My son, lolling in front of the television, says, 'You have had yourself a Sunday break, Dad, won't you cook us something nice for dinner?'
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Sunday morning. It has rained, the weather is perfect, the sky has a washed look -- just right for spending the day at the farm.
There is beer in the fridge, an unread pile of books by the bedside -- what more could a man want?
"Good morning," says my wife, ruining the contemplative moment.
I am putting bread and eggs in a basket, rolling up the newspapers -- all that I need to carry on my day away.
"I am coming with you," she says, and will not be dissuaded.
I would not mind -- not too much, anyway -- if we leave right away, but my wife does not do spontaneity.
"Wait," she says, "I need to plan this."
She has poured herself a cup of tea. That is followed by an inventory of things to be carried: Bed linen that was brought home to be laundered and needs to be returned; dishes, boxes, cutlery that were taken away by mistake, but need to be returned to the farm; seeds, seedlings, pots and plants growing on the terrace which, for reasons I am unable to fathom, need to be ferried to the farm to replace those that will be brought back; a change of clothes (for a bath there); cartonloads of doodads piling up uselessly at home to be carted over to pile up uselessly there.
It's a while before everything can be found, tallied and loaded in the car.
By now, my wife is hungry (I am too), so it makes sense to rustle up a quick breakfast at home, consisting of the bread and eggs I was planning to carry with me.
The smell of eggs wakes up my daughter who wants to know why she has not been asked along, it is her weekend too.
"Because your father is self-centred," my wife tells her.
My daughter says she will join us, but after giving the dog a bath and having herself a shower.
She draws up her own list of things to carry -- laptop, check; phone charger, check; board games, check; walking shoes, check; nail paint, check; face mask, check; skipping rope, check.
Three hours after I'd planned to leave, we're finally in the car, when my daughter reminds me I had promised to plant hedges and borders this rainy season, so I should set my sights on driving to a nursery before heading for the farm.
The day is still lovely, but it is fast disappearing.
Two hours later, having squelched through wet mud, been bitten by a wasp, searched for network to call 'experts' about the most suitable plants for the purpose, loaded the car boot with saplings, I finally arrive at the farm and unload it all.
"I am hungry," my wife tells me. "Me too," my daughter says. There are no bread and eggs.
So, dear reader, this is how I spend the remaining day -- I fetch vegetables from the kitchen garden, slice, dice, spice and saute; I find a packet of pasta and set it to boil; I mix herbs and serve them cocktails; in between making lunch, I supervise the plantation with the maali.
By evening, when it is done, my family tells me they are tired, it is time to head back home. Where, my son, lolling in front of the television, says, "You have had yourself a Sunday break, Dad, won't you cook us something nice for dinner?"
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com