Swetha and the Carpenter
Submitted by: Pooju
A story of the relationship between a sweet little girl and the carpenter who made her rocking chair.
“Ria, I have asked Rangappa, the carpenter to come home tomorrow morning to make the rocking chair that we need” said Ram, as he came back from office.
Swetha who was playing snake and ladders with Ria asked, “Pappa, what is a carpenter? “ “My dear, a carpenter is a person who makes wooden furniture. He will make a wooden rocking chair for us,” replied Ram as he went upstairs to freshen up.
Swetha was curious to know how a carpenter can make a chair. She was also excited to know that she would be able to sit and rock herself on the chair.
The next day, Swetha was wearing shoes in the verandah and getting ready to school, when the gate opened and Rangappa entered! He was a tall man with a big mustache and his uncombed hair fell on his forehead. His clothes were soiled, dirty from working. Swetha was alarmed at the sight of this stranger.
She was about to run inside, when Rangappa asked in his gruff voice, “Can you call your father, little madam?” She ran in and sent out Ram. “Oh, here you are, Rangappa. Let’s go to our car garage where I have kept all the material. You can start your work today” said Ram. Swetha followed them silently.
Once inside the garage, Swetha noticed that there were several pieces of wood, packets of nails and screws, boxes of adhesives and sandpaper. Rangappa had a bag in his hand which looked old, grimy and heavy. He poured the contents of the bag on the ground and began sorting them. There were many tools like a hammer, screw drivers, spanners, cutting pliers and a saw. There were also small pencils, nuts and bolts, a scale and a measuring tape in the bag.
“Swetha! Shall we leave for school?” Ria called to her. As she turned to leave, Rangappa said, “Ta Ta bye bye, little madam!” Startled, she ran away.
That evening, when she returned from school, Swetha heard loud sounds from the garage. Thock, thock, thock……………
When she peeped into the garage, she saw Rangappa hitting a nail with a hammer to drive it into a piece of wood.
Rangappa looked up at her and asked,” finished your school, little madam?” This time however, Swetha was not afraid. She nodded her head and said “uncle, how long are you going to make this loud noise? I want to play with my friend now.”
Rangappa laughed and said,” little madam, bear with it for just five more minutes.” A little while later, the noise stopped.
Just as Swetha began playing with her friend, there was more noise.
Grrrrr grrrrr grrrrr grrrrr, …….the sound went on.
She ran back to the garage to see Rangappa cutting a piece of wood with a saw. He kept a little pencil behind his ear, which was used to mark the wooden piece.
“The earlier noise was better than this one. This is so loud that we can barely hear each other in the garden. How long are you going to do this?”
Rangappa smiled and said, “Little madam, if you want to sit on the rocking chair, you will have to bear with noise for a few more days.”
Days went by and every morning, Rangappa came to work on time and left in the evening. Swetha saw the chair taking shape.
Her mother would send tea and biscuits for him in the evening. Swetha sometimes sat at a distance and watched him work. Slowly she began talking to him about the tools he used, her school, her friends and about his family. She grew fond of Rangappa.
At the end of the fifth day, Rangappa told Ram that he needed just one more day for polishing the chair and fixing its cushions. Swetha was delighted to see the chair, almost ready to be used. “One more day, and I can sit on it” she thought as she said goodbye to Rangappa in the evening.
The next morning, when she left for school, Rangappa had not yet arrived. That day, he did not come at all. Swetha was very disappointed that he did not complete the work.
For the next three days, Rangappa did not come. She asked Ria,” Mamma, why hasn’t uncle come and completed our chair?”
“Rangappa had telephoned your Pappa two days ago and said he would come only next week. We will have to wait till then, my dear,” Ria said. Finally, Rangappa came back after many days. Swetha angrily asked him, “Uncle, why didn’t you come? I was waiting for you.”
Rangappa, smiled and said, “little madam, I am sorry. Do you remember I had told you about my little son? That day, when I went home from here, he had high fever. I took him to a doctor, who advised us to admit him to a hospital. The fever lasted for a week and I had to be with him. So I could not come. Now that I am here, I will complete this chair for you today.”
Swetha realized that Rangappa was a nice person. He was prompt in informing them about his absence and he had also come back as soon as possible to complete his work.
“Uncle, come let us go to the garage and I will watch you complete the chair. How is your son now? Is he home? Does he still have fever? Did the doctor give him injections?”, Swetha pulled Rangappa’s hand and walked towards the garage.
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