Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Insomnia Diary

The facts: Total Sleep time = 20 hrs (just this week)

The lies: I am, OK!!!

I have been caught in this meritocracy of idiocy since the past one week. Days have been fleeting by me & the nights more so. I remember reading in Fight Club, “when you have insomnia, everything feels like a copy of a copy of a copy”. It’s true. The words coming out of the keyboard seem like they have been out on this screen from weeks, a moments attention & they become real again, freshly typed, cursor blinking.

The exams lurk in the background. 6 papers through & I have still not slept 6 hours in a day. I don’t know how this affects me, but it sure does numb the pain of the exam. I remember getting bored once & I had indulged myself into a hobby after that boredom which I am very proud of. But I don’t know what this momentary boredom holds for me. The test paper has become a symbol, a symbol that says in the same tone & voice as Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker, “I am your boredom”. Its odd that there is no background thought in my mind the moment I see the supervisor walking towards me, with the stack of papers in her hands. She seems to have this calm demeanour indicating a good night’s sleep & a happy married life, kids in the school, mother-in-law on her spiritual journey out for a month. Nobody notices the test paper grinning. Its grinning. That smirk on its face says volumes about what it holds. But its not true. When I hold the paper in my hand, still warm from the copying machine or the supervisor or both, it reeks of sarcasm. “This is bloody stupid” I think to myself in an English accent before regaining all my calm & just before I automatically start scanning through it.

Its easy, its not challenging, its a joke. Usually I love jokes, but this isn’t funny. Everyday after the paper, I, out of habit or chance bump into a professor & they ask me customarily, “So, how was the paper”. I think I said, “it was fine”, but I know I said, “its boring”. It turns out to be the same professor whose paper I just answered. He sighs, gives me an honest smile & says, “You, are wise. Now go get ready for tomorrow.”

I have reason to believe that the human body is made to sleep, not out of necessity but out of tradition, so as to say that, “Look, you need to sleep, nobody can tolerate you for 24 whole hours every day, not even you.” Everything happens in slow motion. Even studying seems like there are 1000 pages to read, but with my personal speed of time, it shall be done in no time. No Time, there is no time, I read just till the fine shade of dawn fills the sky, sleep till it’s totally dawn. But when I look out the window, it feels like a midnight in Icelandic summer.

All conversations seem automatic. As if, I have stepped out of my body & my body is standing in front of me, in autopilot having an animated conversation. Every text message, every chat on the phone, feels like its not me. But somehow it is. I go back to reading, the same way the cave man went in his cave. I paint the notepad with my pen; write sweet nothings from the passages I am reading, which would be the outline of my answers the next day, maybe. But its all so unreal.

The small oasis of sleep a few conversations here & there, a (super) very few hours each day, leads me to dreams which have no end. They all start with me sleeping on the bed & waking up, everything else seems blurred. Then the proverbial alarm clock begins to ring. I tell myself in my sleep, “Now that sounds familiar”. I yell at it once to turn itself off. When it doesn’t I pick my body up & lunge towards it. It begins to frantically ring at a faster pace, as if scared by my predatory moves, with a sharp tone which would wake a whale up 100,000 miles away. I stare at it to find that, it was right all along. I had to wake up. I have my paper today, I don’t want to waste my night’s preparation on my sleep. I walk towards the kitchen, watch my mom make breakfast & I put my hand forward in the general direction where I see my tea waiting for me.

The thought never enters my mind, that this is all a dream. I suddenly wake up, still lying in my bed, with my covers on me & staring at the table which keeps my alarm. I get out of bed, fold the covers automatically & take short but firm steps towards the table. There’s still 30 mins left. I ask myself, will I wake up after 30 mins if the alarm goes off? I smile, stop the alarm & go to the kitchen to get my cup of tea.

Today I feel fresh, why, because of the two day vacation for the next three papers. It delights me that I might get a chance to get my well deserved sleep. I feel for those who had to converse with me for this week, for I don’t know what was the intent of the words I had spoken to them. I looked at the mirror this morning before splashing my face with water. I had involuntarily turned on the tap & my hand was just barely licking the stream of running water. It was oddly cold & it felt like all the conversations I was trying to have. The speed of the stream overwhelmed me for a second & then I filled my palms with fresh water. The water is for waking me up from the aftersleep but my eyes still said with a faint hint of smile, “please don’t, wake me up”.

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