Three forty-five am.
That’s when I wake up, every day. When I do not, five minutes later the alarm on my iPhone nudges me awake anyway. But that rarely happens now as most of the time I am awake before the alarm rings.
After nine months of waking up at this time, it’s now my habit. Doesn’t matter if I had slept late last night, doesn’t matter if there had been a party and I am waking up with a hangover, doesn’t matter if it is cold and the bed is enticingly warm, and sleep’s warm fingers are pulling down my eyelids with the sweet promise of a honeyed sleep — doesn’t matter anything, I drag myself out of the bed. Period. Getting up at this pre-dawn hour is now my second nature. It is as good as a religious practice to me.
After I skip the day’s alarm I don’t look at my phone for a second more. For I know how innocuous looking at the notifications can seem at first; and ‘just spending five minutes’ of browsing on Instagram can end up butchering one full hour. So I put the phone on focus mode (I can’t ditch the phone; it has a role to play) and step into my study.
There, I switch on the lamp, turn on the laptop (my editor application is already there) put the Pomodoro timer app on my phone, and start typing my morning page.
For the next thirty minutes, I write. It is a free writing exercise and I don’t judge what I write. Right now, the only criteria to write is whatever vivid that comes to my mind.
At first, the words are all flimflam but soon an image pops, a sentence sticks, and what at first had seemed as an exercise in word-jumbling now transforms into an exhilarating ride in image-making.
Sometimes I could be describing the last night’s dream, sometimes an idea that I had been thinking about a few days ago and had forgotten, and sometimes a completely new idea, its newness takes even me by surprise.
When the Pomodoro timer chimes, I stop. Even if I am deep into writing. It is important as this way I prioritise consistency over content. This way I don’t disappoint my mind on days when I have nothing to write. I…