The year was 1997. I was fresh off the aeroplane and back overseas collecting fantastic old wardrobes from markets in India and Thailand. Oh, the bargains I would find in those exotic places! I could scarcely imagine how those old hands laboured on those works of art. Solid wood I tell you! And the workers hands were as gnarled as the wood itself!
Ah, but old Dobson, he was quite the haggler in those days! And I was strapping too, always getting a second glance from the ladies. Sometimes garnering even a third look let me tell you. Which reminds me…
Did I ever tell you about that one particular transaction? Oh, did I? The one about the night tables, right? Well, they were quite a pair! A pair of beauties alright. Those two lovelies were solid cherry and hand worked, and I just had to have them! They would look fetching in the master bedroom.
There was one problem and that was with the dealer, Ms. Thakshila. Thakshila was the wiliest dealer in Bombay (I do so prefer the old name)
When I entered the store, the ding-ding of the bell alerted Thakshila of my presence, but greeted I her just the same. “Hello! Hello!”, I called. “Have you any night tables my dear Thakshila?”
“Mr. Dobson! Really, is that necessary? We have good paying customers and I don’t want you scaring them off.”
“Thakshila”, I said as I took off my hat. “I am enamored with your cherry bed tables. They are quite lovely.”
“Yes they are, but they are also sold.”
Sold! I couldn’t believe it! “For how much?”
“That, my dear Dobson, is confidential.”
Hmmph. I am not used to being rebutted, so I looked over the night tables myself. Excellent detailing and solid dovetail construction. “$150 I’d say. No more than that for Indian design.”
Thakshila suddenly burst into laughter. “They are not Indian you old fool!”
“Not Indian? Then what are they?”
“Yes. From the Maldives.”
“No. You can’t be serious. The Maldives? Really?”
“YES. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a store to run.”
I couldn’t fathom it. I owned not one piece from the Maldives! This had to be remedied without delay and I set to cornering Thakshila and offered her 3 times what I initially presumed the set was worth. I did win out that day and I indeed left with my delightful cherry night tables.
It wasn’t long before my colleagues let me in on the fact that Thakshila’s warehouse is just full of cherry wood night tables. All of which are cherry, and none of which are from the Maldives.
Oh, my face was as red as those tables! But what a tale it was to spin.