For all who are familiar with us, are also familiar with our evening routine, so much so, that if neighbours decided to send over some goodies or a dish over, they know that like clockwork, the gate would get locked and the outside light will be switched off at sharp 8 pm.
This is following a sharp tug at a brass bell hanging on the balustrade, indicating the dinner time. A brief pause follows during which the gate exercise is commuted and another more strident peal rings about the house. It wakes up the resting muscles in the various rooms when the kids were around and me, who would troop down to the dining table for the daily family meal. These days it is for me to make my move down the stairs to imbibe in the two chappatis with its side dish. Five minutes later, meal completed, the familiar plastic box of pharmaceuticals are slid over the glass table for my medication, necessitated after my angioplasty.
This begins my first duty of the night. I encourage my black four legged friend to take his place on his bed, where he is tucked in for the night after some nuzzling and a chest rub. He is restrained by a extended chain and knows the routine. Jaya meanwhile has proceeded to the bedroom with a bottle of water and a plate with the fruit, more often than not — a banana, and a peeled cucumber or two, depending on the size. The cucumber I have found has been very helpful in stopping my heartburn, which has woken me up on occasion.
Meanwhile, I put out a bowl of water for KKTP (see blog), put the lights out, lock the main door and proceed up the stairs, briefly stopping to put out the two way switch on the stairs. We settle down on the respective location for the evening episodes of the series currently in favour, me on the recliner and she on her side of the bed. At a quarter two ten, the relaxing body posture and the drooping eyes is an indication that she is done, the lights go off and she fades off to sleep.
Now, I swiftly put into motion the various steps for my comfort. The bedroom door is left ajar for better WiFi signal, the Bluetooth headphones are connected to the TV which has been ‘muted’, and I push back the recliner for another hour and half of a thrilling period drama or a whodunit or whatever is my current fancy. At about 11.30 pm, as my eyelids get heavy, I relieve myself and prepare for a good nights sleep. As my duvet is opened up, I do a final check on the curtains which tends to part in the morning shining the sunlight right on my face, I tuck in my feet and sink gratefully on the bed and rest my head on the thin pillow doubled up under my neck for better support.
The breathing just about hits a slow pace and my body is trying to find a comfortable pose, when the first howls pierce the quiet of the night. The street outside is a dead end, but invariable the dozen dogs of the street would find that opportune moment to pick a bone with the three dogs that patrol my street. As they are outnumbered, the resort to the time held defence of counter barking. Three pups that don’t dare to enter the street during the daytime, decides to join the fun and make it their territory. My next door under construction building is a safe zone for their escape and the first floor vantage point overlooks the street corner for a counter bark. But this location is right outside my window and despite my best attempts at drowning out the noise, it refuses to die down. The presence of a singular female among the bunch is not making matters any easy specially during mating season.
I search for my glasses in the dark and in the light of the cellphone, make my way to the corridor, open the door to the verandah only to encounter the magnetically attached mosquito frame that makes a noise while opening it. I try my best to keep the noise low and reach for the plate containing small stones for such an emergency. I aim at a spot that would make a noise, like a gate or so, and disperse the crowd in different direction. Smug, I stay a while longer to see any stragglers off and go back to bed.
Only to be woken up at 3.15 am (+/- 10 minutes) with a howling dog running around waking up all his buddies. This sets off a chain reaction from various locations, the next street, the park and the next door building. This time I wake up and move fast to prevent it from getting too long and make it to the verandah as I have kept the mesh door open for exactly this purpose.
Some nights I just try to shoo the dogs away from my window but have succeeded only in waking up the missus or bringing the curtains down with the rod and attempts to fix it back in the night has only brought me ‘killer looks’ from a certain individual on the other side of the bed. One night on the way to the corridor, my swift moves caught the water bottle by the neck and I spent the next 15 minutes, mopping the floor as quiet as possible in the dim light of the street.
My adventures aside, I go to sleep at last, only to be woken up the alarm bell going off at 4.30 am for the missus to start her day. I shut my eyes even tighter and get a few hours in before I feel the familiar warm breath of KKTP on the chair beside me encouraging me with pitiful eyes at around 7.30 am for his morning walk.
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