Sleep... all I will

Sleep... all I will
Recently, there was this test in Facebook which put down my age as 25. This was based on my responses to questions like whether I like to get up early or go to bed early.

Now, getting up early and going to bed early ­— these have been two unresolved issues between my appa and me, and later, between me and my husband. Appa never allowed us to sleep beyond six in the morning. We would sulkily listen to his discourse on Saraswathiyamam and how good girls always got up early.

Even later, when I was home for vacation with my kids, he would tolerate my ‘bad’ behaviour for just two days. And then the reprimand would start, now with a difference: “How can you hope to be a good role model to your kids?”

In those days, getting up early was considered the hallmark of an ideal girl/wife. In fact, when I was married off, such a fear was put into my heart and soul that I used to get up now and again to check the time and sit shivering in the Bengaluru cold, waiting for the household to get up.

My survival instincts were strong and I managed my Jekyll & Hyde act cleverly: getting up early while at my in-laws’s but sleeping my head off everywhere else possible.

My husband took up from where my father left off. ‘Early to bed and early to rise’ is his maxim. He bravely fought single-handedly to reform. When we went on those LTC tours to places like the Himalayas, we would prefer the cosy blankets to the sunrise at Tiger Hills.

I don’t know how, but my husband would use the same tone and words as my appa’s: “How can you be a good model to the kids? Sleep, you can, any day, any time, but not on trips like this!”

My daughter took after her dad, but the son had more of my genes. With a mother who refused to get up before sunrise, his job was much easier. “Wait till you get a daughter-in-law. That will be your day of reckoning,” my husband would threaten with anticipated glee. That day also arrived.

Being a NewGen DIL (daughter-in-law) not set out to impress anyone, she keeps the same routine: getting up and going to bed late, whether she is here or there. I look on helplessly at my bahu, and my husband enjoys my predicament. No lengthy lectures this time, but only a sly smile towards me in a meaningful: “Now let me see how you handle it.”

I know when a game is lost. A conscientious MIL (mother-in-law) with pronounced vices should not even try to reform a non-conforming DIL. But when you can’t beat them, you can always join them. Thus, I get up only after she has. As for my husband, it is still lonely at the top.
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