I have a hateful 6:00 am start to the day. My phone has been snoozing since 5:45 in annoying 4-minute intervals. Finally, at 6:10 am, I crawl out of my warm comforter and dust the dreams from my sleep-drenched eyes. The world looks positively vile. Half-blind, I stumble into the kitchen and switch on the kettle. It’s only after I hold that warm mug of tea for ten minutes in quiet, glaring silence I can acknowledge my partner, sitting chirpily on the sofa, waiting for me to grunt, ‘Good morning.’
He is a morning skylark and I am a night owl. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have built a nest together. However, this is where we are and we have learnt to respect each other’s bedtimes. In the morning he gives me the space to get accustomed to a bright, shining world and at night, I have learnt to turn the pages of my book quietly, while he wanders in dreamland making small ferret-like noises.
I have always been a night person. My mother, when I was young, tried everything to put me to sleep at a decent hour - turmeric-and-honey in warm milk, chamomile tea, camphor-and-coconut-oil head massage, lemon balms, cherry juice, meditative music, rubbing the soles of my feet with warm sesame oil. Nothing worked. Perhaps, the only thing she didn’t do was hit me on the head with a frying pan to knock me senseless. Finally, frustrated by my obstinate unclosing eyes, she gave up the good fight and with hereditary sarcasm advised me to take up a career as a night watchman.
My cousin who wakes up at 4:00 am (I have no idea why) says I should simply practise getting up early, and in 68 days, it will become a habit. She assures me I will only suffer a little bit initially, post which I will give the rooster competition. I wryly remind her that for ten years I woke up at 6:00 am to go to school. The minute I joined college, without a second thought, my body developed instant amnesia and completely forgot about its early morning training.
My partner, even if he parties till 5:00 am, will be up by 7:00 am. Then, he will wander around the house like an exhausted ghoul, his eyes looking haunted and strained. He claims he can’t sleep beyond that. Me? I wake up at a respectable 12 o clock, after a healthy 7 hours of sleep, re-energised to go for a brunch.
Also read: It's a matter of choice
I wonder why waking up early is considered a superior thing to do? Why is staying beyond the midnight hour frowned upon? For some of us, the morning is the best time to sleep. There is something deliciously wonderful about snoozing past the alarm clock, submerged in that half-slumber of cosy happiness where no reality can cast a shadow. Equally, there is something magical about staying awake at 2:00 am, absolutely alone, doing random things, while the entire world snores in a blanket of black. Perhaps, to understand these joys, you have to be a creature of the dark, a shunner of sunrise. You have to be a night person.
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, 7:00 PM IST