It always stood against a wall in a quiet corner of the house. A dull shade of brown, its top surface was mostly even, except for one shallow dent in the wood. Two drawers in the front, a darker brown had wrought iron ornate pulls. The left side took every ounce of strength to maneuver, hence it remained partially open. The right drawer glided open smoothly. A small cabinet below the right drawer made it look less bare. The door of the cabinet was bent at the top, leaving it slightly open.
The drawers and the cabinet seemed like an endless storage space. The drawers had a lot of papers for sure, notebooks half written in, outdated diaries, pens without their caps, and there would always be a bit of paper peeping out of the left drawer. It didn’t open too well, you see? So anything that needed to be put in there was just stuffed in through the little space. The right drawer had many bunches of keys, out of which only one key in the green bunch turned the lock of a cupboard in the spare room. The cabinet had several rows of old cassette tapes. They were taken out very rarely and when they were, the house was flooded with music. There were still quite a few things hidden inside the desk, but nobody bothered to look that keenly.
Sometimes heavy cotton sheets would cover the top and the desk would be used as an ironing board. School uniforms, dresses would neatly be folded and placed at the corner of the desk in the late evening hours. On early mornings a little sleepy girl would be carried by her muma and made to sit on the desk. With droopy eyes she would lean against the wall, a glass of milk in hand- watching muma cook in the kitchen. Muma would remind her every few minutes to finish up her milk or she’d be late for school. On a few late nights, the desk was lit up with by the lampshade above and many books covered the surface, while an older girl’s eyes moved across the pages in utmost concentration. During the day, when nobody else was using the desk, the person to whom it belonged sat at it with his huge files and ledger. The smell of strong cologne filled the room as he sat poring into his ledgers through thick glasses.
There was not a day when the desk wasn’t occupied. It was the most convenient space in the house. But one day it so happened that the people in the house moved out to a different town. Everything was packed and taken, but the desk was left behind. It stood there for quite some time until it was moved to a dark storeroom- quiet and still for what seemed like an eternity. With time, more and more things piled up in that room. Cardboard boxes, trunks, cartons- one on top of the other and when there was no more space, on top of the desk too.
Slowly the desk was immersed in the room of forgotten things.
Then another day, many years later the desk was being searched for by someone. And like someone said, you’ll always find what you seek, it found its way to a huge bedroom. Cleaned as much as an old desk could be, it looked almost the same except for some more scars and the colour, an even duller shade. The hinges were finally oiled and made loose. The contents of the drawers and cabinets- a pair of thick glasses, a tarnished golden pen, some black and white photographs in which the people were hardly discernable and a few books were all preserved neatly in their own place. They had become more than objects. They carried stories. The wrought iron pulls were polished and a freshly sprouting houseplant was kept on the table. There was a strange calm to the desk. Resting from all the hustle and bustle, it was a pensive being now.
That desk stood against the wall of a quiet corner in my room and I gazed at it, thinking, could grandpa’s desk speak any more eloquently to me?
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(This story is a mixture of true memories that involved a really old desk belonging to my grandfather)