I simply could not fall asleep last night. I tossed and turned for what seemed like an eternity. I tried to focus on each pint of oxygen I inhaled and exhaled. I let myself out of the four-walled confines of my bedroom and floated aimlessly into a far away meadow. It was lush green surrounded by giant oaks with trunks as huge as you could imagine. I was to seek refuge in its aura, in its captivating scenes. With the wind playing its tune in the rustle of leaves, I longed to slumber till the morning sunrise. But not long after the crackle of leaves, I was staring blankly at the ceiling - once again. Sleep was still a million miles away and I was losing precious patience.
For each labored effort I made to drug myself to sleep, I was greeted by a much stronger, opposite reaction. At the end I was as wide awake as a startled doe. I thought about office and worried getting late to work. I checked the time. I recalled hitting the sack ages ago. The clock was ticking way over to the other side of midnight. The hand on the wall clock was hitting incessantly and, at one point, I thought I was going to be put to sleep by its monotonous ticking music. But the ticking sound and twinkling stars were all united in their conspiracy to keep me awake. Even the window pane and the zinc sheet on the roof creaked in the chill just to keep my sleeping senses awake and alert. And here I was again…staring dreamily into the dark with a million hazy thoughts in my head.
I was completely defeated, battered and bruised in my battle to enter slumberland. I do not exactly remember but as far as my memory could go, I have never had such difficulty at bedtime. When I was in college I never use to come home during the short Christmas break. It used to be a very short break, so I thought why make it shorter by spending three days inside a metal snake chugging almost the entire length of the Indian sub-continent. During those ‘free’ times I would become an Owl - staying up way past midnight, watching movies and then going to bed just as the sun would come up. But otherwise I had always been a morning Lark although at times situation would force me into becoming a Hummingbird. So now what is the problem with me? Like I have said earlier, I was never an insomniac.
After trying out almost every conceivable solution up my sleeve, I visited the loo, came back and downed a glass of water…and with it all my impending sleepiness. I was back to square one coaxing sleep to get the better of me. But like a nagging child, it simply would not heed my request. It wanted to play its own game…in my bed.
Of late, something unusual has been happening to me - totally out of the ordinary and uncharacteristic of what otherwise used to be a dead man’s sleep. As soon as I lay my head onto my pillow, instead of sleep smoothly sweeping over me for good, nostalgia slither in - uninvited and uncalled for, creating space aplenty for wakefulness. And when you’re deprived of a much-needed sleep, you do not know what you are going to do next because it is dead of the night and there isn’t much life around. So all that you can do is keep your sleeplessness to yourself and pretend you are sleeping like a log. Deep inside and under those layers of blanket and quilt, you’re still very much alive and active. And that’s something very atypical! And that’s when man become ghost.