Those two days that are meant for relaxation seem to be slipping away

A few weeks ago, I called a friend on a Sunday afternoon. I was envisaging lunch, followed by a long, lazy, drawn-out coffee, and then coming home to take a nap. My friend however, was in Delhi, working. “On a Sunday afternoon,” I asked, incredulous, my voice rising several notches. She sighed. “There’s just so much work,” she said, and trailed off. Earlier this week, my friend called me out for a movie on Saturday. Sheepishly, I told her I had to work.

It’s a line one hears a lot these days. There’s so much work, you have to carry it over — not just to weekday evenings at home, but to Saturdays and Sundays as well. There’s just so much work that the last book sale you went to, the last good play you saw and the last walk you took on the beach, was about a year ago. Whatever happened to weekends? It used to be that weekends were reserved for things like going out with friends or family, curling up in an armchair and reading a book, taking pleasure in a hobby, completing some household chores, but mostly, doing nothing. Of late though, Saturdays are generally full up. If you’re not pulling an extra shift at work, you are working from home, taking work phone calls or writing emails on your Blackberry.

A large section of the city’s population works. Corporate/service sector, government or otherwise, every job comes with its unique set of pressure and politics. Navigating these, while attempting to derive some measure of satisfaction — not to mention a salary — takes up a majority of most people’s time and energy. At the end of the week, we are drained. And yet, those two days that are meant for relaxation seem to be slipping away. In the mad rush to do more, to do better, to compete and climb that ladder, are our weekends vanishing?

Some professions don’t have weekends off. Those in healthcare work to serve in times of any and every emergency and often have their spare time cut short. Journalists have news to cover at the oddest of hours, often neatly coinciding with their days off. But when the ‘extra hours’ become the norm, it may be time to stop, wonder and possibly begin ‘Project Relaxation’.

If weekends off are not an option, there should be some time to do nothing at all; time when you’re offline, with no phone calls or pings and no overwhelming realisations of something left undone at work. Also, beneficial, but not essential, is a spot. It could be anywhere — the broken bridge on Marina beach, a coffee shop, a masseuse table or a chair at home. It could be accompanied by anything — a book, a kitten, popcorn or nothing at all. The important thing is, it’s there. Waiting for you to come, cozy up and relax. Sometimes, in the middle of a stressful day at work, it helps to just imagine it close by.

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