“Ouch…., “screamed my father in the middle of the night. Through the very light that a zero-watt bulb provided in my parents’ room, I could make out a silhouette of my father enacting as if he were playing hopscotch. My room was right opposite theirs only partitioned by a narrow corridor.
“Ki holo (what happened in Bengali)?”
By then, Ma had managed to get up and put on the main lights in the room.
“I don’t understand why you keep moving the furniture in the house. The corner table…where has it gone now? At least inform me so that I don’t end up ripping my toe nail in the middle of the night, when I get up for a glass of water.”
“But we discussed about it last evening. You saw it in the verandah and opined that it was a better fit there.”
My Baba seemed like the fussiest kid ever. He had forgotten about the new arrangement.
My mother liked moving the furniture in the house from time to time. She thought it gave us a new perspective of looking at things.
“But then why call it corner table, if it is not going to be in the corner anymore?” said Baba disgustedly.
He had managed to sit on the bed still fussing about a small portion of his toe nail that had come off.
My mother knew it was useless to argue at that moment.
They are clearly the chalk and cheese of my life.
My father liked everything technical and orderly while my mom was someone who took pride in putting up Monet paintings about the fireplace mantle in our living room…. she was not as much a stickler for order though.
Clearly I had inherited a combination of their genes. And much to my mother’s surprise, I had inherited the characteristics of being orderly and surrounded by orderliness around me.
I wanted to get a clear picture of how hurt Baba was. So I tried to find my slippers to go and take a peek in their room.
“Oh Maa……!” I shouted.
I had fallen down. Not hurt but more shocked with the impact. I had bumped into the chestnut chest in my room. A victim of darkness and Ma’s change of perspectives, clearly.
Click. The main lights were on in my room now. My parents had made a dash to my room when they heard me scream. I turned to look at them. Baba was still in hopscotch pose.
“Ma?? When did you shift the chest near my bed? I always keep my slippers near that wall.”
“Shona, you asked me to give you something where you could store your important papers. The chest was lying partially unoccupied. So yesterday, I cleaned it with the wooden polish that your Mashi got from the States and kept it for you to use.”
“Hmm…” I murmured.
I had returned late last night because of some presentation I had to make for an inter-school competition. My mother was still awake when I returned. It was 11 pm. My parents usually hit the sack by 10 pm. But yesterday Ma was reading a book and waiting for me.
When I returned, Ma wasted no time in serving me some dinner and retiring to bed.
Twenty years later.
“Mamma you have moved the toy organizer to the kids’ bedroom now? Wow!” exclaims my 4-year-old daughter who has just returned from school.
“Do you like it, Oony?”
“Yes, mamma, I love it. If you did not move it, we would not have realized that there was so much of space in the playing room. “
“But mamma, what will we do in the playing room now?”
“It has been converted to a study, where you can sit and complete your homework and your younger brother will not disturb you. He can be busy with his toys in the kids’ bedroom.”
Clearly time had flown past. I had realized that much to my surprise I had inherited my mother’s genes after all. I felt happy in creating new perspectives and enjoying them.
Meanwhile, when I visit Kolkata now, it’s a whole new story. My father still keeps grumbling about furniture being shifted around and concludes, “Sumi now we are old man and woman, what new perspective do you keep looking for?”
My daughter defends her grandmother, “I like it, any change is new and good.” She hugs her grandmother as she teams up with her.
No one can overrule the little boss now. Clearly a position that my daughter has occupied in her grandparents’ hearts and minds.
Baba smiles and says, “Oony Shona, you are right. The nest of tables looks perfect in front of the wall with the Tanjore paintings now.