On the day of the book launch, Ramanlal never woke up. He had passed away in his sleep due to a cardiac arrest, an illness he had not shared with anyone. Shikhar was shattered. He felt no ground under his feet. The launch of his most awaited book without his favourite person felt like a farce. The book launch was now rendered meaningless. That day, Shikhar shut his room and sat on his desk just like he does these days and kept sobbing. Of the two favourites of his life, one had left him halfway. The second, his desk, had become a support to bring him out of his sorrow. Shikhar ensured that the desk will stay with him till he lived and would be passed on to the generations to come. No one had a right to touch it and even come close to it. As weird as it sounded, but the desk was Shikhar’s private property, his most priced possession, his life!
From his 13th birthday to his 43rd birthday today, Shikahr’s relationship with his desk remained the same although there has been an unforgettable episode which lurked as the darkest shadow around him and haunted him everyday. Once upon a time, it was his favourite spot, his desk would uplift his mood and bring back all the memories and he would smile again. It was like a stress buster. But today it was different. Memories, it brought back but not the smile anymore.
Shikhar would be around 28, when he met Urvashi at a literature festival for the first time. She wore a black silk saree, jhumkas, loose hair falling down her waist, kohl in her eyes and a bindi on her forehead. Shikhar’s heart skipped a beat. He had fallen in love with her. It was love at first sight. He kept following her at the event, of course trying not to be noticed but he was so engrossed in watching her that he forgot that he had to hide himself from her. Urvashi obviously understood everything. She smiled to herself and kept going with the flow. Although Shikhar did follow the flow but usually there would be some random, sudden turns in his behaviour which, other than him, no one understood. Call it a habit or nature, it was going to cost him some day.
The next time he met Urvashi was in a local library. He approached Urvashi, who looked even more gorgeous than the night at the literature festival.
“Hello, my name is Shikhar and yours?” He asked.
She smiled and said, “Urvashi.”
He said, “Urvashi, I love you! Will you marry me?”
No perfect setting, no music in the background, no going down on his knees, no proposal ring, nothing at all and here Shikhar was proposing Urvashi for marriage. When he reminisces that moment sitting on his desk today his lips crack into a smile. He smiles at his randomness and impatient behaviour. But the next moment his smile vanishes and he freezes with the memory of the event which made his world upside down.
After Ramanlal passed away, Shikhar’s obessession for his desk grew even more. In 30 years he had hardly allowed anyone to touch his real teakwood desk, of course with just a little mending of a broken handle and a re-polish. God, this obsession with things! There is always one obsessive compulsive family member in our family who is so possessed with certain furniture for reasons best known to him, like it’s a remembrance of someone who passed away or it was a wedding gift or it was bought from the first salary, etc. Urvashi used to make fun of Shikhar for his insane obsession for his desk and Shikhar would say, “You won’t get it” and they would both laugh aloud.