Son et Lumiere!

An Article by Vimala Ramu

Our mornings begin like this: My husband gets up at 3.40 am and goes for his walk at 4.25 am. I get up at 4.00 am and make sure he has a cup of hot, fresh filtered coffee before he leaves.

Actually what I want to discuss with you is those precious 20 minutes between 3.40 and 4 am. I love to spend every minute of it in a snooze if not in deep sleep and hate to lose even one minute of it, by getting up before the clock strikes 4.

But, at 3.40 my husband first switches off the fan as soon as he gets up, leaving me sweating –stewing in my own juices. Surprised by the rare ‘fan –off-but- a-living- body- still- available- to- feast- on’ situation, many a hidden mosquito ventures out and hums merrily around me. Next he opens the attached bathroom door which along with the sound of lifting of the latch makes a peculiar noise, a squeak combined with the ‘swoosh’ of air. He then switches on the light and the geyser. When he comes out he leaves the light on and the bathroom door ajar, probably to indirectly light his way inside the bedroom when he comes back from the toilet and the truant light hits me in the eye through my closed lid. I stubbornly sleep on.

Next, he proceeds to the Indian toilet outside the bedroom. The opening of our bedroom door, the switching on of the toilet light, the opening of the toilet door and the flushing of the toilet tank- all register in my sleepy head.

Then he returns to our bedroom; opens the cupboard door which again has its own peculiar ‘Whoosh’ and ‘squeak’ and the freely oscillating hook in the door making a ‘click, click’sound. This is to collect his fresh bath towel and ‘undies’ and to keep them ready on the bathroom stand-- to wear after the bath when he comes back from the walk. Then he enters the bathroom where shaving is the only silent operation. Otherwise, the placing of the mug, the turning on of the tap, the gargling and oh, the high decibel clearing of the nose and the throat after brushing his teeth-- each is a mini alarm egging me to get up. In the stark silence of the early morning (sorry, midnight for most) every sound gets terribly amplified and every ray of light hurts. Finally, he comes back to the bedroom and as a grand finale, switches on the mother of all lights, the bedroom one, to put on his walking gear.

If I am not already up by then and he sees me getting up, he asks me lovingly, “Why did you get up? You could have slept on. I would have managed without the coffee.”

His utter naivete really floors me. He has the sweetness to tell me to sleep on after all this ‘Sound and Light’ show!

Of course, there are a few rare occasions when I have been able to sleep blissfully throughout this ‘Son et Lumiere’. But that is only if I have had a painkiller or had watched a late night movie or a cricket match on TV the previous night.

On a more somber tone I can add that, at our ages, these noises are not exactly disturbing. On the contrary, they are a source of strange satisfaction that the other is alive and kicking!


Hope you enjoyed reading the article "Son et Lumiere".


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