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A wake-up call at dawn

For many, nothing is more disagreeable than rising from bed in the morning. The temptation to linger under the covers a little longer (and catch a little more shut-eye) is irresistible, especially on a wintry or rainy day. But the compulsions of work and other responsibilities somehow eject us from bed — even as one feels like tossing the trilling timepiece out of the window!

As a boy, our plump Leghorn cock would raucously crow us awake at the crack of dawn, sometimes even earlier. Soon our neighbours’ roosters would stridently join in, each trying to outdo the other in volume — much to our annoyance. Sometimes, it was the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee that pleasantly woke us — a real olfactory treat. Later, working in a tea estate, it was a couple of ‘narcissistic’ wagtails that roused me early every morning — by persistently ‘admiring’ and pecking at their reflections in my bedroom’s windowpanes! Though an outright nuisance, they did get me to work on time.

In water-scarce Tiruchi in the 1960s, the spirited pre-dawn squabbling at the public water tap across the lane usually banished all further sleep in our home. Resigned, we would lie in bed listening to the clamour of women’s voices and the clanging of their metal pots, their bickering punctuated by the fitful gurgling of the tap.

Our boarding school wake-up call was often dramatic. The prefect would stride into the dormitory at 5.45 a.m. sharp and snap on the lights. Then, his fingers snapping mechanically like castanets, he would barge through the rows of camp-cots. Slow risers would find their beds rocked none too gently much like a boat in a storm. And sometimes the bleary-eyed sleeper would be rudely jolted awake — eased overboard to land with a thud, much to our amusement!

Few ever willingly rise from bed in the morning. To many, it’s a magnet from which they just can’t tear themselves away. The tendency to snugly burrow deeper into one’s pillow when it’s time to get up is perhaps commoner than imagined. It’s usually only the self-disciplined or strong-willed who rise on time.

American humorist Edgar Wilson Nye once wisecracked, “I rise from bed in the morning not because I’m dissatisfied with it, but because I can’t carry it with me during the day.” And in a lighter moment novelist Somerset Maugham once quipped, “To do each day two things one dislikes is a precept I have followed scrupulously: every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.”

Until a less intrusive wake-up call is devised, the bedside alarm clock will perhaps remain our best bet — even if it’s the last sound one wants to hear!

gnettomunnar@rediffmail.com


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 11:31:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-wake-up-call-at-dawn/article37020957.ece

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