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Gramophones And Anniversaries

I glimpse at the setting sun. The kaleidoscopic painting on the sky by some unknown painter, shades of blue, hues of orange, a tinge of black, masterful brushstrokes juxtaposed together to create a spectacle that is beyond description.

You may ask, isn’t it something that I probably get to see every day, or at least some days every week. And my answer to that would be, No. The dark-coloured double-layered curtains cover the room in black, most of the time. Silence is what I feel, darkness is what I see. But today’s special.

It’s their anniversary. They, as in the husband and wife. The husband and wife as in, those who own this residence, perched somewhere in a city whose name I forgot. I am old, but my heart’s young. Today’s a rare day when the home feels their footsteps throughout the entire day. And a happy, tipsy mood engulfs the air. Otherwise, it’s rush, rush, and more rush. Weekdays and weekends, all the same. And I sit on the corner shelf. Pondering, Reminiscing, watching the others. Like that intricately designed sofa or that large television set, those spiders dancing over their creative cobwebs, or alone pigeon who sits on the outside of the window and sings a melancholic song for its beloved.

By now, you would have definitely guessed who I am. I am a gramophone. Well, I am THE gramophone. Hello there, dear reader. I sit on the corner of this chaotic room, on a handcrafted wooden table. I wish I could go and see the other rooms, the world. Travel. Tell more people about gramophones, our history, and our heritage. About how our numbers are slowly going down. Digital music is eating us up. Maybe soon, we’ll just vanish. Before that, maybe I could cure the world with my music, 24/7. But, I know that I am for sure, mending two people’s moods. And yes, I sit here and do not get bored.

There are a couple of books, fiction, poetry, with whom I chat. There’s a metal bird statue that keeps telling me that it wants to fly, someday to destinations unknown. What a hopeful, hopeless dreamer! Then I have a couple of table lamps, seemingly centuries old, like an old grandfather, who keep blabbering about days when sepia coloured lanterns ruled the country. I fall asleep with their stories, instantly.

My favourite companion to chat with is the old typewriter. We talk about good old days when people used to play records after records while typing on a chatty typewriter, love letters, poems, and whatnot. A click of each letter fused with the background multidimensional sounds of a typewriter. I wish sometimes, that if the chatty, old fellow could type out my feelings. Why does it always need human intervention? Why can it not type on its own? Express what it feels? Express what we feel? Ones who cannot express? Ever?

I hate that half-eaten apple laptop though. It’s there where the couple spends their time, they seem to forget me. Hello, I am anyway better than that, I can vouch! But they listen to me, once, every year, and that is today. The day I keep waiting for. The day they’ll touch me with their own hands. Wait, that doesn’t mean I remain dirty. I get cleaned every day by someone else. I am a prized possession. And why won’t I be? Before telling that story, the half-eaten apple laptop keeps staring in jealousy as I get tidied up. Burn!

I am the first gift the wife gave to the husband. They love vintage things. There are so many things strewn all around the room, all vintage collectibles. And they both seemingly loved listening to old Hindi songs on a gramophone. And so, was my entry into their life. They married quite sometime later, but I stayed with them. And moved together to this humble abode. Yes, I am an old chap. But young at heart, though I keep churning amazing old songs every year. There’s a huge shelf of records on the opposite side. Every anniversary, they keep listening to that magnanimous collection starting from morning to night, one after the other, hand in hand, tucked in that sofa. But today’s story is different.

They are not able to find a particular record. You know, that compulsory record. Like every year, that’s the one to start proceedings off. And they are madly searching for them. It has been hours and now, sunset. I mean, come on. Just start with another one. Who searches so hard. I was getting impatient. Waiting for a year for the day and then this. How can one be patient, tell me?

The search gradually started becoming chaotic. Quarrels. A moment of quiet. Understanding each other. Understanding the distances has started growing between them because of their busy lives. Ways to fix that. Reconcile. Spend more time together. With each other. They did mention me. Play me more. Maybe every week. If I had hands and legs, I would have done a happy dance, perhaps. But the critical part still remained, where’s the record? The other records waited and waited, perhaps sleepy by now. Blabbering, angrily. Wishing to self-destruct themselves. Hang on, why are the couple so happy?

So, they just found the sari and the suit they wore at their wedding. Which seemingly was lost. Leading to quarrels one night. And there it is, now. They wore it, happily posing, and clicked a lot of pictures. I felt happy for them.

The lonely musical instrument is gathering dust in the corner. An acoustic guitar. They found it too. Rather re-discovered their love for it. Some little musical sessions of songs they were supposed to play on me. Raw and missing a lot of notes, if you ask me. But I can see their eyes smiling. They are enjoying themselves. There’s carefree energy in each of the molecules in that room. Absent for a long time. Now back. Is it permanent or temporary? Would it flicker off, lost in air like a speck of dust?

More in store. Soon they found their photo album. That they always wished to scroll through but never found time. But they found time today. As their eyes lovingly scanned the pages, their smiles felt the brightest, the room felt the best in quite a long, long time. I felt happy for them again.

I knew they wouldn’t play me today. And it is totally okay, I guess. They seemed to be in a happy space after so long. And as an old family gramophone, what else can I wish for?

As for the record, they were searching, well that was perched on me the whole time! But Sshhh, please don’t tell them, I find this soulful comfort in watching their unworried smile.


© Somsubhra Banerjee

Recommended1 Simily SnapPublished in All Stories, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Happy Read, Humor, Romance