MY LOVE STORY- BOLLYWOOD STYLE

Hi everyone,

Before all of you jump your guns,  it’s my romance with nothing but “Sleep”.  Yes its my sweetheart, in fact it is every adult’s sweetheart, who is busy toiling in everyday circus of life.

Sleep is not only my sweetheart, but my travel agent because it takes me to exotic locations on earth, deep into the ocean, high on clouds;  its my manager as it manages all my appointments with VIPs all over the world be it Obama (American President), Narendara Modi (Indian Prime Minister),  Amitabh Bachan (Indian actor) and the list goes on.  So who doesn’t want such a love interest.  And when I say I love “Sleep” I mean it, no ambiguity, and it’s not “I love you as my friend” 🙂

Now coming to my love story every afternoon and every night, in fact every minute I sit idle my darling says “main aayi aayi” ( I am coming), but I say, correction I have to say reluctantly “nahi nahi abhi nahi abhi karo intezaar” ( no-no not now, you have to wait).  In a fit of anger  my darling asks me why I say “bartan bula rahe hain, cooker seeti baja rahi hai” ( dishes in kitchen sink calling me, pressure cooker awaiting me).  Finally in the dead of night we embrace each other.  But just as no love story is complete without a villain we have a villain too in our fairy tale, and that’s “Alarm Clock”.  Every morning when I am lost in blissful arms of my love this villain shouts “subah ho gayi maamu”( wake up it’s morning).  And just like in a chase scene of a Bollywood drama I dodge this villain by pressing snooze button.  But alas I have to surrender to this cruel call of duty and get up singing “raat ka nasha abhi aankh we gaya nahi” ( night’s intoxication is still in eyes).

That’s why I request my love, let’s fly and go to LA LA land where there are no alarm clocks.  And I can sleep forever, err, not forever as neither I am a beauty as in fairy tale sleeping beauty waiting for my prince charming nor I am Urmila- mythological character again waiting.  I just want to have ammmmple sleep.

Isn’t it everyone’s love story?  Do let me know 🙂

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SLEEP WALKING COULD BE DANGEROUS

I woke up with a jolt and found myself sleeping in an awkward position. Suddenly, I remembered that I am alone in the house because both my room-mates were out of town. Just then my fear of being alone came back to me. Earlier that night, I had taken extreme care to make sure that all doors and windows are absolutely locked and my room door is also bolted. There had been a theft in the neighborhood and that was what worried me. Before going to sleep, I made sure that my room door is closed tightly so that even there is a theft – at least I would be safe. Now when I woke up at about 3:50 am, I saw that my room door was wide open. I remembered closing it – how did it open then? In that very minute, my heart rate must have increased to a dangerous level. I almost believed that there is somebody else in the house too or there already has been a theft.

Collecting all my courage I walked out of my room to check. Everything was as I had left with just one difference. The balcony door had only one bolt whereas I had put 2 bolts. How was that possible? There was nobody else but me – so how did 2 doors open up on their own. Nothing else seemed to be out of place. I tried to think hard and I got a hazy memory of talking on phone in the balcony – maybe that was a dream. I tried to meditate to remember what actually happened. And after a few minutes I realized what must have happened. I walked in my sleep – I took my phone went to the balcony, dialed my boyfriend’s (now husband) number, he obviously did not answer. I then bolted the balcony door just like I usually do and came back to bed to sleep, while get on to the bed – I woke up. Dialed list on my phone confirmed, I actually called my boyfriend at 3:48 am in my sleep and with hardly any memory of it.

I have been a sleep walker and talker since ever. And I have done more dangerous things than this in my sleep. Thankfully, there had been no accidents yet. I did quite a lot of research on sleep to get rid of this dangerous habit. I realized one thing was very clear that whenever I was stressed about something or slept with some worry on my head, I would almost always sleep talk or walk. In this case, it was the worry of the theft that caused it.

I tried various things and one among that was to keep a sleep journal. I learnt that mostly dreams combined with stress levels causes it. And dreams are like episodes of a TV series, if we could remember them we could have a look at our subconscious and would know exactly what stories are cooked there. In this sleep journal – I logged my thoughts just before going to bed. Also I kept the journal just next to me, so whenever I woke the first thing I would do was to log my exact thoughts. Whether it was midnight, early morning or late morning – I made sure that I always log my very first thoughts. After a couple of months of doing this, I could figure out a pattern in the relation between my dreams and my thoughts just before going to bed. It was a very interesting pattern and told a lot about my personality too.

I combined this with regular meditation just before sleeping and it helped a great deal. I also made sure that I never slept off while watching TV or reading a book. Writing the journal and meditation would be last things I do before going to bed – no matter what.

Now after 6 years of marriage – my husband has only witnessed some blabbering but thankfully no adventurous walks in my sleep.

THE INVADER CALLED NIGHTMARE

I woke up breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. I glanced at the clock. It was 2:30 in the night. Engulfed in darkness and brooding silence I came to realize that my heart beat was racing against time. I reached for the bottle of water and glass kept on the desk. As I gulped down my second glass I felt a chill down my spine. I turned but there was no one. I looked around the room, searching through the darkness, absurd shapes forming in my mind but there was not a trace of my oppressor. I went back to bed exhausted but wide awake. The rest of the night was spent tossing and turning until the chirping of the birds put me to sleep. It was one of those nights where I encounter uncountable horrifying images surrounding me. Other times the sickening memories of my troubled past come looking for me. Anxiety builds during some other nights where I spend the whole night anticipating about my future. All I want is peace. And sleep that brings forth peace.

I retire for the night. Today I was lucky to have my cousin come over to my place to accompany me throughout the night. I could not take chances after yesterday’s night. I tried to close my eyes but found myself looking for shapes in the darkness again. I turned by back towards my cousin who was sleeping as if she has sold horses. A moment later after calming myself I turned to face my cousin. To my utter horror I found someone sitting at the edge of my bed. I let out a groan and slipped under my blanket. In a slow motion I started to pull down my blanket revealing my eyes to see if the apparition was still there. What I had thought to be someone from underworld was just my cousin’s knee thrown high up in the air. I heaved a sigh of relief and nudged the figure beside me so she would change her position. She and her faulty sleeping habits.

As I positioned myself to sleep again I heard a thud from the next room. I gathered some courage and got out of bed. I stuck myself against the wall and peeked into the room to see what was there. With horrifying eyes I saw the swing in the room move all by itself. I was dumbfounded. I froze in my place. Then from nowhere a tiny soul appeared and brushed against my feet. It cried, “Meaaow” and yawned and stretched. It was none other than my cat Minty who was up to her regular mischief. Taking her in my arms I cradled her. She purred and slept off enjoying the warmth of my arms. The creature has no such nightmares as I do.

My experiences with these invaders of sleep are numerous. My imagination runs wild with nightmares. The fact that they are a part of our lives cannot be neglected. But sleep is a beautiful gift given to humans. I did embrace the beauty of it. And if you watch me sleeping you will think I haven’t had a nightmare ever. Such is the ‘oh-so-harmless-tender-sleep’.

I can recall lines from the tragic play ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare where he talks of the nature of sleep. Thus says Macbeth, “innocent sleep that straightens out the tangled silken threads of care, sleep that brings each day to a peaceful end and is a relief to a wearied labourer, sleep which is a healing medicine to the troubled mind and the most nourishing dish served by nature in the feast of life”.

IT’S TIME TO SLEEP !!

After a long flight of 23 hours, I fell asleep the moment, I rested my back on a comfortable bed at 8 am in the morning. In no time, my alarm clock sweetly woke me up, it was already 2 pm. I was feeling so sleepy, and was quite reluctant to get out of my bed but had to get ready and rush for a conference. 

On the second day, my Chief Technology Officer, walked up to me and handed over an entry pass. The pass read, “Get ready with your Texan boots ‘n’ hat to hit the dance floor tonight at 8.” Wow !! Really !? Am I dancing any less now, that I would also hit the dance floor ?? No way.. I am hardly able to keep myself awake, all the broken bones in my head were screaming, ” Get back to the hotel, and sleep darling! Experience the best nap of your life !!” Though I returned back to the hotel, I couldn’t sleep,  not even for a couple of hours in a day, all my duration of stay for 4 days.

Jet-lag causes extreme tiredness and fatigue when one travels across time zones. Some fun facts of my jet-lag 

  • I stopped counting on the mugs of coffee I was sipping. Any amount of stimulants didn’t help.
  • My watch, phone and laptop all are showing different time zones. I had no idea what I was following. I almost missed my return flight as I believed in my watch which was set to Indian Standard Time.. Lol !! 
  • I have mastered tossing and turning on the bed 
  • I was productive at odd times, running through my transcripts for next day and writing snippet for Candles, when I was supposed to be sleeping.
  • I was happily chatting with people who are on the other side of the globe. These people suggest that I should be sleeping, Huh !! May be I am aware of it, but just that I am not able to :p
  • All three days of conference – cans of coke, intermittent breaks, little walks , none of these helped me. 
  • I have yawned few tens of times a day,  on each and every day of the conference.

In no time 4 days passed by, it was time to return, my condition was no different after I landed back in India. I have been disrespecting the time I am getting to sleep for a few months now, and this short trip to the U.S was like an eye-opener.

We’re busy. We’re very busy. In order to fit in everything that we want to do, well, something’s got to be  given up. Sleep is the easiest thing to subtract a few hours from, to get extra time for work , research, read or play.

We would never say “I’m too busy to breathe”, ” I’m too busy to eat” or “I’d like to go to the bathroom today, but I’m just too darn busy.” Sleep is given the lowest possible priority in our lives.  

One reason that sleep is easy to ignore is that we don’t remember it. Our body needs to remind us. Its very important to have a pattern and a fixed time to sleep. Force yourself to the bed initially for a few days and your biological clock would remind you to sleep.

Tonight, when it’s getting close to bed time there will still be laundry to be done, or reports to be written, or a TV show to watch. But let them wait until tomorrow and look for the value of your own time spent sleeping.

SHHHH… DON’T SHOUT JUST SLEEP!!!

Sleep talk is always fun for the person witnessing it. I remember talking in my sleep when I was small and had fever. I used shout, “Devil…devil is there…” I don’t know why I was delirious about devil…?

One of my aunties was saying that her nephew started talking once in his sleep saying, “fire fire fire…” She got up from sleep really scared looking here and there to see where the fire was. Then she realized that her nephew was dreaming and woke him up.

I had heard many talking in their sleep but they were not clear. Once I heard my sister counting, ‘1…2…3…’ That was really funny. I had shared about this with my brothers & sisters and we had a great laugh.

After my marriage I discovered my wife also speaks in her sleep almost every day.

Once she said, “mein ud ke jaoon?” That was in Hindi which means, ‘Should I fly away?’ And I immediately answered her in Hindi ‘han jao’ (yes you can). She turned to the other side and slept without waking up. Next morning I told her about that and she started rolling on the floor laughing.

When she joined a primary school, she was really busy and very stressed out both physically and mentally. One day while sleeping, suddenly she said something for which I woke up and saw her hand raised and coming towards me. And there, she hit me on my shoulder saying, “where is your copy?” Then she immediately woke up and started rubbing and massaging my shoulder saying, “sorry sorry I hit you…” When she finally realized what she did, we both started laughing loudly in the middle of the night.

Another time I was having a disturbed sleep. I got up for nature call and then I was just loitering near the bed when she started talking deliriously, “sit down” and I was so shocked thinking why she is scolding me at the middle of the night. But she slept again and slowly I lied down on the bed too and slept.

Whenever the topic comes up, she keeps asking me again and again about what she spoke. She even shares about her father who calls his friends or colleagues by their names during sleep and shouts at them. Those are all fun stuff.

Before I conclude on our bedroom humor, I just want to give very little information about sleep talking on a serious note. Sleep talking can be loud, small talks or long speeches, once or can occur many times during sleep. The listener may or may not be able to understand what the person is saying. The other name for sleep talking is ‘somniloquy.’

The Wikipedia describes it like this: “Somniloquy or sleep-talking is a parasomnia that refers to talking aloud in one’s sleep.”

Sleep-talking usually occurs during transitory arousals from NREM sleep or it can also occur during REM sleep while dreaming a dream. The causes of Sleep talking are not completely known. Many times the cause of this sleep talking cannot be allied with any particular problem or disease. It is very commonly seen among many people. There is no such specific cure for sleep talking and it’s rarely counted as a disease. So let’s have fun talking in our sleeps but be careful, we may tell some secrets to our spouses that way…Lol. 😉

The above hilarious sleep talking stories bring us to the main subject matter of this week, ‘SLEEP,’ which we will be discussing throughout this week.  

The web definition of SLEEP is – “a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.”

Who doesn’t like to sleep? Raise your hands… Actually, nobody will raise their hands, because all of us love to sleep and sleep…

But do we know the benefits of Sleep???

After a good research on the matter of sleep I found out few benefits of good amount of sleep daily.

I thought of highlighting few important ones as under:

  1. Learning capacity increases as the people with good amount sleep learned well than the people who were awake for 30 hours without sleep.
  2. Accidents will be lesser for the drivers who have good sleeps every day. Drowsy drivers cause more accidents the study shows.
  3. You may be sick with type 2 diabetes, due to lack of enough sleep.
  4. Sleep helps to stay stress, depression free and helps to have a good mood all the time.
  5. Adolescents who sleep enough are less likely to abuse alcohol.
  6. There will be less headache when somebody gets sufficient amount of sleep daily.
  7. People with enough sleep daily are more productive at work and accomplishing assignments.
  8. We see well when we get sufficient amount of sleep daily.
  9. Sleep reduces different health hazards like cold, flu and even heart problems etc.
  10. Sufficient sleep a day helps the people to take good decisions.

God created mankind and asked them to rest on the seventh day of the week. The meaning and implication of that REST is probably different than just sleeping but sleeping is the major part of that word. Sleeping is of utmost importance in a human being’s daily routine. God created sleep to keep the mankind function well and take wiser decisions in life and live happy.

So friends! Allow your body to calm down and sleep well when you are supposed to sleep, away from all distractions.

Stay Blessed!!!

FAILING TO RECOGNIZE GRIEF CAN BE FATAL

The week started with an appropriate Mega article by Dr. Anupam Dey, but during the week we failed to touch the areas pertaining to the week’s topic: ‘Grief Management.’  It seems,  we missed to understand the intensity and after effects of grief, clearly, which is most important for all of us,  before expressing our heart out as a snippet.

Grief and grieving are the natural responses to a major loss, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, failure of a relationship, divorces etc. Loss can cause feelings of grief, sometimes when you least expect it. Grief is not just feeling sad, it can be excruciating and very painful. In some situations, normal grief can lead to a grief disorder, which can require professional help to overcome. But recognizing grief and being a support at the right moment is very essential. 

So many times we the people around a person, who’s a victim, need to be very sensitive towards that person and how he or she feels. I can give few examples where we may  become insensitive at times.

  • When we hear about somebody’s separation or divorce we immediately concentrate on what he or she would have done,  that they reached this stage, instead of how they feel right now.  
  • When we hear about somebody’s death due to liver problem we ask, “was he drinking?”
  • Sometimes when we meet a grieving person we try giving suggestions and advises which are useless at that point of time.
  • Sometimes we loose patience on the person who keep crying relentlessly. 
  • Sometimes we try to avoid the talk about grief or loss when the person concerned tries to talk or discuss about it.

The examples of our insensitivity are unending…

Few important tips for all, if we really want to help a person in Grief:

 – Stop judging the situation and the person in grief but acknowledge his/her loss right away….

– If possible show your tenderness and compassion by hugging softly, holding hands or touching tenderly…

– Be patient and listen without thinking of your precious time when a person in grief keeps on talking, crying and feeling restless…

– Don’t utter a word of suggestion or advise…

– Do everything that helps the victim, like preparing meal, washing and cleaning or buying few things for the person in grief…. Because grief paralyses and make life slow and stand still.  

Lastly, in case we fail to recognize the extent of pain in a person or realize that we are not fit for the work then better let’s not get involve in helping the grieving. Because if we attempt and fail to be sensitive then we might cause more harm.Seek professional help. We all need to remember that,  A Desiring & Compassionate Heart and  A Listening Ear can really be helpful for a person battling grief.

Stay Blessed!!!

PEACE IN THE FACE OF GRIEF

When I received the news of the death of a colleague’s relative, I had a sinking feeling. He was all of 37 years and left behind a young widow and a daughter of two. He had been battling with tumors in the brain for the last 4-5 years. He had firm faith in God and was a fighter. Everyone was praying for his recovery – for a miracle. But, God in His divine wisdom chose to do what is best.

There was not a dry eye at his funeral service. But, there was peace too! Peace – because there was hopehope that death is not the end of life, that death does not separate us from our loved ones forever and that we would meet our loved ones again after our journey here on earth is over.

Grief is a normal response to the death of a loved one. I’m sure all of us have experienced the death of loved ones in some form or the other. Most of us would not like to recall that phase of grieving. But what if you had the hope of meeting the dead person again? What if you had the assurance that the person has gone to a much better place? Would you still beat your chests and weep as if all is lost?

“What no eye has seen,

What no ear has heard,

And what no human mind has conceived” –

the things God has prepared

for those who love him.

Imagine going to reside in a place of unfathomable beauty, peace and joy! No sorrow, no pain, no hunger and no strife; only eternal bliss and continual joy. Is this not the state of affairs we all so badly want in this world? So, then if we have the assurance of a loved one going to such a place, should we not rejoice instead? The idea may sound a bit weird to many. But, this is the level to which we all need to rise.

We all will lose our dear ones to death and our dear ones will lose us to death. No matter how many health insurance policies we avail – none can sustain us for eternity. No matter how many financial security measures we put in place for our loved ones, they will still miss our presence. But, the hope and assurance of meeting again and spending eternity with each other gives peace and solace to the aching heart. And this is not unexplainable peace – it is peace explained! For those who love God and have put their trust in Him and in His eternal plans can only experience this peace in the midst of heart-wrenching grief.