Thursday, February 03, 2005

The dining table diaries

What is it about the world beneath the dining the table that makes it seem larger than the life around it ? As a kid, I found that the legs could be thought of as spires of castles one minute, the hooves of trotting horses the next, and the teeth of mean dragons at another instance.

All I had to do was move the chairs far away from the dining table, to let the air and the light come through, and I’d be a queen at the courtroom passing unerring judgment at my subjects- the chairs. All I had to do was move the chairs as close as possible, and I’d be caught in a dark dungeon, where I’d wait to get rescued by the prince.

None of my cousins found it amusing when I decided to share my secret for a good life with them. They pointed out the cobwebs below the dining table. They showed me cupboards fully of Barbie dolls and somersaulting dogs. They showed me fairy tale books with pop-ups. None of them made crowns out of plasticine and stuck it on their hair, because they knew it would never come out. None of them were thrilled by the fact, that by doing that, they would be queens for eternity.

It was the place where I lost my fear for darkness, because light was only “ a nudge at the chair” away. It was a place where the world would stop and start twirling only when I asked it to. No one could enter my world because no one was small enough to. No one could enter my world because none of them thought it amusing to sit in a stuffy place on a cold floor when there were warmer sofas in the hall. I didn’t try to convince them. No one was invited except the chairs that at the same time marked the boundaries of my world and made them boundless at the same time. No one was invited except the table top that would hold the sky from falling on me, in case it decided to do that. No one was invited except the stars that I drew on the rough wood of the table, with chalk and crayon, in the form of shapes that I could understand. Some of them spelt out the alphabet. Some of them spelt out numbers. Some of them were rough patches of chalk, when I couldn’t think of anything to draw.

Eventually I moved all my favourite items there, that it would make it impossible for people to sit and eat on the table. I remember my dad sitting on my books on the chair ( when I took them because I couldn’t remember what the princess said to the ugly frog), or when my mom sat on a piece of lego ( which was my make- believe frog) and yelling at me. I’ve delayed my parents dinners, because I wasn’t finished singing to the tall grasses in the meadow ( also the chair legs), or because I hadn’t finished my journey in the deep jungle searching for a cave that had jewels in it.

It was a magical world where everything was possible with very little. It was a world where shapes formed according, where the earth moved the way I wanted to, where no one could enter without my permission.

When the dining table was replaced by another one with bars all around the lower half, and I couldn’t fit in as easily, I was forced to move out and see the light. A light that I’d started to do without, but a light that wouldn’t let go its grasp of me that easily. As a little kid that was scared of the dark, I emerged scared of the light, but believing that I would eventually conquer it. What makes the world below a dining table so special ? Because every dragon that comes to swallow you, is only a chair.


FunnyCide said...

hey Anaz!! Nice to see you back!! I wanted to be the first one to welcome you.. hence the comment.. now I will go back to read the blog in peace.. not worrying to beat everyone to the punch!! :D

Missed all your inspiring, soul-searching blogs.. Missed you babe!!


yet another1 said...

lovely as usual anaz!
i still remember when we got our dining table - the first thing i went and did was lay on top of it for my afternoon nap! :))

cheti said...

Anaz !!! welcome back !!!! so you still look for dining tables ???

India Whining said...

the table top that would hold the sky from falling on me ..

That was Cute..Anaz.Chuckled a lot reading about Ur childhood fantasies :)

Nithya Swaminathan said...

welcome back, and that was fantastic..:)
Done all that u have mentioned, the only difference being at my place, two of us had to squeeze in under the table... we enjoyed it a great deal i must say...

lotsa sweet memories came gushing..:)) keep writing lady...


inspiredbylife said...

rotflol@the world beneath the dining table! Are you still curious about that world?

Ardra said...

Welcome back ana!
missed u...
the world under the dining table is familiar, but had a couple of cousins too sharing the haven...we used to hang these curtain like clothes on the four sides for privacy...and we would get eats to nibble on...and thsoe were yummy when eaten from under the table than the 'normal" way...ah nostalgia...

Anaztazia said...

hey eveyone :)

First of all... thanks for the really warm welcome back.
It would be a lie if i said that it wasn't hard keeping away from DB.
But it makes coming back a lot more interesting :)

I wasn't aware there were so many ppl who knew about the world beneath the dining table. Feeling very good, that the tradition will continue. I loved writing it and walking down memory lane... although sometimes i do too much of that that i lose track of the present :)


FunnyCide said...

hmmmmm... am i the first and the last one to comment!! :)
really nice piece.. I am so glad that you are back.. :))
are you an only child? just wondering.. really fascinating how we create our own world growing up [reminds me of the movie Heavenly Creatures].. and even more fascinating is your description.. :) it is interesting how all of us can relate to it.. though for me my world included sis and me.. we were just a year apart.. so you can imagine.. the fun was different..

tocsin said...

Welcome back. :))

Doh said...

Its a funny thing ..i always thought that dragons needed to be conquered :)
Strangely enough they can be friends too:)
Of course you have to wait a hundred years to like grow up and find out ..
excellent read :)

buckwaasur said...

aha! the reflecter is back with more reflections i see...:-))

welcome back

Reshmi said...

hey anaz! very well written :-)
i shall now look at the dining table with new eyes - never knew so much existed there! :-D