Satire | Appeal from a chair person 

When I listed my luxury recliner on OLX, the offers I got were less offers and more like insults

Updated - July 11, 2024 01:58 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2024 01:49 pm IST

I had dreamed of putting my feet up on the footrest and reading all six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’. 

I had dreamed of putting my feet up on the footrest and reading all six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’.  | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Regular readers of this column might recollect that in June 2021, during the COVID lockdown, smack in the middle of the second wave, I bought a chair. Not just any chair but an expensive, ultra-luxury ‘Comfy Recliner’ with high density Italian foam, Malaysian padding, and push-button footrest. I even got a couple of mails from you guys attempting (and failing) to shame me for my insensitivity, which allegedly shone through in my selfish urge to pamper myself at a time of global adversity.

In my defence, let me just say that people have different ways of coping with the emotional turmoil induced by a combination of life-threatening pandemic, income loss, and extended solitary confinement (with Wife and Kattabomman).

I admit it’s not particularly bright to respond to a salary cut by splurging on a sofa. But at least I wasn’t into online gambling, which I’m told took off around this period. I honestly thought it would make me feel better. Unlike some people who grow up and become chairpersons, I was born a chair person. My mother tells me when I was a baby, there were only two ways they could get me to stop crying — promise me Hindu Rashtra, or put me in my father’s ‘easy chair’. Do we even get ‘easy chairs’ anymore? From time to time I search for easy chairs online and the only results I get are ‘lounge chairs’. For those who don’tknow the difference, lounge chairs are to easy chairs what Mother of Democracy is to Democracy — only one of them is friendly to your spine.

This column is a satirical take on life and society.

That sinking feeling

At the showroom, the recliner looked, and felt, like the “ergonomic perfection” promised by the sales guy. But within minutes of home delivery, as I plopped into it, I got a sinking feeling. Not the kind the brochure meant when it spoke of “sinking into a cosy embrace crafted to deliver the perfect balance of bounciness and firmness for extended relaxation”. I tried the recliner at every angle known to mathematics. Bouncy firmness eluded my spine in all of them. I had dreamed of putting my feet upon the footrest and reading all six volumes of Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle. But sitting in the recliner became a struggle in itself, possibly bigger than any Knausgård may have faced in his life.

Kattabomman, however, loved the recliner, though not in a way a recliner might want to be loved. He liked to crash test its vaunted bounciness and firmness by jumping on it. When I say, “jumping on it”, imagine an Olympic-grade long jumper with an extended run-up starting in the far corner of the kitchen, gathering pace through the dining area, accelerating through the living room and taking an abrupt leap at the bedroom doorway to land bottom-first into the “cosy embrace”. And imagine this long-jumper bringing home three more long-jumpers aged seven, eight and nine, and practising nearly everyday for three years.

On the battlefield

The recliner was a sturdy thing – way sturdier than our bridges, airport canopies and temple roofs. But it wasn’t built to withstand daily abuse from a band of hyperkinetic brats. It soon lost one leg, then a knee, and finally its lower back caved in, making it dangerously unstable for the orthopaedically challenged. It continued to earn its keep serving as Katta’s favourite perch and playstation — until the day Wife revoked its residence permit, on the grounds that it was an “ugly piece of broken furniture gathering dust and pests”. It had to go.

To my astonishment, no one wanted it. I listed it on OLX. But the offers I got were less offers and more like insults. I offered it to the raddiwala. He wanted it for free. I told him it was his for 100 bucks, less than 1/500th of what I had paid for it. He never got back. Last month, in desperation, I asked the watchman. He agreed to take it provided I paid for transporting it to his home.

After spending a small fortune buying this recliner, and never having used it, there was no way I was paying for its deportation. For now, we’ve dumped it outside our door, with a notice saying anyone interested can take it. It has been three weeks, and it’s still there, attracting dust, eyebrows, and a self-sustaining population of free-ranging Namibian lizards. So if you know someone interested, do let me know. Also, in case you happen to come across a real, old-school easy chair in good condition, you know what to do.

The author of this satire is Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

sampath.g@thehindu.co.in

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