Sweet Dreams

Man, I miss the old days of nursery and day care where part of your day was just curling up for a nap.

I’m at work right now and tired out by stuff I’ve been doing since morning. Of course I’m too self conscious to sleep. It’s not something you do at work.

But imagine if sleeping was in fact a part of your workday. Some new-fangled study claiming that it boosts productivity and miraculously, ensures bug-free code (nothing ever ensures bug-free code).

This would be the next big thing in quotidian work lives.

Now, people fuss over their hair and clothing, cuff links and ties, formal leather shoes and a neat haircut.

Authoritarian look, good language, a firm handshake. Sharp briefcase. All the things we focus on because we’re allowed them at work.

Clean wallpapers, work-filled laptops.

Now bring sleep into the foray.

Imagine IKEA rolling out its latest collection of chic yet work-friendly pillows. Pillow cases and pillow stands for people with their own office rooms. Foldable pillows that fit into your briefcase. The artist’s work-pillow. The boss’s work pillow. The intern’s work pillow.

The big question to be asking a successful CEO in a ‘look into the life of’ interview: what sort of pillow do you prefer?

How does the sort of pillow you carry affect your job interview? GQ articles on the most subtle yet effective pillows to bring to the workplace.

Adverts showing approving colleagues watching the smartest pillow-carrier sleep:

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they while on Impressionist Pillows©™ slept
Were toiling upwards all the while

Impressionist Pillows: Making marks… even in your dreams!

Of course this is going to be more about the pillows than the sleep itself, or atleast until Memory Foam decides to enter the scenario.

It probably won’t happen, but oh well. I can dream. And get back to work.

Off.

It’s that rare sort of day

When the sky’s 67% blue

More than a wisp of light in the sky

And winds raging at 32

We call it good weather these days, folks:

Don’t settle for less!

Lower your expectations,

And today’s been the best!

But I digress; the sun’s out, it’s so quiet

And calm and maybe even a hint warm

And of course, I also have a truckload 

Of studies taking me by storm

A quiet place, headphones, 

Math textbook, lots of light 

And a booster dose of motivation’s all I 

Need in my life

So of course I picked today

To be feeling extra sleep deprived

Of course today I feel obliged 

To run away from all my responsibilities in life

And so with my nose stuck in the air

With lots of work and none a care

I do hereby out loud declare:

Goodbye suckers, I’m off to bed. 

Philosopher’s Look

12 AM math be like

I have a soundtrack

That keeps track

Of how far I’ve gotten

And a playlist scroll

To tell me how much further I have to go

And its meant to be stimulating

And to pick my mind

Till I can search its depth and find

The answers I need

Visualise my graphs and proceed

Get ahead with calculus homework

All courtesy of the good professor

And it ends up being

A soundtrack of white noise

Sleep’s rejoice

As it conquers this no-resistance city

And so if you see me

Hunching backwards

Eyes skyward

With a deep, blank stare,

Stop admiring my philosopher’s look

And know that I’m not there.

Hi, thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading, and at this hour too! Wish I had a coffee to offer you. How’s a greeting instead?

May the snow melt before it falls on your head.

Or maybe,

Sunnier days are ahead!

Or perhaps something I wish people wished me more often,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

I’m sticking with the last one.

This poem wasn’t so much a poem as me awakening at 2:15 AM to a math video for school playing in my ear. It was more of a ramble that accidentally ended up almost rhyming.

And that’s the story. So I’ll let you have your promised greeting now,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

Haze

Staying up late at night to study has its own merits and demirits. I do some work, my mind wanders, poetry happens. Often.

I don’t always want to reach for my phone at 1 in the morning, it really messes up my rhythm.

So this is my new outlet.

I’m doing poetry on paper napkins! I could go all poetic about how fragile they are and everything, but you know the real story behind it; I’m just lazy.

I’m not sure how legible my handwriting is, it also happens to be my 2-AM-attempt-at-being-neat, so while it’s an aesthetic (I guess? That’s my alibi, after all!), I’m still going to transcribe it, for readability.

(Let me know if the Earth has launched out of our solar system and it’s actually readable enough for me to not need to transcribe it!)

So here goes nothing.

Einstein was right
Yes, time is relative
It’s relative, to space and sound
And all the people you’re around
Silence echoes louder than sound
Perhaps it does to some
For me, the white noise of my own thoughts
Begs sound’s intervention
Break through my inertia
Set me free
Take the place of disturbance
At once growling and motherly
For 9 PM and 3 AM
Are now the same to me
Bind me to my looming,
Growing responsibilities
Free me, speak in my mind
How screwed an I if I disagree?
Coerce me, coax me
But get me through the shitstorm
I’m singleminded in the wrong ways
Steely resolve to absurdity
Break down my statue
A memorial to eternity
And then know that you’re free
To haunt my whisking dreams.

(Just a note, that’s my math textbook in the background. I’m truly sorry.)

Complex Lullabies

Looking back on school makes you wonder how many of the things they’d told you  about it were really true. It seems to me like a lot of times, myths seem to get away with their trashtalk just because in between hearing them and living your school life out, you don’t really get much time to think about them. (No, the time you spent whining about them doesn’t count.) You hear them, get busy living a completely different life, and then realise one day well past graduation that certain high school stereotypes were, well, unproven myths.

Heck, either that, or I was just a science student. That’s my one label to hide behind and blame for everything including something as trivial and unsuspecting as “My tea tastes poisoned” (long story for a day you’re up for some physics).

I digress here, but chemistry is all about the exceptions. Us failed chemical sugar bombs are no exception [or wait… would that then be ‘we are exceptions’?  Aargh, language conventions! Don’t tell my English teacher. I bribe you with a picture of the structure of meth.

Image result for structure of Methamphetamine
C10H15N

Us science kids were sort of exceptions to the high school stereotype. You thought the nerds, the jocks, the queens and the means were what you’d find in a typical grade 12 classroom? You’re wrong—we only have zombie versions of these.

 

The only stereotype that did fit us well was the absentee one. On the plus side, an empty class is a quiet one (well, relatively). On the flip side, it kind of defeated the purpose of school and had me carrying a 300-page Iron Man survey notebook for nothing… but apart from the last bit, those were teachers’ opinions, what zombie am I to judge?
PS: We didn’t have absentees though. Only zombie-absentees. We’ll let them loose on the city this Halloween… by which time, the first semester of college would have kicked in and they’ll be powerful zombies in the truest sense. Get out your cameras, filmmakers! The Rise And Pillowfall Of The Zombies will be premiering live (how ironic) this fall. Coming to a school near you. Mwahahahahahahaa!
Spoiler: This is the climax of the movie.

But yep, one high school legend that’s a truth is that high school will turn you into a sleepwalking insomniac. (Yes, that is a thing.)
I don’t know if it’s possible to catch up on four years’ worth of sleep, but my little sister, only just beginning high school, is already showing insomniac tendencies. It’s going to be a long four years.
[In other news, I am absolutely shattered that insomniacal is not a word. What happened to building a varied and diverse dictionary? They really are squeezing multiple meanings (as a noun and as an adjective) out of a single word… it’s ‘1984’ all over again!]

Anyway, I was talking to her about her math last night. She’d spent a few hours on some last-minute English homework she’d remembered. No one remembers English homework until it’s real late. It’s 1 AM. She’s due up at 6. But she’s a school-zombie. Not a very graduated one, I’ll grant her that; 3 AM was my timezone, and 2 AM was thermodynamics’, but she’s owning 1 too. On a random whim, I tell her what math lies in store for her. Circles, proofs, volumes, ‘angles in semicircles are always right’ (by which I meant 90° of course, not correct. But if you’d rather try that reasoning in your proof, I won’t stop you. It’s your bragging rights.), complex numbers, the redefinition of the ‘imaginary’.

“Mmmhm.”

I began to tell her about the trigonometry that followed up in two years, a personal favourite of every emotionally shattered high school kid… second only to calculus.  I started talking about the fifty or so formulae you’d be buffeted by in nothing but your underwear. There also really are fifty, I kid you not.

The next scene is straight out of the Saturday morning cartoons, but I hear a snot-filled snore. Our neo-high school zombie-borderline insomniac is asleep in a record five minutes.

Hey, it could be the English homework or the weird human thing you date for all your student life called ‘exhaustion’, but I’m selfish, so I’ll pawn off all the credit.

Following that, out of sheer perverse habit like the true student-zombie I’ve become, I sat in torchlight and drafted this post till 2.

12

Some walls were built
Just to be melted
Some blood spilled
For some extra colour
Some holes faded
To make way for new ones
In the end, you’re jaded
Like you never were
Some lights dimmed
For an added perspective
Polished and trimmed
Unfinished product
Add preservative
Formalin
Tentative
Keeps you up till three
Miss your finest moment
You’re half asleep
How far can your mind bend
Promises aren’t to keep
You smell like varnish
Or something worse
And can you furnish
Something concrete
Can you remember
And can you forget
Did your ember
Set off alarms again?
Can you waste today
When you have no tomorrows
Search for hay
In the needlestack?
Are you there
Or has your mind gone blank
Or do you care
To go back to bed
Fulfilment
Is just an illusion
Did you know you were lent
Your misery?
Are you there
Or has your mind gone blank
And do you care
To head straight back to bed?
Hit the brew
You’ve got a new best friend
All a sinking ship’s crew
The parrot flew away.

Sleepslave: Like A Sponge

People always say, go explore, but remember your roots, carry your culture.

Don’t lose your values.

I think I don’t want to lose my ‘u’s– there’s a British English stickler for you!

Another thing I don’t want to lose, whose loss I am currently lamenting, is my sleep… Unfortunately, whenever I try to binge-sleep, something comes up.

There was a day I decided I could afford to sleep in. No alarms, no internal reminders (which, trust me, work like a charm. If it’s in the back of your head that you’d need to get up at six the next morning, your body will inevitably wake you up at a time alarmingly close to what you’d wanted… If you go back to sleep though, it absolves all responsibility!
This has worked for me for a 3 AM shift too, so I can vouch for it! Except perhaps when I’m dead tired.)

But that particular morning, I decided I’d sleep till 10, at least.

8:30 AM

There’s a knock on my door. (It actually works to wake me up, so mum’s never had to drag me out of bed. My sister’s another story, though.)

I ignore it, after all, I’m sleeping in, remember?

It is mum. She comes over and shakes my shoulder. I’m already on my way back to sleep by now.

“Listen up,”

Listening, but I’ll process later. Mmm, good night, sweet dreams, please don’t draw the curtains.

I magically go into vampire-mode at night. I’ll grunt at a single LED if  you keep it before me in the dark! Yes, I’ve bumped around many times. I’ll learn, I guess.
I’ll learn to navigate in the dark better.

“Your school phoned asking about you.”

Mmm.

Mm― wait, what?
I processed that too quickly for my own good health.

School phoned? Why?

Why did you have to tell me this when I’m trying to stay asleep??

“I just thought you should know before I forget. Anyway, I’m leaving, you can sleep if you want.”

If black, sleepy eyes can look evil, they sure as hell are in this instant.

‘I can’ isn’t a choice anymore. ‘Can I?’ is the question.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.

I’ve had a very similar morning, with the exact same explanation and proceedings, the only difference being in one part:

“Listen up,”

Mmmm. D’you mind, I don’t like the light.

“You need to complete your math test and submit it today. Just thought I’d remind you, I’m leaving, don’t stay in bed after 11.”

Or, “You’ll need to pick up your report card from school this afternoon.”

(falls on the floor and remains there)

Some people have trouble absorbing calcium into their body. They’d understand what I go through.

Somehow, no matter how long I try to sleep, I just can’t assimilate it into my body!

It’s like the night before an exam, when you’re picking up a new and easy (read: neglected) topic, but the next morning, it’s been wiped. They say kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing.

I’d agree with the first half: just a small squeeze, and they lose it all, no retention!

What would you like to retain with you if you went globe trotting?

Sherlock’s On Holiday

“Such a thing is sleep
It never comes cheap
Always such a price
To cut you off from paradise
Roll of a dice,
A game of chance
Unto the REM stage to advance
Ah, sleep, such a dilemma is thee
The loser’s always me:
I lose sleep or chemistry/history.”

This is actually my sister’s life story. In fact, she’s asleep as I write this, after spending all morning that we were out for my design test, complaining about how we were wasting her time bringing her out with us, time she could’ve slept and then studied.
Oh well.

In other news, today’s been an eventful day. The design test I mentioned wasn’t too bad, I didn’t study for it. (I signed up for it back when I was considering taking up design, but then I had a sudden change of heart and am going for computer science. I still decided to give it, just for fun.)
On the way back, we passed a domino-accident. It was on the highway, there was a row of cars on the opposite side with both bonnets and dickeys smashed in… chain accident. One car must’ve stopped, and before the one behind it could slow down, it rammed into it’s predecessor with some force, and this continued for–guess–six cars.
I’d go with my mum’s theory for this one: when you’re living in the big, clustered cities, you’re definitely not used to speed. Take to the free, open highways,and you just do not know what to do with it. Result? Bam!
There was a ton of traffic as many folks decided to stop and look on, or worse, record the whole thing. It was as clustered as it could get! I don’t know if anybody decided to call in authorities: half a kilometer after the scene, we saw some cops in their van just gazing out, most likely blissfully unaware. They were two drive lanes away, but looking back, we probably shoulda told them… however we could.
It was sad though, because that expressway is very well known for frequent accidents, probably all avoidable. I don’t have pictures, because we decided not to stop—knowing that lane’s notoriety, my first thought was, let’s first get out of here! I’d only just seen a video of a crash in Cali when people on the road were too busy gazing up at the SpaceX launch…

We’ll probably read of it in tomorrow’s news, and in all likelihood, no one will be too surprised.


Just saw something weird. There was a man on a scooter waiting for someone, and this stray dog in our neighbourhood goes crazy. It’s usually a bit over-excited (remember this? Same dog.), but today, its tail was wagging that extra furiously, and it kept barking incessantly, not right at the man, but above and around him; everywhere.
I figured, heh, regular day in the life. It and its accomplice, a dog that seems to have once been a lot more civilised than this one, but has his friend rubbing off on him (assuming it’s a him), usually bark in harmony, a 45-minute symphony. I don’t know if they’re aware of their listening demographic, but just to be safe and modest and not sing before a very large crowd, they often perform at 2. AM.
So I figured, nothing new here.

But as soon as the woman arrived and the two left, the dogs stopped barking. That’s it. Silence. And then they started sniffing around on the ground, just where the scooter was.

I was pretty intrigued now. This was looking exactly like those movies where some fishy, suspicious-looking crook comes in to carry out his task, and a olfactorily-functioning dog would take one sniff and start barking at the goon.
This guy did nothing but sit on his bike and ignore the dogs, but what if. What just if. Where’s Sherlock?

And I have no idea why I’m doing this right now when I have an application to submit. Tonight. 7 hours to go!

 

A Midnight’s Dilemma

To write or not to write- that is half a question
To go over in the mind asleep;
Slings and arrows of wakefulness
To surface from its sea to consciousness
Or suppress them, end them. To sleep, to sleep–
No more– and by a sleep to say release
Let go of a thousand and more thoughts
That the mind is heir to- ‘tis euphoria
Devoutly to be wished. To sleep, to sleep–
To sleep, perchance till twelve. Ay, there’s the rub,
Of an eye, for ‘til the fresh rays come,
The thought has left this mortal coil.
This gives us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long and dark a night.
For who would bear the glares and ticks of time,
The spacing out, the offended glares,
The pangs of a body hungering for sleep, and its arrival’s delay
The sleep deprivations and the spins
This patient merit of th’ body takes
When he himself his bed made,
With bare hands? Who would fardels bear,
To fumble in the dark, for the light switch
But the dread of losing that thought,
It’s departure to new-found lands
From where it never returns, puzzles the will
And makes us pick those quills we have
And have them fly over flapping sheets
Thus does the clock above make fools of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
To shut the eyes tight, and ward off all thought
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of another thought
But enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard, their currents hasten
But sleep must lose the name of action– Sleep-deprived you now!
The fair inkiness! Black, In thy testament
Be all my sins remember’d.

 

P.S. as you can probably guess, it’s that time of the year again.

Test time.

The Madness Continues

It’s that time of the year again.
Bring on the pounding drums, the drama, the dark circles, the late nights, light heads, manic laughter.
Bring on anxiousness and double checks.
I’m a twelfth grader, and a science student at that.
And no, I’m not talking about my exams.
The time it is, for my little sister’s half-yearlies.
And our house is losing it.

Neither of my parents have been very big on history. I’ve always kinda liked it, and they’ve always looked at me like I was insane.
I’ve been urging them to apply for posts as history professors now.

See, my sister is one of those people who belongs on the face of a meme.
She so chill.
She don’t care.
Be like her.

When her exams come rolling by, which thankfully isn’t as often as mine do, our entire house loses it.
And it’s a funny sight.

There’s my mother sitting with five books open before her, my dad making notes for her from work, or on a weekend, pouring over maps and battles of old, memorizing names of rulers and dictators and dates and dates like they’ve never been on, placing bets on which questions seem important and will most definitely be asked, sitting with pencils in hand and underlining as they read a history textbook; I don’t believe they bond more than they do over a geography book these days, discussing battles and climatic zones, and wildlife and Constitutions, rights and duties, and there, sitting beside them (hopefully), yawning and stretching out in a corner, purely there for moral support, is my little sister.
Every once in a while, she helpfully glances over at her textbook to add a little excitement to their study sessions, you’d see my mum shuffling back and forth between studying teaching my sister and feeding her because she can’t dirty her hands as she studies, and you’d see the little party at 11:30 in the night, my sister sitting as calm as a still lake while my parents prepare for their test the next day… wait, I meant her test!

My dad has reported having had dreams of historic battles.
My mum’s had the classic exam bell ringing dream before my sister’s papers.

When she brings back her test scores, they feel like they’ve just finished their own exam week.
I swear I’m not making this up, they hold hands, heave a sigh of relief and cry out, thank goodness!
The hardships are over with! We can finally sleep!
(And there’s me laughing my head off in the background: hey, I’m the twelfth grader here!)

My parents have an arsenal of knowledge now, they pretty much know the timeline from the B.C.’s to today.
I’m sure mum would be embarrassed and would give me the look for posting this one, but I can’t help it, it’s hilarious!

It’s like the Muse song went, “Is it just Madness keeping us afloat?”