Generation Terrorists

Quotes [new quotes]
Ode to Morpheus
Ambreen Ishrat
Nov 2002

Another night and Morpheus has yet again to deliver my share of sleep and so I lie on my pillow, gazing at the ceiling fan, while the rest of the world is in deep slumber.

How I wish to have hypnotized myself to sleep as counting sheep never helps, nor does hot milk. The sandman's sand has also turned colourless. Another night it is when sleep deludes my weary eyes and my overactive brain refuses to stop dwindling on the scenes of the day that has just ended and another one has started silently.

Sleep - the boundary between the two days - is missing. What's the big deal, you must think, for every now and then, a sleepless night is quite a normal thing for everyone. But for some, this is an affliction that happens more often than usual. And what makes me hysterical is the feeling that on one such desperate night, you also tend to discover that you have run out of your emergency supply of sleeping pills. So much for my emergency-coping capabilities!

The value of sleep can only be known to an insomniac and the bliss that it brings to one who is weary in soul as well. For me, sleep is what always restores my sanity, which can wear off the effects of gruesome schedules, worries and complications. It is a happy escape into the land of Oz, where I can slip into for a few hours and then come back to the familiar worrisome and often irksome daily routine. The problems remain the same, but my ability to cope with them certainly increases thrice-fold. Pimples on the tired skin reduce, the sting of heartaches lessen and deadlines become graspable. Like a magical transformation, overnight my body gets charged with energy. The brain starts brimming with activated and regenerated neurons and I rise as a new person who takes upon the irksome hurdles of yesterday with horns and does away with them.

So silent seems the world around me that I can hear the beating of my own heart. My weary eyes start to roam and scan the length and breadth of the four corners of the room. This is my room, my heaven, my prison and my hell. The walls wear my solitude like trophies and silence curls on my bed and encapsulates me like a shroud, where I lie with my hands resting neatly by my sides. I lift the palm of my hand and feel my own breath at the back of my hand - to seek reassurance that I am still alive and this isn't the silence of the grave. And if that is not enough, my mind goes on speculating on and on as to why certain things happened. At night, my mind turns itself into a backyard cluttered with half-conceived and half-aborted ideas and plans that I keep on stumbling upon. All the wonderful ideas and resolutions which flit like bats in the nook and crannies of my mind fade away on seeing the light of day. The mind is also the graveyard of memories and remembrances, which are e! asily resurrected in the dead of the twelfth hour. As morbidity tries to seize me, I kick my sheet off and get up, wishing no more to wait upon sleep or revel in thoughts of the past, analysis of the day just gone by and pipe dreams of tomorrow.

The chill gets the better of me and for one moment, the warmth of my bed tempts me to snuggle back again. But the body refuses to lay in monotony anymore. My mind swiftly scans the possibility of activities that can help me to kill time or to induce sufficient tiredness, forcing me to lull me back to the peaceful sojourn of sleep. A book to read maybe, a long overdue letter that needs to be answered or I can hook on the net and explore the web. All options are considered and struck off one after another, as my tired body protests. Hence, I decide to just lie low and breathe the surrounding silence in and out.

I enviously think of those who are sound asleep in their beds. I even envy those who stay up late by choice and still manage to get along with their day-to-day routine just fine. The marvellous generation of 'night people' - a different genre. What do I have in common with them? It is during such strange moments of serenity and uncanny silence that the likes of Keats heard the voice of the nightingale and so transported himself to the realm of beyond, and Matthew Arnold contemplated upon the crisis of faith for the mortals. As for me, I stand as miserable and confused as ever, feeling stupid that I have exhausted my supply of sleeping pills. I am not up because I choose to. I don't have the luxury of getting up late. With bleary eyes and a puffy and exhausted face, I must brave the world. I must get up at the crack of dawn and return late into the afternoon. Feeling panicky, I start to pace around the room. I ransack my medicine box feverishly like an addict, for a pill that might have escaped my groping fingers and must be hiding in some corner. But none are to be found. I sigh, as I can do nothing else.

I switch on the side lamp and see the room come alive in a soft hue of light and shadows, adding a delightfully mysterious and cozy look to the walls and ceiling. So often I am struck with the feeling that at nighttime, all non-living things tend to exude a life of their own. The fridge hums and drones silently, the walls whisper and breathe, as the electricity running behind them slithers, twists and runs with defying swiftness. I peer out of the window on to the street which looks deserted and dark. The carcass of a dying and spent moon is briefly revealed by the passing clouds and then its darkness again. Crickets creak, a dog lets out a churlish howl and the moths feverishly encircle the solitary lamp posts on the street, until the night watchman whistles and everything turns still, but only for a moment and then the rhythm resumes. A car passes by on the street, a midnight rider, whose stereo blare heinously and ruins the perfect harmony of the night and silence. As he ! passes away, the dog howls loudly in protest.

The breeze at night feels so very gentle. A few dry leaves and the ubiquitous plastic bags are sucked up by the breeze and they start to dance in whirlwind motion. The breeze turns into a wind, which twirls the leaves round and round on the deserted road, around the lamp posts and finally spits them out in a corner and then carries on its ballet alone. I prick my ears. A low rustle! Then a moan. It is the wind again. And the wind does cry. I switch on to FM radio, hungry and desperate for a human voice. The radio hums and creaks as I set the bandwidth and finally sweet sounds of rhythm and blues start to emit, filling in my jarred senses with companionship and peace. So I listen on and on, silently humming and rocking myself to sooth the dull pain in my body. I take up a long-neglected poetry book. Hours pass till I finally hear a slight chirp and then another one. The FM station has gone silent ages ago and static emitting from the radio drones on.

I keep my book away. I have survived a night without my sleeping pills and the delicate sensation of yesterday sleeps on my eyelids. I blink softly, hoping not to loose any of it. The aurora is wakening; the reign of darkness lies in recession. It's dawn and I am still looking through yesterday's eyes, though weary but with the hope that I am stepping into a new day and whatever it might bring. I will tackle it and I will tackle it well because I am a survivor, if not anything else.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Alexander Pope (Ode on Solitude)