Thursday, April 28, 2005

Raat Baki

"Indians are sleeping less" - according to a recent cover story in India Today.

A study by AC Nielsen reveals that 46% of Indians sleep less than 6 hours a day. And 64% apparently wake up prior to 7 am - among the highest in the world.

Well, I for one am part of the other 36%. I rarely wake up before 7 am. I guess I am an 'owl' who is most productive and vibrant during the night. Not as extreme as Ekta Kapoor - she apparently sleeps only agter 4 am and that too for just 5 hours. But yes, I do love my nights.

Night is when I get to watch TV/ surf the net/ read in peace. And write, too. It's when I feel a sense of space and freedom in a house - and life - I share with other people.

The late shift
When I was in school, I remember 10 o'clock was standard bedtime. 11 o'clock was considered LATE. There was an alarm clock- cum-radio next to my bed and sometimes I'd lie awake till 11.30 - till Vividh Bharati's last transmission - and feel quite cool.

Today, kids are routinely awake till 11 pm in many Indian homes. Parents come home late from work, for one. If you leave at 8 am and return at 9 pm - when will your child see you at all, if he sleeps by old English timings?

Then there's 24 hour TV - you stay awake to watch inane movies or just randomly channel surf. For young people, late night is about the only time the remote is in their independent possession. Because prime time means saas bahu serials for moms and NDTV/ CNBC for dads. And not many homes - yet - have two TVs.

If you're the kind who now works for a living, late night TV viewing is kind of like unwinding. You hope - in those 100 channels - something will seduce you, reduce the mental exhaustion of the day gone by.

Ditto for net-surfing.

Nights are for man-made pleasures like clubbing while early mornings are for natural ones like walks in parks. You may not be the partying type, but if you're a young person - chances are you prefer the buzz of the night.

This, of course, may not be a matter of choice if you are in an engineering or MBA hostel where nobody sleeps before 2 am. When I was at IIM A Rambhai's bun omlets was the stuff of legend. Try eating it in the daytime and you'd puke at the ghastly pink tomato ketchup!

Of course, we did also have a group known as the 7.30 Breakfast Club which lived up to its name and had breakfast each day at precisely 7.30. I was not, at any point of time, in the running for membership.

Bottomline: There is a mysterious, somewhat kinky pleasure to staying up late. Ask yourself, why did India awake to light and freedom at the stroke of the midnight hour... Not 6 am?


  1. In a place like Bangalore where the word 'IT' is written all over, you would find a LOT of traffic for people from call centers/SW firms being dropped back home at 10 pm and onwards. Since people are staying so late in office, I guess there may be a tendency for them to extend the night so that there is a semblance of a 'time after work'. Now maybe there should also be a 'before-work' party time since a lot of the IT world works in shifts

  2. Agree with your owl timings. Same for studying hours used to start after 7pm during my engg days. Whole day I used to idle around coz I used to believe in the policy of "burning midnight electricity"

    Waking up early was never in my still isn't

  3. my sentiments exactly. there is seomthing kinky about staying up at nights and doing your stuff-- i guess its coz you aren't usually "allowed" to?
    i've also accomplish more at nights..funny!
    but thats not to say i sacrifice my sleep-- !

  4. Anonymous3:27 AM

    ha ha ... reminds of my skool days .... early to bed .. late to rise .. thats what I was :D .. i remember my mother shouting her throat out trying to wake me up ;-) ...
    yeah but its true ... things are bad in India, where people can't think about sleeping early .. but I still cannot figure out about the "early rising" percentage !!! thats awesome ... some many rise early !!! WHOA !!! .. first time here ... will be back :D

  5. True it is....there is a charm about staying up at night..I have more freedom and space it seems...guess I get more things done at night....but does daytime it doesn`t.

  6. yeah when I was younger I used to be an early sleeper...nowadays I'm jus late to bed and learly to rise!! :)
    wehre art thous 8 hours of blissful sleep?

  7. check this data out..

    I wonder what technologies Indian teenagers find cool

  8. In my hostel @ IIT kharagpur...the general going to bed time of a student (be it girl or boy) is 1 am in the night
    and wake up at 7 am in the morning.
    And its not studies...its just talks and chats and discussions and time pass in the night.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Your youth-tracking is so pseudo. Honestly. And what is JAM? I haven't even heard of it and you describe it as 'popular'. And why do you go around saying you are an IIM-A alumnus? What's the big deal about that? So many people are.

    Cut the crap.

  11. Mr. Anonymous up here,
    try keeping your eyes open, when you are in Bangalore next and you might see a copy of JAM somewhere.

    And whats wrong with mentioning about your instt?
    A few ppl take pride in the same, you know? Sour grapes ?

  12. Anonymous7:20 AM

    I m a hosteller at iit kanpur...
    i dont think its kinky to stay abt staying up ..when u come back from ur classe it is just not day enough left to live your yeah go around prowling for late nite movies, an odd novel or crawling thru the web (well u really run thru the nat hr :-) ).
    and its completely allowed hr so its not a challenge or so its plain routine....i do belong to the 7:30 breakfast club as well

  13. Well,you certainly lived up to your reputation... Thisis my first and definitely not the last of my visits to your blogs.

    And i thought I used to write well...

    Well, regarding night crawlers... Here when we say that we "sleep early", we sleep at 0200... and usually we are awake till 0400. An then we are fresh and awake by 0900 for college.

    Its all a question of managing yor assignments, social life and other stuff carzily enough and also ofbeing able to take cat naps of 5 mins or less during the daytime.

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