TODAY -

From the diary of an insomniac

Samarjit Kambam *



Wanna know how it feels like to be an insomniac? If you are pretty serious, you are in. Welcome to the jamboree.

Two hours of sleep a day is all I am enjoying at an average. If extremely lucky, the duration of my slumber may surge to three hours. The result for this pitiable predicament engulfing me could be my sedentary life style, bad eating habits and a lifetime of worse habits. Well, one reaps as he sows and now I am reaping the brunt of what I sowed during my bygone years.

To me, going on a fast is many times better than being deprived of sleep. Researchers have revealed that lack of sleep plays a pivotal role in creating numerous health hazards. I used to buy medicines that could bring me to sleep.

The irony is that as long as I take them, I would sleep pretty well but when I stop using them, my eyes would remain open the whole night, turning sides on the bed waiting for sleep to take me away. There were many occasions where I didn't get a wink of sleep at all. By the time I fall asleep, some early risers would be already in a 'rise and shine' state of affairs. Many a times, I have witnessed the first moment of sunrise before I get any sleep.

I have tried many things for sleep to get inside me. I tried gulping warm milk before going to bed, making my room a gadget free zone, abstaining from nicotine and caffeine in any form before bedtime, taking a warm bath prior to going to bed and taking deep breaths. But, so far, nothing has yielded any fruitful result. Light headedness has become my closest aide as though my mind is filled with vacuum.

Here, I still lay awake, eyes wide open, like a nocturnal animal. To add salt to the wound, loss of memory, lack of concentration and lack of enthusiasm follow me like a phantom wherever I go and whenever I look at the mirror in the morning I look like a worn out extra terrestrial simian freak lost in the desert.

Many use to say that the shortcut to sleep is to "Keep the mind blank". But how do someone keep his mind blank and by how much longer? Well, I tried keeping my mind blank but it would last only for a few seconds. Its easier said than done. All of a sudden, a thought would creep inside my blank mind from behind. After that another thought would jump down from above. Then from the right, from the left, from the frontů.there's no end to it. After the end of a thought another thought would automatically follow it.

Like a monkey in a huge jungle hurling itself from one branch to another till the end of the jungle my thoughts would carry on. Then one thought would leap inside before the end of a thought. Like a dream inside a dream I would experience a thought within a thought, a thought within thoughts and thoughts within thoughts. Like a bucket overflowing with water my mind would be brimming with thoughts.

Out of those multiple thoughts from all those lateral and co-lateral entries there'd be positive and negative thoughts and when the positive and negative thoughts collide, the sound of thunder and lightning inside my mind becomes quite palpable.

Someone would say, "Change the colour of your bed sheet and try". Course, I have changed my bedsheet from purple to deep purple, from white to brown, from orange to cream, from violet to sky blue and so forth but all those different colours and hues failed to click. I have experimented with pillows also. I have tried from a wafer thin to a half foot thick pillow, from a half-foot to a foot, from hard to soft, from soft to not so smooth, but all those failed to produce the desired result.

I had consulted a doctor. He studied my history thoroughly. When he and his sidekicks looked at me with unwavering and piercing eyes, like a mugger near an interrogation table, I guzzled out whatever was inside me, from my private life to my public life leaving myself hollow and dry, feeling like a skunk. After listening with unwavering attention he prescribed me some medicines and advised me to take out a thyroid function test. But the result of the test showed that my thyroid has been functioning normally and whatever hormones, you name it, have been found to be secreted in its desired quantity.

Taking the medicines gave me perfect sleep but a night without those meant turning on the sleeplessness switch. So I threw the medicines away for I don't want to become the socket of an 'On' and 'Off' switch. I would desperately wait for sleep on the bed but sleep would never come. The tedious wait, instead of bringing sleep usually awards me with an aching back urging me to toss and turn towards the right, towards the left and vice versa.

Then, outstretching one hand I would lie with my face on the pillow as if I am taking part in a swimming competition. After that I would turn my body into an assorted collection of different athletic poses. As if those were not enough I would assume the pose of superman in his flying pose and spiderman in his somersaulting pose. Maybe my brain's wiring system has been-deep fried by all those lightnings inside my mind. Maybe the nerves of my brain must be hard-pressed to an intolerable extent or my brain's neuro transmitters must have lost their destined paths towards the gateway to sleep and travelling haphazardly as per their whims. To sum up, the nerves of my brain are in nerves.

Thus, 'ifs' and only 'ifs' would hover in my mind further leaving 'ifs' as its residue. If there is a Virgin Spring that could wash away my insomnia, I would go to the end of the world to jump into it and relish the water for a thousand times. If anybody could tell my where the River of the Lord is, then I am ready to swim in it for the umpteen times. If an equipment that puts someone to sleep instantly is available in the market, then of all people I would be the first one to buy it. If there is a fountain which could wash away my insomnia, I would sit under the water of the fountain and let it wash me till the end of time.

One night as I was struggling for sleep, I could distinctively hear the sounds of "Cock-a-doodle-do" from the mini poultry farms of my neighbours. A cock doodled pretty hard with a high shrill, another with a gruff and husky sound and the next with great monotony as though it has lost faith in itself. When I looked at the clock it was 2 a.m. After a gap of half an hour or so they would take turns like security guards relaying the whistle till the reverberation covers the entire compound by doodling-doo all over again and it went on like that till sunrise.

As nights pass by, the doodling sounds became quite familiar in my ears and now I can even tell the names of their owners as they doodle do till the end of the night. Bizarre benefit for sleepless nights ?

Now, it has become an intrinsic part of my mindset that the more I can't get to sleep, the more I envy persons who straightaway go to sleep during the middle of a conversation, those who drool in a slumber whenever they sit in front of a TV, those who pop away to sleep before their heads hit the pillow. Well, people talk of sharing happiness and sorrow but sleep can't be. That makes sleep all the more precious to me.

I desperately want to buy some sleep. Folks, do you have any?


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 04, 2016.



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