A jejune title, you would say, for a
tale. There are, of course ,numerous tales of mystery and imagination, strange
happenings, nightmarish tales, tales of apparition a
s well as of haunted houses. This is a simple tale of an old fashioned, a
slightly bulky wooden armchair , with a cane seat and faded blue cushion.
The chair may not have the streamlined look of chairs people
choose to rest their you-know-what on, these days, it certainly has character--
dramatic character. A dying Falstaff......
I don't know in which year the chair was
brought to the Academy (then T.N. High School). When I joined the school in
1950, I saw the chair in the headmaster's office. Two headmasters used the chair
till 1954. Then for about a year, Late B. N. Singh occupied the chair as the
officiating Headmaster. He was , by nature an affable person. He seemed quiet
comfortable in the chair. But after sometime he showed signs of uneasiness. One
day I came to know from him that he was bitten by mysterious bugs whenever he
sat on the chair. All the same he used the chair during the tenure of his
Mr V.N. Langer became the principal in early 1956. For 16
years he used the chair and never complained of bugs. The school was provided
with lots of new furniture, and old dilapidated furniture was removed , but,
strangely enough, the Principal's chair remained in its position; and with time
seemed to have attained timeless static repose.
In 1971 Dr. Fanthome became the principal of the Academy and
for nearly five years used the chair. Even on Sundays and holidays Dr. Fanthome
would sit on the chair and work for hours. If the chair could speak , it would
certainly tell us the secret of Dr. Fanthome's sincerest laughter and saddest
When Mr Madhusudan Singh took over as Principal after Dr.
Fanthome's departure he sat on the chair for two months and kept it aside in an
exclusive corner of the principal's room. Perhaps he felt he could work harder ,
seated on an armless , uncomfortable chair than on a comfortable armchair with
faded cushion. We have heard of broken legged chairs , but who has heard of a
heart -broken chair!
The exclusive corner which the chair occupies in the
principal's room now is a mini-museum of sorts. Behind the chair is the old
school flag. On the wall behind the chair is the old school badge and the new
school badge ; the first school tie ,the second school tie and the third
school tie. The chair seems to preside over the evidence of historical change in
the school. The one time repose of timelessness of the chair seems transformed
into surrealistic historical stoicism !