Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zhop Aali!

This is an ode to all my friends and colleagues who burn the midnight oil to work and then are back again in the morning all week long. These non-voluntary workaholics are the poor sleep deprived souls who have eyes set in dark circles and look at least 5 years older than they are. For lack of too much else to do, I dedicate this piece and a few minutes of googling to you.

Sleep defines everything we do…or at least when and how we do it. Technically, an average human being must spend 1/3 rd of their lives sleeping. But that is clearly not the case. We spend either obscenely more or excruciating less time devoted to this blissful activity.

To put things in perspective in the bigger picture of a human lifetime (which isn’t so big after all!) we may make a few assumptions: 

  • Childhood and old age are the only time when people are only glad to find you asleep. They tip toe across the room and are completely paranoid about waking you. It is also the only time when you can cause a lot of trouble when you’re awake.
  • Most women sleep when they are tired. Most men sleep when they are bored. Children sleep whenever they want, except when they want to cry. Working people sleep more peacefully during work hours than at home.
  • Lew Wallace was the one to invent the snooze button. Why? He was supposed to reveal the reason at a press conference, but he didn’t make it because he over slept.
  • The world record of maximum time spent without food is actually longer than the world record og maximum time spent without sleep. So we can stay hungry longer than we can stay awake.
  • Man is the only animal who goes to sleep when he's not sleepy and wakes up when he is.

This list could go on. Sleep is one of the most interesting subjects of study. But what makes it more interesting is how it affects me. The time between childhood and old age, is the one where life is what happens to you between telephone calls, Facebook friend requests, tea breaks, sutta breaks, time-pass breaks, lunch breaks, simply-need-a-break- breaks and a few random breaks thrown in. in short, this is a time when life is a synonym for work. And at work, there is no time to sleep (official) and it is unthinkable to sleep in any of the breaks mentioned above. Lose a nice little chai break to sleep? No way!

Instead we pore over computer screens, down caffeine/ nicotine consisting substances and slowly go from happy, healthy, smiling, fun-loving, living people to sleep deprived zombies. But this really could be a good thing in someway (being the highly optimistic person that I am!). Because all this work pays off…most of the time! So the less we sleep, the more toppings we get on that pizza. So my grand hypothesis of the day is that sleep is inversely proportional to no. of pizza toppings!

It is truly wonderful to observe how our twisted brains actually manage to mess up nature that had been getting along fine until then! We have actually managed to pit food against sleep!

There is a lot more I want to say about sleep. It is something I truly miss these days. I would probably have typed it. But what to do…zhop aali!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


One of my favourite poems, by Rudyard Kipling, it makes an aweful lot of sense to me. Much like the previous post, it still has a sort of charm about it, despite accusations of being sexist...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run
- Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!