My weekends have gotten even more precious ever since I started working with Janaagraha a year ago. We work on 2 Saturdays in a month and 3, if it’s that dastardly month with 5 weekends packed in. Where these 5 weekends would once be a cause for celebration, it’s now the most stressful part of my life. Distressing even. Or at least enough to send me into paroxysms of anxiety (when do I do my grocery shopping, laundry, meet Dee for dinner) making lists of all the things I’m missing out on(mostly sleep and lazy brunches and too much mimosa) till it finally all comes to a head.
The long weekend had finally kicked in. It started with the most lofty of ambitions: a drive to Koramangala to dig into pillowy idlis at Kamath, some baking - perhaps an apple downside upside down cake, a movie, a quick detour to the Department of Horticulture to pick up some dirt, gardening, beer with friends. A little loving, a little exploring, a little excitement, a little adventure, a perfect weekend plan.
On Saturday, I bolted awake at 4.30 am - I had an interview with BBC Radio at 5.30 am. The alarm hadn’t gone off (In my head, I played out an entire “what if my body hadn’t bolted itself awake?” scenario), the cabbie hadn’t called, I didn’t have the cabbie’s number. After much hand-wringing, waking up cab companies at 5 am and other such unkindly acts at unearthly hours I made my way to the Hyatt on M G Road.
The sun hadn’t come up, Bangalore was lovely, dark and a few potholes deep. Kate and Mark at the BBC were kind to offer me a couple of coffees and let me by myself - talking politics, potholes and portmanteau words (Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood!)
Later in the afternoon, seven of us sat crouched around a long wooden table at a smoky pub and talked about work, mutual friends, our lives that were and what we wanted our lives to be. We drank mugs of Apple Ale, and then another, and then another.
This was a different time with pitch perfect timing, we didn’t have somewhere else to go or anyone else to be. A raucous afternoon, a subdued evening - Our voices hoarse with laughter and chatter, our minds emptied. This is what tumblers of good ale, plates of simple delicious food and a heart full of warm friendships brings.
Monday would have made Sunday proud. Maybe it was the puddles of rain from the previous night or the indecisive temperatures - one minute a chilly wind blowing and the next, shafts of piercing sunlight or the bacchanalian excesses of the days before. Or maybe we just needed a lazy quiet morning. There was no fervour for a holiday gained, no time for elaborate plans and escapes. We stayed put. In bed, draped on the couch.
We ordered in Chinese food. Kitschy, junk, takeaway in little paper boxes accompanied by sauces with no names. Chilli chicken, Schezwan noodles, Kung Pao Chicken. What’s a holiday without a drink? We resurrected leftover wine, a few days away from vinegar, as Sangria with a dash of star anise, shavings of orange rind, splashes of OJ, leftover watermelon cubes and diced apples.
Outside, the rain splashed, the autorickshaw stand stood framed in the sodium yellow of the streetlights, the train station buzzed with activity. Inside we licked the chilli sauce from our forks and sunk further into our torpor.