Sundays without practice are rare. Opening the Whatsapp group (renamed the previous night to Practice at 9) with a half-open eye at 8:50 on Sunday morning, only to see the latest message ‘no practice’ – heavenly. It’s afternoon, my stomach is full from all that kappa and meen curry, and I have a nap to look forward to and I also look forward to waking up hungry so I can go downstairs and eat more of that.
If you’re from a tropical place you’d know a Sunday lunch isn’t lunch if you haven’t sweated profusely either during, before or after it (I know it’s a tropical thing because Mark Wiens shares the sentiment). The kitchen is hot and humid, so is the market, so is the car, so is everything. Nobody wants to be outside but it’s Sunday so you have to sweat.
I should’ve aimed for a productive Sunday but it’s Sunday, and all that sun is going to lull me to sleep.
I should draw the curtains before falling into a nap, otherwise I’ll be sweating like shit when I wake up. Why are Sundays so drawn out yet so similar and short?
I wake up sweating like shit anyway, my back unpleasantly drenched, face sweaty, the sun bathing my room in all that light even with a single window open. The world outside is bright and blinding at 4, a distant jackfruit tree in my neighbor’s backyard hissing in the hot afternoon breeze. I stretch my arms, and the black pants I wore to market with Achan earlier falls to the floor.
I look around and the room is still messy. I cannot believe my room is still messy. It was messy before I fell asleep, it was messy when I was 15. It’s messy now at 20. It looks glorious in the sun though, all the colors (read clothes) on the single bed, encroaching onto the double one. And on the rack. I must find time at night to clean up, I’ve been judged my whole life for a messy room.
Well at least I have stuff on the walls, that should offer some redemption. Why can’t people just watch Jack Sparrow and the weird cat stickers on the walls and ignore the rest of the room? And David Beckham shining in the rays, who I’m not even a fan of but Tessa gifted that when I was 14? Why’s that still hanging on the shelf? How have I not noticed? The last time I noticed it I was 15 and rearranging this room and adding an embarrassing handmade curtain on the steel book shelf.
Has anyone else noticed?
I want to sleep, but WAIT THERE’s KAPPA. That’s why I welcomed sleep in the first place. Do you know how horrible it is to fall asleep, wake up to realize there’s nothing nice to eat? If not you can never appreciate a sleep with the knowledge that something nice awaits for when you wake up.
Upstairs at 4 is just bright sunlight everywhere, it’s blinding. (Luckily I didn’t need glasses and didn’t get headaches when I was 20). Okay, Amma’s outside in the garden-slash-rainforest. The tiles are still warm and the day still bright.
“Harvesting aana amma?”
“This is the second batch,” she says holding up her cupped palms filled with kovakka. She’s also munching on them. I pick two sturdy looking light-green ones (that’s how you know they’re not ripe/bitter inside) and throw them in my mouth, proceeding to carry them all in my t-shirt crinkled basket.
I have never understood how people dressed up neatly at home. I probably dressed nice from 5-9, from 10-15 I’d rather not look at what I wore at home, repeat for 16-19. In a lot of pictures from those days I wear a shiny shorts from my brother’s jersey set (I had like 4 or 5 of them*), and one of his tee shirts I had picked up, or some random top from my cupboard that I wore like a derelict. 100% of the time I looked like someone who received terribly mismatched clothes from a donation.
The pictures are hard to look at. My mother never had issues with what I wore though. And the pictures are unbearable I tell you, and I have confronted my mother in later times on how she could let her only daughter walk around like that.
“There’s more,” I proceed to the creeper to pluck. “How long you been here.”
She tells me what she’s been up to while the rest of us have been on our Sunday siesta.
“Ottum orangeelle!” She slept a while. She’s really happy when she’s out here and lights up like a child every time there’s a rose blooming, and its close-ups end up in her Camera gallery. She also loves attending flower exhibitions and clicking photos at odd close-up angles, the latter also with couples at their wedding receptions. (I never got it back then but guess some 5 years later I click trees and gardens wherever I go as well.)
I’m looking out for the really young and tiny ones now, like the ones where the wilted flower is still intact, they’re probably a couple of days old and are super crunchy. They go straight into my mouth. I’m a bad person.
There’s a wind and all the mango trees and the curry leaves and everything else in the forest sing. Not dry rustling leaves on the ground but healthy, rich and evergreen bunches thick on tall branches. Tender curry leaves and long mango leaves and fat broad ones on the jackfruit
tree plant which never grew up. There’s usually also tiny birds on the chembarathi, often attacking at my brother’s window with their sharp tiny beaks.
I ask if there’s tea.
“Illa,” she answers in a duh way. Sunday tea is late unless I’m ravenous and there’s nothing to eat and I prepare tea in a fit to calm myself down.
“Well it’s hot here I’m going inside, is anything on TV”
“Arinjudade, nokeella” (yes she is from Kollam :D)
I proceed back inside with my t-shirt harvest cup – and
plunk transfer them on to the dining table. There’s a brass vase-like holder (that doesn’t match the table) which I should probably use but it stays empty. If I were hungry enough I’d chomp down all of it myself, but today there’s kappa so that’s where I’m going and couldn’t care less.
Later in the evening
I’m sitting on the verandah entrance with my tea cup, legs spread on the lower steps. (Pictures of the pose exist, they’re terrible). One of the things about tea is drinking out of a cup you like, and figuring over time just how strong you need it to be (and just how much) to relax, and how much to refresh. I notice how dark(er) my knees have become from that single knee drop step in the choreo, and a solar-system shaped blob from childhood that persists. I had claw marks from our poochas criss-crossing all over my two arms and my perennial concern during ages 7-9 was what if they’re permanent, how would I explain them to others (as I am now) for the remainder of my life that I wrestled with cats to take their ticks out? They’re gone now, so will this blob sooner or later I guess.
I now drink from a Walmart mug, but then I’m
25 26 now, after many effortful attempts the tea is prepared in a microwave and for better or for worse, I’m okay with that. Unlike the claw marks, I can still find the solar system somewhere in there if I look hard enough.