Blessed are those that are able to sleep immediately on lying down in bed, or so they say. But what about people who sleep during travel and in workplace?
When we commute by bus, train and flights, don’t we encounter passengers seated next to us who get a sound sleep (you can hear them snoring)? As long as they remain composed in their seats, they do not pose a problem. But when they overshoot their domain, they become irksome, pitiable and even a laughing stock.
In the first few minutes of their dozing off, they maintain their centre of gravity and gyrate 360 degrees around a notionally fixed axis. But soon, sleep rears its killer instincts and takes over the individuals. They seem to be possessed by an evil spirit and float dangerously in all directions. As co-passengers, we should stay on guard as they may crash on us.
In buses, the steel bar on the front seat may come handy to place one’s hands as cushion and sleep. I have seen sleeping men surge forward from their 90-degree position at ultra high speed and land their heads on the steel bar with a thud. Minutes later, their foreheads would sport a contusion in the shape of a lemon or tennis ball.
During a journey by bus, my next-seat passenger was in a slumber. Suddenly, he gave a massive blow on the window glass with his clenched wrist. He woke up and blinked. “Any problem?” I asked him, horrified from his action.“The thief tried to attack me. I retaliated and saved myself,” he said. “Look at your hand. It bleeds.” “No problem. It’s just a dream,” he replied and went back to his reverie.
There are many who are experts in sleeping in a standing posture.They get into the crowded train or bus, grip the steel bar on top and switch to sleep mode.They wake up just before their destination arrives, fine-tuned by their biological clock and walk away like a spring.
Sleep is something which is difficult to conquer. Without proper sleep, one’s health gets affected. But imagine how many people in the history of mankind would have been affected because of sleep. If only they had not slept at an unfortunate moment, things could have turned out different. How many were killed in sleep! How many accidents happened because the driver slept on the wheel! How many employees lost their jobs thanks to sleeping at the wrong time, in the wrong place!
Those days, officials in electricity boards and some process industries used to trap their employees sleeping on the night shift. The shift operator was given a bulky, hard bound logbook to record hourly readings. Seated by the table, the operator would rest his head on the logbook and sleep. The official on night vigilance rounds would stealthily remove the logbook without the operator being aware of this vanishing act. Next day, in the enquiry session, the officer would proudly flaunt the logbook as a clinching evidence to grill the poor operator!