HOW I SUNDAY
by Sabi Datoo-Lalji
Growing up, Sunday was literally the day I would count down to. School was pretty much summed up as a mediocre 'okay'. It made my Monday-Friday literally feel like a 9-5pm I didn't want to be a part of. Saturday's in my household was 'the chore day'; we got up, ran errands, cleaned, laundered everything in sight and then went out for dinner. This habit began from a tender young age and to this day, some 26 years later, I try and mirror the same pattern at least most Saturday's, as it gives me a sense of accomplishment. (Sorry, I am darting between past and present tense here, okay, back to the story).
Then, that blissful Sunday would roll around. We would all sleep in and then gently wake to the smell of traditional Indian food. The menu would stem between (kheer) rice pudding, (roti) Indian flatbread or some sort of savory concoction that was going to send you into a food-coma, whether you liked it or not. My mum would be in the kitchen whizzing away, while we laid the table. Brunch in my house was a ritualistic meal; we ate, lingered over chai (spiced tea with milk), chatted some more, made a second cup and had a third helping of Indian sweets until finally, it was time to take the party to another room. After brunch, we'd either mill about the squeaky clean and fresh house, while my mum burned some oud, (Arabian incense which smells INSANE) or we would look through old photographs and flip through magazine's, while omnibuses of shows rattled in the background. The day dragged in the best possible way. Come dusk time, we would all take turns to have a cozy bath before dinner, and prep our uniform, books, and homework before eating. Bedtime consisted of books, magazines, or puzzles. There were no iPhones to scroll through under the duvet so we were pretty much taught, "early to bed, early to rise..." etc was the be all and end all.
I then grew up, went away to college, and came back. The Sunday ritual still carried on in my household, but something had changed for me. Instead of enjoying every sacred and zen minute of that day, I developed the Sunday scaries at 7:00 pm followed by the Monday blues all within a space of 12 hours! I remember sitting on the train into Central London thinking, "hold on, I've been back home for months, why am I still feeling this way?" Well, the pretty penny dropped, and it dawned on me that I was a grown-up, with real bills to pay, and a car to maintain, and a student loan to pay off, and a boss who was relentless, and a job I loved but started to hate, and my friends had all moved away or moved on and, and, and......*sigh*.
I lived that way for about 5 years, before throwing in the towel and going freelance. It was a huge step to take, for me personally, as I was engaged to be married, and we had just pulled together every penny we had for a down payment, on top having a big fat Indian wedding to plan. Oh, and amongst it all, I thought it would be wise to start training as a Yoga teacher! (Huzzah, Sabi you really have a knack for self-induced-stress!) But, the one thing that Yoga taught me was to allow the world to move around you, just try not to let it move you. Anyone who knows me will attest that I am a zen-chaser and so it wasn't going to be long before I fought my way back to Sunday. They will never be the same as my mum's Sunday's because she's the best and all, but I have spent the last five years curating my own version that honor's my younger self, and present self.
So, here's how I Sunday, here and now.
I lay in until my body decides it's had enough sleep/rest, after which I join my other half in the living room for breakfast. Sunday morning attire is usually pj's with a silk robe thrown over it. (I am currently living in this Fleur Du Mal baby) We usually stumble about putting together an elaborate meal, and I absolutely love the stillness that comes from not having to be anywhere. So, with our banana pancakes, or frittata we linger over breakfast and chat, while reruns of Frasier or Parks & Recreation play in the background. Plates get set onto the counter and I make a second cup of either a coffee or a spicy chai. Out come the stack of magazines, books, and articles I have been meaning to read, and with the flick of a lighter over a dozen or so candle wicks, I cuddle with Pia, (my cat) and I make time stand still.
My favorite 'Sunday' candles (yes I have candles I burn on specific days of the week, and in certain rooms, I'm bougie, so sue me) are LE LABO’s SANTAL 26, Sunday Forever's 11:11, Diptyque’s Tubéreuse "Rouge" / "Red" Tuberose, and a locally-made candle which smells like The Big Sur.
The afternoon comes and goes, and then I realize I should go out and get some sustenance. I either shop for fresh fruit, veg, and cheese at the farmers market or stroll to Trader Joe’s. I swing by my favorite bodega on the way home and buy some flowers and foliage. Once I'm back, it's time to stretch and get centered before the week ahead. I pull out my Yoga mat, think up a sequence and go. My practice can range from 15-45 minutes, and I allow myself to get lost in the way my body wants to flow.
Once the mat is put away, I mask and bathe. I am currently loving the HERBIVORE’s DETOX Soaking Salts and the Cocovit’s Coconut Charcoal Face Mask. While dinner is cooking, I arrange the flowers into their respective vases, re-arrange frames, crystals, candles, and knick-knacks and give my home a bit of a visual refresh. My other half often laughs as I am constantly moving things around and he can never find the damn coasters! My response? "Sorry, I like VM-ing our apartment, I could do a lot worse, so pipe down SAM." After dinner is when we cozy up in front of Netflix, Hulu or HBO. 9:30-10:00 pm is when I get up, whisk together my breakfast for the week, (it's usually a coconut milk, chia seed pudding), give Pia a treat, and brush my teeth. I then get into bed, lather on some hand cream and lip balm (my favorites are the RITUALS DAO NIGHT BALM and NUXE Reve de Miel Lip Balm) and journal. Whatever comes to mind, gets written down, and I use this ritual as a little mind cleanser. Any negative thoughts, worries or anxieties get jotted down. My theory is, "better out than in", and this way, when I am trying to sleep, my mind won't dredge up anything and instead will focus on rest. Night Night...
Sabi Datoo-Lalji is a writer and creative consultant based in Brooklyn, NY, always searching for new places & experiences that make her feel zen. Follow her story @sabidatoolalji or sabidatoolalji.com.