Last week I was in a particular training session at work that went hopelessly slow for me. It really wasn’t the speaker or the content. But I have a problem with sessions happening at 3 pm when you’ve just finished a long lunch and then have to sit cramped in a room with the lights switched off and stare at a slides flipping on after the other on the projection screen for 2 hours! That’s a big ask really!
Despite the lure of a quick siesta, I was a little surprised at me and also a little pleased! All my life I have been an ‘I-can’t sleep-in-lectures’ person. Given that there were very few that I attended post my school days (I attended very little there too and my classmates will vouch for it!), that was not saying much.
But nevertheless sleeping with a room full of people around me, with a lecturer struggling to capture attention – resorting to several means from raising their voice to throwing chalks at people snoring away - , I could just never doze off. Yes I doodled, day-dreamed, disturbed all the sleeping people around me… I managed loads of yawns, but the damned sleep would just not come!
I was envious at times of a few people who could exceed expectations when it came to sleeping. ‘Shru’ was one of them. Oh! Shru could sleep in peace even if her house were on fire! And she brought those talents to the classroom as well - to our Math lecture in engineering college one time, to be precise. Our Math Prof. was dead serious about his lectures and gave Shru an equally deadly stare and a grunt as permission to enter the classroom when she walked in a good 15 mins late into class.
I was sitting somewhere in the middle row in our amphitheater-style classroom. Shru spotted me and hobbled her way into the row and seat behind me, tripping over a few feet in the process. The owners of those feet shifted noisily and moved their belongings around, resulting in a few seconds of murmur. I looked around and Shru quickly whispered ‘I over slept’. Math Prof. liked that not. The stare came on again!
The next part happened so quickly that no one really understood what got into Shru. There was a loud ‘thunk’, a small squeal followed by some highly audible “Oh Shit!”s and “Oh ****”s. Suddenly people were looking around, craning their necks, standing up even for a better view of the scene. And the scene was this – Shru was under the desk!!
Yeah… She had an explanation for it and something to blame - the unique seats in the classroom. The seats needed to be pulled down into the horizontal position before you sat on them. There was a catch to it – the seats were mounted on springs and if you released a seat, it would spring right back up again. We normally held it down with one hand while we turned around and sat on it. It was an easy enough maneuver that Shru messed up that day much to everyone’s amusement!
When she was finally lifted and settled down on the seat, I wanted to turn around and say – ‘No Shru, You’re not sleepy… you’re drunk!’ But the words were stuck in my throat, because stare had turned into glare when I looked at our Prof. The noise died down. Silent looks and smirks did not. Prof. mumbled under his breath and went back to differential equations.
Everything looked good (for the Prof. that is) for the next 15 mins. Then all of a sudden, even as I was looking at him, he snapped the chalk into 2, tossed a broken piece in his hand a couple a times dramatically and with one fluid motion of a practiced man - he threw the chalk – AT ME!! Eyes widened, I let out a loud gasp and ducked and the chalk found its target. I turned around and saw Shru sitting there – red faced and red eyed. Oh yes! She had dozed off! In the midst of all the adverse circumstances! How?
It was fodder for a good laugh for days! But the truth is I could never achieve what she did! There were lectures I’ve attended when I desperately wanted to drop asleep (or drop dead at times). But I guess I was just not blessed enough.
College lectures are firmly in the past for more than two years, and its only now that I’ve begun to discover the pleasures of ‘lecture-induced-sleep’. Better late than never right? And Shru if you saw me battling it out with Hypnos (yes there really is a God of Sleep!) these days, you’d be proud of me too!