Sunday Times

MY PER­FECT WEEK­END

Ka­jal Ma­haraj, ac­tress, TV pre­sen­ter, dancer

- Lifestyle · Healthy Living · KwaZulu-Natal · Italy · Greece · Coca-Cola Company · Shonda Rhimes · Drakensberg

For Ka­jal Ma­haraj, it’s about food & fam­ily

I am a sim­ple girl at heart,

so my per­fect week­end is one where I am sur­rounded by my fam­ily. Spend­ing qual­ity time with the peo­ple who are near­est and dear­est to me is all that I could ask for. Price­less mo­ments that make my heart sing. This is what it looks like …

I usu­ally wake up very early

and sleep late. I am rais­ing two lit­tle men (aged four and three). Even if you wanted to sleep in for a bit, you will get poked in the eye or jumped on to wake up early. They will be yelling, “Get up, the sun is shin­ing!” (even on a cloudy day). There will be lots of chaotic move­ment be­fore you even open your eyes.

On my per­fect week­end,

we will all take a mo­ment to snug­gle in and sleep in for a bit. A way to let the world pass us by as we ap­pre­ci­ate the quiet time to­gether and mag­i­cally sneak in a lit­tle rest from the rat race of our lives. Would it be pos­si­ble for me to sleep in for the en­tire week­end? Hmm … it cer­tainly would be if I didn’t love food as much as I do.

On my per­fect week­end the boys would wake up to the sound of eggs fry­ing

and the smell of a break­fast braai. Fresh fruit and or­ange juice will be laid out on the ta­ble. Health and fit­ness is a big part of our nor­mal week­ends, which see us at the gym in the morn­ings, but on our per­fect week­end we would cer­tainly in­dulge in home­made Nutella pan­cakes.

With our tum­mies full,

we would bun­dle our­selves into the car and make our way to the Drak­ens­berg. As proud KwaZulu-Na­tal lovers, we en­joy fam­ily hol­i­days in the prov­ince. My par­ents and sib­lings would join us for some time out in na­ture, among the beauty of the moun­tains. On our trip, we would with­out a doubt be play­ing nurs­ery rhymes in the car. Lit­tle tri­an­gle sand­wiches and samoosas would be packed for pad­kos.

Upon our ar­rival we would be in­doors,

and would light a fire. We would sit around the fire sip­ping hot choco­late, plan­ning our next in­ter­na­tional es­cape, maybe tak­ing it back to Italy (it is no se­cret that I am itch­ing to go back to Italy) or Greece. We would del­e­gate some­one to take con­trol of or­gan­is­ing that break in the fu­ture. There would be a lot of laugh­ter, as we en­joy each other’s com­pany and look for­ward to the next meal.

My par­ents would un­pack the biryani

that they spent an en­tire day pre­par­ing. The most de­li­cious biryani ever with pop­padoms, sal­ads and Co­caCola. Let’s be hon­est, for us, no week­end is com­plete with­out this mix.

We would then go on a fam­ily hike.

Pack­ing lots of con­ver­sa­tion and — you can see the pat­tern here — food.

I love be­ing sur­rounded by trees.

It’s very peace­ful for me. It grounds me, yet makes me feel so light and free. Ab­sorb­ing all my anx­i­ety. Noth­ing feels quite like the fresh air, the open starry night and the peace­ful si­lence of the coun­try­side.

While the kids nap,

the per­fect book that I would read is Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes. This year has cer­tainly been a year of yeses for me, where I al­lowed my­self to be more open, to say yes and to not let fear and in­se­cu­rity hold me back. Oh, and let’s not for­get the op­por­tu­nity to soak in a nice hot bub­ble bath.

Food, as you can see, is an im­por­tant part of my week­end.

My brothers would make burger pat­ties and han­dle the braais; my dad would whip up a pot of fresh lamb curry on the out­side fire; my mom with her sig­na­ture biryani (I am be­gin­ning to get re­ally hun­gry typ­ing this out); and deca­dent desserts would fill the week­end — home­made cakes, choco­late vol­ca­noes, minty cheese­cakes and death-by-choco­late brown­ies, all baked by my­self.

The per­fect week­end has all of us to­gether —

liv­ing, laugh­ing and lean­ing on one an­other. Let­ting our hair down by re­mem­ber­ing what is re­ally im­por­tant, the peo­ple stand­ing by your side, fam­ily.

L

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