Every Friday, I am struck by the number of people sharing their joy of the anticipated weekend with the world. On Twitter and Facebook, elated office goers heave sighs of relief and announce their weekend plans. It’s a virtual war out there, a subtle but keen competition for who will have the best weekend.
How about all those scores of people, though, who work through the weekend. It occurred to me today, that a privileged lot actually get the weekend off. A whole bunch of people work through Saturdays and Sundays providing services, manning retail stores and salons, movie theaters and car parks. When do they spend time with their children, with their families? When do they shop, eat out, relax?
Being married to a pilot, weekends are an interesting concept in our house as well. The kids follow a strictly weekday-weekend routine thanks to school and my life sort of loops around that. Rahul’s availability on a weekend has always been a luxury though. There have been times when he has been out on several weekends in a row and cooling his heels at home on a weekday, when the rest of us have no time for him. When he is in, we’re all happy to plan something special or just chill at home! Because I do not work full time, weekends do not need to be cluttered with chores like shopping. I manage to finish all those at some point during the week so we have clear weekends to enjoy. But, I digress.
I’m amazed that our mindsets are so set on this weekday-weekend pattern despite the fact that many people in a modern economy work on very different schedules. It is one of those things most of us do not really dwell on and that also feeds off the fact that Indian cities are very diverse. People from varying income groups, classes and backgrounds co-exist and therefore, many of these aspects get evened out because expectations differ hugely.
For many of the people I observe who are the worker bees that fuel businesses in retail and entertainment, a day off is a luxury. These are the hard working masses that really hold our cities afloat. With varying levels of education, their assets are things like skills acquired on the job, temperament, the ability to do repetitive tasks, take orders, etc. In conversations with a cross section of people like shop attendants, security guards, waiters, chefs, ticket checkers, those who man cash counters at superstores, etc I am amazed at how satisfied they are with their lot. They are happy to have a job, to earn a decent living and be treated with dignity. A day off here and there is good for them and they seem to make the most of this day. The guy who cuts my hair, for instance, takes Tuesdays off to visit a Hanuman Mandir somewhere near ISBT and his faith is a matter of great satisfaction for him. Of course, their lives may be difficult, they may not always be treated well and jobs may come and go. But the weekend and the crazy premium we attach to it is absent from their lives. They are hugely aware of how important it is for ‘us’ though, their customers who set the cash registers ringing starting Friday night up until Sunday night! I guess we could call it a symbiotic relationship!
Our lives have become so hectic, so structured and planned that weekends end up being more hectic than weekdays. The feeling of being deprived of pleasures through the week means we over-commit to social obligations on the weekends. Plus, there are the mandatory chores to do. If the Monday blues hit you on Sunday night, it’s not only in anticipation of the stresses ahead but probably because you’ve weekended too hard!
That’s why it makes sense to schedule nothing for weekends. This weekend is turning out to be one of those chilled leisurely breaks. It started with an impromptu Friday night dinner our with family. It’s raining, let’s not cook, let’s eat out tonight! Amamma (my grandma), mom, Amma, Rahul, the kids and me enjoyed pan Asian fare at The Palms Club.
Today was even better. I spent over an hour in the pool with both the kids and a smattering of Udai’s friends. A part sunny part overcast sky lent the perfect holiday atmosphere, the water neither warm nor cold and refreshingly inviting. Saturday morning meant not too many people in the pool, only some of us ‘early’ risers. Splash wars, some serious laps and frolicking with Aadyaa, including trying to swim with her piggyback riding on me- a sure stress buster.
An unplanned mid afternoon outing to grab some yummy desserts at Sakley’s in Galleria Market accompanied with a chat session with Rahul and Nupur was icing on the cake. More unplanned stuff happened. A relaxing head massage in the salon across the road and a super family evening drinking, eating and laughing with the cousin gang- 3 generations laughing together. Could a Saturday be better?