It’s Sunday morning. My summer vacations are drawing to an end. I wake up to the sound of a loud grinder. What else to remind you of a typical Indian household rather than a mixer being used in the morning every Sunday with no respite to the ears. No matter how hard I try to push the pillow against my ear, the damage is done and my sleep has broken.
I trudge to the drawing room and plop on the sofa. The marble floor is cold underneath me and I wrap myself in a thin blanket. My dad is sipping hot milk as he stands out in the balcony. Always hot milk never tea or coffee. A thin beam of light falls down to the floor as he opens the curtains. The sky looks lazy today. Not a powerful yellow sun hung up in an azure blue sky rather a murky yellow white, as if the Gods themselves had carelessly mixed the paints on their palettes up.
Mom’s making Maggi noodles, a staple in our house every Sunday morning. I ask for it soupy and spicy but my sister wants it to be dry. Oh well, it will be something between that. I dunk a leftover Parle-G into my mom’s tea when no one is looking.
My dad calls me and tells me its time to cover all my books. Every indian child knows this drill. But for the life of me I couldn’t understand why it was necessary. But everyone did it and the teacher would frown at me if I didn’t so I joined in.
Rolls of paper surround me as we go through the assembly line. Even my younger sister was roped in. With the natural grace of a monkey and the enthusiasm of a sloth, I’d begin my folding routine. First my dad, determined to teach me how to cover my own books would give commands from the sofa as he watched a cricket match ( Which cricket match? God knows that sport was playing 24/7 on all screens across the country). Eventually, I’d bungle enough books full of wrinkles and the brown paper barely covering the book. He’d give up and I’d be assigned to simply passing the book and tape and slamming on the name sticker. And so, it went till I reached 10th grade.
The food’s getting cold, my mom would call and we’d wash up and sit down at the dining table. Sunday breakfasts were pretty much the only meal that we ever ate at the dining table with the exception of when guests came over. In the background some Hindi music would play, another on-going Sunday tradition.
And we’d sit on the cold marble floor taping brown covers to my notebooks till 1 as my mom shells peas and calls our grandparents. We’d eat lunch sitting on the sofa and watching an old Hindi film. We’d fall asleep on the sofa till the clock struck 4. Then I’d carefully pack my books into my new bag. Would slowly put two sharpened pencils into my pencil box and take two unsharpened ones. I’d tell my mom exactly what I wanted for lunch the other day. First day of school wasn’t for roti and sabzi, it called for fancy food of course.
The shoes would be polished, the socks put out, the water bottle filled and the uniform (which only stayed white for one day). My dad would pre-tie my tie so I wouldn’t have to. And I’d sleep excited for the next day. Excited to meet my friends after two months of summer vacations.
Those really were the days, weren’t they?