How I became a Creature of the Night


It must be about four o’clock, thought Moist. Four o’clock! I hate it when there are two four o’clocks in the same day.*


I’m not sure if it’s just me (and PTerry, apparently), but 4 am has always been a sort of borderline time for me. I suspect my grandfather had something to do with it – when I was young he would wake up at 4 for his morning walk to the temple. And so it had entered my consciousness as a time when people (not myself, of course, but reasonably normal people nonetheless) could wake up. Plus it was close to 5, which wasn’t that unearthly an hour to rise, and 5 was close to 6, which was practically sensible. On the other hand, though, I was surrounded by people who usually slept late. They had been known to finally get to bed at 4, though none of them did it regularly.

As I grew up, I did sometimes go to bed at 4. If I was reading an interesting book, for example, or had been at a party. It was still rare. There was something rather sinful about staying up till 4, for some reason.

But during the exams early in 2007 my lifestyle changed drastically. I would, as a matter of routine, sleep or laze the day away, panic after midnight, and frantically flip through notes till about 3. I would then require something to soothe my brain before sleep was possible.

So I began to watch Postman Pat. On Pogo, dubbed into Hindi, at 3:30 am every weekday. It was, really, the only watchable thing on TV.

Which was all very well. Exams (and Postman Pat dubbed into Hindi) are extenuating circumstances, I suppose. Unfortunately, once they were done with I found it impossible to re-acquire civilized sleeping habits. I became officially nocturnal. Relieved of all responsibility, I entered a life of decadent disregard for my native timezone. I would sleep till noon and read till dawn. At the end of May, Supriya was a horrified observer of my sleeping habits. In November, the PL would shamelessly exploit them by asking me if I’d mind staying up till 5:30 and waking him up so he’d have time to go to the gym. It was a downward spiral. I still cannot break free. I’ve even considered moving to a country in a more conveniently situated timezone. It seemed the only solution. England, now, England would work. 5 ½ hours behind us, yes?

But I am not moving to England just yet. I am, however, moving to Calcutta this saturday afternoon. I suspect I will miss Delhi.

Anyway. A very happy new year to everyone who reads this, though I’m pretty sure the Gregorian calendar is Against Our Culture.

*From my shiny new autographed copy (thanks, Shreyas!) of Terry Pratchett’s Making Money

13 Comments to “How I became a Creature of the Night”

  1. how about those who do not sleep? It is 6.30 and I haven’t slept a wink, though I will blame RP Singh for this. :)

    PS. I am not an insomniac.

  2. After much debate, I’ve decided that the best part of school being over (there are a lot of good things to choose from) is that I can stay up till 3 every night and not have to worry about waking up at 6 the next morning. It’s so much fun to stay up… reading, not studying, watching TV shows on the computer, spending all the money I had put in my cell on one phone call. :)

    But, unfortunately, I am regularly woken up by 9, since “Sumedha, your boards haven’t finished yet.”

    I think you write amazingly well, by the way.

  3. madhat – I suspect you have been consuming too much coffee. Which is also against our culture.

    sumedha – That’s how it sucks you in. You think staying up late is fun, and it’s all new and exciting, and you go to college, and three years later there you are, unable to sleep and waking your boyfriend at 5:30. Fight it now, while you still can!
    (Also, thanks very much!)

  4. nah! I blame my inability to get out of the many pies I stick my fingers in.

  5. Oh Well damn! I suffer from similar disorder.and i blamed it on the magnetic field at this completely indifferent time zone I’m in.

    -Rajiv

  6. In my case, it’s always my friends waking me up at 4 in the morning because they can’t sleep, and then after fully awakening me, hanging up on me when I tell them that I have an exam the next day. :)

  7. i don’t think i know what it’s like to read in daylight anymore. i finished the suitable boy over five strange 9pm to 6am reading sessions.

    i thought working would cure me- but it simply meant i went to work sleep deprived.

    to add to it all- my boyfriend lives in a time zone 16hours behind.

    i don’t think i have a grasp on anything anymore!

  8. [unrelated]I like the new look. Kinda seductive. The grey doesn’t make reading all that easy, though. Something a bit lighter might work better.[/unrelated]

    Being a night person has its perks. You don’t have to face days, and the people that tend to come with – irritably perky people (usually with beige haircuts) who spout stuff like “early to rise …” and so on.

    Going to sleep while the sun’s coming up is a bit of a downer, though. It gives an odd feeling of being out-of-pace. But there is an answer. Thick curtains.

  9. Oh well, Calcutta can be considered about an hour ahead of Delhi, at least in sunrise-sunset times. So probably that will push you on the way to recovery, and back to more “civilised” schedule ;)

  10. Look Look!! :-&

    ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_sleep_phase_syndrome’

    -Rajiv

  11. madhat – there’s a bad teen movie joke somewere in that comment.

    rajiv – *grin* Always nice to meet a fellow sufferer.

    sumedha – I have been known to do this to one of my friends. On behalf of all irritating friends everywhere, I apologise.

    Anon – Reading at night is strngely effective, yes?

    Adi – (thanks!) My dad is one such perky person. He bounces cheerfully into my room at 8 am, all exercised and showered and dressed and fed, and warns me not to waste the “morning hours”.

    Amey – I’ve been in Calcutta three days now and have slept at civilised hours on two of them. Due to exhaustion.

  12. and i thot its only me unusual lmao

    it aint really fun but its fucked up.
    now i’m used to it but it keep on going worse.

    2 to 3 to 4 and its 5 in the morning on….

    need to get a life I guess

  13. Ah, welcome to my world. Now I have to wake up early because of this job.

    Don’t things just suck sometimes?

    I recommend seeing the sunrise, then going to bed.

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