There are early risers and late risers. Those who get up early are not necessarily early-to-bed-early-to-rise types. They often go to bed late, very late. Nor do all those who get up early do so with the lark, throw the covers off, jump out of bed, spring in the steps, smile on the face, embracing the day, eager to get on with it. There are those who hate getting upon early but have to. I am one of those.
Every morning, including Sundays, my alarm sounds at 5 a.m., a soft but persistent click-click-click-click. By the fifth click, I have stretched my hand out and shut it off. Then begins the struggle to get out of bed. It is a good thing we live in a temperate climate, to get up on cold dark winter mornings would be a most unpleasant task. It still is, when it is pouring outside. The sound of a steady downpour first thing in the morning distresses me very much. The paperwalla ringing the doorbell to announce that the Times has been dropped, is my second alarm. The two alarms normally go off within seconds of of one another. You may wonder how I get the paper at 5 in the morning. I pay for it. I pay the paperwalla Rs. 300 monthly, over and above the actual price of the paper. The first thing I do is discard the adjuncts that come with the Times - Bombay Times, Ascent, Saturday Times I would even discard the Business Times, but it now comes within the main paper. I have neither the time nor the inclination to read these adjuncts. Even without them, it takes me 45 minutes to read the main paper. I read the front page in detail, rate Laxman's cartoon on a 1 to 10 scale, read parts of the local page, the third edit, edit page article, all the letters, the archives column with the old ads for Beecham's Powder, etc. I do not read the middles, they are written by middle-aged women for middle-aged women. But I read everything that appears on the sports pages, plus Phantom and Mandrake. And I do the crossword every morning, 17 minutes flat.
Shave (alternate mornings), bath daily, make my tea, have it with the kachoris and bhaker vadis (from the American Dryfruit Store), while sitting on the PC and doing the column. The wife is a late riser. I wake her up when I have finished 400 words and am on to the last 100. She gets ready in seven minutes, except when she cannot decide what to wear. I need the wife to drive me to the office. We slip into the morning traffic, coming into town. It is lovely, the sun just coming out over the World Trade Center, early risers jogging on Marine Drive, half my day is already over. On Sundays also the alarm sounds at 5 a.m. I get up, then realise it is a holiday. So I turn around and go back to sleep. That is the happiest moment of my week. It is well worth getting up early on all the other days.