I just bought myself my first piece of furniture. It wasn’t for my solo-life like I’d always imagined but for my first time living outside of home. I bought a desk.
I have a table in my room. It’s a small table with a drawer just like I’d requested for in the beginning but it is at the foot of my bed and using it to write/type means I have no back support. That table is just an accessory now where I keep handy stuff and cram the drawer with all my daily things.
At first, I considered buying a desk online. I was using my pillow up until now, and would’ve used it for a longer time if it weren’t for my friend Arohi’s desk/breakfast table. It was just so comfortable. My semi-padmasana-ed legs fit perfectly under the desk and within its legs and it was the right enough height for my right arm to not feel sore even after a long time of typing. This was on Independence Day.
After that, things got busy. I went home for a week and it made no sense for me to buy a desk in Bengaluru and carry it all the way back to Bombay when I can buy the same thing here. So, I figured I’ll just buy one here. And the time finally came for me to buy one.
I had just one class that day (through most of which I was rereading Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian on the desk, showing my emotions on my face, daringly) after which, I thought of going and buying the desk. I somehow couldn’t. I was sitting with a few people and sharing my home food with them so I didn’t go then. I came back to my room and aimlessly played on my laptop for a while before deciding to go out after lunch. I took some money, packed my small sling bag and headed out to catch an auto to Chembur railway station.
I’d seen a lot of different types of markets around the Chembur station but furniture stores had never caught my eye. There had to be some around, especially in an area like that. So, as I was getting off the auto, I asked the dada where I could buy a small desk. He told me the name of the store (Mahavir) and gave me directions in half-Hindi half-Marathi so I could understand only half of it. But I got the gist. I headed in that direction, stopping by at a medical store for some almond oil and cotton for my dry and flaky skin.
After walking for a bit and looking around, I did not see any sort of furniture store around so I asked another auto dada for directions for Mahavir. He clearly told me the directions and once he mentioned Shell Colony Road, my ears perked up. Shell Colony road has a good memory that I got to revisit only a long while after.
Shell Colony Road in Chembur houses two famous Kerala-style restaurants: Hotel Sunny and Maxim’s. These two are known for their authentic, typical, affordable and extremely tasty Kerala-style food, for which I can wholeheartedly vouch, at least for Maxim’s (and as of now, Sunny’s with even more experience (More on that definitely later. I will not fly crows). That night was an adventure.
It was Friday the 13th, July, and I, Chai, Mishel and one of her flatmates went to Maxim’s because DH food was boring us. Our seniors had told us how good the food was in Maxim’s and it was an opportunity not to be missed. We hailed two autos and headed to Shell Colony road. It was a little exciting for me because we were going past my usual area where I just aimlessly roam around and stopping at a decent South Indian restaurant for my weekly dose of filter coffee.
Chai and I shared an auto, and we spotted Maxim’s right at its door. It’s a tiny place. One might drive by it or walk past it without a second glance. The ground floor seemed occupied by the few people it could hold, so we climbed on the stairs to the first floor.
Those were not stairs. They were wooden death traps designed to give people like me a heart attack. They were just slabs of wood against an inclined wall, railing on one side, not enough foot space and it was like climbing a ladder. I almost wished we could leave. But I’m glad we didn’t.
The kaka (Marathi for really older men, like calling them Uncle) came to take our order and my mouth watered at the sound of all the food (there was no menu system) and after much dilemma, and the kaka leaving us and giving us time to deliberate, we finally ordering a bunch of parathas and some chicken gravy and a fried whole-fish for me and what not. That food filled me. It was some of the best Kerala-style food I’ve ever had (not that I’ve had a lot) but all the Kerala people who’ve ever gone to Maxim’s swear that it has authentic food, including my friend Mishel. So, I swear by it.
After eating, I wanted to drink filter coffee, so we decided to walk to the place where I usually have it. It was less than half a kilometer away but it took us such a long time to get there because it was pouring like the sky had holes (an old Kannada saying). Even with huge umbrellas, we were drenched in places we most definitely shouldn’t have been. The rain didn’t fall straight or even slightly obliquely, like it ought to, no. This weird rain fell almost horizontally, almost parallel to the ground and Chai, being the experienced one, held the umbrella in such a way that the rain did not drench our backs or fronts, just the bottom half of our legs (which was no surprise). Walking in that kind of rain was as deadly as it was fun. Mishel and her friend had no such luck, unfortunately. By the time we reached the place for coffee, they were half drenched, bag, hair, clothes and all. Filter coffee that night had never tasted warmer or more needed in my life.
My head went on a little trip down the memory lane but eventually, I found the furniture shop a little after the first bridge/flyover. I went in and the second desk I saw was the one I bought. I walked out of the shop, my pouch of money slightly less heavier and my heart more full of triumph and pride.