The Wishing Chair
The concept of sitting in an armchair and watching the world go by through various media, passersby, neighbours and friends dropping in was initiated by my eldest brother Ramana Rajgopaul. He had inherited two big armchairs from an Englishman who was going back to the UK. This fireside armchair occupied a lot of space in his living room wherever he moved. Yet they stayed as part of his integral furnishing plan. After retirement and physical health problems, he decided to cut down on his activities and took to the armchair. There he sits, happily doing his crosswords, reading and listening to music.
I have had to slow down because of health problems…I won’t say age as I am now in what is now being called the middle age at 60+! I have a set of furniture called the Rifle design as the back is shaped like a rifle butt. I took to this armchair but had a hankering for a wing backed one to rest my rickety neck when I felt a snooze come over. We have had a wooden rocking chair for many years that was a favourite of young kids visiting us and was lent out to breast feeding Moms in the family who found it very comfy. By and by I could not manoeuvre my feet while sitting and getting up and the chair was relegated to a corner. Any movement in that area resulted in ‘ouches’ as my husband, I and the maids would stub toes on the rocker bit sticking out. My second brother, Arvind wanted some stuff to fill in the spaces in his new apartment and I happily sent it off mentally dusting it off as good riddance..
When I visited my daughter Nitila, she had a smaller version of the armchair and I kind of occupied it all the time I was there, especially when I woke up in the nights and sipped some green tea. My enjoyment was mainly the utter quiet in the house other than the swish of traffic heard faintly over the bridge near her apartment.
The vision of a wing backed chair kind of took over my waking and sleeping thoughts. My son Jai got two different ones and I got to like it a lot when I visited him. My search for my own armchair began…online, in furniture shops, in second sales…all over. Either they were too low, or tooooo huge or too stuffed, too expensive or just not right. I began to feel like Goldilocks.
Finally, in a sale I saw just what I wanted…but it was part of a living room set…shop soiled and sad to look at. The salesman was firm about not selling the sofa on its own. My husband wanted closure on this search for an armchair. He bearded the Manager of the showroom in one corner of the mall. After a ten minute lecture the manager decided it was more sensible to despatch the single chair. The deal was struck and the armchair was delivered.
It was still a little problematic…it was low. My husband Raju dashed off the hardware store and picked up fat candlelike rubber bushes and got them fixed to the legs of the armchair….I was in place! However, it took me another six plus months to get it recovered and now I too sit and watch the world go by. It is my seat of survey, of control of the front door and house help, my prayer room and my reading nook. I sit in it knitting and crocheting and think my thoughts.
My life is now restricted due to health reasons. Yet the armchair is like Enid Blyton’s Wishing Chair that transports me all over the world and outer space with the help of my internet and suitable gadgets to help me navigate….
My wing backed armchair has now inspired me to get back to writing…blogs, stories, incidents…whatever.