In the Still of the Night…
Insomniacs and light sleepers would know what it is like to lie there waiting for sleep to take over or wake up after an hour of dozing off, feeling both groggy and awake at once, desperate to salvage the remaining hours available for shut eye!
I have been battling this off and on for years while trying a number of remedies suggested by many, sailing in the same boat as me. My final resort, usually, is to accept the fact that sleep is not written for me on that night and I just commit myself to keeping my eyes shut and chanting “Om Namah Shivaiy”. I do eventually get sleep on such days about half an hour or an hour before the alarm goes off!
I love the stillness and the almost sinister quiet of the afternoons but at night I am restless. I cannot appreciate the night because the thought of getting on with the chores of next day without being able to rest creates panic in my system.
Last night was one such night. We had gone over to my parents’ place for lunch and ended up staying the night there. My parents’ home is one place where I sleep the most with gay abandon, knowing that all my responsibilities will be assumed by my dear parents, even though they are twice my age and can do with twice as much pampering! And yet, by the time I went to bed after a long chat with my mother, tiptoeing as my father and husband were asleep and possibly my kids too, quietly finishing my night rituals of brushing my teeth and moisturizing my hands and feet, I found myself bright and wide awake.
I brushed away the thought that I was in for a nocturnal experience and lay on my back as gently as I could and took a couple of deep breaths. I shut my eyes faking a half smile to lure sleep into taking me into its arms but I guessed the all elusive prince of the night saw through that mirthless half smile. I decided to meditate. I consciously accepted all the sounds I could hear, the rhythm of my husband’s mild snoring, the well oiled fan on full speed (the rickety ones are more effective), the leaves rustling in the cool breeze, an occasioning vehicle zooming past; for once, the stray dogs were quiet as were the odd drunkards and the extra “cool” youngsters revving up their bikes in the middle of the night! A strange calm began to envelop me and then it happened! To break my meditative effort, there came a sound that I can never ignore and that makes me uncomfortable- a leaky tap! Water was trickling and with that my eyes flew open.
I got out of bed and pressed my face into the mesh at the window but I couldn’t see a tap or any human being. Then, miraculously after alerting all my senses, it stopped. I reached for my phone. It was past midnight. The date had changed and with that came a fresh wave of anxiety. Only two days left for my son to leave home for college. Yes, he will be in the same city and not more than 12 kms away but this is the first time he leaves home. He is cool about it. Since he doesn’t talk too much and his face doesn’t show much expression it is hard to gauge his feelings. He could also be keeping that calm Buddha like face so that I do not get hyperemotional. God Bless Him!
Anyhow, this thought kept plaguing me as I tried to sleep again. Different scenarios kept popping up, none of which were pleasant. I turned to my right in order to shake those thoughts away and I did succeed only to let the past make its presence felt and as you rightly guessed, it wasn’t the pleasant aspects that came to mind. So I turned to my left with fresh determination and my daughter’s ordeal flashed across in vivid detail. Eyes filling up, I turned to lie on my back again praying to God, thanking him for his infinite blessings and praying for every person that came into my mind and last of all my children and I was so caught up with emotion that my eyes opened and remained that way for a long, long time. I now began tracing patterns of the window grills that were reflected on the wall in front of me by the street lamp. This carried on for some time till I gave up and picked up my phone. 28% battery! Well, enough for five games of candy crush and a bit of internet browsing. Did that and watched my battery go to single digit before getting out of bed and putting it for charging.
I came back to bed, tired, upset and a tad bit irritated at my husband sleeping peacefully (shame on me) and I guess God had enough of seeing someone unable to enjoy a beautiful night and he made it rain. I love the rain and the pitter patter finally lulled me to sleep. I woke up after deep sleep at four in the morning! I may have slept a little over two hours but I was fresh. I got out of bed, so grateful for having made it to the morning and quickly freshened up and sat down to meditate. With that done, I tiptoed into the kitchen and warmed water to drink. I went out into the balcony with my bottle and glass, the Sun had risen, the clouds were thick but not dark, the air was fresh and cool and the trees were lush green, teeming with life and all my woes of the night previous passed.
The Sun always comes out reminding us to hang in there no matter how dark, lonely, eerie or sorrowful the night is, for he is far more disciplined than we are and will never fail to rise, both literally and figuratively. As I sat there watching a gang of stray dogs walking past, and the body language each member displayed I had a huge smile pasted on my face. Life in all its forms is so beautiful only if we have the time to relax and enjoy them.