The Escritoire: A Homecoming

Almost 16 years ago to date I gave up a dream and parted way with an intimate friend, a keeper of my secrets, hopes and dreams. Due to volume constraints in the moving container and the knowledge that the next home was going to be able to house only 1/3 of the existing furniture, I parted with me beloved escritoire (Sekretär / escritorio antiguo). Crafted in India by talented Rajasthani carpenters, it was a place to work, write, and reflect, love at first sight from the moment I laid eyes on it at the chaotic furniture in Delhi. From 2001 onwards, I made do with the dining table, a sideboard, shared a computer table, or had a wooden board fitted to a corner of the study. These were makeshift workspaces that sufficed for the work that needed to be done, but were never really the corner that I could define as “my desk”, knowing that they were all just temporary solutions.

Zeitgeist ©MTHerzog

Eventually, such as life is, other things took priority and the dream of my own escritoire faded further and further away into the background. When I moved to Berlin this year, a small foldable table became my desk for the next five months, initially alternating between dining table and desk until my things arrived with the container. I had reconciled myself to keeping the foldaway as my desk, since it provided ample work space for myself and a generous sleeping space for the cat (mustn’t forget her needs), making a mental note to explore some of the IKEA options. Once the decision was made to have a home office, I knew I had to do something about my workspace and formalise it.

The Writer’s Corner©MTHerzog

Then a sudden change of fate turned things around for me. Someone else’s decision to uproot and start over in another country placed me in the fortunate spot of giving some pieces of furniture a new home, a new beginning. I wrote the other day about the chest of drawers that anchored my room, and when those items were delivered to me, the desk had been too heavy to bring down the stairs by just two exhausted people. So with the able services of something called Möbeltaxi (furniture taxi) – there is something similar in Manila as well – the escritoire made its way into it’s new home. It was a perfect fit into the conservatory!

Not everyone is in favour of an escritoire, finding it bulky and impractical. But this one, is just the right size, and that is important to a claustrophobic like me who needs ample space to spread out and not feel confined. It may not be an ultramodern designer piece, but it has character and telltale signs of lives that it has been a part of. The friends who bestowed it upon me also inherited it from someone else who moved. Estimated to date back to the Biedermeier period, this desk is definitely a Zeitgeist in more ways than one, and has just embarked on it’s latest journey. And It iooks as if it had always been there – that dream waiting to come out of hibernation and say “Here I am, remember me?”.

This is definitely a turning point, the re-possession of a yearning and the affirmation of a path chosen, a risk taken.

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