We all look forward to Saturday. Some for the simplicity in it being the weekend, some for the drunk prone nights it’s know for and some for just finding time for themselves. I used to look forward to it for a combination of the three, with a fewer number of drunk episodes.
Saturday to me was the one day I could spend time with everyone, friends, strangers, family and me. Whether it would turn out to be gloomy or sunny, Saturday was THE day for me. The relief it brought with it of not having to wake up in the morning and go to school, the idea of lying snuggled up in bed, the special pancake breakfast, it all carries so much meaning now. But sadly, I hadn't realised it back then. During school days it was just the weekend, a day that defined fun.
Mornings were usually spent with mamma, going with her to Commercial Street in Bangalore. Partly to just be with her and partly to try and get her to buy me some new shoes or clothes. We would roam around for hour’s together window shopping, through the narrow shop filled streets Comm. Street is known for. It’s amazing to think of all the possible things people sell to try to make a living out of. And somehow ma needed all of them, every other weekend.
By late afternoon all the shopping would get us both hungry which led to us grabbing a quick bite in one of the oldest (and best) kaati roll places in Bangalore to date – LAZEEZ. Their rolls are the best definition I can use to describe heaven on earth (one of the many reasons why Bangalore is so truly incredible.). All in all, a Saturday afternoon Kaati Roll lunch for 60 rupees. This was followed by a lazy afternoon at home watching a movie with ma or rather any pointless television shows. Eventually ma would fall asleep and I would be chatting over the phone with a friend, whispering. Since back then we didn’t have mobile phones and were forced to use the landlines which was ever teenager’s biggest dilemma. To try and get something through to the other person without our parents overhearing the juicy secrets, had they been pretending to sleep of course.
As the day progressed, early evening meant papa would be home from work. This called for the weekly Saturday evening ritual of Khari biscuit and chaha. Khari biscuit being a light and fluffy ribbon shaped biscuit best eaten when dipped in tea (chaha). There would only be three of us eating the khari biscuits but ma, pa and I would end up finishing almost all of it. This Saturday evening ritual of course needed a venue for it to take place and in my case it was our O-18 balcony. With two wrought iron white benches and a small moda (round cane stool) to keep the biscuits on, we would stare out into the swimming pool area and playground looking at all the characters of Diamond District that passed by. Sometimes laughing at their gait or sometimes admiring the cute kids reminiscing in youth. Two generations, one same thought. And now that I think of it, some family just like us must have been doing the same thing looking at us. Kastu was in Singapore back then and the balcony gathering session would usually be when we would call her up and tell her we were missing her. The Shelar’s are at their best and their worst when they are together, sometimes even if the ‘together’ part happened through a phone call.
However there were a couple of Saturdays here and there when I would spend the afternoons with some friends or one good friend over coffee. Even though we’d meet each other every day in school, being able to meet up in Coffee Day or Barista was considered a ‘cool’ thing back in School. Funny thing about childhood, you would never have anything to not talk about. The most random and inane topics would find laughter and curiosity as their company. There was nothing good or nothing bad, everything seemed perfectly alright to us. Either way the Saturday afternoon would turn out, I was always home for Khari biscuits, sitting in the quaint little balcony laughing with ma and pa, thinking about Kastu and leaning over the balcony railing looking at everyone that walked past.
Saturday evening brought with it the traditional dinner outing. The joy I got out of picking a place to try out every week. We would ponder over for hours as to which place we should try each week but would never able to make up our minds till we were sitting in the car on our way to God knows where. But the last minute decisions were what made the whole evening so much more fun. Chaos and confusion would lead to pa getting fed up and just driving towards MG Road or Indiranagar. Some dinners were beyond scrumptious while some on the other hand left us wondering how some of the restaurants were even running with such a bunch of ‘namunas’ managing it, this including the namunas making the food as well. But that never seemed to bother me. I wasn’t at home on a Saturday night. That was the coolest thing to have achieved then, a new story to talk about for next Saturday.
The Saturday night dinner had to be followed by dad driving us back home. This was one of the best parts of the day. Sitting in the back seat of my Astra, just behind pa’s seat, (Kastu’s seat was behind ma and mine behind pa) listening to Rohit Barker and DJ Ivan’s house and dance session on 91.9 fm. By 11 o’ clock most of the streets used to be deserted as half of Bangalore was either out at clubs or sitting at home enjoying the night. It was just us and the Bangalore’s city lights with music playing in the car that suited the moment so well. Some Saturday’s wouldn’t end there though. We would sometimes stop by at the LEELA Hotel outside our house and sit down for a cup of coffee and Barista. The Leela Barista is the best Barista outlet in whole of Bangalore. Half of it opens out into the garden area and the other half remains on the inside with a ceiling painted over with clouds and mirchi lights twinkling in between them. A perfect setting for a late night coffee wherever we would choose to sit.
After reaching home and changing into our night clothes, I would continue the ritual of sitting with ma and pa watching tv and talking about everything that amused me. Sometimes this led to pa and I watching a movie will it got over, which would inevitably lead to me watching it alone as he would start snoring a few minutes after the lights went off.
I had mentioned my Saturdays being a combination of spending time with family, friends, strangers and myself. The late hours of Saturday, after the dinner and coffee would finally allow me some time to do what I liked. A ritual for myself in a way, tuning in to Barker and Ivan’s mix on 91.9 fm, plugging in my creative mp3 player to the speakers and lying down on the bed listening to it. Thinking of friends, family, life and where it’s leading to, music and how perfect the Saturday had turned out to be. The best day of the week.