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July 14 , 2008

Table for Four


It is their last evening together. Maya, Sandra and Derek, graduate students at UC Santa Cruz and house-mates for three years, are preparing for dinner with Uncle Prithvi, the house-owner. It’s a cheerful and quirky household: Sandra is prone to ‘Orkut attacks’; Derek silently pines for the wistful-looking Afghan boy in the photo on his wall; Maya, who has the hots for Derek, is inexplicably terrified of the ocean; and the elusive Uncle Prithvi communicates through notes he leaves all over the place. Sad at parting, perhaps forever, and half tipsy, Maya, Sandra and Uncle Prithvi play a game of wapping stories as they wait for Derek to arrive. As the evening progresses, we learn their deep, dark secrets and hidden fears. Sandra, abandoned at birth, talks about growing up in an orphanage with her precious twin, disabled Solana, only to be separated by circumstances; Uncle Prithvi rues the loss of his beloved daughter, whom he betrayed when he sought a new life with Karen in the US. Maya, the narrator, can’t bring herself to open up—except when alone. And Derek avoids revealing himself altogether as he doesn’t turn up at all. Finely crafted and deeply felt, Table for Four is a rumination on the burden of secrets, of learning to let go and accepting the betrayals and losses in our lives.
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