I like Sundays. Of course I do, I’m a Bombay bawa.
Growing up, Sundays was about omelettes or akoori for breakfast, accompanied by lots of chai and the weekend paper supplements, and helpings and helpings and helpings (and helpings) of dhansak for lunch. Sundays was about being morally blackmailed into going to the agiary, and ticking off lists for the study-week ahead. Sundays was about trying to convince your grandmother into treating you to those interesting looking snacks that the door-to-door salesperson would bring. Sundays was about lining up all the Duke’s bottles that had just been delivered and delighting in all their colours and scheming about how you could get access to them early this week. Sundays was about an evening walk along one of the sea-front promenades, or a browsing trip to the original Crossword. Sundays was about writing letters (and then emails) to distant relatives, and visiting nearby ones. Sundays was about contemplating the world and the life you were making in it.
But more than anything else, Sunday was about Sunday afternoons.
And most specifically, about Sunday afternoon naps.
Because you couldn’t nap on Saturday afternoons. Well, you could, but only technically. Because Saturday was full of shopping and tidying up the loose ends of the working week and meeting friends and going for a movie. There were always things to do while the shops were open and the city was alive. But Sunday? Sunday was for making plans, and having made them, knowing you had the luxury of ignoring them completely, secure in the knowledge that everything was set and sorted and you could just … relax.
And once lunch was done, you could just streeeetch and sigh loudly, contentedly, and then reach out for a last greedy slice of watermelon, and read another few pages, and then unworriedly, uncaringly, contentedly surrender to the warmth of the day outside and the warmth in your tummy, knowing that there was no pressure, no urgency, and no demands. And you could fall asleep comfortable that the only urgent thing that you would have to deal with on waking up was whether you wanted mint or ginger in your chai.
And it was the same everywhere. Even in a driven city like Bombay, the pace and sounds of life just eased off gradually on Sunday afternoons. The streets were empty of enthusiastic children. Doorbells were spared by people soliciting donations or trying to tout spurious schemes. Restaurants were shut, shops were closed, and everywhere felt like Goa in the off-season, or France any day of the week.
And the world was a softer, calmer, nicer place.
Which is why, nowadays, I have to try very hard not to chuck bricks and let loose with a flamethrower from my window every Sunday afternoon.
WHAT THE HECK has gone wrong with people? Why are people surprised that I’m too groggy to talk on the phone at that time, even though this is not the first time it’s happened? Who told my neighbours I would be eagerly awake to talk to them, even though I haven’t been the previous five times they’ve come to talk to me at such a time? Why in the world would marketing survey types start rattling off their spiel in the face of my bleary eyes and believe I’m likely to give them my time and not a ninja-kick? Why are these morons shredding the silence by revving and racing their bikes through the colony? When did it become okay for religious nuts to play loud bhajans just as the world has obviously launched into slumber? Why in heck’s name is the bloody kabadiwalla making four rounds right now, instead of the morning when people are more likely to give him business? Why does a monkey-trainer think he’s going to get an audience then, instead of in the evening when people are up abd about? And why why why why why WHY have people stopped caring so much that they will talk really loudly and shout to each other despite people requesting them to sod off you miserable gits?
People tell me this is progress.
That this is the result of the disintegration of joint families leading to people caring less for others. That this is what happens when schools insist on telling everybody that they’re special and stop parents from smacking them a deserved one. That this is the price we pay for becoming a vibrant, thriving economy that’s no longer stultifying under mofussil traditions. That this is the sort of abrasive uncourteousness caused by a too-rapid influx of wealth for too few people, and the frustration of those not partaking of it. That’s there’s so much more to do in the New India and how can I just waste time by sleeping. That this is how it is and if I can’t deal with it, I should head to the hills.
To which I say, purple bollocks.
It’s time to Reclaim Your Sunday Snooze.
Go ahead, switch off your phones and your tablets and your laptops and your TVs. Put away the book and all the other paperwork. Turn off your doorbell and put a big ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door. Persuade and mock and shout at people who make excess noise. And when you wake up from your slumber, the world will seem a tad more manageable, a tad more amenable, a tad more likeable. Well, for a while, at least.
As for me, the next idiot to wake me up between 1.30pm and 4pm on a Sunday is going to get a bucket of fermented cat’s piss thrown all over them.