Bombay is a city that doesn’t sleep. That is what they say. What they mean is that it goes to sleep very late. Even at 2 in the morning I find that lights are still on in some apartments. 2 AM is when the lights start going out, but at any time of the night, some people are still up. It might be that each night it is a different set of people. Travel might contribute to the different schedules. Perhaps somebody is just leaving for the airport or somebody has just come back from a trip. Maybe it is someone who is either unable to fall asleep or who finds it easier to work in the quiet hours of the night.
As I wander around the house, wakeful while R. is fast asleep, I stare out through the windows at the lit squares in other apartments. There are cars on the highway in a steady stream no matter how late or how early. There are people who are too busy to go to bed.
I wish I could sleep at will but that is a boon that is not mine. So each night I go to bed wondering if it is going to be a restful or restless night. I find out soon enough and leave my comfortable bed to prowl around the dark and silent house trying to find something interesting to do. The next few hours are spent in reading something on the computer or reading a book when hunger pangs lead me to the kitchen to find a banana or at least a couple of biscuits. A second attempt at sleep is quite often a failure. My activity on the computer occasionally draws attention and I am questioned why I am not in bed by someone on the other side of the world!
Time was when both R. and I would settle in front of the TV for late night viewing but not now. TV shows are too unappealing to me and R. is happily asleep, so I continue my reading.
When the children were at home I was generally so tired that I would fall asleep the minute I got into bed and my complaint was that the morning came too early. Now I think I sleep through the night only when we are travelling and every part of my body hurts after all the walking and the sightseeing and a bed seems a blessing! Age brings with it a need for less sleep, so I am told, which is hardly flattering.
To go back to my earlier statement, it is true that Bombay is still awake when people in the rest of India have been asleep for hours. I think the sleepless spirit of Bombay has got into me and that is why I wander around the house late at night waiting for dawn to break.