We normally restrict our socializing to one per weekend. This weekend we broke our own rule and met two sets of friends.
Saturday was geared around getting the kids to bed for their afternoon nap early. Despite playing tennis till 9.30, having breakfast till 10.30, we managed to get bathed, dressed, and organized for lunch at 12.30. Obviously, nobody was hungry. Which was just as well, because the preparations for lunch were rudimentary, to say the least. There was some very leathery brown rice (because I and the Hawkins pressure cooker don’t get along too well together) and a dry mixed-veg preparation. I had redeemed the meal slightly by making some rice kheer, which turned out well, but the kids weren’t impressed. They ate a nominal quantity and went to bed by 1. I took a book to bed, and even managed to snooze for 30 minutes, before being woken up by Amit’s wretched phone. I rarely nap in the afternoon, but I’d played two solid hours of tennis, so the nap was quite alluring for a change.
At 3.30, they were up and raring to go. We still took an hour to get out, but I did manage to perform a French Plait on Tara, much to our delight. Their hair is perfectly suited for French Plaits.
Two Saturdays ago, we were supposed to go to S&P’s for dinner and every possible thing went wrong. It rained heavily in the afternoon. The kids slept till 5. Amit was ready only by 5.30. The French Plaits didn’t even happen. And when we finally left home shortly after 5.30, we got stuck in all manner of floods. Three different routes led to similar impasses. The situation was so bad that before we could even reach the flooded stretch of road, we were turned back by traffic waving us back. A railway track separates our part of the city from the area we were headed towards. To cross the railway track, you can either go under a bridge or over one. Wherever the road dips, the water collects. On the third attempt, we encountered no flood, only an interminable traffic jam. By this time we’d already spent an hour in the car, and had been driving in circles within a 5km radius. We gave it up as a lost cause and went home.
This time, things went more smoothly. We left home at 4.30, and, after making various mandatory halts along the way (for groceries and petrol) we reached S&P’s place at 5.30 and were comfortably ensconced there till 9. We got home by 10 and all went straight to bed.
The next morning, Amit took Tara for tennis. Mrini and I stayed home. Last weekend Mrini had declared that she didn’t want to play tennis, but a few minutes later, without much persuasion, had changed her mind. Then, at some point, for some trivial thing, the tennis coach lost his temper and shouted at her. Mrini is the teacher’s-pet kind of student. She looks at her teacher adoringly, sits/stands as close to her teacher as she can, and uses every trick in the book to gain the teacher’s approval. (It is a slightly amplified and grown-up version of how she was with me, when the twins first came home.) This kind of student does not want to be reprimanded – least of all, if they feel it is undeserved. (By contrast, Tara would typically just shrug it off with an infuriating smile.)
So I didn’t want to force or even persuade Mrini to go for tennis this time. She has to make her own peace with the tennis class and she should want to go. I did tell her, though, that I would be busy in the kitchen so she shouldn’t trouble me. She didn’t; she spent such a long time being so silent and industrious in her room with her drawing book that I actually thought she must have fallen asleep.
I, meanwhile, cooked up a storm – albeit a vegetarian storm. Channa, cauliflower, arbi (colocasia? Or something like that), raita (finely chopped veggies drowned in curd), and, of course, cake – chocolate cake, for a change. It’s been an extremely long time since I cooked for guests – in recent times, either the cook cooks, or we order in. Perhaps because it’s been so long, and because Mrini didn’t trouble me, and because I didn’t have to do the dishes afterwards, the cooking was actually relaxing and fun.
Our friends arrived a little before 1 and stayed till 5. The kids went ballistic. Even though they’ve not met this family too often, they hit the ground running and didn’t stop until well after our guests had left. We got to connect with and catch up with friends we really haven’t met often enough.
A lot of things didn’t get done. We didn’t do the weekly grocery shopping and I didn’t do any ironing. I didn’t do my taxes and I didn’t buy the pair of jeans I’ve been desperately trying to buy for a couple of months now. But we talked a lot, we laughed a lot, and we ate a lot. It should have been hectic and tiring, but instead it was fun and relaxing. Everything a weekend should be.