Tag Archives: afternoon

Catching some shut eye

Sleep means different things to different people. There is a lot more to the science of sleep than the oft-discussed night owl vs. morning bird.

When there is an infant in the house, the baby typically cries each time you put him or her down, so you learn to  maintain a rhythm that keeps baby happy, and that also enables you to sleep walk. And the next day, at work, you unconsciouly tap out that rhythm on the carpet.

But before the kids came along there existed a time when you could stay out late, watch movies, and still have a never-ending chat with your friends, and continue to feel rejuvenated; a time when you went straight to work the next day, looking fresh and ready to take on the day, without having slept a wink.

Even before this phase was the time in college, when the concept of sleep was alien. When you studied hard, and had lots of fun.

So, coming back to the kids. Your infant suddenly grew into a busy toddler, whom you chased under tables, and up and down staircases, whom you pushed on swings and caught at the bottom of slides. And then, when your toddler was all tucked into bed, and you looked forward to catching a few winks, the said toddler came crying with pain in his calf muscles or some such.

Then, suddenly, your teenagers and tweenagers had become independent creatures, and disappeared into their coccoons. And you said,  “I can finally catch some shut eye.”

                       Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda
But now, sleep plays truant. You sleep well some days and stay awake on some days. You ponder about life and wonder about what lies ahead. You look at the stars and marvel at the universe, and then worry that the alarm will ring in a few hours.

 And then again, there are those afternoons when you get two hours to yourself (the luxury…), and you make plans to read a book or watch a movie, and as you recline on the couch to enjoy the book or the movie, your eyes close involuntarily. 

Sleep….

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Afternoon couch nappers

It is late afternoon. And in the tropics it means that the sun is blazing away mercilessly. It is that time of the day when the trees hunch their shoulders waiting for a breeze to lift their spirits, when the plants curl their leaves to keep cool and the normally vocal birds drop a few decibels. One can only hear a caw here or a muted chirp there.

I am sitting on the couch trying to catch up on my reading. And slowly the intruder walks up my hands, my shoulders and my neck and gently presses down on my eyes. Oh! The pleasure of catching a few winks.

My body relaxes, as my eyes close involuntarily. The words blur in front of my eyes, dancing into each other. My head starts lolling to one side, my body starts keening to the right.The brain is alerted suddenly, as it knows that I am going to topple over. As if by magic, my body straightens itself, and again the eyes droop and the lolling starts.

Courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

The book starts its journey from my lap to the floor. The characters from the book inhabit my dreams, as I fall deeper into layers of sleep. 

The cuckoo from the cuckoo clock announces the hour. I am startled awake.  I realize that it has only been 10 minutes since I fell asleep. I stretch and smile. 

I feel so refreshed and good. 

“Must be genetic”, I say to myself. My family has many ‘afternoon couch nappers’.

I remember happy and lazy Sunday weekends when aunts, uncles and my dad would nap, while sitting on the couch and reading a book or the newspaper. My cousins and I would giggle as we saw them nod off, or watch their books slide down, or hear gentle snores escaping them.

The moment you shook them awake and asked them to lie down, they would become alert and lose all interest in napping..they could only steal a few winks while seated. I miss those fun days.

At least the ‘afternoon nap’ genes have been passed down.

Unexpected visitor

The afternoon heat is stifling. All the fans are churning out hot air, in varying degrees of aggravation. The aircon is  lifeless. The leaves are still, glistening in the sun. The few pigeons that are sitting on the ledges of the building seem worn out by the heat and seem too tired to move. They sit patiently, their wait punctuated only by the occasional flapping of their wings.

I decide to open the balcony door fully, not sure if it will help in any way. I look at the sky. A perfect, blue sky with cotton-puff clouds looks back at me.

I stand on the balcony, staring at everything and nothing.

I look at my plants. They need more water. And as I look at my hibiscus plant, I see a bud that is just about to bloom. I can see just a hint of red peeping out of green. Maybe another two days. I smile. My smile widens as I see that we have a surprise visitor.

A beautiful dragonfly is visiting our hibiscus plant – elegantly poised on the thin branch, perfectly balanced, the gossamer-like wings glinting in the afternoon sun. He is oblivious to my presence, and is busy taking a breather.

The faintest breeze causes the dragonfly’s wings to flutter just a tiny bit.

I stand completely awed. Such detailing and such perfection in this small creature. He is obviously there for a reason, known only to himself.  Nothing seems to disturb his tranquility. He sits there for a long time.

I go inside to get a drink, he has still not moved an inch. Looks like he is in deep meditation.

I move closer and take a few pictures.  My chores beckon, and I go indoors, forgetting the hot sun and only remembering those glistening wings.

When I come back after sometime, my visitor is gone. Sharing some pictures that I took…

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