It must have been a while I guess, since I had been staring at the table cloth, sitting at the dining table. At least the exasperated call of my name that finally made me look up suggested so. I was supposed to say something sensible I assumed, in the ongoing conversation. Without a clue of what I had missed all this while staring at the table cloth I mumbled something about doing the right thing at the right time, even if one doesn’t feel too good doing it. I didn’t miss the cold stare I got from across the table, but it’s been a long time since I have trained myself to avoid that. Realizing I could again excuse myself from the drab of hollow words, I got back to the table cloth again.
I think we bought it about a year back. And though it was laid on the table in circulation with the other table cloths, it had been laid out pretty often. But until now I had never observed the detailing of the design on its white base, specially those tiny white dots on golden background on the sides. I tried to imagine how it would have been when we had bought it. Look at the cloth, the color, the design, compare with a few around, and buy it. Once bought and home, lay it on the table to a few careless glances at something out of routine in the room until it too becomes part of the routine. I then tried to imagine the feelings of its creator. He must have given the greatest of care to the minutest of details. The cloth, the colors, the overall design, the orientation of each and every tiny petal printed on the cloth, and those white dots on slight golden background on the sides that forced me into thinking so much. What did he do it for? If only he knew that on a plain dry day, a loner trying to shut a few people and voices out of her mind would by chance notice his long created design, would he have taken so much pain? Probably it’s way too pointless to be even pointed out. Probably, even the creator made it to be simply laid on a table unnoticed. After all it’s just a table cloth, not a deep meaning painting by one of those famous painters. That would have been treated so much more differently. Every stroke scrutinized and delved over by the art lovers. Every aspect of the painter’s intent discussed.
“Look, I would never approve of it and that’s that. Please try to make him understand it’s so wrong of him to even think of all this!”… I had missed the part before this, but was expected to speak something now, the paragon of wisdom that I am. I don’t understand if it’s right to judge everything as right or wrong. I don’t even know if there’s a thing that’s universally right or wrong. I don’t know if it’s right to do something that’s said to be right even if it devastates your world. Something inside tells me its not, but the voice is too muffled to be clearly heard, so I’m not sure. The eyes were probing into my own, and I had to deliver an answer. “Of course”, I said, looking across the table, confronting the cold, defiant stare for the first time.
Defiance is good I thought to myself, approvingly. It’s indicative that one’s still alive, can speak and be heard…