It is 1o’clock at night. And Piyali is tired of turning and tossing around in bed. She has read the newspapers in the adjoining room as well. She is trying to maintain a proper sleep hygiene. And one of the most important things in that is to get away from the sleeping den when wide awake and try to condition your mind by indulging in mindless reading.
Body and mind conditioning. It has become a big part of her life now. She has read all that she could Google. Being a doctor herself she wouldn’t have hesitated to visit a psychiatrist or a sleep clinic, by now, but there are immediate time constraints.
Piyali is a busy doctor by the day and a dedicated mother of two at night. Her children are small and need her most of the time. Her work keeps her excited by the day and the children keep her ecstatic through the evening. But it is the nights she dread.
Piyali would wrap up her day and keep her phone away, beginning at least 2 hours before her bed time. She would brush, comb and do the same for her 4 year old daughter, Navya and 2 year old son, Nipun. She would narrate stories to the elder one and the little one would suck on her nipples and sometimes would also need a lullaby or so. Both of them took some time to put their heightened minds to rest. But Piyali would always enjoy that. It was her greatest satisfaction to put them to sleep in her own arms.
And then her nightmares would begin. Horrors of sleeplessness. Horrors of not being able to sneak away to a land of dreams. Horrors of being stuck in the dismal reality.
She cannot remember the last time she slept soundly. Maybe it was before Navya was born. Or maybe it was before her marriage. Her wonderful love marriage to Neeraj 6 years ago. She wonders. She loves Neeraj and he loves her back. She comforts herself but never has the heart to wake up her lovingly sleeping innocent husband.
She has not slept for a really long time now. But here she is. She is at her maternal home today. It is her younger sister’s marriage. The whole house is brimming with light and energy. And she is feeling just the opposite
Today is different. It her birthday. She is turning 35. Not a single message. Even though Neeraj, had wished her before hitting the bed and her friends would wish her tomorrow. She is quite certain of that, when they read their Facebook reminders.
Her own mother had wished her and had reminded her to not be extra lazy tomorrow. ‘Remember you have to bring the Pandit ji for morning Puja sharp at 8 AM tomorrow.’ This means that she would be leaving the house at 7.00 AM and will have to rise at 6.00 AM to prepare for the same. It is 2.30 AM now. She still has a chance of a good three and half hours of golden sleep if she is able to doze off now.
It is her sister’s wedding and she is here to work. Weddings are all about work anyways. Who has the time to enjoy. Her sister is an immaculate planner, a gifted person and quite successful. She is extremely kind hearted and is lucky to marry the Man of her dreams. Also, she has very considerate in laws.
In laws remind her of how it all started with her own in laws. Very early into her marriage she had sensed their cold distance, their indifferent attitude and their not so subtle thirst for power, money and dominance. Even when Navya was born and she had suffered serious post partum hemorrhage her mil had ridiculed her health. Apparently her back pain was more severe and needed grave attention. The doctor at the hospital had mentioned somatic hysteria to her husband but it was gently overlooked.
Her mother in law is a fitness freak and enthusiast. She takes all the important dietary herbs, supplements and never misses to report any minor condition. For her unlikely stomach upsets, she does a routine Usg. She remembers the name of all the herbal medicines Patanjali by heart.
Piyali loves Navya and Nipun. She loves to play with them. She considers herself very fortunate that she has lots of trusted hands bringing them up. There were Dada Dadi Nana Nani Masi Bua. But now she owed them way too much than she could give. She is tired of listening to never ending taunts of parents. She is tired of being a doormat.
Piyali was a nice keen passionate person till late. She was kind, resourceful and clever. Still on, her skills as a people’s person and team worker were being highly regarded in her professional field, apart from her outstanding work.
But in this personal arena, she had lost her battles early on. When young in marriage, she had rebelled against patriarchal ideas and had never believed in dowry. She had not shied away from presents and gifts to her in laws. But dowry was defunct, for her, at least. Presents, not very extragavant but decent and personal were her style.
But her style had eroded away the perfect dreams of her in laws for their perfect over achieving doctor son. Their dreams of having a nice fair girl, delivering on all the fronts. Bringing customary dowry, doing all the household chores and faithfully abiding by her every duty.
Piyali knows, that she is not a great champion performer of household chores. At the most, she is decent but still lacking. They have never complained openly or treated her with harsh words or physical injustice. But their silent brooding over the loss of capable rishtas for their golden son has never ceased.
Piyali does not know how much longer she can endure. She has entered one more year of her life with never ending anxieties. She wonders if it is easier to end it all rather than drive this obese useless junk body of hers through more years. More years of no sleep, more years of no rest.
She looks longingly at the balcony of her 7 storey building. But the thought of Navya and Nipun, her lifelines, her responsibilities braces her to brave through her treacherous nights again.
She loves Neeraj too and wants the same sort of compassion for his parents. Neeraj has been a very wonderful kind son to her own parents, who love him a lot. But she is unable to reciprocate this to his parents. Their indifferent solemn sullen behavior remains so, even if she tries a hundred different ways to navigate. She has given up.
She looks at the clock once again through the magnificent dim light that has now entered the room. The Sun has risen, with yet another joyous day. It is 5.30 AM now. She heads for the bed to lie down still for atleast thirty to forty minutes before her day begins again.
P.S. Insomnia is real and extremely troublesome; especially for those with any physical, social or emotional distress. With the advent of enormous social media, the problem has only escalated.
Cry out loud, seek help. The lack of sleep can wreck a chemical havoc in the body’s neurotransmitters. Ignoring it has catastrophic consequences. Let us all pledge to fight away the demons of darkness and help all.
For the night is dark and full of terrors. 😉😉 from Game of Thrones.