It’s a really hot day today, 43°C to be precise, and I can’t seem to find the energy to get out of bed. It doesn’t help that I’m eleven days into my much-awaited, well-deserved summer break and instead of feeling creative and stimulated, I’m just getting steadily more depressed. Also I missed deadlines for summer volunteer programs so haha, bubye easy(relatively)-road-to-college!

It’s a perfect day to complain about something I’ve wanted to rant about this whole year.

Cambridge AS Level Psychology

I’ve been meaning to get this out for a while now. If any of you has studied this course, or known someone who’s taken it, you might be aware of just how badly it’s structured. It’s amazing, really. Cambridge also offers Sociology at the AS and A Levels, and I find it best to compare Psychology and Sociology since they’re widely considered to be sister disciplines. Now I’ve never studied Sociology, but I know that the students are taught about the wider context of Sociology before jumping into the nitty-gritty. Students are taught about perspectives, debates and personalities who helped conceptualise ideas and give shape to the subject before going through case studies and applications. For instance, I’d know what functionalism or the feminist perspective was about and then the syllabus would require for me to quote case studies or data to back my essay up.

In AS Level Psychology – which by the way was a gamble of a subject in the first place with people saying everything from “It’s useless and too specialised at this level!” to “Oh… That’s nice.” *coughs and walks away* – students have to rote-learn 20 case studies and then do you advance to being taught that these studies are grouped in categories like physiological psychology, cognitive psychology and so on. And then you’re taught about perspectives like behaviorism. And then you’re taught about debates like free will versus determinism, after which you attempt to sit down and start placing each study in a the greater context of psychology.

SHEEP

                                                                                                              Classy Sheep

Am I the only one who sees something wrong here? It’s such an ineffective way to teach a subject, especially since next to no one in my grade has studied Psychology before. It might just be that my school is teaching it in a very roundabout, horrible fashion but let me know? Have you been taught differently?

The part which is definitely universal though, is the way the exam is structured. The first exam is worth 80 marks, 60 of which are concentrated on about 15 short questions, merely testing our memory and rote-learning skills. The exam is not testing any application, rather focuses entirely on how good your memory is. And the funnily enough the second paper has a 20 mark question asking candidates to just come up with a study with a basic framework in mind.

Just make a study, bud. Either rote-learn the shit out of those studies, or just make a whole study. Yeah. Good talk.

There is no middle ground.

And it’s really sad because it’s not half a bad subject. In fact the parts they teach the least of, are the most interesting. For example the whole nature versus nurture debate, and how babies can actually spot people with symmetrical faces (read: hot people) when they’re just six months old! Also how far individuality and situations influence behaviors and thoughts. It’s so interesting, but no. I need to remember what the ratio of males to females in the subject pool was, in the third mini-study conducted by Langloise.

Apparently next year will be better.

So I went to Prom..

It was a last minute decision. One of those decisions where I’ve managed to curl myself up on a one-seater, with tears on point and problems blown up to ridiculous proportions, refusing to respond to reason, so my mother takes the lead.

Funnily enough, none of this had to do with something as simple as a boy.

Nope, it was just me and my anxiety and my upcoming exams and how I felt making an effort for prom was overrated and a waste of time. That pretty much sums it all up. Of course there was the mild, underlying resentment also but I’m quite sure that wasn’t what was really bothering me.

Fast-forward, my mother insists and I do end up going. Heels and light pink embroidery and my signature flush.

It was goddamn useless though. I had no idea all they do at prom in this school is dance like frikking maniacs. There had to have been at least 150 people on that dance floor, I shit you not, and can you imagine the heat? I must have sweat enough to make up for my lack of general physical exercise, just because I stood close to dancing people.

But I’ll admit it was fun. For once I truly appreciated the power of getting up, dressing up and going out for some proximity with peers. I’m usually quite blank on who’s going out with who, or who snagged who as a date just for prom so that sort of superficial observation was also super amusing.

It’s easy to forget context when you’re in there, but I keep thinking about it now which is why I’m writing this. I should be analysing Garibaldi’s contribution to the Italian unification, but instead I just keep thinking a lot. Its a lot of fun when you’re lip-syncing some trashy (in my opinion) Bollywood remix in the moment, but then you come home and you just feel a bit dazed because culture and religion and values and ideals and opinions all go out the window for that chunk of time. You are part of the crowd and you do as they do, unless you want to sit out and text your friend who doesn’t go here, about how much you’re craving pepperonis. I’d make some sort of a profound argument but honestly, how can one even pin the blame on any one specific guilty party.

Acculturation.

I was also a teensy bit pissy at the end of the night because after years and years of my life, I finally soften and start crushing on this one guy, and I see him there with the girl who rejected my hi-five some six months into term. (Rejected hi-fives are just sad, okay? And YOU’RE RUDE IF YOU REJECT A HI-FIVE!)

Also, since when did prom become a rave with a pathetic playlist?

Breaking Tradition

I think I should start by saying – I’m really bad at this blogging thing.

There are such huge gaps between each of my posts, and somehow in those gaps my outlook on life changes every time and I cringe a little more at all my previous efforts on this space.

So in effect, rather than documenting my transition through the phases of my life, all I end up doing is occasionally cringing at life in hindsight and then vanishing to explore some more. (And usually coming up empty-handed and frustrated.)

First thing’s first, I’m not going to be titling each of my posts with Log Post #xyz anymore.

I think I’m o k a y enough now, that my mild OCD to number everything is not going to kill me if i abandon this little tradition. Also it’s not like it added anything to my blog, right?

Then comes the name. I hope some people might have already noticed that I’ve changed it from ‘thelogbooker’ to in medias res. It might seem like something Latin-y and cool (which it is, so whatcha gonna do huh?) but I assure you it does hold a lot of meaning for me.

Back up about seven months, to my first Literature AS class and my teacher is a suspiciously bipolar female, with a severe bun and that dead-fish look in her eyes.

And I was terrified of her.

It was a strange feeling, loving the subject so much but suddenly doubting your choice to take it up because in my world – if the teacher and I don’t click, especially in Literature, I don’t want none of it. I remember thinking for five whole minutes before jumping into the class discussion because I kept countering my ideas with what I assumed she would say to each of them, basing my judgement on what she was saying to people around me.

But I finally did say something, and as expected, she waved it off with an artist’s hand, a calculated flick.

It was this woman that introduced me to the concept of ‘in medias res’ roughly a month later, and I finally had a label to put on one of my favorite kinds of narration. The state of my mind identifies with it; continuously flowing, weaving in and out of bright spots and dull shades, not necessarily important, but not to be overlooked either. And most importantly, it has a universal feel to it, because isn’t everyone always in the middle of something?

This brings me to another point. I feel like I’ve always been deliberately vague about myself as me in my writing, and gotten away with portraying myself as just another individual. What I’m talking about obviously always means a lot to me, but I always try to maintain this strange anonymity in my writing. Agreeably sometimes it’s not about me, but where it is I feel my presence lacking. I’m pretty sure this is because I don’t trust the internet when it comes to my identity, but then again, if some hacker wanted to stalk and murder me he could easily have tracked my IP address or something, right? (I think that’s how it’s done.. )

So yeah – no more of that. Or at least less of that. Can’t conquer the OCD and the phobia all in one sitting.

In other news –

HOW GOOD IS THIS??

LOG ENTRY #53 – New Places

I guess I met him two years ago.

I sound unsure when I say this because we never really exchanged any words. He was one of the four or five of us in that red-walled room, where guitars hung around and our music player was an amp.

It was a good time in my life. Things that seemed complicated were so easy to ignore or run away from, and other things were excessively do-able.

It was strange seeing him walk around non-chalantly, tapping away at his phone, with a blue backpack, closely cropped hair, school uniform.

Natural habitat.

So different from the couldn’t-care-less guy with wild, surfer-boy hair that I remembered.

He was different and he was cleaner, less hazy; as if these two years had tweaked some invisible dials and fine-tuned his personality. Ironed out the wrinkles and given him the confidence to flaunt his anomalies.

It was a hot Friday afternoon. The adhan would be heard any minute now. I was sitting on a lone marble bench, twirling my phone in my hands and staring at the dusty football field.

My mother was late.

Readjusting my dupatta for the tenth time, as a cool gust of wind blew, I tore my eyes away from the unending dusty brown of the field and cast around a quick glance. There were few of us left.

I sighed.

I missed my old school, where the man who ran the canteen always loaned me money for ill-timed snacks. No such luck here, I though, glaring at the canteen on the other side of campus. It would take me four minutes to walk there and cost me what little original shade my skin had retained.

It had always been tough for me to adapt. My constitution seemed to be in the habit of rebelling, and nearing the end of my teenage years I was naive enough to wonder if I would ever change. If i would ever be the first to initiate conversation, the first to smile. If I would ever stop thinking so much about everything and just take it as a simple and inevitable changing of environments.

But the truth was, I was not old enough yet and I did rebel, and I did wonder and I did not like taking first steps. And I never stopped thinking so much.

It was then that I saw him, kicking up dust lazily, looking around, walking past to confer with the school security guard and then returning.

I wondered for a minute how it was possible that someone who was so sure, could ever be left behind. Of course I was talking in my head, in rhetoric and referring mostly to his class of friends in school and the kind of vibe he gave off.

There had been a feeling of unexpected familiarity when I saw him at school on the first day, and the jarring and unsettling realisation that this boy had always stuck out in her past, a marking-stone, and now he was part of her present . A present that I had never seen coming.

And his suddenly tall stature and short hair and sarcastic mouth were all reminders of how much had happened for me in these two years.

It was a sickening realisation, to be honest. Looking at him brought back memories of long car-rides, and expensive sandy-colored guitar, eccentric music tastes and my first taste of center-stage fame. All of that was well-behind me, yet clung on to me like the smell of cigarette smoke to a dead man’s trench coat.

He was looking around, an impatient beat playing out from beneath his running shoes.

My face was cupped lightly in my left-hand, resigned to the fact that I couldn’t do much.

He recognised me in school and I, him. And yet conversation was unnecessary and unwanted. It always had been.

Leave things be, I had said to myself on the first day. I needed to concentrate on the present.

It was then that he turned around and came and sat down next to me.

I blinked and realised I had also calmly moved over to give him more room.

My backpack dug into my arm but I couldn’t move. Not now. The initial movement seemed to have been all I was good for. My first reaction was probably reflected by my slightly dumbfounded expression, which slowly transformed into a casual, blank look.

I tried to stare at the field again.

My mind was in overdrive.

I didn’t understand. I couldn’t make sense of the gesture. Why was he sitting here? Had he even looked up long enough from his phone to recognise me? Did he want me to talk to him? Should I talk to him? What should I say?

“Umm… go away.”

No, that would sound bitchy. I had never spoken to this boy ever in my life.

So why was I over-thinking this. Maybe he just desperately wanted to sit. That was probably the right answer. It was a hot day, after all.

I frowned a little, shooting a surreptitious glance behind me. Another bench sat there, longer than my bench. It was occupied by just one junior, a timid little girl, her white hijab loosened. The rest of the bench was empty.

I looked down at my hands and questions bombarded the windshield of my mind. like raindrops or hail in a freak storm.

Would it be rude if I said nothing?

Not ruder than him plopping himself down here uninvited.

It might be a bit rude.

I don’t care.

But what was the worst that could happen.

Yes, I should talk. I should initiate conversation, smile, not think so much; be old enough.

I opened my mouth.

The security guard’s voice called his name. His mother was waiting.

He got up and left.

I decided I’d always sound unsure, and be unsure, because I had never really exchanged any words.

LOG ENTRY #52 – Hold the f*** up..

This is my third post since I stopped hobo-tunneling, and if you hadn’t already noticed, I’ve been very worried for the past couple of weeks. 

Just yesterday, things started calming down. I can finally see the storm losing momentum and dying down around me. 

And so I was driving home, looking out the window – can’t seem to remember what song it was, it was either New York by Frank Sinatra, Sweet Dreams by Marilyn Manson or Stairway to Heaven ((Oh joy! what sort of a bipolar playlist is that Z?!)) – and I went “Hold the eff up..

I know what you’re thinking. This can go so many ways, judging by how diverse the song choices are. 

But I felt empowered after so long. Not because of the music at all, but more because it just hit me that I’m not even 18, I’m not even starting college until September 1st, and I do have some of summer left.

I’m still on holiday from life, its just that I won’t let myself rest in peace ((not in the dead-way..))

I am a compulsive worry-wart, and yesterday my brain slapped me ((and in effect, itself)) , like “Shut the hell up, and look at how beautiful the sky is, look how smiley your little brother is for some reason, look at how Mr. Sinatra started singing out of nowhere talking about the one city you want to go to so bad that you freak out over colleges.”

My brain should slap me more often. 

And so today I wake up, and I see that I look like shit and I feel urges to make an effort on my face. I make the effort to cook breakfast and eat it while watching Troye Sivan’s “Happy Little Pill” video ((check it out btw, the owl is hella cool.)) I breathe easy, I offer my morning prayers and then I check my Facebook.

There’s nothing at all special about all the things I listed above. In fact you might think they are all such mundane activities. But see – I haven’t done those things for more than a week. I haven’t properly had breakfast for a month. I just suffer from morning sickness a lot and am too worried about something or the other to sit down and f****ing breathe.

I know everyone’s going nuts nowadays, and everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to talk and everyone wants to motivate you but you really don’t need to avail every single minute of your life, and do something meaningful.

Yes, don’t spend eleventeen hours on Tumblr, but also don’t deprive yourself of Tumblr and greasy foods completely, because you haven’t done that one assignment or you’ve been lazy all day so going out to dinner is out of the question, and something productive needs to be ticked off a list. Nothing needs to be done so badly that you need to start losing hair over it. ((this point could be worked on, I know. Maybe taxes are that important?)) I know some people who – in their need to get something done – deprive themselves of television, movies, chocolate. Yes, do that! Please, discipline yourself and prioritize and if you are a grade-A procrastinator employ punishing tactics. 

But see, what I did to myself was wrong. I don’t need to overwhelm myself with it all, I don’t need to stop being happy because I haven’t met all my deadlines. 

Most important statement being: I don’t need to stop being happy. 

Never ever ever do that to yourself. Find your balance, know yourself, and don’t blow things out of perspective. 

On a lighter note – did you guys check out Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” video? Wow.. I mean. I guess the song’s okay, but maybe that’s my bias talking. If I’m completely honest, it was a run-of-the-mill pop track, and the video just caught me off guard. ((Twerking?? Excuse me, but wtf..?)) I know everyone’s been loving the slew of Swift’s fashiony pictures, and if you haven’t loved them, you’re definitely jealous and/or lying. This is why I was expecting a classy song with a classier video, and all I got was messed up stereotypes in that video.

I’ll probably still listen to the song because its fun. (ish)

This post however I strongly recommend. I couldn’t have summed the video up better ((trust me, I really couldn’t have.))

And yeah – that’s it for this post. I hope the rant was mildly cohesive and you’re going away with at least the gist of it intact in your brains.. or wherever else you store this kind of information. 

… um

Live Life To the Fullest :)))))

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LOG ENTRY #51 – I am not smart.

I don’t mean to sound pretentious. I really don’t.

But I do expect a lot from myself because I’ve always believed I can deliver. 

I also don’t mean to sound like a sob-story-wanting-to-happen, but unfortunately I do like listening to Coldplay and staring out my car window with the occasional tear weaseling its way out. ((I am a liar, I cry a lot))

My point is – the past week has been difficult. 

The past week consisted of a 20-hour train ride, my O level results, an emotional roller coaster, a true realization of just how fickle faith can be, an unplanned sleepover and a chance meeting (it was also very awkward) with a boy who gets on my nerves but is annoyingly good looking.

Going back to why I was scared of sounding pretentious – I was very surprised when I got my results. Its not me being narcy narcissistic when I say I am a straight-A kinda kid. I am used to being top of my class, or at least in the top five. However over the past few months I have also come to terms with the fact that everyone cannot excel at everything. There will always be a few things that will bite you in the ass. And that’s okay.

What I had not been expecting was to be taught a lesson on a seemingly-crucial result transcript. I had not been expecting to practically experience ‘not excelling’.

But the way I have been brought up, whenever I feel bad about something, I have been taught to look at those below me, those who are worse off, and always be grateful and thank God. 

Sometimes, though, finding the resolve and strength to move on from the shock and accept it and be thankful for it. It doesn’t really happen.

I study (studied now, because voila! I have graduated from school and am heading to college) in a Convent, and Sister expected a lot from my result. She had been wanting a world distinction. ((!!!?)) And she didn’t give me a moment to gather myself and pulled out my result from that big brown envelope and recited it to me.

I really did not need that.

It was a really sad day. But maybe I needed it. Maybe I needed to see endless Facebook statuses from the most unexpected people about straight A*s and whatnot. Maybe I had overestimated myself.

And that was what sucked the most. The potential overestimation and how threatened my self-confidence felt by it. 

Can you imagine how horrible it feels when the first big exams you take, don’t turn out amazingly well like you thought they would, like everyone had said your’s were bound to turn out. 

Because “you’re so smart, just shut up about how ‘bad’ your Addmath exam went” and “You’ll tou get your grades, na! What’s your masla? (problem)”

I didn’t tell my Dad or my grandmother my results. At least for a few (many) hours. This was huge, in my head, because telling my Dad my results is obligatory, and telling my grandmother is traditional. I’ve always done it! Always, and just the fact that I wasn’t in the least bit ready to disclose the information was jarring. 

I had never been this bothered by my result!

The bigger problem, the “This is going to blow up in my face”-problem, was colleges. 

To make this simple for everyone, let me just say there are three A-Level colleges in this city that are the top names for the job. And I had never applied to College 1. I had applied to College 2 way back in January (pre-exams, pre-‘all that jazz’) and aced the interview and was made an unconditional acceptance offer and then turned it down – because I wanted to try my luck with College 3. 

The turning-down was a very big deal in my house. I had just turned down an amazing deal. They had given me the subjects that I wanted, I was dead sure that I would get a shot at whichever extra-curricular I wanted to try for in the variety that they offer, I was dead sure I’d make friends because so many of my friends were going with me anyway. College 2 was such a safe choice. And now that I had turned it down – I was in need of grades. I needed to get a certain number of A*s to qualify for College 3. If I got unlucky and ended up with bad grades, I was doomed. (ish)

I turned down College 2 for the elitist, known-to-be-snobby College 3. The college every kid in my city aspires to get into. The college that is arguably the country’s most-recognized institution on an international level. The college that doesn’t even hand you an application form unless you have shown them a copy of your results, and proved that you fulfill their requirements. The college that starts its admission process after results have been announced, all the way in August, when all other colleges are closing their doors. The college that has students who laugh at A’s (no grade below an A* exists for them) and receive VIP-treatment at all after-school tuition centers. The college that will accept barely twenty or thirty students.

I am so badass, am I not?

So yes. I took the leap. I gave my exams with practically no back-up plan, hoping and praying that I would do well enough.

And now here I stand. 

Acceptances from College 1, College 2 and in the midst of heated discussions with the head of College 3. 

(( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ))

Because I applied to College 1 the night I got my results, with the hope that spots were still open. And I submitted my result to College 2 and showed them my unconditional letter, praying they would not hold my earlier decision to not pay them and go on the waiting list, against me. And I managed to get my hands on an application form for College 3, despite not fulfilling the requirements, because sibling-preference worked in my favor (my brother is in the eighth grade at their middle school branch.)

Its pretty….. wow. 

Believe it or not, even with barely any chance of getting in anywhere, me showing my results at all three places got me responses I had only ever imagined. 

Everyone knows that colleges have very limited seats this late into the game. And yet – look where my faith led me. 

Can you begin to imagine how blessed I feel? I know I sound like a forty-year old when I talked about being blessed and shiz, but.. It does not get more obvious than this for me. 

At the end of it all, I guess what I’m trying to say is.. It was horrible. It was horrible not knowing where I was heading, if anyone would take me, how high my chances were now, of getting anywhere. Its beyond horrible – its sickening. I am a worrier on the best of days, so this past week I’m surprised I wasn’t throwing up every hour. 

My mother kept telling me, “Have faith in God, pray for the best. Things will turn out okay.”

And I prayed. And then I saw my results and my faith faltered. 

After all that praying – I still didn’t get what I wanted. Maybe I had gotten what I had to get, what was best for me, but I sure as heck did not have it in me to deal with it. And so I had a very difficult few days, barely eating anything, crying in different corners of the house, re-thinking who I was. 

But then the acceptances happened. Wheels began to turn. 

I saw things happening for me and I swear to God – I was speechless. 

Going to make a decision between College 2 and College 3 soon!

Wish me luck and share your school/college/university stories with me! I’d love to hear about stressful experiences that you look back on and cringe even now, or that you think you freaked out about unecessarily.