Kumbhakarna was a rakshasa (or asur) and a brother of Ravana, the asur-samrat (demon king) of Lanka, in the Indian epic Ramayana. He was practically a giant and is known for being a perennial sleeper. He used to sleep for 6 months straight and was awake for the rest of the year, during which period, he ate anything and everything he could get his hands on! When his help was required in the epic war between Ravana and Rama, the asuras found it very difficult to wake him up in the middle of his 6-month-long nap! No amount of noise or prodding or poking worked! It was only after a thousand elephants had walked over him that Kumbhakarna finally awoke from his deep slumber!
So why am I suddenly blogging about Kumbhakarna and his famous sleep?
Shilpa Garg recently blogged about how her son, Aaryan, gave them all a minor heart attack when they left him alone at house and he fell so fast asleep that they had to eventually break into their own apartment! That reminded me of this incident with my sister... I originally shared it as a comment on Shilpa's post, but then decided that my own blog readers might also enjoy reading it. So sharing it here as well...
My sister has also locked us all out of the house once in this fashion, though she was much older than Aaryan... she was probably around 15 at that time. She fell asleep on some new pillows that we'd bought a day before (they were extremely comfy)... and simply wouldn't respond to the doorbell. We didn't even have a landline at our place that time! Not that it would have made any difference in the situation, 'coz she has a long history of sleeping like a log (Read: 'like Kumbhakarna'!)... blissfully unaware of everything around her! (Here's one of her many pics taken while she was sleeping...)
Anyway, after what seemed like an eternity of ringing the doorbell, banging on the door, and calling her name, we were thinking we might have to camp out in our staircase for the night! Then, luckily for us, a neighbor's servant somehow managed to climb up into our 1st floor balcony, and once there, he was able to let us all into the balcony through the back door of our house. (There were 2 doors in that house.) But even then, we were still technically locked out, 'coz the door from the balcony into the rooms was also locked from the inside, and it wouldn't break open! We could only push the bottom corner of the door ever so little, to make a gap through which we could see her fast asleep, surrounded by those new pillows! She was barely 6 feet away from us, and still couldn't hear us shouting to her, even when we did it in chorus! Such was her 'Kumbhakarni Sleep'!
Then someone got hold of a long bamboo/cane rod from somewhere and we pushed it through that gap in the door to poke at her feet, which were closest. When she finally woke up, she had that bewildered look on her face, as if we all had gone crazy or something! In fact, it took us another minute-or-so of shouting, to make her realize that she needed to get up & open the door for us! (She was apparently trying to figure out what role was that bamboo rod supposed to play in her dream!) Oh and the best part was that once we were all inside the house, she actually had the nerve to tell us that she wasn't really asleep... that she'd just "closed her eyes for one moment!"
What can I say... at least we didn't need to bring elephants in, to wake her up!
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