…..Most international flights for North America depart from Mumbai during night. Therefore, this journey starts with sleep deprivation before it gets further compounded with jet lag. Route over the Pacific to US West coast is worse since one travels to the East gaining almost three hours and thereafter travels, losing fifteen hours, to the West. Body clock gets wound up a little in a clockwise direction and then gets over-wound up in anti-clock direction. Some sort of unwinding is possible if one manages to sleep during the flight or if nothing else, it would at least take care of the sleep deprivation with which the journey has to begin. But no such luck for me either. I do manage to get a few winks during a (sitting) journey but never voluntarily I guess. I sometimes wonder whether I am by nature, too self-conscious.
One realizes the full impact of jet lag only after landing and reaching one’s destination. Sleep does come but it comes with the old clock that one has left behind and not according to the new clock that one sees in front. It takes a few days even a week before one’s body clock realigns itself. Manaswini gave me some pills which were supposed to reduce the difference between the two clocks but they do not seem to have worked. I think like for everything else,Time is the most effective remedy for jet lag. We have been here for five days now but I yet find myself lying awake at night but decreasingly so. May be I am still a couple of hours away from the Pacific Coast Time.
I wonder how Chris Gayle managed to score a hurricane century in the first IPL match that he played while still nursing a jet lag.
Strangely, when I woke up late on the first day here as my body clock had refused to obey the local time, I also became aware of absence of yet another clock with which we all are very familiar with in urban India—the Ambience clock. In India, even in big cities like Pune, one can wake up to the chirping of birds at the crack of the dawn; one may hear even a Koyal like we do at our Deccan flat. Then the Humanity in general and the Working Population in particular takes over. More or less at the same time, the giant of auto-mobility awakens and soon overshadows everything else. It takes very little time before the ambient sounds of the morning are metamorphosed into an ambient noise and it stays that way almost till the day ends. It is quite difficult to disregard this noisy world outside and continue with your date with Ms Sleep.
Not so in this part of the world. Silence prevails here almost throughout the day. There are periodic sounds but they merely whisper and tiptoe as they get across; a two/four-bogey train passes every 30 minutes but does not hoot, few cars of the residents leave for their work place (sometimes I wonder whether most of Manaswini’s neighbours work from home). I do hear some birds sometimes although I see them not. No school buses, no street hawkers, no screeching and hooting cars, no loud speakers that spring up at even minor festival, no marriage or political processions, no nothing….