'Since my son insisted his future happiness would be jeopardised unless the matter was urgently addressed, my wife passed instructions to the kitchen staff to serve us meals in front of the TV,' says Kishore Singh.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
We have made do with a small dining table at home for years, resisting calls to replace it, usually by visitors forced into intimacy with other diners, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
The round table has a sense of familiarity and comfort we have been loath to sacrifice to the whims of grumbling friends forced to dine buffet style because the table can fit either food or people.
But its days now appear endangered because our son has decided to add a permanent member to the household who must be made to feel welcome with a matching chair and enough space at the table.
"How can I marry?" he griped to his mother, "if the dining table doesn't have a separate place for my wife?"
His mother is usually practical about such matters. "We can all fit in," she said, "as we do now, whenever she's home for a meal."
Besides, my wife added, the family rarely found time to eat together, so the matter didn't deserve the attention our son was giving it.
"We'll manage," she said.
Since my son insisted his future happiness would be jeopardised unless the matter was urgently addressed, my wife passed instructions to the kitchen staff to serve us meals in front of the TV, or in our bedrooms, off a trolley.
I much prefer it, as I suspect do the children, though we are afraid to say so since it is intended as a reprimand.
The matter of the dining table at home, however, has been put into abeyance as our search for one at the farm has assumed some importance.
The family is agreed on just one condition, that it not be "conventional".
My daughter, who employs the shrillest tone when it comes to taking collective decisions, has decided the choice must lie with her.
So far though, she has only sent us pictures of conference tables from various offices where she is requested to attend meetings.
Nor are these anywhere close to her own wish for one that is "rustic", meaning it must resemble planks of roughly hewn wood "but it must be smooth -- and even -- and, oh, nice".
Realising that both children spend a lot of their free time entertaining, or being entertained, at what are euphemistically described as "bar lounges", I conducted my own research to come up with a design for a table that could double as both a bar counter as well as a dining table.
Granted it was unconventional and zig-zagged in a manner dining tables are not expected to, but I was surprised by the resistance both put up to it.
Deep down, I suspect they are more conservative than they let on.
Given the matter of the dining room furniture, what with time jolly ticking on, our son is increasingly nervous about his nearing nuptials in the face of an inadequate dining table.
"Do something," he urged me the other day.
Since the resolution to the problem seems to have landed squarely at my door, I may have the solution after all.
A "boring" -- to paraphrase my daughter -- dining table will be acquired at home with room and more for the additional member of the family.
My son can find something else to fret about. The round dining table, so dear to my wife and I, will be moved to the farm, ensuring continuity.
The matter, if I am to say so myself, has been attended to well. Even Jeeves would have been pleased.