On a night when I am struggling to sleep off, I feel that insomnia must be one of the most distressing diseases to suffer from. I am not insomniac. On such sleepless nights, a minute seems like ten and before I know it, I can see the day dawning from the gap between the drapes. I fight the temptation to get up and switch on the television and instead stay put in bed even though it may mean disturbing my husband’s sleep with my tossing and turning. He thinks that my sleepless nights are caused entirely because I stare at my phone screen just before going to bed which I partly agree with him. Still, he doesn’t know half the truth and neither do I. I’m starting to doubt if the aloe vera plant in our bedroom is even a real one. Well, at least we are breathing clean air.
Such nights I try to listen to my breathing, (in and out…) it is like counting sheep, hoping that the meditation would bore me to sleep. But in no time, I am thinking about my family, in hierarchical order, and the problems they ‘might’ be having. I cannot think of any positive thing about our lives at that moment and I feel wide awake even with all the darkness around me. The second I realize the negativity, I force myself to imagine good things for us. I imagine all of us together, with happy smiles on our faces. Husbands and wives in love and in understanding, brothers and sisters caring and sharing, parents and children obedient and adoring. I also imagine a sudden turn of fortune like winning a big lottery, distributing the sum, and going on a long lavish holiday as though money will solve all problems. I fantasize living in a little cottage in the middle of a forest, growing our own vegetables and living happily ever after. Most nights, I sleep off by the time I reach the cottage.
Some nights, memories creep inside my mind, the painful ones obviously. And in no time, my pillow is wet and I am forced to get up to clean myself. I remember the loved ones who have passed and I miss them. I think of how different life would be, had they still been alive. They would have loved our young nieces and nephews just like we love them so much. My focus then turns to these adorable children. Their little voices resound in my ears, singing, laughing, talking, blabbering and crying and I sometimes let out a laugh. Then I worry for them. I imagine their faces and try to characterize them as adults. I wonder if they will stay close as a family for the rest of their lives. Their children will probably turn into distant relatives who meet only on occasions and it breaks my heart. I wonder if they will still have a place they can call home like we have now. Millions of people are displaced and millions will lose their homes in the coming years. There might not be a ‘home’ even for us. I try to recall the geography of Nagaland and how far the sea is from us and I feel so thankful to the mountains, our protectors and to God Who gave us them. We can all feel the stench of war and the anger of Mother Earth at our doorsteps. How long will it be till it enters our homes? Then I recall the mountains and feel safe for the time being.