I turn over and lie on my back. The air is a little fresh and pull the sheet up to cover me. I glance across the bed and can just make out that you are lying on your side, quietly, peacefully, asleep. In the time it takes to turn to look at you and turn my head back, the night has started its preparations to give way to the day. I close my eyes.
Yogic chants float in through the open shutters, the cadences straining through the floating white cotton. The chanting is joining the preparations. The night is ending and the day will start. The chant now doubles. Two sets of voices. A very slight delay moves the sounds between harmony and echo, a subtle sound that I am aware of but cannot catch, like listening to the ticking of two clocks.
Somewhere nearby a dog howls once. Twice. The chanting continues, calling for the sun to rise, but the dog longs for the night to remain, to keep him cool and to provide opportunities that he does not see in the daylight.
The distant chanting now mixes with a new sound. A regular rhythm. Influenced by a Carnatic muse, the ceiling fan breaches my consciousness and becomes a backdrop to the chants, and I mix, in my mind, the pulse of the fan with the rhythms and lyrics of the chants.
Engrossed in this, I am interrupted by a ‘whoop whoop’ from a tree in the garden. This hoopoe is giving the order for its fellow birds to start. A bird sings in one corner of the garden, is quickly joined by another and then a choir of eight or nine bring the ensemble up to full strength. This continues for a few minutes, the near-mic effect of the songbirds fitting in with the beat of the fan and the backdrop of chanting. Then an interloper pierces the air with a high-pitch whistle and all the external sounds stop. Just the beat of the fan.
I realise that the chanting has stopped.
I also realise that the sun is now up. The once darkened room is now a dusty cream and grey. The net over the bed moves very gently. The hanging lengths of cotton over the windows give the illusion of great light whilst the room is still in shadow. I know that the sun is up but the room will not accept it just yet.
The siren goes off. The day has won. You turn over, smile at me, close your eyes and go back to sleep. The birds recover their choir. The night retires to come again in twelve hours.