February 17, 2008


Life is often made up of unequal measures of the wrong things. I have a friend who can't sleep well. He talks of the nights spent tossing and turning, reined in by a mosquito net and scratched by the cat. I wish I could give him a sizeable chunk of this white elephant-like commodity that I possess, in excess.

Last night, I went to bed at 12 am. This morning, Amanda telephoned at 10.

A: (in an extremely chirpy, alive voice) Hi Ranjana!
Me: (groggy, and foggy-brained) Hunnhh...ga...gi...guh.
A: Let's meet for lunch today, like we planned.
Me: Hunh. Lunch. (pondering) I don't know.
A: Are you busy? Then it's okay...
Me: (the awakening begins) Oh lunch! Oh yes, why not!
A: So, where should we meet?
Me: (just because the awakening has begun doesn't mean it's adequate, or complete) Umm, ahh, what about...err...guh.
A: (coming to terms with the situation) Why don't you go back to sleep and call me when you're up?
Me: (sleep cells relieved) I'll call you in an hour.
A: Sure. Bye.
Me: Bye...guh.

After this short interlude, I promptly went back into the world of dreams, setting my alarm for 11 am. At eleven, I hit the snooze button and forgot all about it. What happened after that is something only a spy camera could tell you. Alas, there weren't any spycams.

I only remember waking at 12:30 pm. The lunch date zoomed into my thoughts and I rudely dragged myself out of bed. I haven't done much today, except eat, shop and watch television. It's 12:14 am. My conscience says I should complete my broadcast journalism project and make some headway with my SIP report. My body says - SLEEP!

I have solemnly promised my conscience that I shall arise at 8 am and work my extra-large arse off. Its doubts have not been assuaged. With good reason, my body says. Please pray for my conscience. It is going to suffer from a nervous breakdown very soon.

When I read Rajagopalachari's Mahabharata as a kid, I came across a line somewhere - a curse forbade King Pandu from partaking of the pleasures of the bed. I always thought that meant King Pandu could not sleep on a bed. But that curse sounded quite bizarre, even by the standards of quirky rishis and maharishis. As an enlightened adolescent, I saw the light. And the sad irony. To me, 'the pleasures of the bed' has always signified sleep. Little did I know...it meant sex!

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