Memoir of a sofa in an Indian household…..
SoFa(r), So Good!
I am a sofa.
I came to the Sharma family when Kalyani got married to Hemant, 20 years ago. I was sent to her new house along with rest of the furniture, TV, fridge, toaster, iron, mixer-grinder, all sorts of utensils and 3 sets of gold, which Kalyani’s father gave to Sharmas, withdrawing his residual provident fund. Senior Mr. Sharma accepted everything with a sheepish grin, saying ‘Bhaisaab, jo kuch hai aapki beti ke hi kaam ayega’.
So, I am this typical sofa set, made of foam and wood. We are three siblings, a 3-seater and two individual one-seaters. In my hay days, I was a nice ‘camel colour’ (nobody referred me as ‘beige’ and ‘buff’ in those days). Kalyani’s father took utmost care in ordering the best shesahm wood for me and selecting the finest velvet to cover me up. Beti ki sasural mai koi kami na reh jaye.
First few years of my youth were glorious. I was dusted thrice a day. Elders and men of the family were given preference to sit on me. At times, out of exhilaration even four people would wiggle, make room and get wedged in my 3-seater frame. I would feel pompous, soaking further in the splendour of my exquisiteness.
I was placed against the main wall of the drawing room and TV was positioned exactly opposite me. I remember satellite television was a new entrant then and watching ‘B.R. Chopra’s Ramanyan’ on Sunday mornings was comparable to performing puja for the day. Kalyani’s saasu ma used to be the first one to sit cross legged on me with rosary in hand. Once Chintu, the naughty kid of neighbour’s dropped milk on me. The whole family went in a panic attack. Instantaneously I was cleaned with a wet cloth, scrubbed hard till everyone was convinced that there is not even a trace of lactose left inside me. Chintu was sentenced tadipaar for next few weeks.
Years passed by. My sheen began to fade off. Watchful eyes of the family started to desert small accidents happening with me. Now nobody jumped off their feet if an oily masala laden aloo dropped from the plate of saasu ma while watching Kaun Banega Krorepati, Chintu’s younger brother wiped his chocolate stained fingers or Hemant spilled tea on me.
One day Kalyani bought a crochet sofa cover and tried her best to hide my deteriorating condition.
Age was catching up. My body was giving way. There were concave depressions on my seats. My skin was getting loose and wrinkly. The pristine ‘camel colour’ which I was so proud of, has turned into uneven tones of brown – patchy and freckled. Polish of my wooden hand rests had countless scratches and even tiny letters of ‘a, b c’ scribbled (actually engraved with the tip of a safety pin) by Kalyani’s little one.
And then my D-day arrived. I got a sautan. Few uniformed men delivered a brand new couch in the house, which had an array of small and big fluffy cushions. I was pushed towards the other corner of the room. The new couch sat pretty at my place.
Few days later, Kalyani’s son, who learnt and practised the a,b,c of life on me, making use of same letters (now on the keyboard of his laptop) put me up on sale – online.
People started visiting to ‘see me’, some rejected, others bargained. For the Mishra family, I was sticking out like a sore thumb in the room. I could see Kalyani was little restless about the whole thing. But helpless at the same time. Her daughter, who had completed a course in interior designing, heard the unspoken words of her mother.
She called up few numbers, gave some instructions and within a day I was taken away to a workshop. Initially I got scared that I am here to be scrapped and my end is near. But within two days, I was totally refurbished, got a complete makeover and was sent back to Kalyani’s home adorning matching fabric and was colour coordinated with the new couch.
My equation with the new couch changed and instead of sautans now we live together under one roof as BFFs.
As they say – happily ever after!
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