A friend of mine is a businessman. Coming from the middle-class milieu that I do, such creatures are strange, a rarity in the world of us salaried, cheque-at-the-end-of-every-month smug minions. He had come home one Saturday, looking a bit troubled. Usually, he is the soul of contentment. Over some rasam, rice and fish fry he confessed that he has a loan of a crore. I choked on the fish bone and would have almost died, if it wasn’t for a hefty pat to the back, my friend delivered with a karate master’s accuracy.
It boggled my small mind that a human I knew could have a) borrowed this amount b) and then lost it without having any way of paying back. I know friends who have borrowed similar or larger amounts for home loans but then if you can’t pay it back, the bank just takes your home. Here, my friend was staring at bankruptcy, possible imprisonment and daily ducking of calls from creditors.
The next week I met him again. The situation hadn’t changed. I looked at his face carefully. He looked like a freshly bloomed rose. No dark circles, stress lines, nothing, while I looked like a wreck. After he had told me his problems, I couldn’t sleep a wink. I even tried to figure out from whom I could borrow to raise funds for him. I asked whether he was sleeping alright. He flashed his usual smile, ‘Like a baby. Nothing disturbs my sleep but you don’t seem well. Are you okay?’ I choked on my growl and slopped some more mutton curry on his plate.
I couldn’t help being a bit envious. I sometimes toss and turn when I have forgotten a minor comma in a paragraph that has to go to print and here he was, with what seemed like a gargantuan problem, still getting his 8 hours of beauty sleep.
I have another friend exactly like that. No matter what is happening with the world, her life, the lives of her loved ones, she will trot to bed and switch off with all the peace of newborn lamb. She says the minute her head rests on the pillow, she enters dreamland. I am envious, I take an hour to fall asleep, sometimes I lie awake till the sun comes up and then catch a hasty two hours of repose before I crawl to work.
I wonder how these people sleep through disasters. Is it DNA, some wiring in their brain? I wish there was a way we could all have access to it. Imagine going through the worst of times and still getting the daily rest without a sleeping pill.
After four months of regular sleep, my friend’s problems cleared up. He had found an ‘investor’. I looked at him and realised, no matter what happens in his life, he will be okay. For every night, sleep, nature’s sweet therapist, will nurse him back, refreshed and strong, ready to face another day of problem-solving.
Still Figuring It Out’ a funny, sad, questioning take on adulthood will appear every Saturday on Asianet Newsable. Arathi Menon is the author of Leaving Home With Half a Fridge, a memoir published by Pan Macmillan. She tweets at here. The views expressed here are her own.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:56 PM IST