Nobody remembers when the rocking chair came to our home. But, when you think about it, it feels like an eternity that the chair was part of our life. The mahogany chair sits in the corridor connecting living room and kitchen, overseeing the hustle and bustle of our household.
One of my earliest memories of the chair is tip toeing pass it as my grandfather sat in it. Being the patriarch of a large family we respected him to the extent that we could hardly speak to him. But, every morning after breakfast he would ask his grandchildren, how many idlis we had and how well we were doing at school. During those days I have felt that the chair is like the witness stand in court.
When grandpa was not around, I would meekly walk up to the chair and run my hands over its smooth surface. There were some dents and marks indicating its age and the journey it had gone through over the years, but for a long time sitting on that chair was a distant dream as my mom discouraged the very idea of it.
And, you know how fascinated we are about forbidden things. Whenever I visited my grandparents I would hang around the chair and my eyes would fall on the old Bakelite phone with a circular dial pad. It was one of my greatest childhood wishes to sit on the chair, dial a number on the phone and later, keep the receiver on the cradle with a click. I had fantasised this moment a lot in my childhood and finally when I managed to do it, no one could wipe the smile off my face.
A greater part of my teens I totally ignored the chair. I would walk past it a thousand times, pose for several family photos near it and attended many phone calls leaning on it. It took me several years to realise that I had not lost interest in the chair, but perhaps growing up I had lost the inquisitiveness and attachment to such small things that actually play a big role in our life. Alas, I was very naive at that point to understand how much that chair meant to me.
When we take things for granted or later realise it, we really cannot key in on the point we started doing so. But looking back I feel it must have been in the times we all have rebellious thoughts. We have these dreams and goals that we want to achieve, and who has time for a rocking chair or someone sitting in it advising you about life.
I guess it is not that fire in me died out, but it was a case of realising over time that life is not about materialism or ticking off things from a list or an endless chase. I did not and still do not regret the time I took to come to this point, because after all it was those experiences that shaped me. However, I did not waste anytime once I got my priorities sorted and returned to the chair with an open heart. I patiently listened to those who sat on it sharing their experiences, be it about their childhood, work, marriage, raising children or simply gossip. Sometime in middle of all this I felt that the rocking chair is not just another piece of furniture and beyond the wood, varnish and cushion, it shares with us a legacy of shared experiences and memories.
Today, I sit on the chair with my 3 month old son and I rock him to sleep telling him stories about this and that. I know that he is too young to understand, but I am sure he will be able to feel the warmth of the moment we share and that is what I want him to take away from this. Much like the rocking chair, I want to be there in his life, not being too pushy, but be there when he wants me- to be part of his fears, excitement, hopes, dreams, conflicts and realisations. I want to be his rocking chair.
This article about chair is a juxtaposition of several chairs in my life!