personal diary

That forty winks of the afternoon!

There is a topper in my class and then there’s me. One of the common threads we seem to share is our affinity towards the customary afternoon nap. Indeed, there is much less I could concur with her. She goes to the library, does her readings, tops the class, but more importantly catches her daily afternoon nap. I on the other hand, go to the mess, browse the latest news, play FIFA and less significantly take my usual noon siesta. Now, I could go on romanticizing those ‘few good hours’ spent every mid-day, but I better have a sound reason to justify my sleep (at least to rationalize this blog post.)

On looking up the internet, I found many famous advocates for the afternoon naps. (This further emboldened me to write on what is considered by some as a slumbering affair) You would be surprised to find that the most famous Britisher ever, Winston Churchill firmly believed in taking a two-three hour nap after his lunch. Indeed, it is something which was non-negotiable for the war time prime minister. “You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures… That’s what I always do,” he once famously remarked. Others who had this habit include Margaret Thatcher, Albert Einstein, U.S. Presidents J.F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush (a fact substantiated by his wife, Laura who said, “I said to him the other day, George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you’re going to have to stay up later.”)

And it is in the above mentioned illustrious company, I find myself in. (Quite a hard act to follow right?) Considering the undeniable fact that their day often stretches into late night working hours, I acknowledge they had validated reasons to do so. They had stressful jobs to the say the least.

But what reasons do I have?

First and foremost afternoons are considered among the most inactive periods of the day. It is among the least productive sessions you can hope for. Have you heard of anyone coming up with a brilliant sketch or a mesmerizing composition, writing a masterpiece or devising a maverick plan during this hour of the day? I haven’t. Where is the inspiration to do anything at all? Not that sleeping requires inspiration.

Afternoon sleep is alternatively institutionalized by an individual right from an early age. “Come back from school, have a sound sleep and then go out to play.” Now, that’s something which firmly resonates with parents who otherwise don’t know how to deal with their restless wards. You grow up doing many things among which there is this mandatory afternoon nap. You just don’t abandon your old habits, do you?

Then there is whole generation of people who are very much inspired by their grandmothers, who after watching all the television soap operas doze off for a few peaceful hours. I attribute a significant part of my sleeping inclination to this reason. My grandmother lived with us and after enduring a couple of the serials along with her, the sleep is very much warranted. Not singling her out, what else can one do if pretty much every member of the family goes to sleep?

Ah, afternoon sleep is such bliss. (I am just shrugging off my slumber, only to fall back on the inviting bed.)


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