Out With The Old And In With The New.

This has been my favourite perch for the last thirty years.
2013-10-11 11.09.54Unfortunately, the time has come for me to part company with it as I am unable to sit on it with aging prostheses protesting and demonstrating their angst against the hammock style of resting.

The son and heir and his lovely bride decided to take matters into their own hand and gifted me with a replacement for Dussera.
2013-10-11 15.32.55This is an electrically operated gizmo which reclines and rises at the press of a couple of buttons. Height of comfort and I had a good nap in it yesterday afternoon. I also sat on it and read for three hours.

My good man Yakob was delighted to receive the old faithful as a gift from me and that gave me some satisfaction that it is going to someone who will appreciate it.

The Saga Of The Chair.

It all started in December 2008. My father had just moved in with us and prior to his arrival, we had arranged for a brand new bed for him, and placed the most comfortable arm chair in the house in his to be room. After the initial eupohria of the new surroundings, after a few days, he wanted to change the chair in his room. He tried every chair in the house and was not satisfied. We took him shopping to more than a dozen furniture shops and also to an exhibition of furniture that was going on then, and he would not be satisfied.

Ranjan’s friend Mel thought that perhaps a chair that she had at home which she was looking to discard would suit him and got it relocated to our place. He decided that he would be comfortable on it if some alterations could be made and some cushions were added. I promptly arranged for a carpenter to come over and make the alterations and an upholsterer to take measurements and make the necessary cushions. He settled down finally to using that chair, which he claimed was a compromise, as exactly what he wanted, he had abandoned at his previous place of residence. I offered to get that shipped if he would speak to the people currently in possession of that, but he demurred.

After his recent illness, he again started off complaining about the discomfort in the chair, and the whole process started all over again. Ranjan went so far as to go over to a friend’s furniture shop and mail photographs of what he thought would be perfect and after seeing the photographs, my father agreed that he would be comfortable in the one that Ranjan had chosen.

It was lugged and installed in his room, and the old converted chair shifted to the drawing room by replacing my favourite chair about which I had written earlier. Since that chair is foldable, I simply folded it down and shoved it below my bed till such time as when it can reappear in my favourite place. In the meanwhile, I shall make do with the chair removed from my father’s room for my reading.

It took exactly one day for my father to decide that the brand new chair brought for him was not comfortable and the process started all over again. But this time, we asked him what will satisfy him and he gave some specifications, which suddenly reminded me of old time office chairs. We went looking for it all over, including the internet, and three people including one in the interior decoration business started the hunt. It was however Ranjan who finally decided to go to what we call the Juna Bazaar, the equivalent to a flea market. Since one has to be a good bargainer to succeed there, he wisely took Manjiri with him and found one old specimen and bargained hard for a reasonable price and got it home. Some worthy bottom which had used it in the past had cushioned the seat, and the first thing I did was to remove the cushion. I then got to refit the seat, wash the whole chair and disinfect it with a whole bottle of antiseptic lotion and with great fanfare produced it before my father. He was thrilled to see that relic and settled down for a while. Finally this is what it looked like.

After about an hour, he wanted some alterations made to increase the height a little more and to raise the front portion of the seat so that he would not keep slipping forward. I fortunately have my good friend Abbas, an inspired handyman with a workshop, who took the chair with him to his garage, installed rubber bushes at the bottom to increase the height and by a simple but effective innovation, raised the front portion of the seat to about an inch. That was delivered on Saturday afternoon and as I write this, there has been no further complaint.

Just see how fortunate I have been with so many people helping me to resolve a simple issue.

Favourtie Chair.

A photograph that was very popular among our friends and relatives was this:

This photograph was taken in 1985 just before I went in for my surgery for the first hip replacement. The photographer was my friend and brother in law, who alas is no more. The painting behind us is an Ajanta Cave copy, still with us. It is among the best made by Urmeela and many collectors tried to buy it off her, but she simply wanted it for her own satisfaction.

You will also see a vase of flowers behind Urmeela. This was her passion. She loved to have flowers in the house and would buy them whenever she ventured out till we moved to Pune where she set up her own garden. This particular photograph was taken when we were living in a large flat, apartment for my American friends, in Bombay, and though we had a common garden, flowers had to be bought regularly. Needlessly to say, after the garden came into her life, the vases dried up unless someone brought a bouquet of flowers as a peace offering!

In the photograph, I have a glass of rum and water in my hand. That was my favourite drink then. We had a lot of restrictions on imports and good whisky was hard to come by, though I would manage to get a local malt now and then. The photographer and friend cum brother in law, was my drinking buddy and gave me my nickname Rummy that has lasted for nearly forty eight years.

The Chair that I am sitting on is my favourite. It was made specially for me by a dear friend of mine, Kashi, who was at that time stationed in Kanpur. He had one exactly like this, and if my memory serves me right it was an inherited heirloom. The one that I got from him is just a copy. Without me on it, it looks like this:


This type of chair is generally called an easy chair here in India, and is favoured mostly by retired elderly persons. A variation of the design is with extendable arms that tuck under the top arm rests. When extended by a swivel movement, one can stretch one’s legs on top and it is total bliss! It has a canvass hammock slung between its frames and believe me, it is the most comfortable to sit on. By adjusting the rear frame’s tilt, the seat can either recline or be in an upright position and it is a boon when I want to sleep in the garden in the winter afternoons. It is light to carry and can be folded and stored away in an unobtrusive corner when not in use, but I keep it permanently near a lamp so that I can read whenever the mood takes me. The same lamp that you see on the top photograph continues to do service even today.

What triggered this post was a request after many years, for a copy of the photograph from a friend who had seen us like we appear on it here. I could not very well let the opportunity go without blogging about it, now that I can scan old photographs!

How about you? Any favourite chair or piece of furniture that has been with you for many years and continues to give great comfort even now?