That’s the name of my new play when translated to English from Bengali. So what’s the connection between Cassandra and a Chair’s Tale, you may ask! But I’ll have to disappoint you here, because I’d like you – the audience – to figure that out on June 9th and 10th, 2012. What I can tell you, is what motivated me to write this play. Or in other words, why I wrote this play.
I am kind of a person, whom some one may consider to be a pack-rat. I find it hard to throw away stuff. I tend to keep old and apparently useless stuff with the hope that maybe someday they’ll be of some use. Old magazines, gadgets, electronic components, furnitures – I have them all. My storage spaces in and around the house keep filling up with many such paraphernalia that I hardly use anymore. I find it difficult to throw away a perfectly functional chair just because it has gone out of fashion or has some nicks and cuts here and there. But I have also come to realize that I am not alone. There are many people like me who also develop a strong bond with their possessions. To throw away a piece of equipment that has served them for years, is like letting go a dear family member.
But why do we think this way? Is it because of our middle class upbringing where any object, that was acquired with hard earned money, stayed home forever? Or is it that we associate these objects with the good times we enjoyed with it, and feel that throwing them out now is a kind of betrayal? Or maybe, we feel ourselves safer and more secure in the comfort of our old possessions. Maybe deep inside we have this feeling, that as long as we have these dear old friends with us, we can always live in our happy past – a past that we want to be our present – a present that will protect us from our future. Over the years, as we grow old, we lose our parents, guardians, friends – all those people who have been shielding us from the unknown, helped us deal with the unpleasant reality of life. And now we have arrived at this juncture in our life where we are forced to look into our future and prepare ourselves to deal with it alone. And we can very well see our future, we very well know what’s coming our way – but we deny it. We don’t believe in our own clairvoyance. We tend to sit tight in our old little chair and hope that everything is going to be fine and dandy – just like it was when the chair first came into our home.
But was this all playing inside me when I started to write this play? I don’t really know. I don’t think any writer conjures up all these justifications before writing. They start writing with, maybe, a “what if…” conjecture. What if one day this guy who had this old little chair… but I am sorry, I can’t say any further. You got to see it, to believe it! Trust me, I am not Cassandra!