Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eat. Poop. Text.

Holla, hypothetical reader! I’ve got news more celebration worthy than Aishwarya Rai’s baby girl being born. The CA exams that I was preparing for the past one month finally got over today. The sigh of relief just got coupled with some gas being passed (courtesy: Chilli Garlic Noodles from the local Chinese van).

It was for the first time that I had a whole month to sit at home and prepare for a set of papers. And I think I am pretty hopeful about getting a decent enough result. But that’s not the point. The point is: I got a whole friggin’ month to sit at home!

If you’re one of those junior friends of mine from college, you’d probably not know how awesome it feels to get such a time to yourself after passing out from college. And, if you’re one of my batch-mates who didn’t get a placement and are still looking for a job, I’m sorry, bro. I didn’t mean it like that.

I think I’m over-estimating my audience. So yes, you little school kid who’s really excited at the beginning of the summer break, but starts hating his art/cookery/music/tennis/whatever-other-summer-hobby-class within two weeks of joining it. I think you know how crappy a month long time at home can feel like. But, things for me were different.

I had three papers to appear for, and about thirty days to prepare. Leave aside two days for Diwali, and four Sundays (when it’s hard as hell to study ‘cuz everyone’s at home, moving from one room to the other, making apparently cute but annoying conversations like an excited tellytubby), you’re left with twenty four days at hand. Eight days per subject.

The end result of the calculation seems like a pretty generous figure to the one unitiated to the course that we call CA. But if you’re one of those who has a boyfriend/girlfriend enrolled with the ICAI as a student, you know that one “I love you” in six months is any day a more generous figure. So, I naturally had to freak out.

Day Zero: Books are opened, pages counted, chapters listed down, and after five hours of concentrated hard work, a time table comes into place. You look at it with amazement and realize that all it will take for the next twenty-four days is just twelve hours of study per day for you to squeeze through the passing line. Seems like a daunting task, and you sleep like an ostrich for the next nineteen hours that day.

Day One: Your alarm wakes you up at 7 a.m. sharp, and surprisingly you don’t snooze it even once. You poop and think of giving your wang some play time. The party gets over in another seven minutes, and you stand naked in the shower like you’re being watched by exactly the number of people who went for Ra.One first day first show. It’s a shameless feeling. But you just stand there and stare into nothingness. The fact that you’ve to put in twelve hours of study time starting in the next twenty minutes remains just as undigested as the half flushed piece of crap that floats in the commode. As the water turns from hot to warm and then cold, you slowly turn off the knob and get dressed to give your books some quality time. You slowly begin to read, and as you do, you underline. You don’t care for breakfast and you don’t care for lunch. Neither do you care for your crush who happens to be texting you since morning. You make your sleeping butt move from the depressed chair cushion at six in the evening and go off to sleep for the next half an hour. Oh, correction: You try to sleep, while your brain worries about when exactly will the half an hour get over and you can finish your target for the day. Dinner is served at the study table at your request, and as the clock strikes 10, you jump up with a feeling of joy. You give yourself a mental hi-five for finally being able to pull off what you thought you couldn’t. Your phone gets your first glance of the day, and just when it is about to vibrate with the kind of happiness that you desired in your last relationship, you wish it a good night and hit the sack.

Day Two: *copy-paste Day One minus half an hour*

Day Three: *copy-paste Day Two minus an hour and a half*

Day Four: *copy-paste Day Three minus one hour of texting and talking on the phone, an hour of day time sleep, an hour of evening walk and forty minutes of scattered facebooking through the day*

Day Five and onwards: *No more subtractions, bitch. I’ve to clear my exams too!*

By the end of Day Five, you’ve learnt how to be a multi-tasker like your ‘saath wale ghar ki badi aunty’. She sits with her best friends from the neighbourhood in her back verandah throughout the day, knitting sweaters for her daughter’s new born twins, peeling oranges, cutting bhindi, discussing colony gossip, ordering the maid to cook lunch, consoling her crying grandchildren, and sipping on the nariyal pani that the non-lungi clad, non-South Indian guy comes to sell in your back lane every evening. So yes, you’ve also squeezed in time to observe her from your balcony every day, and shake your head in approval of the fact that all dadi’s born in Pakistan are the same.

Um, but I think my dadi does things more endearing than just peeling oranges and knitting sweaters with her best friends throughout the year. She gives up on all her colony ki saheliyan to come over and stay with me every few months when I go on a preparatory leave for a set of exams. She makes me tea, coffee, fruit chaat and sandwiches every few hours to ensure that I don’t have to get up from my studies for want of food while my parents are away at the office. She stares at the clock religiously to wake me up in exactly half an hour from the time that I hit the bed for my afternoon nap. She shifts the landline to another room so that none of her calls are of even the slightest disturbance to me while I’m concentrating on my books. She leaves a bottle of water at my bed side before going to sleep at night. And, she prays an extra hour in the evening just so that my exams go well. In short, she’s one of the nicest members in my family despite her repetitive stories about how one of her nanad ki devrani ki mausi ko pata nahi kaunse paise ka raub hai.

Studying is hard work, man. It’s a sedentary job. You sit for hours at a stretch and have a loving dadi who keeps getting you something healthy to munch on the whole day. Work on some cause and effect relationship here and you have an overworked man sitting on the pot for a minimum of ten minutes, ten times a day. Now that you’ve decided to be a good lover to your phone and not ignore it for a month, you try to take out whatever little time you can for it during the day. So, you take it to the loo with you every time that you make a trip. You wait for some abdominal muscles to work on making you feel lighter, while your finger muscles work on replying to messages and checking your facebook account. Ah, I almost forgot. You reply to whatsapp messages. And then wait for the single check sign to turn into a double-tick. The wait seems endless and your body refuses to leave the hollow seat it has chosen to sit on till your message gets delivered and you get a reply.

Your family slowly begins to notice your way too frequent walks to the washroom and begin to wonder what’s wrong. It leads to you being told that you won’t get to eat the dal makhni that has been cooked for dinner because it’s not good for an upset stomach. No one realizes that they upset your soul by keeping you away from your favorite dish, just because your little stomach could no longer be seen upset. Your family feeds on buttered dal while you move your tongue around in a mouthful of khichdi. Matters get worse ‘cuz you don’t feel comfortable telling anyone that you were texting and facebooking from the bathroom while they thought you were shitting away to glory. Soon, it’s not the fruit salad and crazy number of cups of coffee that lead you to your den with your phone. The ‘cause’ in the relationship changes. Your mind, saturated with concepts in accounts and auditing, slowly begins to recognize the unisex poop/cleaning room in your house as the text-room. Every time that you have to reply to a few messages, you run to the loo, take your pants down, and text away on sms, gtalk, whatsapp and facebook. You get up to see no poop, but you flush nevertheless and return to your study table. Your family thinks you’ve gone crazy and refer to the loo as your “head office”. But you’re thankful that your parents are more supportive than a friend’s mother, who would bang the bathroom door and shout, “Stop masturbating and come out.”

Slowly the fruit chaat and coffee mugs get accompanied by handfuls of dry fruit every day. And you realize that Diwali is just around the corner. You don’t care two hoots for all the guests who’ll be visiting your house and taking away your study time. You just sulk over the fact that not just all Diwali card parties, but also all your friends’ birthdays fall just a week or two before your CA exams. You politely keep refusing invitations to all parties inspite of the creatively framed convincing phrases thrown towards you like, “What fun is a party without you!” For once, it’s not the party food that you’re sad on missing. It’s the idea of missing out on meeting so many pretty girls dressed in Indian wear. You pop a kaju or two down your throat and ask your brain to suck it up for making the decision to prepare for CA.

Did I say “all your friends’ birthdays”? Great! You see how preparing for CA makes you forget about your own friggin’ birthday which mattered so much to you till last year. You reply to messages asking you about your birthday plans with “CA exams coming up, man. I’ll be partying with my books all day.” Then you’re called names like “Old man” and “Boring”, but you just have nothing more than a straight face emote to send in reply.

Go shawty! It’s your birthday! Pick up your books ‘cuz it’s your birthday!

Finally comes the birthday and you just smile like an idiot when you get a hundred messages and more than seventy of them say, “Tried rhyming a few words, dude. But sorry, couldn’t match the way you wish people a happy birthday. A very happy birthday to you. I mean it in just as special a way. :)” You laugh at how everyone writes the same thing sprinkled with a “party hard” or “may you have a rocking year ahead.” And just when you thought that it was going to be another study day, you get surprise flowers delivered to your doorsteps and a car loaded with friends drops in the evening to make you feel special. You sleep like Aurora-kissed-by-the-prince-but-still-asleep that night and wake up to a mountain pile of syllabus still to work on.

The food somehow becomes a very important part of your study leave. You switch on the TV during lunch time and all there’s worth watching is Masterchef Australia. You eat while your eyes gorge on the pretty ladies on screen making delicious looking edible porn. You realize that one of your ex girlfriends is leaving for the US in another month to be a pastry chef and you pray that she doesn’t star in Masterchef America ‘cuz that’ll just make you fall in love with her again.

While you think of more food and your new found love for Monica Dogra, some idiot whose texts and calls you’ve been avoiding with the excuse that you’re “on study leave”, will message you and enquire why you’re not studying and are seen commenting on everyone’s pictures on facebook the whole day. You choose to ignore it again under the pretext that you’re “studying”, but your mind gets into the defense mode and explains to your soul, “Dude, I’m actually studying, ok! It’s not an excuse.” You get reminded of all the jerks from college who would go: “Oh, I don’t even touch my books. I’m so shameless” whenever you would throw a “Bohot padhta hai, saale” on their face. But, if you ever tell them that they should get their ass to studying, they involuntarily reply with a: “I’m studying, ok! I’m not wasting time like you. I’m through half my course.” Suckers!

The dreaded day of the exam arrives and you find yourself sitting amidst a bunch of “dyoods” who are praying to the Shani Maharaj to send atleast one girl into the room where they’ll be writing their exam in a few minutes. A plain Jane walks in with her plaited hair and a tight t-shirt that reads “Being Human” (yeah, they’re still not over it!), which makes the dyoods jump in excitement and exclaim “Tota!” You soon realize that you’ve gotten yourself into a course meant for the underconfident and insecure. If you think you’re a plain looking girl, join CA ‘cuz you’ll get enough male attention to make you feel like Kim Kardashian at the exam centre. And if you’re a guy, study hard, bro. ‘Cuz the dyood sitting next to me remarked, “Bhai, CA bann jaao toh saale bandiyon ki line lag jaati hai.

Your exams get over and you listen to music while on your way back home. You try too hard to relate to it, but eventually give up 'cuz it's only Baby by Justin Bieber. You enjoy the beat and bob your head to the music, while people in the Metro stare at you. You enjoy the song not caring for if the whole world hates it. You enjoyed it throughout the past one month, and you enjoy it now 'cuz your exams went off better than you expected. You get back home, eat, poop, text and open your laptop. There were enough things that you wanted to write about on your blog while you were preparing for these exams over the last few weeks. But, as soon as you're done with the task of punching some keys that night, you realize that all you ended up writing is a rant.