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.