The Red Chair


She stands firmly against a linen white wall, an odd shaped red chair with swirling shadow stripes, making it come alive. She beams with radiance, waiting patiently for someone to be seated. Waiting for someone to tell her story. Waiting…

We didn’t always have her, although our children would beg to differ. Many moons ago, just before her arrival, we decided to paint a wall of our house with lacquered red. The room was dull and unimpressive. We thought that painting it lacquered red would give the room a beaming aura, a glowing of life.

Anyone who has attempted to paint a wall red can probably tell you the mysterious phases that precede the desired color. Our red paint turned the wall pink. Not just any pink, that would have been alright, but bluish pink – if there is such a thing. Then it turned to rose, then salmon and finally faded into a coral blush. Ignoring the excellent shades, we realized that our desire to paint the wall red would vanish before the desired results were achieved.

We decided to paint the wall linen white and wait for another day. Not too long after these events, we found a chair. Red as can be, rather oddly shaped. It was love at first sight.

That night, the chair stood proudly against the wall, room radiating with joy, truly a masterpiece. As the case be, our eldest, 4 at the time, was warned to never go near the chair. We admired her, closed the room and bid au revoir. Next morning, I found the house quiet. A young energetic child and a quiet house do not go together. Alarm bells rang when I realized it was almost 8am. As I peeked into his room, my heart sank. Not only was he missing, but so were his crayons!!! Alas, the pull of the red chair had taken him over!! As I dashed to the room with the red chair, I had already run through at least three advertisements for products that claimed to be safe for removing colors. I had already assumed that the poor chair would be an aggregate of colors, perhaps looking like a rainbow!! Imagine my surprise when I saw my son sitting on the chair with a drawing book resting on the top of the chair and the crayons safely and securely in their box! He drew, in his own way, the red chair, with him on it and my wife and I standing next to him. I smiled, knowing that many memories will be built around the red chair.

A self-fulfilling prophecy, surely, when our second son was born, he, too, learned quickly to look after the red chair. Even though there were toys lying all over the house and lines drawn in various places, somehow, the red chair dictated discipline and demanded respect. They would sit on it for hours, drawing or getting through their homework or just playing. There was never any display of force, always gentle usage, always polite play.

As the years go by, the red chair has taken a position of authority in our house. Like a beloved pet, only less playful. Even today when friends honor us with a visit, the red chair sparks a smile or two. New friends create new memories and old friends deepen old bonds as the story of the red chair is repeated.

She still stands her ground in front of the linen white wall, red with swirling shadow stripes. Beaming with radiance, waiting for someone to tell her story. Waiting for someone to be seated. Waiting…

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