I stood sleek and tall as the last of the nut and bolt was driven home. I occupied the pride of place in the living room, displacing or re-arranging many other furniture and knick-knacks. The end result was a cluttered, messy room.
I puffed up with pride and self-importance as the Sharmas surrounded me, running their hand over me. The nineteen-year-old tested the weights, announcing that he would pump iron to develop his arm muscles, while the sixteen-year-old said she hoped for a washboard midriff. Papa Sharma hoped that his potbelly would be a thing of the past. Mama Sharma didn’t need to say anything for one look at her; I knew she would want to arrest the continental drift of her sagging breast and loose stomach muscles.
And then the arguments began on how the four would put me to good use. Amidst it all, I thought I heard a muffled snicker during the lull in the argument. I looked around but nothing was amiss, I put it down to my imagination and excitement. My move from the showroom to home across the city with its traffic snarls was quite an adventure.
For the first fifteen days, I was tired from constant use but felt useful as compared to so many gadgets collecting dust around the house. They did warn me in the dead of the night that I too would meet the same fate as theirs and the remorse would set in as it was a family that buys first then thinks later. I brushed off their observations and put them down to professional jealousy.
A month on, I found myself at loose ends as the novelty of acquiring me simply wore off. Except for the feline family member that regularly settled down at my feet for its cozy, afternoon nap, the other four came up with excuses. Putting me to use was but a desultory effort. Starting from impending projects to lack of sleep; the early morning meeting to a late night party; the reasons were colourful and varied. In the dead of the night, we appliances shared each other’s experiences on how soon the newness wore off. It ranged from anything between hours of the purchase to a month. My next question was, ‘Why buy then?’
Again the answers came from all quarters, yet the oldest member made the most sense when he said, ‘more spending power and spoilt for choice.’
It was not too long after I heard a shout “Mom, where is my green bag? I had it with me last Monday.”
‘It is around the right handle of the monstrosity occupying our living room,’ was the return shout! I winced at the name-calling. The older woman was called for an emergency meeting and she rushed out but not before selecting the classiest footwear that rested on my treadmill.
Chandrika R Krishnan