Waking up these mornings is different experience: the trees dripping against the window, the sound of wet tyres on the road, the new sun struggling then giving up the attempt for the days.
If is a little like getting up in school in Panchgani during the long monsoon months. Only then the sun did not even make an attempt to emerge from behind the clouds and the mist and retired not for the day but the season. And instead of the sound of cars on the roads, there was the sound of the wind in the silver oaks, which resembled the sound of a bus climbing the Wai Ghat.
I have been thinking of all the places I have got up in the mornings, not necessarily in strange beds. I have lived in several houses, which have for varying temporary periods been my homes, and at each place the getting up ritual has been different. At Churchgate, on "A" Road, I used to get up to the aroma of Sambar being prepared in Satkar below and the sound of Vividh Bharati on the transistors of the waiters. Which should prove that there are several people who listen to Vividh Bharati, even if you and I do not.
At another house, also in Churchagate, I used to get up to the sound of water bursting from the taps. It was strange place, the whole building was occupied by rich people living in fancy flats, but they had no water till 7 a.m. Then it would suddenly come, gushing through all the open taps and waking up everybody. Time to rise and shine.
In my earlier days, I had spent a couple of months on a mountainside, on the route to Kedarnath, with some vague idea of retiring from life. There also the sound of the water was the first thing I heard in the morning, but it was the sound of the Mandakini as it came down the mountain on the first leg on its journey to the mighty Ganga.
In Mut, a little town in the Icel province of Southern Turkey, on Monday mornings I used to get up to the sound of the Turkish national anthem played by the school band. It is the custom in Turkey, after the weekend, to play the national anthem and put the national flags up on public buildings.
In hotels across the United States, I used to get up to a pre-arranged morning-call and very cheerful operators wishing me to have a nice day. In these things, the Americans are very good. Singapore hoteliers also are good, they wake you up with a copy of The International Herald Tribune, truly an international newspaper, but now anybody, other than an American stock-broker, can read it first in the morning I cannot understand.
And I remember getting up in Bright on one morning and looking out of the window at what they call the English Downs, rolling fields of yellow and speckled gold in the morning sunshine of the English spring.