Thursday, October 2, 2008


One of my favorite characters from the great epic Ramayana, is Kumbhakarna, the mammoth-sized demon, who ate mountains of food and slumbered for months on end.
I've always marveled at his priceless gift of being able to sleep peacefully through the upheavals of life.

I'd never been any good at burning the midnight oil, as a student. But while I enjoyed my beauty sleep, an average of 6 hours had been good enough to keep my engines going - till I started running.

Running regularly made me develop Kumbhakarna-like tendencies. My batteries needed recharging more frequently, especially during peak-mileage weeks. Thoughts of food kept me mentally stimulated , and sleep was just a blink of an eye away. I longed for afternoon naps, and work worries could never keep me awake at night.

Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in the day, so any deficit in shut-eye during the week would have to be compensated for, during the weekends. My body was very regimented that way. I rarely woke up before 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays.

The weeks of marathon taper and recovery were unsettling. Less than usual activity corresponded to sleepless nights and often, disturbed sleep. I was worried that I had lost the ability to fall asleep at moment's notice. I tried meditating...but as you can see, meditating's not my thing (I wish it were).

So, I was overjoyed when I lay on the couch this evening, fell instantly asleep...and was dead to the world for 2 whole hours. I am into my 3rd week of reverse marathon taper...and Kumbhakarni has returned!!!

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