Imagine a middle aged man reading about carnivorous plants or about the QWERTY keyboard in the middle of the afternoon when everyone else is relaxing in the arms of Morpheus. You will be justified in thinking that he is batty. Jaya sees me reading about some brain research at a time when she can barely keep her eyes open and reaches a similar conclusion. She can't do without an hour's sleep in the afternoon and never tires of telling me that a nap makes you smarter.
The brain stem has something to do with regulating sleep patterns. My stroke seems to have reset my body clock so that I need less than four hours of sleep a day. I suppose anyone living so long without proper sleep will have medical problems but I seem to be fine. I don't sleep a wink during the day. At night, the lights are switched off at ten thirty and in the morning I get up at five thirty. In that period, I am awake half the time. My sleep is not continuous. It is broken into three or four chunks interrupted by long periods of wakefulness.
My habit of reading books and articles, especially on subjects that I knew very little about before my stroke, has proved beneficial during these wakeful periods.(Groucho Marx knew the value of books- 'Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.' But you won’t have the same view if you read a book like Woody Allen read ‘War and Peace' in two hours after attending a speed reading course and said,’It was about some Russians.' Of course, I am assuming that the reader doesn't suffer from alexia.) I may think of something that I had not understood in a book that I had been reading. I may think about brazil nuts, about double standards, about Saturn, about Indohyus...(I am a really weird guy I tell you. You won't find too many respectable MBAs pondering over extinct tetrapods at 2 a.m. It takes all kinds to make the world.)
And when I get tired of the heavy stuff, I transport myself to Lords Cricket Ground where I score a brilliant unbeaten 123 to take India to victory on the final day of a pulsating Test Match. All the thrilling ingredients will be there - Dravid and Tendulkar will be dismissed for ducks, I will have a broken finger, it will be a seaming pitch...(Discerning readers would have noticed that my heroics happen in a Test Match. I am a connoisseur of the five day game so I won't be playing golf shots in T20 matches.)