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So I've Been Sleeping With Jeff Bridges

The author's affair with Jeff Bridges of 'The Big Lebowski' fame is something her husband is pretty annoyed about.

‘No, not tonight darling. I need to sleep with Jeff Bridges,’ I said to my husband before I turned to my phone and pressed play. Then I heard a noise. A husband’s grunt speaks a thousand words; there would be no room in this bed for Jeff tonight. The affair began on the 2nd of February, the Monday after the Superbowl when I typically sit down with my cup of overpriced coffee and stream the ads. Don’t judge me; I know you read Twilight. There he was, the Dude from The Big Lebowski and an Oscar winning actor chanting someone to sleep with the help of a Tibetan bowl, albeit holding the handle the wrong way or so said hundreds of trolls below the ad. It didn’t matter; he had me at ‘Om’. This is the man who rocked Barbara Streisand to sleep after all. The ad ends with the following URL: dreamingwithjeff.com.  

There’s almost nothing like a great story, is there? Dreamingwithjeff.com is where you can download the Sleeping Tapes, an album by Jeff Bridges, where he promises to lull you into slumber and take you on wonderful nighttime adventures. It’s also a brilliant ad for Squarespace, a website designing platform. The takeaway is that anyone can build a stunning website, even an old dude like Bridges. It’s the ultimate gimmick for the ultimate sucker. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) at its most groovy, the tape is aimed at insomniacs and geeks alike. I am the latter since I have been blessed with the ability to konk off the instant I close my eyes; it’s a gift. But there is one place where sleep always eludes me.

You see, I migrate south every six weeks to the Nilgiri wilderness where I often lie awake when the light goes off, usually at 9 pm because we can’t do much in the middle of nowhere apart from watch ArnabGoswami shout while the second glass of wine gets poured, or maybe the third. I could be exhausted but my eyes stare at the ceiling as I wait for elephants to come knocking at my window at 10 pm. They’re very prompt, if they feel like showing up, that is. Usually I’m left, much like a nervous mistress, listening for rustles. But with Jeff Bridges, I knew I’d be sleeping like a baby in no time. Yes, I get the irony of listening to artificial nature to drown out nature, thank you very much. Again, you read Twilight. Only the dastardly Internet conked off and I hadn’t downloaded the album, had I? So I was resigned to listening to langurs throwing the seeds of Jamun fruit at my window. Oh Romeo, Oh Romeo!

Back in Mumbai, I fluff the pillow, climb into bed, rub my hands in glee and put on my earphones. I didn’t get to sleep instantly, but I floated away into moonlit nights, whistles, and the complete randomness of his deep voice. I think there was a raccoon somewhere there. The sounds of the honking buses were drowned out by the laughter of children. I passed out. And nothing. None of the dreams that were promised fructified, and I am a vivid dreamer. This wasn’t working. So I went on the defensive. I would not sleep. So I lay awake on the third night, alert and ready to take it in. I took off the earphones and forced it on the hubby. ‘Turn the bloody thing off!’ Some parts of it are haunting like the one with The Raven, others are kooky, especially the story of The Hen and his plastic eggs. In Ikea, he talks about storing his remains in a satellite so that his body can forever loop around the planet and flash whenever it passes over a memorable location, like a bar or an Ikea. I grin. 

There’s no sleep here, I think. I lay there with a smile plastered on my face; I feel my eyes flicker under my lids, like in the movies. I am above, looking below and realizing that I don’t look the way Nicole Kidman does when she sleeps. That makes me sad for a bit. My favorite has to be the longest recording, Temescal Canyon, where we meet someone called Jim or Neil, or is it Jim, Jeff asks. Jeff also tells me he enjoys waving and goes off to talk to a dog. By this time I must be asleep because I’m watching the Northern Lights with Kevin Spacey or rather, Francis Underwood, when Jeff – he’s Jeff to me by now, brings me a chair to sit on so that I can watch the flickering neon waves in comfort. He then heads off to talk to a dog or a tree, or both.  As gimmicks go, this is brilliant; I want a Squarespace website. Perhaps I will take a recording mike a la Bridges and tiptoe into my garden to catch the barking deer, the peony eating devils, and the odd woodpecker. The proceeds go to charity but you can download the album for free if you like. I still haven’t managed to make it to the end but I think I’ll be saving this for when I fly south again. It’s perfect to bury that awful drone of airplane engines and of course, the rustles at the estate. But this time I have downloaded the album, you sneaky monkeys.  


Sleeping Tapes can be downloaded for free at dreamingwithjeff.com. 

Reshma Krishnan Barshikar

Reshma Krishnan Barshikar is an erstwhile investment banker who, one fine day, fell down the rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle. She is now a novelist and freelance travel writer, and contributes regularly to the National Geographic Traveller, The New Indian Express and The Hindu has been published in SilverKris and the Harper’s Bazaar. She is also co-founder of the literary blog, The Caterpillar Café. Reshma divides her time between Mumbai and the Nilgiris. Her debut novel, Fade Into Red, was published by Vintage Books, Random House India in July 2014.