Long long ago when I was studying engineering, I had to travel more than 30 kms from home to reach college changing at least 2 DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses. The fact that I used to board buses close to the point where they started always ensured that I got one of the coveted window seats. I just had to sit down and before I knew I would be fast asleep. The cool breeze that would start blowing once the bus started only hastened the process. Nothing could wake me up till my eyes automatically opened when I had to get down, be it the constant irritating sound made by the glass windows of the DTC bus, the loud conversations between the DTC conductor and my neighbours in the bus (who seemed to have no other work to do in their lives), the well practiced narration of a vendor selling a bunch of items for Rs. 5 saying “company ka prachaar, sirf aaj ke liye” or a newspaper vendor shouting the choicest headlines of “Saandhya Times” that would range from “Atal ji ne goliyaan barsaayi …. shabdon ki … apne muh se” to “Pakistan ne paanch nuclear bomb fode jinme chaar nakli”. I also seemed to have perfected this art of sleeping while sitting with my head in one position. The importance of this can only be realized by a person who sits next to a sleepyhead whose head seems to almost perennially seek a resting place on his/her neighbour’s shoulder despite the gentle and many-a-times furious nudges that his/her head gets from that shoulder.
A four year investment in this process has resulted in the fact that today when I sit down in a chair, even if a ceiling fan starts blowing some air around me, I have to fight hard to avoid my eyes closing. The battle becomes all the more tougher to win right after lunch time. This also probably explains why I find it so difficult to sleep on board an airplane … coz they do not open the windows and let the breeze blow.
That sleep is infectious is something I have experienced many times. Having always been one of the first few to ‘catch sleep’ in a classroom, there have been countless number of occasions when I have been held responsible for putting my batchmates to sleep.
However I realized recently that not everyone should sleep whenever he/she wants to (during the day). I was in a cab in Bangalore two days back stuck in traffic on Airport road and this time (for a change) I was wide awake. All life seemed to have come to a standstill around me. After what seemed like ages, vehicles suddenly started moving on both sides. It took some time and some persistent honking from vehicles behind for me to realize that my cab wasn’t moving. A look in the front showed a empty road and a sleeping cab driver !! With people mouthing pleasantries from all directions in all sorts of languages (the fact that people from all parts of the country work in Bangalore helps) , I finally managed to wake the driver up. Every little stop from then on had me check the rear view mirror to assess the status of the man in charge of the cab.
By the way, it took some time for experts to find out what I realized ages back that a power-nap during the day might be as beneficial as a whole night in bed and that taking a nap during the day is significantly linked to lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Eat paneer, eat ice creams, eat cakes, eat chole bhature, eat all kinds of oily stuff that taste so good but if you want to avoid heart disease, do not deny yourself the pleasure of the much needed nap during the day.