So, it is Sunday morning. And you’re sitting at the breakfast table, maybe taking a desultory look at the papers as you sip your tea or coffee. It’s a nice feeling isn’t it, not to have to worry about getting dressed and heading out to work? To be able to just take your time and enjoy the morning.
I know, it seems rude to interrupt your reverie, to intrude into your leisure, but would you mind terribly if I asked you a question? Nothing complicated, I promise. It’s as simple as it gets.
What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
It’s a question that I posed every week to one hapless celebrity or another when I edited a supplement called Weekend in a previous incarnation. But it’s not nostalgia for an earlier life that has brought on my current interrogative mood. I only ask because I recently endured a weekend from hell – in the company of friends who, to be fair to them, were only trying to show me a good time.
Only it didn’t seem like that to me. I had to drag myself out of bed at some unearthly hour, get dressed while it was still dark outside, then drive for what seemed like forever along potholed roads which rattled bones that I didn’t know existed, and then, a hair-raising speedboat ride later, arrive at a pebbly, thoroughly depressing stretch of sand they rather optimistically designated as the ‘beach’.
There was some desultory attempt at swimming; there were some token efforts to get the kids to give up on their iPods and enjoy the sound of crashing waves; there may even have been the odd singalong. But quite honestly, I was too exhausted to care. All I wanted was to curl up and go back to sleep in a shady corner.
But no, there was still the small matter of the picnic basket to negotiate. So, we spread out a large blanket, opened up the hampers and obediently cooed over their contents. As we chomped on our sandwiches and drank wine that turned lukewarm in minutes, the humidity turned my hair into a crinkly mess, sweat ran down my face and the sand got everywhere. Then, after assuring one another about how wonderful it had been to enjoy the great outdoors, we got back into the car and drove back another couple of hours, being jolted and jostled all the way.
I have to admit that the other members of my party were delighted with the excursion. I was the only one longing to get back home, get under the shower, wash away the sweat and sand, climb into my pyjamas, and hit the couch for a bit of mindless television viewing before the workday week began again.
But then, I guess everyone has their own ideas of a perfect weekend. Young parents dream about dumping their two under four with the grandparents for a couple of days and taking off for a romantic getaway far away from dirty nappies and night-time feeds. Grandparents long for weekends when the snotty-faced mites are deposited on their doorsteps. House-bound homemakers look forward to a night out on the tiles with their better halves. Harried careerists want nothing more than just to sleep, sleep, sleep away the weekend, catching up on a week-long deficit.
There are perhaps as many perfect weekend scenarios as there are people. There are some who like to party hard right into the early hours of the morning; sleep off the hangover and head out to a late boozy lunch. There are others who want to get up early enough to take a walk in the park before breakfast. There are some who want to take off for a scenic spot with their loved ones. And then, there are those who don’t even make it past the front door.
Speaking for myself, I like to ease myself into the weekend with a late-night movie on Friday (dinner is, of course, industrial quantities of popcorn and Diet Coke). Saturdays are for girlie lunches, with lots of white wine, loads of gossip and the odd bitchy outbreak, and dinners are at home with friends with everyone pitching in behind the stove. Sundays are for large, lavish brunches – either at home or a favourite restaurant – which last late into the afternoon and are followed by a long siesta. Sunday evenings are a time to recuperate for the week ahead; so it’s simple ghar ka khana with a good book or a DVD box-set to provide entertainment.
That’s pretty much an ideal weekend as far as I am concerned.
My weekends from hell involve driving miles and miles to get to a place that isn’t even worth the fuel cost; and then spending a nano-second there before having to head back. If I want to spend time at a beautiful resort over the weekend, I’m going to save both energy and time by flying not driving, thank you very much. Other no-nos are wasting entire evenings at large parties, trying to make small talk with people I’ll never see again in my life.
When it comes to weekends, I like to keep it as simple as possible, involving only family and close friends, and lots of downtime. Which brings me back to my original question: what is your idea of a perfect weekend? Tweet replies to my Twitter handle please!
Follow Seema on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami
From HT Brunch, September 9
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