EPISODE 4: SLEEP-WEEP
Disclaimer: So this incident, by the most benign grace of God, did not actually happen with me. But everyone was not that fortunate, and I had seen some of my closest friends having their worst nightmare come true. Hence, it had to be brought up. Stay awake, stay safe.
It’s not often that I have trouble falling asleep at night. Well, mostly because I don’t sleep at night. I wonder how ridiculously simple it used to be to go to bed on time in my school days. I used to prepare my bag at 10.30 in the night and made sure that each and every single notebook, no matter how mundane or less important that subject was, its notebook found its due place in my bag. It was followed by the ‘goodnights’ at 11, which actually were the last call for me to go to sleep, and I slept, like a baby I was, and hardly had a nightmare. Getting up was easy too, parents who owned the responsibility to pop my dozing bubble, who made sure I wasn’t reeking last day’s summer sweat, and also ensured that I didn’t have to smile close-mouthed every time someone cracked a silly joke, because of the fact that I didn’t brush my teeth: from brushing my yellows to a forced shower, they made me do it all. But just as every good thing has an expiry date, over the course of time, these habits mutilated, and I became the demon of the night. This habit of mine, the one in which I tend to become that sans self-control freak, who watches TV series at a streak (I swear the rhyme was unintentional), didn’t start all of a sudden. It was only when I explored the ultimate powers of DC- and the rest is self-explanatory.
So, as you might have guessed, I married the night. I fell in love with the dark, and the deluge of chances it had to offer: the chance of strolling to the night canteen at 12 with a bunch of hooligans, and never returning before half past three; the chance of unintentionally stumbling upon couples, who so eagerly waited for the secluded corners to be submerged in the shadows of those big old trees, and the chance of giggling like a group of eight year olds; the chance of hanging out with seniors, for no other purpose than getting some dire ‘study tips’; and if everyone was ‘actually’ sleeping, the chance of making a Guinness world record for watching TV shows for the most number of hours without blinking.
It’s not rocket science to figure out that I was the last night slogger. I had to make sure that I knew what each topic was about, at least, and I might have a chance of scraping the minimum marks off each question (in BITS, it’s often a zero). And that meant I had to gulp three cups of black coffee each night, thanks to Sam for serving them at the most affordable price. After a couple of days of practice, I had mastered the art of making it through the entire nights (yes, the all-nighter). But every player, no matter how good he is, has to witness his downfall. And to me, it couldn’t have come at a better time, than the most resentful time in a BITSian’s calendar- the compres.
It was a three unit course. My pre-compre marks suggested I was sure to flunk in it. But I had other plans. “I know I’ll nail it in the finals”, I had kept telling myself. I was fully determined. Mugged like a sincere muggu the entire day, then three cups of caffeine and off I went for the final lap. “Just three more chapters, six hours, it’s a child’s play now. Let’s relax for some time”. Within seconds, I had shifted my focus from last year’s compre paper to why Joey never shared food. Maybe because he has an extraordinarily large appetite. Maybe he likes food more than sex. Maybe because he’s a Tribbiani, and damn it they can eat. Maybe….
The next ‘maybe’ rushed through my mind when I was called by the instructor in charge of that course. After I had sent a series of emails begging him to consider for a make-up, he had eventually agreed to ‘have a talk’ with me. (You guessed it right; I had dozed off while weighing Joey’s fantasies)
“So, you say you slept while studying, huh?”
“Yes sir, I was just revising and I don’t know how, but my eyes began to feel the strain, and I thought I might get up, but just couldn’t. I can even show you the alarms I had set.”
“What say, we have a rapid fire. If you answer my questions correctly, you’ll be considered for the re-exam, sounds good?”
And then he hurled a series of questions at me, and in these situations, I don’t know how the Gods are just not willing to play it cool. They have their own sweet way of avenging; 8 out of ten of these questions were from the syllabus I had left- those three damned-to-hell chapters. For the other two, I could only mutter “Maybe because…” and a long pause ensued.
“So, Mr. Rastogi, you weren’t studying, were you?”
“I kinda’ was. I just have a bad memory, you see.”
“Then it’ll be easier for you to forget that NC written on your grade sheet”, and he had the most sinister smile. I felt my forehead and the beads of sweat running down my brow: it was marvelously damp;
“Wake up, you (insert your favorite swear word)! It is 15 minutes before the exam. Geez, you slept well. You’re all wet”, he chuckled in oblivion, for he didn’t know what I had just been through. My friend, the holy lite, the incarnation of Vishnu, the gawd-like savior, just demolished my slumber at the right time, and I did write that exam, and I avoided an E; let’s leave it to that.