In the initial years of our marriage, we lived in a very small apartment. While the living room, one bedroom and kitchen apartment was just sufficient for our small family of three, it was quite a squeeze when we had guests who stayed over.
One such episode stands out very clearly in my memory. My parents-in-law were visiting us and while they were here my husband’s uncle and aunt also decided to come over and spend a couple of days with us. My three-year old was delighted at the idea of having two sets of grandparents pampering him, but the question in my husband’s and my mind was how to accommodate four extra adults in our compact apartment? My neighbour who was planning to be out-of-town during that exact period, generously offered her apartment for us to use during her absence.
Just when we were relieved that we had a solution to our problem, my husband’s cousin called to say that since his parents were going to be visiting us, he and his family too would drop in for a day. Which meant that there were going to be eleven people in a house meant for three!! And though it was just a question of a night, we were wondering how we were going to manage.
The day arrived. Our guests arrived. And knowing that there was a gathering, two more of my husband’s cousins also dropped in. The day passed in a flurry of eating, chattering away and lots of laughter and guffaws. By late evening all were in high spirits. By then we were thirteen of us in the house and I knew I had no option but to take up my neighbour’s offer of using her apartment to accommodate a few of us for the night.The question was who? When I made the suggestion, no one volunteered to go next door to sleep. Actually no one wanted to shift from our home and miss the fun. In the end everyone was in consensus that they would adjust in the space available and all would sleep in our apartment. I brought in mattresses from my neighbour’s apartment and the living room was turned into a dormitory. One cousin and his family took over the single bedroom. That left nine of us in the living room. The space was arranged very comfortably and soon everyone settled down to sleep.
Lights were turned out. Voices died down to whispers and soon all that could be heard was breathing. I too was ready to turn in, as I had to wake up early the next morning to go to work. What I had forgotten was that I was about to go to sleep in a room full of snorers. And just when I was about to fall asleep, began the first of the snores. I could ignore that. But within a few minutes I could hear another person begin to snore. And though I couldn’t really figure out who the snorers were in the dark, within a few minutes there were at least six people snoring in that room. Every snorer had a different pitch and a different rhythm. And it felt as if there was an unseen conductor managing the whole sequence. When there was a gap in one person’s snore, another took off from there. And soon there was this whole synchronised feel to the half a dozen people snoring.
I tried my best to ignore the orchestra around me and wondered at the other non-snorers sleeping peacefully through the whole performance. But in vain. I think I must have spent most of the night tossing and turning, trying to shut out the sounds of snoring, with a pillow on my ear. At some point I must have fallen asleep out of sheer tiredness.
The next morning found me bleary eyed, but with no choice but to go to work. No one at home really believed me when I described how I had passed the night. But then how many snorers accept that they snore?