Moments of indulgence

My three

There are some moments in a day that I especially enjoy and look forward to. The first is my coffee moment. It is early in the morning, while I sit on my balcony and sip my coffee. The air is filled with birdsong, paeans of joy, expressing their happiness. There are calls I can identify and some that I can’t; there’s a new addition to the chorus of newly hatched eaglets from the eyrie high upon the rain tree.

As I enjoy this time undisturbed, there are other sounds gradually joining in. A bhajan session from the temple, just audible, very pleasant; a lone flute player; members of the ‘Laughter Club’ laughing in unison, also in the distance and not jarring!

I hear a rumbling, and I know it is the crippled beggar sitting on his wooden platform on wheels. He propels himself along the road past my flat to his destination – the crossroads nearby. After a while, the squirrels and crows make their appearance and soon other sounds: traffic and vendors. My coffee moment is over!

The second moment I enjoy in the day is my chocolate time. Lunch is over. I retire to my room and lie down to relax and have a little quiet time. I savour it with a big bite of chocolate. It could be a Toblerone or a Mars Bar or some squares of Dairy Milk. It’s a blissful moment indeed.

The evening brings its share of things to do and until dinner is over there is no time to really relax. Most evenings I am on my own. I sit in my favourite chair and get to the day’s Sudoku and Crossword. This is when I enjoy my paan – a betel-leaf made into a cone with a smear of lime, katechu, a pinch of supari, cardamom seeds, and clove. This is my paan moment. It is the finale to my day. It is a time when I think, when I contemplate and when I wind down for the day.

Sometimes, while savouring my paan, I remember my childhood and the occasions on which my grandmother, mother, aunts and elder cousins would put together the ingredients of the paan almost as if they were performing a sacred ritual, and offer it to those present. Everyone who took it accepted it with a certain grace.

On holidays and during festivals, as a special treat, we children were also given paan. We loved to see our lips turn red as we chewed it! We enjoyed the taste too. That “beeda” was an essential finale to the meal.

Most days it’s a case of: “Subha hoti hai, shaam hoti hai. Umr yoonhi tamaam hoti hai” (The day dawns and the evening wanes. And so life comes to an end). There are, of course, many lovely interruptions in this routine. Calls and visits from the children and grandchildren, from dear friends and caring relations.

Then, there are our beautiful festival days, each with its typical trappings, each that we celebrate with fervour. But it is my three “moments” in the day that provide me with a special time and space to reflect, to experience a sense of quiet, and indeed, to feel content.

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