This lockdown is making me do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise dared to. From cutting my own hair to writing every day (almost) and even being left alone to get comfortable with my own thoughts, everything! With the difference between weeks, days and nights getting really blurred, the realisation that today is a Sunday got me thinking. It took me on a nostalgic trip down the lane to what Sundays meant to me and my family.
As much as Sundays were a day for us to sulk away about a whole new week of boring routines, the joy of it was doing it together as a family! Almost everyone is on their toes throughout the week, until this one day where we get to sit together and spend time as a family. I asked Appa what his Sundays looked like as a kid and he told me about his fondest memory from back then. It was accompanying thatha to the local fish market. The Fresh meat purchased would then be taken back home to be cooked in Aachi’s secret masala, the mere thought of this got appa's mouth watering . He said that even better were the days when they would directly go to the beach to purchase fresh catch from the local fishermen there. This astonished me cause I remember Thatha doing this very same thing with us on the weekends of our summer vacation. He was probably trying to get us accustomed to an ancestral routine that we’d enjoyed following even before we knew it.
Most of my Sundays just like his were defined by one thing. The Iconic Oil bath! I remember my brother and I dripping in oil every Sunday. Given my extremely co-operative curls, I’d loathe this hour of oil massage for the entire week! On the difficult days, Amma would’ve to call Appa to get me to stop wiggling my hands like a madwoman. She’d not give up until she had successfully oiled my last baby hair. She'd then walked away with the satisfaction of having conquered something. As much as I’d cringe at the mere thought of it, any Sunday without the auspicious oil massage felt empty.
This ceremony was followed by a scrumptious meal of either biryani or meen curry. The one with Kodampulis in it! I don’t know how but most of our Sunday’s had one special food that would repeat itself only on this particular day. Meals that would taste average on a normal day would taste extra fulfilling on a Sunday. I'd often wake up to the smell of meat being marinated on this day. The same one that used to tempt Appa. Only this time, it comes from my mother’s own secret formula. And how delicious it would taste! If it were Biriyani for lunch then Amma usually garnishes it with cashews lightly roasted on ghee and ahh! Sex and all is fine, but have you tried eating good biriyani after a lavish oil bath on a warm sunday afternoon only to doze off into a deep slumber later?!
It was a family movie watching ritual that truly completed our Sundays tho! Not in theatres but in the comfort of our little sofa placed in front of the television. I am talking about a time when DVD rentals were still a thing and we’d save the best of the three CDs for the weekend. Sunday after Sunday, we’d keep watching films. Be it corny romance or overrated humour, the joy of watching it together as a family would surpass the content. It was the experience that made the difference. Sometimes we were allowed to watch two films. One that we’d watch post noon together and the other one that my parents would play for my brother and I to watch on certain mornings. From a Finding Nemo to a Baby’s Day Out, Lion King or a Cat in the Hat, we’d love waking up to the exciting prospective of getting to watch one of these films. No matter how many times we’d seen it or how many scratches the disk has had to endure, we’d watch it with the same enthusiasm as the first time.
Nostalgia is an absurd feeling. It means different things to different people. I'd like to believe that everybody has their own Nostalgia Box where they put in their memories and associations from the past. Mine amongst old music and photographs would most definitely have this one memory. The Sunday routine of my childhood! This lockdown might have blurred the difference between weeks, days and even nights. But as I sit here writing this, I realise that I had meen aviyal after an oil bath today. Ohh and we’ve just settled down on our little sofa to watch a movie!