She got her first writing table when she was 11. The fact that it was her own, made much of a difference. It was her first first-hand possession. Before this, she had the cycle but of course, it was her cousin Didi’s (sister’s), something that she did not have much problem with, as she loved Didi a lot. And this was also different from her beloved turned monstrous bed-table, which wasn’t able to match the size of her growing body. It was becoming difficult to fit into that bed-table. Just the other day, it had eaten her frock. This writing table was special. It smelled like it was brand-new, which made her so overwhelmed that she decided to finish her homework early that day.
Unlike Nirali (her classmate at school), perhaps writing was not in her blood. Her parents were not writers- dad was a businessman and Mom was a housewife. She couldn’t write those little rhyming poems, nor she could read as fluent as Nirali. All she knew that she loved spending that half hour of her day writing in her diary. Finishing her homework, she sat on the revolving chair and opened the diary. Trying to adjust the chair, she realised that as the revolving chair was old, its wheels had a lot of dust, it had troubles moving properly. She took it forward, then backwards, then forward. Then tried to take it off her mind. She wrote a sentence and then the thought came to her mind again. Unable to cope with the thought, she decided to clean the wheels. Finding a spare tumbler in the bathroom, Ananya filled a little water within and carried a piece of cloth with her. She turned the chair upside down and began the task of cleaning, one wheel at a time.
“God knows, what these wheels have gone through. Such ugly and smelly stuff.” she thought to herself. Once she got done, she sat on the chair and checked. “Perfect!” she thought. And finally opened her book.
“Ananya!” Mom called out from the kitchen.
“What is it, Mom?!” Ananya asked being a little irritable for being interrupted.
“Will you get me some curry leaves from Rekha aunty’s house downstairs?”
“What did you say?”
“Yes. Going in a minute.”
Even though Rekha Aunty had long ago authorised this act of picking curry leaves from her backyard, Ananya would always tip-toe like a thief. She’d climb on the wall, pick a few leaves and then quietly move back. But whenever she’d turn back, find Rekha Aunty right behind her, scaring her to the core yet with a smiling face.
“Plucked all that you needed?”
“What is Mom making today?”
“O that I did not ask. I guess some chutney.”
She started towards her stairs. Two stairs at a time, whenever she was very excited. She was finally going to get back to her diary! She opens the door and rushes to her room, to realise that Mom had disturbed her newly acquired possession.
“Mom! What are you doing on my writing table!”
“Can’t you see? I am ironing clothes.”
“But Mom, this is my writing table and you just…”
“This is also for the purpose of iron clothes.”
“What? Says who! Papa got this so that I can write in here!! And anyway, I was writing over there. How could you just move everything off!”
“Not like you were doing anything useful. I see you have already finished your homework. In that case, you should begin preparing for the semester exams coming next week. Take up your book, sit and recite on the bed.”
There it was! Her plan of writing in her diary shattered, right on the first day. And 25 years later, when she’d publish her first book after facing 4 years of rejection, from uncountable publishers, she would sit to write this story. The bittersweet story of her first writing table.
I’m beginning baby steps towards fiction. Do you like this short story? Let me know.