
“God bless you abundantly my child. May you receive the world’s happiness!”

Shamim Merchant

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