The realization hit me at 3 am in the morning. No, I am absolutely not a night bird. But I am a part of a ghostly family. Let me start from the very beginning.
My husband’s cellphone rang at 3 am. Now, I have to tell you something about this ring tone. It is an ascending crescendo, enough to wake up the dead, literally, in the dead of the night. No matter how many times, I have told my husband to change to a more decent tone, he keeps the same which creates this sense of urgency and alarm every time it honks and leaves your heart racing. I got up to open the door, we had a guest who had arrived then.
You may think that is hardly a decent time for anyone to arrive, but that wasn’t his fault really. Pune, happens to be a railway nightmare. If you arrive by train you can expect to hit the town anytime between 2 to 5 am and you not only can’t sleep yourself, you can’t let anyone else sleep either.
As I was going to open the door, I saw my father in law, sitting up on the bed and having his midnight glass of milk. ( नोट किया जाए, मी लॉर्ड, at 3 am) Now he normally stays awake during the night and rests in the day, turning life upside down for everyone around him as well. That also really isn’t his fault either, it is just that he normally would have had his quota of sleep in the day, which expectedly eludes him in the night. And the circle goes on. Now when you stay awake, you feel hungry, so he needed something to eat, of course he has to wake up my mom in law, who then heated the glass of milk for him and hence was up, trotting along in her white nightgown and rummaging in the kitchen, looking irritated and resigned to her nightly routine.
In recent times, my dear husband has also developed the tendency to be nocturnal. He will find his reasons, he can be thirsty, so he will get up to drink water, and then of course he needs to go to the washroom, in an hourly ritual. Sometimes he likes to read a book or newspaper or watch the match ( in mute, will I not kill him otherwise) at 4 am when sheep and forward and reverse counts don’t help. He may also have his natures call very early, pre-dawn or very late, post-midnight. All in all, he was awake and hungry too at the unearthly hour, hunting for something to eat.
With everyone around awake and eating and talking, it felt like 3 pm and not 3 am. You know, how it is always daytime at the station, all that was missing is the hawker crying चाई, चाई….in his broken monotonous tone. Addam’s family, anyone?
Let me give you some more insight. My bro in law has different reasons for staying awake, he may be reading a book that he needs to finish tonight, ( maybe the ending will change if I leave it till the next day) or he may be working, ( or shall I call it tweeting) more often than not, or he may be watching a old faded martial arts Jackie Chan movie and the next sci-fi after that and then what. Going to sleep at 5 am is normal for him.
His wife, wanting to spend as much quality awake time with him, stays up when he is up and sleeps when the world wakes up. Other than wanting to be with him, she has her personal reasons as well like playing candy crush saga for 5 hours, or skying her daughter who is in the GMT time zone. Going to sleep early morning is again a daily routine for her and she can continue her beauty sleep through the morning while the kid is away at school.
This routine has a major advantage – nobody can loot us when we are all asleep, because we are never.
Tensions are a major worry for this insomniac household. My husband has discovered 101 reasons for staying awake and maybe he will write a book on it one day. Some of the gems from his list are- every time I slept, I could could hear Ornob and others shouting on the TV having a political debate on intolerance. Really !!! Ornob, you have no right to enter my husband’s dreams in the middle of the night. The ruby being – since somebody in the family needs to travel the next day, I can’t sleep today, I was worrying. ( about what?) The most glittering diamond – I should have bought the pounds while it was 2 Rs down, now I lost 200 Rs. इव क्या होगा?
Normally I sleep pretty soundly without any worry. Other than when I wake up and see everyone moving around and look for the signs like turned feet and rotating head. The one night I did not sleep is the day I read about Mr Gray. No, do not get the wrong ideas into your head. I could not sleep because my inner voice kept asking me how could such drivel be written. How can you repeat yourself every 5 pages and still be categorized as a literary bestseller? Forget the strong urge I felt about giving a hard slap to Mr Gray and the waif. I can’t even find 50 adjectives to describe the book except that it was repetitive, boring, unreal, teenage, soppy and more. The ending of the volume 1, ( where she walks out, leaving him) was expected to create a desire and longing to get your hands on the volume 2 ( much like कटप्पा ने बाहुबली को क्यों मारा?) left me yawning and wondering why I was wasting my beauty sleep on this.