Many of you, especially after my book has been out (and I am so overwhelmed by the response—and grateful too) write in and ask me how in the world I manage to do so much. Many of you ask me if I sleep and if so for how many hours! Many ask if I know some secret that they don’t. What do I say?
I do work late into night.There are morning persons and there are night owls. There is no doubt which category I belong to.
Till about two hours after waking, I am still in a zombie-attains-nirvana mode. Which means mostly I am on auto-pilot and that is indeed a big achievement, as while still in this mode, I do manage to check my blog comments, check my e-mail, pack three lunches (for husband and the kids) and also manage to listen to BBC Radio 2 and cook breakfast. I manage to do it all efficiently (I am told) and by 8.15 a.m a full course Indian meal (ready to be packed into dabbas) and an Indian Breakfast is ready. Of course it helps immensely, that S wakes me up with Coffee (carrying my hot steaming cup up the flight of stairs so I can have it in bed) every single morning. [This moment alone makes me a hundred times grateful that I married the guy. But please don’t let him know this!]
It takes me super human effort to prise my eyes open and take that first sip and even caffeine takes a while to kick in. Years of living with me and my family knows that when I am in this mode, it is best to leave me alone. Nothing they say really registers (only thing registering is the BBC radio two)—the response they get would nine times out of ten, be a glazed look with a neutral wooden expression, much like a drug addict on a high.
I am of course aware of what is happening around me, but it is just that I am not willing to participate—still ensconced mentally in that womb like existence , isolated in the land between sleep and reality with the promise that the morning holds for a whole new day. I have a writer’s notebook in the kitchen, and usually when I am in this state many ideas strike me for writing or for a painting, and I quickly scribble my thoughts, as they occur, in a hasty scrawl ,trapping them before they escape. Sometimes the characters in the story speak to me. Sometimes the visuals in a painting appear in all their brilliance and luminosity.
Later when I am by myself they take shape into paintings, poems, pieces. I simply have to express my ideas—else I’ll burst!
I am grateful that I have a family who totally understands my need to dream—to escape, yet be practical.(okay—most of the time) and friends who are there for me when I need them.
So that’s all there is to my secret.
I just get by with a little help from my friends.