A Couch on the Roof – A Short Story

Dear Readers,

How have you been? It’s been a while since I posted something here as I was occupied with other projects (I will share updates soon!). For today’s post, I wish to share a short story (Flash Fiction as many like to call it), under the Telltale Pictures category.

I hope you enjoy reading this one!

A Couch on the Roof

The battered old couch which had been made in the late 1980s and remade several times after was one of the oldest things the Purohit family owned. Yet it did not receive the same respect that the antique clock or the copper vase – made around the same period- received. In fact, unlike the clock or the vase, the couch’s value depreciated with each passing year. They were antique and timeless. The couch was simply old. Many years ago, the couch had been pushed to a corner of the living room and came to some use only when the number of guests increased above eight. That’s when the new five-seater sofa, the easy chair, and the Diwan ran out of room.

The couch’s fate took a significant turn, when a portly uncle, rather forcefully, sat on it and broke its leg. Everyone suggested giving it away or abandoning it on the footpath of the main road, but it was the Grandfather who decided against it. He was after all the original owner of the couch. A compromise was reached and the couch was moved to the terrace where people seldom went.

For six years, the couch sat there, covered in a thin plastic sheet, one side lower than the other waiting for nothing. Then one day the Grandfather passed on, and the Purohit family sold the house and moved away. The family that settled in the old Duplex was not very affluent and appreciated everything old and broken that came with the house. It was a large family of sixteen of which five were children.

On the second day after moving into the house, the youngest of the children, Anu discovered the couch on the roof – a terrace with faded metal sheets above. Soon all six children – Avinash, Sneha, Pooja, Dhruv, and Anu had made the couch their favourite spot in the house. They placed a metal trunk under the couch to support the leg. With this, the couch easily bore all their weight at once.  

The terrace was small, only a few feet broader than the house. The couch occupied the lonely corner in the west from where the children sat watching the sky in awe as it turned an orange-gold at sunset. On rainy days, Avinash the teenager sat on the couch alone with his mouth organ and played melancholic songs. Pooja and Sneha, the twins, only a year younger than Avinash, occupied the couch in the afternoons sipping sweet tea and gossiping. Anu and Dhruv turned the couch into a comfortable bed by unhinging the partition at the back and playing board games on it.

During winter nights, all the children gathered on the couch with a blanket over them and a torch in the middle, squealing and giggling in excitement as Avinash narrated ghost stories. The Church cemetery that was visible from the terrace at a distance, the light swaying of the coconut trees in the backyard, the chirps and hoots from the creatures in the wilderness, and the soft roar of the ocean added effect to the stories and made them come alive.

The children made the terrace their happy place in the house. They cleaned the terrace, brought the couch to the centre, and covered the floor below it with an old carpet. Avinash set up a small platform where he played his music while his faithful audience sat on the couch and enjoyed it. Pooja and Sneha set up a small garden on one side with colourful crotons, flowering shrubs, and indoor plants in old paint buckets. Anu invited the little children in the neighbourhood to her fake tea parties that she conducted on the couch. Dhruv pasted his drawings and craftwork on large cardboard sheets and called it his art gallery.

The once-neglected and dilapidated couch, which had narrowly escaped abandonment on numerous occasions, now stood as the centrepiece of the children’s universe. It became a symbol of their joy, creativity, and camaraderie, elevating a forgotten relic to an object of love and admiration.

That’s all for today.



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