Morning glory

Morning glory

As dawn broke over the skies and I would be in deep sleep, a soft humming would sound in my ears. Try as I might to swat the noise away, it would persist like the buzzing flies. In exasperation, I would sit up in bed cursing the heavens for being born to these set of parents. The buzzing was my father, reciting the Gayatri mantra in my ears.

In a world that prefers to be a night owl, I am an early bird. The deck is already stacked against me. While people are getting started with their after-work lives, I am shutting shop for the day. This doesn’t seem all that bad now that I am older and all of us have the same goals — that of hitting the sack early, but during the college years, it was tough to explain why I couldn’t hang out till the dawn of the next day.  

For as many years as I was at home, I hated early mornings. My father had decades of training behind him. As a Sainik School alumnus and then a military man, waking up with the sun was ingrained into his DNA. What chance did a civilian like me have?

I fell in line but not my brother. He would wake up and sneak off to sleep in the sitting room, or in a later brainwave, sleep in the washroom. Many times, we have found him dozing while standing at the basin with his mouth full of bubbles and the toothbrush hanging precariously between his lips. I was easier to mould. I may have learnt to wake up early so as to end the humming. Groggily, I would go through the morning routine.

I accepted the benefits of my training when I left home to prepare for medical college. I would wake up at 4 am to study. With an 18-hour study schedule, getting started early ensured that a chunk of my day’s course was done before morning turned cacophonous. In college, I accepted the inevitability of my habit and it wasn’t for want of trying. I worked really hard to sleep beyond 5 o’clock but training trumped intention. My friends might have hated my morning chirpiness but during examinations, I was their trusty alarm clock. When I started working, the mornings helped me schedule my day. The breakfast would be on the terrace, in the company of a rising sun and birds flying off to work.

History repeats itself. I have become the Gayatri-mantra-hummer to my daughters. Thankfully, they welcome this with a smile but that’s because they are small. I go at it with the approach that my father did — catch them young and make them creatures of habit. As he says ever so often, “You lose an hour in the morning; you will be searching for it the whole day.” Don’t believe me? Ask Tim Cook.