My Tryst with Illness

December 4, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I | 10 Comments
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I have been doing a lot of serious thinking lately. Most unusual, but when you’re confined to bed with a nasty sickness and a headache that threatens to match the effects of listening to Justin Timberlake twenty times in a row, it’s all you can do, besides counting flowers on the wallpaper. It is curious that in times of ill-health, the brain will merrily turn off the usual routine: appetite is the first to go, then talk and then sleep.

The first hurdle doesn’t pose too much of an inconvenience, but the other two do. Talking and sleeping, as everybody knows, are the two most important things in the world. And being the kind of person whose personal philosophy is ‘I talk, therefore I am’, I, more than any other could fully appreciate the agony of swallowing that disgusting bowl of oats without uttering a word. It seemed my voice had turned rather like one of those foul gooey medicines I’ve been prescribed by my physician, whose mission in life seems to force down as much medicine as he can down his patients’ throats.

Now, sleep. When i had done everything i could to ward of insomnia to no avail, I decided it was time for drastic measures. These drastic measures, I decided, were to be in the form of  ‘Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul‘ an atrociously mind-numbing book which had been gathering dust on my shelf for the past three years.

I open the book at a random page and start reading…

It wasn’t surprising that before long I was positively giddy about him. My friends told me I had no chance with a junior. My sister looked concerned for my potentially broken heart. But you can’t help who it is that you fall in love with, whether they are older or younger, taller or shorter, completely opposite or just like you. Emotion ran me over like a Mack truck when I was with him, and I knew that it was too late to try to be sensible. I was in love.

If that doesn’t make you fall asleep within five minutes, I doubt anything will.

Anyway, this ingenious discovery of a cure for insomnia notwithstanding, it would be wrong to assume that sleep was of help. If only the problems of the world could be solved by sleeping! I would definitely bag the Nobel Prize for Sleeping in that case. But I digress.

As I was ill, I wasn’t allowed to sit at the computer or watch TV or read, for fear of these activities putting a ‘strain’ on me, as the doctor put it. I would have told him that the only activity that is capable of putting a strain on me is listening to  Rihanna singing ‘Hate That I Love You’, but thought better of it.

One of the worst things about illness is the ever-present sense of idleness and exhaustion, co-existing simultaneously. Everything seems oppressive, and even the sight of fluffy teddy-bears seems annoying (at least to me). That’s when it begins to operate on psychological level. In an effort to drag my brain from the depths of despair, I hit upon a more brilliant solution. I raided my wardrobe and came up with the most disgustingly lurid clothes I could find. A bright-pink top that I loathe (I never wear pink) would do the trick, I thought. I know, stupid theory, but pink, whatever its faults, screams cheerful. And it worked, almost, my spirits had raised a notch somewhat.

I was down with viral fever, which went away within three days, but the Universe, not content with having its sinister plan executed in this manner, decided to add the finishing touches as well. General weakness prevailed, and I was convinced that it would be highly dangerous if I didn’t get well soon – no, not dangerous for me, but for the doctor, who was probably going to get strangled by me soon if he dared to prescribe me more of those yucky medicines.

When I was feeling better again I was allowed to walk around the house and climb up the stairs. I was so glad to have my health (and voice) back, I ended up in bed with sore ankles again later in the evening due to a hour’s worth of running up and down the stairs. I kid you not.

Anyway, the upshot of it all was that I now have a reputation of being ‘psychologically delicate’, which is rubbed in my face every time and which annoys me to no end. Hmph. When I end up finding the cure for cancer, I shall make sure I rub it in their faces at every opportunity I get. ;-)

Nonsense is Sense

November 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 5 Comments
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‘Untangented decommisional clouds with goats playing gold-stringed violins doing the macarena.’

I have no idea as to why I scribbled this on the last page of my notebook. The words, nonsensical in themselves of course, just came floating out of my head subconsciously (Really, I wasn’t smoking anything). I stared at them, then started laughing. I told D, ‘Oh wow, look at this – it’s a life-altering literary masterpiece.’

He too, stared. Then, apparently realising that I was joking, smirked. Of course I was joking. I was acting stupid for no reason (as I am tempted to do so time to time). ‘Well, it is, isn’t it?’ I persisted. ‘Makes a lot of sense.’

This was a bit too much for D. He smiled ruefully, informing me in stern tones that it didn’t make any sense at all.

‘Of course it doesn’t make sense!’ I countered. ‘It’s not supposed to make sense. Can’t you see?’ I thought that was fairly obvious.

D, who seemed quite irritated at my deliberate fit of stupidity-et-randomness, scowled and snapped: ‘What the hell’s that supposed to mean, anyway? It has no meaning whatsoever, it just sounds…dumb.’

Upon which, my tirade promptly followed:

‘What the hell do you mean by meaning? I can’t believe this. Jesus. You folks are so narrow-minded! Honestly, do you really believe that everything has to have a – a meaning? Come on; learn to bend your minds a little. Not everything’s supposed to have a meaning. Think about how our world would be like if we went about trying to cram everything into structures and hierarchies, plastering cold logic on everything! I suppose you’d want to assign logic to fairies and fluffy bunnies too, eh?’

By now, D was looking quite alarmed at this sudden outburst. Secretly amused, I went on:

‘No, you want to broaden your mind a little. Look, some things come with their own meaning. Some things don’t – and more often than not, those things do matter. Because it’s your imagination that decides what or how it is. Your imagination that shapes it, makes it, controls it. So, learn to accept absurdities because, believe me, even nonsense is sense. In a different way, of course. This world and the things in it – the real things, are wonderful, but the unreal is even more wonderful.’

D was silent, staring at me. Then, suddenly, he picked up the notebook, read through the nonsensical words, and said, ‘Well…yeah. Deeply thoughtful, that is.’
We both burst into laughter.

Blah Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover It

November 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I, Randomosities + Rubbish | 11 Comments
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I swear, if I had a quid every time I’ve cursed my own stupidity, I would rival Bill Gates’ record as the richest person on earth. Hell, I could make his fortune seem like a joke in comparison.

Those impulsive, hastened, rushed, I-don’t-know-what-I-was-thinking moments. Oh, how I loathe them. Whether it is shooting my hand into the air in class as soon as a what, why, how, which is uttered by a teacher, or jumping down an innocent bystander’s throat when I catch them playing a song I dislike in public out loud, or deleting my previous posts by mistake – I don’t know how I manage to rise to extraordinary heights of stupidity.

Impatience, impulsiveness, irritability, I’m all rolled into one. I need patience more desperately than Wall Street needs credit, than George Bush needs grammar lessons, and Pete Wentz a decent haircut.

The other day, for instance, I had just finished explaining my case of why I thought non-rhyming poetry superior to the rhyming sort, to a classmate who stood there looking at me with a fazed expression on his face.

Me: …Rhyming poetry has an element of structural arrangement to it. Non-rhyming poetry is more open and free-flowing, you see. It’s unconventional, it doesn’t follow standard patterns. Therefore it seems somehow more natural, like sort of resembling a jigsaw falling into place…
Him:
(interrupting) I’m sorry, what? I didn’t catch half of what you said. You talk too fast.
Me: (promptly shuts up)

Honestly, I have no idea why it has to be like this every time. Anyway, the moral of the story is:

1) When people say you talk too fast, it’s their fault for lacking in listening skills.
2) ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STUFF. Unless you happen to have an awesome photographic memory like me, in which case you can type out yours posts word for word, like I did.

Mind Your Throats, Please

November 6, 2008 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Randomosities + Rubbish | 5 Comments
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Charles Darwin never really found out the relation between evolution and chewing gum, I believe.

It was dissection in biology practicals the other day. Now, if there is any thing I hate more than getting up early in the morning, it is dissection. I cannot bring myself to dissect a page, let alone an organism. Anyway, the professor was demonstrating and I was only half-listening, trying somehow to force my brain into imagining that the shiny scalpel I held in my hand was a paintbrush or something.

So, the professor grabs the cockroach firmly in one hand, makes a sharp cut and – I swallow my gum. Accidentally. Uh oh. I freak out, rush to the nearest water bottle, grab it and gulp it all down. Class and professor stand stupefied, staring at me gulping down water in such a frenzy, slopping it all down my front.

Professor (to the class): Ah, now, look here. A common case. This particular practical may cause one to feel nauseous.
(turning to and smirking at me): Especially, if one happens to be of a …ah…delicate disposition. A psychological problem.

I was too busy freaking out at my having swallowed gum to take notice of her petty dim-witted insults. She thought I was disturbed at the disection, well in a way I was, but not to the extent of feeling nauseous. It was that piece of gum that was probably clogging up my insides right now that I was getting freaked out at.

Swallowing gum was much more serious than a poor wee cockroach spread out before you waiting to be cut up in the…*shudders* never mind.

I had never swallowed gum before in my life. That’s right, not once. I’d always exercised as much caution during the simple activity of chewing gum as you would while handling radioactive materials. At that moment I was this six year old again, who had just chewed gum for the first time in her life. I thought I was going to die. Seriously. Luckily, that didn’t happen. The Professor continued the dissection and the snide remarks about ‘mental health’, but I didn’t care; I was grateful for being alive.

Later that afternoon I googled up ‘I swallowed gum’ and found out that the chances of an instantaneous death are rather low. Of course S and G and A all told me they’d swallowed gums loads of times before but I’d refused to be comforted.

‘Hello, I’m seventeen and I’ve just swallowed chewing gum for the first time in my life and I think I’m going to die.’

Oh well, I’m never chewing gum again.

Heart Beat, Pig Meat

November 4, 2008 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Randomosities + Rubbish | Leave a comment
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While I was staring out the window today, eating chips and singing the solo to Highway Star (yes, I sing guitar solos) it suddenly came back to me. My rose tinted glasses. Where had they been all these days?

I hate my brain. You’re an idiot, I tell it. Why do you always have to imagine the worst? Why do you have to practical at all the wrong times, and most impractical when I need you the most? Why do you have to zoom off into crazy mode when I enter a bookshop? And why, why, do you always have to be on fire with imagination and fancy?

Hmph. I am not going to listen to you anymore.

Ahem, anyway, now that I’ve found my precious glasses – two of them, actually, the rose tinted ones, and my actual ones, which I’d lost for the millionth time and couldn’t find for weeks afterwards – as I say, I find everything easier. Lolcats seems much more funnier. Chips more tastier. Even the sound of ‘Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your girlfriend’ blaring through an idiotic classmate’s audio player less irritating. Okay, I take thatr back.

Now, this is going to sound stupid, but I want to say:

I love thinking.

(Don’t blame me, I gave the Stupidity Alert already.) As in conscious thinking…deliberate, contemplative. Thinking is my favourite pastime. You know what, I don’t think it really sounds that stupid – not when you realise the fact that very few people actually think these days. No, I am not getting started on that again. I’ve already written a critical essay on the mediocrity of society, haven’t I?

Am I really the biggest egomaniac that ever existed or what? Who am I to judge the mediocroty of the society? Pah, I hate it when I people assume to egoitical. I am anything, a hundred adjectives before egoistical. I mean, do I talk myself for hours on end? Of course I don’t. Do I refuse to share my candy? Of course I don’t. Do I think I’m always right? Of course not…er…okay, only 99 per cent of time.

Which is why it puzzles me when a certain lass in my class should go about telling folks that I have an ‘attitude’ problem. I expect Sonia imagines it will earn her a name in The Dumbest Gossipers That Ever Lived (who knows, I may pen this sometime in the future). But alas, the competition is too strong. All of them talk about me behind my back, something which I find highly amsuing. All of them, of course, are har-brained, cakefaced, superficial specimens, who could do with some brains and a life.

It’s been like this since primary school days, so I don’t really mind it. I hate gossip, I can’t imagine how anyone can find it entertaining in the least. It makes me sick to my stomach. But it follows me everywhere. Sigh. Well, perhaps that is what you get for sticking out from the crowd. That’s why  trust guys more than girls. I don’t feel the need to measure up to them, or judged by them.

On a positive note, Ritchie Blackmore is pure genius.

‘You Think Too Much’

January 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Me + Myself + I | 4 Comments
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That’s what my biology professor told me when I sought to ask her about the possibilities of ‘thought-waves’ or ‘thought-energy’ in relation to the clinical death of the brain.

I couldn’t help asking what she meant by her stupid remark. She was of the opinion that I was concerning myself with matters that were ‘far too advanced than what I ought to be learning at this age.’ Excuse me? It’s never too early or too late to learn or explore something new. I could have told her this, but what’s the point, I thought, in arguing with a person who sees it fit to equate knowledge with age?

Apart from the fact that she displayed her close-mindedness (despite of being a teacher) to discuss a new idea, I think that’s a really vicious thing to say to any student. What is wrong with teachers today? They’re dissuading us from veering off course from what’s written in the textbooks. Does anyone honestly believe that all the knowedge on a particular subject can be contained within the covers of a textbook?

Which brings me to the question, why do so many people – sadly, teachers included – disapprove questioning the conventional, the ordianry, the tested or speculating on the unproven and the unknown? I am so utterly disappointed that everywhere it seems as if people have forgotten to be inquisitive. Everyone takes things for granted. Why? Opinions are almost formed, packaged, and fed into the society – and many people seem to think that’s good enough for them. And why do so many students face opposition or general disapproval when taking out the unconventional route? Or for that matter, anyone who ever goes with a unconventional method – be it in business, science or even relationships?

Punishment isn’t the worst aspect of a teacher’s behaviour, is it? I’d say the worst thing that a teacher can do is to suppress a child’s curiosity. Once you lose sight of that quality, you’ve lost sight on the essence of all true art, of all true science, of life itself. A teacher needs to see things from a child’s perspective. If you go around propagating the usual ways of doing things what you’re doing is almost killing originality – and merely causing innumerable carbon copies of the same thing disguised in innumerable forms.

We’ve all heard stories of independent, unconventional, original thinkers encoutering criticism and ridicule all too often before. Who hasn’t heard of the exploits of Einstein or Edison in school? But I think it’s about time we learned practise tolerance on the difference of opinions or viewpoints.

Whoever said that you have to confine yourself to what society thinks is ‘thinkable or ‘unthinkable’ or even to what it considers is thinking ‘too much or ‘too little’? Which brings back to me a quote I read somewhere:

If we do what we’ve always done. we’ll get what we’ve always got.

Astronomy Domine

January 9, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Me + Myself + I | Leave a comment
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I attended a physics conference yesterday, which later included stargazing and a quiz, which they’d arranged in honour of Stephen Hawking’s 66th birthday.

I felt that pleasant jolt and wild enthusiasm (that I generally get during every talk involving physics) when I reached the venue half an hour early. But I was a bit disappointed that they had limited it to stuff dealing with basic physics. What they had was a general background of physics and its history.

I was quite happy with the stargazing and stuff. We marked constellations and observed Mars and several stars through telescopes. They gave us loads of advice on the best approach of astronomy, its evolution and history. I am quite overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge already gleaned in this field and even more so by that of the countless questions and puzzles that need to be solved. Astronomy is the oldest of all sciences, and it has been with us for all this time. The sky is like a book that faithfully opens each day when the sun goes down and lies before us to be examined. There’s so much to observe, so much to speculate on, that all the squinting, pointing, and mapping can never be enough.

The most important thing required for study in astronomy is patience, they said. My neck was a bit strained with all the watching and observing and I earned a few funny looks with my wild exclamations whenever I spotted something, but apart from that, I had a really good time and the telescopes were enviable, considerably larger and more powerful than my own.

Stephen Hawking says that if we ever find a theory that describes the whole universe – which is the main goal of science today – it should be able to be unsderstood by everyone: this is how I myself have always viewed as the purpose of all science. It’s amazing how he’s stuck to his passion all his life, and it’s been said he doesn’t view his physical disability as a great barrier after all – the brain remains every bit as ingenious as it ever was. *sigh* I’d die to meet him!

I wish I’d have conferences like these more often (although I would prefer them to be dealing with stuff more than the basic things of course). I would have been overjoyed if we had had a discussion cutting directly to the core of physics. Time travel, black holes, antiparticles, dark matter and energy, the beginning, expansion and end of the universe. And of course, developments on the unified field theory. Perhaps that is asking a bit too much, but, when it comes to physics, you can’t have enough of it after all!

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