He had a makeshift library on his room’s wall which he had made using leftover ply from the stock that was bought to mend the old furniture at home. Definitely his first book, also his favourite, took the prime position reminding him of his favourite author and his room which he had written about in that book every now and then. Shikhar would sit for hours on the chair during his vacations and during afternoons on school days watching the beautiful world outside his window. The little sparrow nest, the symphony of breeze among the trees, the sweet apples ripe on the apple tree, the gulmohar flowers fallen from the tree, the sparkling dew on the grass and much more. His grandad could not take this any longer. He could not tolerate his grandson’s longing for a desk. Of all things the little boy was asking was for a desk when kids his age asked for expensive toy cars and video games.
Shikhar’s dad would intervene, “But father, these things don’t occupy as much space as a desk would.” Rekha would tell Shikhar, “You need a desk to study, study in our room. That way I can keep an eye on you as well.” Hearing this Shikhar would secretly pray, “Oh Lord, I can take the sorrow of not having my desk but studying under mother’s surveillance? Please bless me Lord and show some mercy.” The argument went on for days and in the end, grandad said, “Do you want your child to be depressed just for a desk? No, no way, this ain’t happening. Shikhar gets a desk this birthday. And this is a surprise, so all mouths shut.” Saying this, he eyed Rekha.
It was his 13th birthday, the teenage had begun and it began with his most favourite gift – his desk. It was a real teakwood desk with three drawers and two cabinets on each side. The polish smelt so good that Shikhar smelt it every now and then. Seeing the desk he was so delighted that he gave his grandad a big hug and teased his mom and dad that he had finally won. He would read sitting on his desk for hours and churn out poems and short stories. Soon his work started getting published, initially in school magazines and later with his dad’s contacts his stories started getting illustrated in children’s magazines and newspapers. Shikhar had made a vow to himself that he would never deviate from his path to becoming a writer and he would keep writing till his last breath. That is exactly what he did. By the time he was in his late twenties he already had a few books published. A day prior to his most awaited book launch, Ramanlal, Shikhar’ grandad said to his son Ashok and daughter in law Rekha, “You see, our boy is a successful writer today. That day is not far when he will have so many awards and accolades that you won’t find space to keep them. What would you do then Rekha? Space can be a constraint then too.” And he laughed out loud.
Rekha gave a look to Ashok, because Ramanlal would not taunt his own son as much as he would to Rekha for being a barrier in getting that desk for his grandson. Rekha would comment, “If one does not have a monkey’s brain then you could write even sitting on a tree”. Hearing which Ramanlal would say, “Tchh, tchh…only low IQ people like you would suggest something like that. How can someone write sitting on a tree unless it’s a female monkey?” Shikhar and Ashok would laugh at Ramalal’s jibes at Rekha. Both father in law and daughter in law had a relationship of tongue in the cheek remarks which would entertain the rest of the house.