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  • Writer's pictureShailja Chandra

The Empty Chair and the Open Attaché

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

The Empty Chair and the Open Attaché (A reflection on the council kerbside pickup)

It’s that time of the year when our streets and cul-de-sacs turn into open ‘art gallery’ of countless artefacts of homemaking - laying outside, exhibiting their arresting wabi-sabi. Soon they will be aboard a crammed council truck for their final journey to a landfill far away from their old homes.

But before that, one must meander around and peer into each artefact the way Van Gogh looked at the empty Chair.

Each abandoned chair, study table, worn-out attaché, each chest of drawers, bedhead, dollhouse, gym equipment, table lamp and laundry basket seem to tell gushing tales that sound both personal and collective, cultural and emotional.

One might wonder about the menacing consumerism, or embodied carbon these previously loved articles of subsistence might stand for. But it is the ‘time’ locked in them that demands curious observing.

Marvel about how tenderly they were once kept - shielded from all elements of weather, and how swiftly they have now taken to the outdoors. Belonging as much to the unguarded sun and rain as they once did to their comforting domestic cages.

If the council pickup is delayed, will the empty chair strike its roots in the deep earth? Wishing to propagate and perpetuate the life it once bore…?

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