Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A descrying DESKription

It is 11 pm on a Tuesday night. I am sitting at the dining table in the common room of our paying guest accommodation. I am attempting to study after precisely one year; the last time was when I was appearing for the final semester exam of my undergraduate course. I am all geared up this time too – I have bought a table lamp, a tablecloth (which is the same shade as my desk at home, I now realize) and I have got my music…Radio Indigo. Yet, last time was different…last time I was at home.

I am craving for tea right now. At home I would religiously make myself some tea at around 11 every night. I don’t even like tea too much, but it had become a sort of ritual. Sometimes, my mother would make it, with all the usual ingredients – water, milk, tea leaves, sugar, ginger and strict reservations…she was a staunch believer in the 8-hour-sleep formula. I think at some point I started enjoying annoying her with my nightly routine.

At around 1 or 2 am, she would come and knock at the door of my room, breaking my academic repartee and reminding me to go to bed. It was agitating. I remember being scared by the sudden knock in the dead of the night more than once. Sometimes, I would have fallen asleep on my desk and she would have to call me repeatedly to elicit a response. I would pretend to be alert when I woke up and use the headphones as an excuse for not hearing her call. Now I don’t know why I had such a problem admitting to such a simple thing although I knew we both knew the truth.

I was dependent on my desk for any kind of job involving reading or writing…reading novels, writing letters…everything. So even in the summer vacations my family would have to visit me at my desk. Summers in Nagpur are blistering hot and my desk used to be an uncomfortable place to work with its Sunmica top and no room-cooler in the room. Every single year and every single summer-day, mother would persuade me to come to the room with the room-cooler. But I wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t function without my desk. The bed or the couch was sure to put me to sleep in less than 5 minutes and then all plans of reading and ‘value addition’ would go to the dogs. Ultimately, they bought a portable cooler on the pretext that the living room was very hot. But often, mother would wheel it to my room while I was busy reading and then she would sleep with her mind at peace.

In the late afternoons, she would make mango-milkshake or bhel and bring it to my desk while my sister would be sprawled in front of the Television. Countless summers have passed with the same routine and I never knew it could be any different…until now.

My desk was also the place where I would have once-in-3-months heart-to-hearts with my sister till the wee hours of the morning. Then there would be a familiar knock on the door. We knew she would be furious if she realized that it was 3 or 4 am. So we would conveniently set our table clock to an hour or two earlier and give each other knowing guilty smiles as we followed her to the other room. What I don’t remember is who would set it back to the right time…at least I never did!

I also remember standing in the balcony of my room after spending a few hours at my desk and gazing at the moon on most nights. I would feel the cool night breeze on my face and experience the silence of the night. It used to feel like heaven!

That was the life – in my 4X10X10 room and at my favourite desk. Today I live out of a 2X3X10 cupboard and on one side of a double bed. Its not like I mind it…in fact I am quite happy this way too. But its on errant nights like these that I want things to change. I want to prepare tea right now. I want my mother to reprimand me for that, to knock at the door even as I write this, I want to annoy her, I want to fool her. I want her to wheel the cooler in to my room (though Bangalore is not half as hot) and I want her mango milkshake. I want all this and more – to read, write letters and to chat with my sister. I am not the least bit homesick but on lovely moonlit nights like these…I want to be home.

3 Thinkers Pondered:

Vam C said...

mabbe thats why they call it
"Home sweet Home".

Asim said...

even i want to be home :(

Anupama said...

Vam C,
As they also say, "No Place Like Home"

Asim,
Comrade!