“What do you need a room for?” asked the warden of my hostel. “All you are supposed to do is to study whenever you can and then sleep” he added.
In a way, he was right. The infrastructure of the room had everything required to study and to sleep. Precisely. And nothing else.
Three of us were placed in a room. The room had three study desks, three chairs, three wardrobes and three beds with cots. And that’s it. The room did not even have room for a leg of an additional chair. A small pathway was left to navigate towards the third bed and only through that we came to know the colour of the floor. The distance between my study desk and my bed was as small as four centimeters that I could jump out of my sleep to study. But the vice-versa worked tremendously well all the time!
Even though the size of the room was less than eight feet by eight feet, we had the luxury of a one and a half ton air conditioner unit and two ceiling fans. Three sides of the walls had no windows. Not even a small opening for an insect to come in. The fourth side was full of windows. When we tried to open the window, a swarm of flies would attack us. So, we always kept the windows closed with blinds firmly on.
With absolute darkness hitting the room, and with the comfort of one air conditioner and two ceiling fans giving a hill-station-like feeling, the smoothness of the comforter on the bed would always be inviting. So inviting that it was too good to resist all the time.
For anyone who had slept for twelve hours straight would feel compelled to sleep again in our room. No wonder I slept like a baby for most parts of my stay there. I had no idea what was happening to me during the initial days but I always felt like I was absolutely drunk when I resisted the cozy bed. My mind wouldn’t listen to anything I said except when I said “Now, can we go for sleep?” Eventually I’d succumb and go to sleep for hours together.
As I am one and a half times taller than the average Singaporean, the bed in my hostel was not made for people like me. My leg would always hang out of the bed. When I tried to pull it in, the head would butt out on the other side. Also, the comforter was never made for a six foot three person. Again, either my head or feet miss out. I tried various techniques such as sleeping diagonally or with a crossed leg. I even tied placing my chair at one end of my bed so that I could place my extending feet on it. Again, in the middle of the night, I’d unknowingly kick it away and would go back to normal. Also, I developed the habit of sleeping like a ‘S’ in such a way that my head would almost touch my thigh.
Everything I tried finally had a tremendous amount of pressure on my back. Whenever I woke up in the morning, I woke up with severe back pain.
The room had always been a tricky place. It could make even the most active person in the world sleep for twenty hours a day. It was a heaven for natural sleepers like me. But, the more I slept, the more troublesome it was for my back.
Finally, I decided to throw my bed a million miles away (from planet earth) and decided to sleep on the floor. Sleeping on the floor might seem ridiculous for many but hey!, my floor is more than six foot three inches long. Just enough for me to stretch my whole body. And that meant a lot to me. Especially when I hadn’t done that for three months straight.
I just couldn’t wait to sleep like the way everyone in the world sleeps. The first time I slept on the floor, I slept for fourteen hours straight. When I woke up, I was feeling strange; I was feeling strange because I was feeling very light on my back. For a change, I felt no pain.
“Is that how everyone wakes up every morning?” I wondered. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if I could experience this feeling day after day for days to come?
Now, I had the best bed in the entire hostel; no springs ; no length restrictions and when combined with the best environment that aids sleeping, no place in the world could beat this one. It just felt like heaven.
But the only feeling of guilt was due to the fact that I paid seventeen lakhs to stay in this lodge for one year!