Since time immemorial, we in India are used to waking up early at the crack of dawn. A junction in time between night and day break. A time when darkness has not completely gone and sun has not yet risen. Many considered this time when nature is changing guards, to be ideal for meditation. Even today, many people take bath at dawn, worship rising sun and start daily chores.
I was never an early riser. During my school and college days I was forced to wake up early as a victim of circumstance. I spent six years of high school days in a residential school. As per hostel discipline, we all were forced to wake up at five in the morning. Go for prayer and then participate in physical exercise. Most of us did not like getting up early. There was no respite during vacations, either. My uncle would forcibly eject me and my cousins from bed sharp at five in the morning and make us go for morning walks. Routine was enforced irrespective of summer or winter season.
During college days, many a time I would stay up late to study, mull over future plans, and job opportunities. So waking up early was out of question. Some mornings, I had to go and stand in a queue to fetch our quota of two milk bottles from Mother Dairy. I never enjoyed the chore, more so in winter months.
I joined work force in mid nineties. India had undergone a lot of change by this time. Instead of public transport, many of us were driving to work. Cities were being redesigned. Many places were dug up. Commuting used to be a nightmare. Many had to work long hours and odd hours. I would bring work home. I would sleep late and wake up late, thinking of meeting deadline at office. Hurriedly eat breakfast and begin commute to work to be at office on time. There was never much time to enjoy morning.
With time sedentary lifestyle, combined wth work pressure, lack of exercise and unhealthy food habit made body prone to lifestyle related ailments. The importance of age old practice of rising early, doing physical activity, participating in yoga and mediation dawned upon me.
I decided to work from home. Fortunately, I could buy an apartment in a corner plot next to a green belt. I wake up listening to chirping of birds at the crack of dawn. After a brief, but regular, meditation, I sit on an easy chair and watch the morning arrive. Bright yellow sun light envelops everything. A new day is beginning. FM radio plays devotional songs in the background. Some days, I play my own collection of Anup Jalota or Rabindra Sangeet.
Birds fly into my balcony take a beak full of bird feed, drink a little water and fly away. One by one, my daughter, wife and sister go out to attend their business. My daughter goes to school. My wife to teach in the university. And, my sister to her office. I sit and read my news paper. Actually, two of them with my feet on a table, eating my breakfast leisurely.
Door bell rings at regular interval. First the rubbish collector, then local vegetable vendor, then lady who irons our clothe and finally the milk man. They come and go. Once in a while the person who looks after our garden also walks in the morning. I open doors for them, do a little chit chat and move on.
I open my computer to do some work. My work style has changed, but my mind has remained the same. It takes time for mind to focus. But I have the advantage of having plenty of time. Gradually, morning turns into noon. Birds fly in again into our balcony. Some for feed, some for water, some for a little dip. A few others simply sit and watch cautiously.
I have realised the importance of morning. Not only one can catch up with pending work, one can catch some exercise before the daily grind starts.. Like a good opening batsman builds the foundation of a good innings, a good morning start builds foundation of a productive day.