A Week From Hell (Minus Friday)

Monday: I slept in on Monday, waking up to go to my Literary Interpretation class at around 11. Class was at 2, but I woke up, showered, and memorized my monologue – which we ended up not even needing to know!

I got back, did my Spanish homework, and made it to Spanish on time, homework only half done. Most inconveniently, I also discovered that my printer did not seem to be working. Dejectedly, I was forced to inform my teacher that she would be able to see my homework on Tuesday, and not before that, unless she excused me from class to find an ITS lab from which to print.

Upon completion of classes for the day, I was much overjoyed, and then I recalled a certain paper due the following morning. A certain 7-15 page paper due the following morning. A paper due at eight in the morning. It was already 6:30pm by the time I entered my dorm room, and instead of collapsing in the bed like I’d intended, I instead realized that getting my assignments done this week was going to be rather difficult, so I may as well get started. 

The paper, a short story for my creative writing class on Tuesday morning, was, upon its completion, twelve glorious pages in length. 

The time now: 5:30am.

(What? I had other homework due Tuesday as well – two day so Spanish to catch up on, and notes to study for a World Cultures lecture Tuesday afternoon) 

Tuesday: It now being past five in the morning, I realized that with class in less than three hours, sleep was completely out of the question. Not only that, I had to print out sixteen copies of my story for the class, and as it were, my printer was still not cooperating. Not that I’d wanted to waste so much of my own ink and paper. 

It was decided that the only logical course of action was to trek over to Bobst Library (which is where my class was at eight in the morning anyway) and print out copies over there. Having no campus cash in my own ID Card (nor access to it, but more on that later), I was forced to borrow my roommate’s card, which I have yet to refill. Spending the ridiculous amount of $9 for printing, I then proceeded to fruitlessly search for a stapler. 

Until, on my expeditions across the lower levels of Bobst Library, I ran into a friend – Ahmed. He lives on my floor.

Having run across him at a most unusual hour – it was now a little past six thirty in the morning – I, of course, proceeded to ask him a most logical question: "Hey! Have you been up all night too?"

The answer, of course, was a yes. Biology midterms are torturous like that. At any rate, feeling proud that I had managed to finish my short story on time, print out enough copies for my class, and find a stapler with which to separate the copies, I found it in my best interest to take a break. I lounged around on Ahmed’s laptop for all of ten minutes, and then realized I may as well finish the remainder of the Creative Writing homework due that morning. Having finished the readings, I found myself with forty minutes to spare, and practically nothing to do. 

Exploring the library, I found the stash of leisure reading, and read quite comfortably until it was time to head over to class. Upon completion of Creative Writing for the day, I returned to my dorm, quite exhausted, and promptly fell asleep. I did awaken, but not in time for lecture – a fruitless venture regardless of my sleepy state. Having decided I was not going to that particular class, and finding it of no use to waste my time feeling guilty, I promptly fell back asleep, rousing myself at one in the afternoon to get ready for work.

Work lasted from 2-4:30.

I then went to Spanish, and, quite proudly, handed in all the homework I had promised her. My Spanish teacher has no faith in her class, and feels like we forget everything we tell her. She was incredibly glad I had shown her my homework.

The day being over, I headed back to my room and, with a sigh, familiarized myself with the fact that I had a Literary Interpretation due by 12pm of the following day (aka Wednesday). Instead of promptly beginning however, the desire for more than 3 hours of sleep was too tempting, and I slept once more, until roughly 11:15pm. 

Upon showering, I again began a cycle of studying, completing homework, procrastination, and Skype – the culmination of which was about six in the morning. Having forced myself to stay awake in order to finish the paper, I now had two options – sleep and then wake up with enough time to drop it off in my teacher’s mailbox before the deadline OR remain awake, drop it off, and then sleep for much longer.

Wednesday: This was supposed to be my lazy day, as I had no class until 4:55 pm, mainly because my Literary Interpretation class at 2 was cancelled. Thus, i opted for the latter option and took this opportunity to submit a bullshit answer onto my online blackboard until the Language & Linguistics building opened (7:30 am), walked my paper over to her mailbox, and arrived back at my dorm by 7:42, incredibly sleepy. I then slept until 1 in the afternoon, dosing on and off until nearly three. I then awakened, showered, and perused my readings before recitation for my World Cultures class. I had a midterm in there on Thursday, and our recitations prior having all (for the most part) gone horribly wrong, I was, needless to say, very stressed.

Arriving at recitation, I found out that our original precept was no longer teaching the course. We now had another precept, but this did not matter much. Our original precept having been in Haiti at the time of the Earthquakes, we had a substitute precept for the first two weeks of lectures. The third week, I was sick and did not go to any of my classes. The fourth week, recitation was cancelled due to there being a Snow Day. The fifth week was the first time I met my own, actual precept. Having spent a majority of that class taking a quiz, we did not have very much time to actually get to know him. This now being the sixth week, he was no longer with us, and we were back to the precept who had covered our first two weeks of recitations – this time, for good.

I finished recitation and walked back to my room. The plan was to study until 8:30, at which time I was meeting up with a friend for dinner. I studied, went out to another dining hall to eat with her, and then arrived back in my room.

During dinner, I discovered that Musaub had texted me, affirming that last Friday had been very fun and he couldn’t wait for this week to be over. Like the obsessed fangirl I am, I fretted over how late I could reply, as well as what to say. Finding it in my best interest to not act stupid, I texted him back casually, roughly an hour later. 

However, after dinner was over, it was getting to be late, and I still had creative writing and spanish homework to do. I studied as my friend napped in my room, and once she woke up, we both spent the remainder of the night studying.

Musaub visited. ❤

Thursday: In bed by 2:45am this morning (quite early – a true accomplishment), I was kept awake by a noisy friend until well past 3:30am. Angry, annoyed, and resentful because I had a class at eight this morning, I tried to fall asleep, to no avail.

Oh and then, I overslept my alarm. I woke up at 8:30, and missed creative writing! And today being the day my work was to be workshopped, I was quite upset. I have yet to come up with a viable excuse to email my professor.

It being heavily snowing outside, I was in no desire to walk into class forty+ minutes late. I woke up however, and studied until I decided to take a break and write out this livejournal entry.

My midterm is now in less than two hours. I am, to put it quite frankly, screwed.

Oh, and I lost my ID. 

>>>>>>> Sunday, 2/28/2010

The weekend now being complete, pretty much, I’m going to update this entry. With two hours left to teach myself half a semester’s worth of readings, I realized the best I could do was learn the two major concepts I was going to be writing essays on. Most information on that had already been memorized, and I found myself with more free time than previously anticipated!

Creative writing professor still needed an excuse, so I concocted one that involved a sob story – delayed buses, damned snowstorms, and my great unease at missing my workshop. He replied most agreeably.

Absence excused.

I have a private workshop with him Thursday after class. Score! This’ll probably be more helpful than a group workshop would have been, come to think of it.

Time for midterm. Which, surprisingly, did not screw me over as I thought it might. It went well, I finished both essays and was outta there with 10 minutes to spare. Let’s see how I did – midterm grades will probably be up in a few days anyway.

Left that, got soup with Carolyn, and then headed over to work. 

Work itll 4:30. Spanish till 6:10

Got back to my dorm room, hating the weather and life, but happy the week was (essentially) over. Checked my NYU inbox and discovered, to my dismay, that the performance of "The Tempest" that I was to view that night at 7:30pm was most definitely still on. Angry, I then made my way through the disgusting snowslushmushfilth that lined the streets of New York City to the subway, rode it to BAM, and watched The Tempest. After that, I ate at a random chinese food place by the subway still open at 11pm – the homeless black dude kept me great company.

Shudders. I got back and collapsed on my bed! The week was OVER (keep in mind I have no classes Friday). Except then, two minutes later, it wasn’t over as I was informed that I had to head downstairs to a friend’s room. I edited her essay and chilled out on my bed again. 

Musaub visited.

Friday: Friday morning started off great! Alarm set at 9:00 AM. Alarm rings. My phone then kindly informs me that the University has shut down for a snow day, there being several inches of snow on the ground at this point. That + overall road/sidewalk conditions made the snow day one that we’d been expecting.

Musaub texted me two minutes after NYU left me a voicemail/missed call/text message telling me there was no school, and further verified there was no school. He then exclaimed he would enjoy sleeping, and I, after sleepily assuring him of the same, resumed sleeping.

Finally rousing myself, I didn’t do too much the entire day, and before I knew it, it was time for Musaub and I to head down and watch our movie. We watched the movie…I got the vibe that he wasn’t really into it this time.

And then we went to the party afterwards! Had I known what would happen, I would most definitely have gone happily back to my dorm room. As it is, things did not go nearly as well as planned, and I ended up having a fairly bittersweet night. Here’s where the vagueness comes in. 

If you don’t already know about Friday night, you’re simply not going to find out. Ever.

Saturday: Saturday morning, we overslept my alarm. I don’t think he’s ever calling me back. Nabila says otherwise. Overall a pretty lazy day, leading into a lazy night. Nothing remarkable at all has happened since.

Sunday: Lazy day. I’m pining away. 

This isn’t fun anymore. Not one bit. I’ve been a complete grouch for no apparent reason. Or well, reasons my conscious mind knows not of, at any rate.

I also just don’t want to write anything right now, as if this isn’t obvious enough. I can’t concentrate on homework or focus on anything in general, and I’m not even hungover. I just wanna sit in the dark and mope. Once Luna heads out for the night, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Arranged Disaster – Part 8 {{Fate}}

He walked back, dejected. He opened her journal, and noticed that within it, she had pasted each and every single one of the notes, couplets, lyrics, and stories he had written to her. And next to each one, she had written her own lines in response. She was clever, his dream girl. He was going to miss her. There was no way that marriage was an option. He had seen his competition, and he was flaking out. To run away with her out of this village was a very desirable dream of his, and at one point, he had hoped to turn it into reality. But why would she give up a wealthy husband (who was a doctor, as if that made matters any better), a luxurious mansion where she could dress and live like the royalty that she was, and a secure lifestyle? And most importantly, why should he make her sever all ties to her family in order to commit such a shameful act with him. Running away, getting married, and beginning a new life together – those were all just broken fragments of a once illustrious dream. This dream had shattered, and with it, any courage he may have had to see her again. He walked away that evening cluthing her journal, a last remnant of the past. He sat down in the comfort of his own room. And then he noticed that he could not read – a phenomenon caused by two things: the darkness in his room and the blurriness in his eyes. Wiping away his tears and lighting a candle, he sank down onto the floor by the candle and read. He read each and every entry. And then, he walked calmly into the kitchen, where the fire underneath the stove was burning happily away. And he burned the journal. He burned her memories…their memories…he burned them and then he walked away, silent tears streaming down his face. He would learn to move on. He would accept marriage to a nice quiet girl his parents approved of. And he would live out the rest of his life. Mechanically.

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

She’d been right. He never came back. Every day, she looked out at the bench, praying he would come. But when he didn’t, and the days went by, she accepted her fate, as she had predicted she would have to, and immersed herself in the business of appearing happy and satisfied with life. She married this arrogant doctor, and she was going to live out the rest of her life with him. That is, after all, what all girls in the village did. Divorce was an unheard of concept, and where there was no love between a couple, it was expected that a certain understanding would grow. As long as they procured children, what did it matter really?

So that is what her life had been reduced to. She was going to live with a man she didn’t love. She was going to take care of his parents and his three sisters. She was going to clean their house, cook their food, and wait every night for her husband to arrive from work before serving him dinner. Only after that would she eat herself, and then retire to her forlorn side of the bed. She was going to hate her life, but she would live it. Mechanically. She had to. She was Indian. She had no choice. She had no choice at all.

Arranged Disaster – Part 7 {{Take Me Away}}

Mentally calculating his expenses, he sighed. This marriage was going to be the costliest investment he ever made. The costs to pay for the wedding itself were ridiculous. He had to, after all, keep up his reputation. He then had to factor in the remainder of the dowry. And the demands of a family such as this one would only increase as the wedding date grew closer. Oh, he’d heard horror stories. Cases where the newlywed couple was kept apart from each other until the family received a large sum of money from the girl. Only then would they allow the marriage to be consummated. And he wanted no such thing for his daughter. He wanted the best for her. The very best.

This man was a doctor. He would make a lot of money, and would keep her comfortable. She would stay home and raise the children, and he would earn the money to sustain them. And if they bought an apartment for themselves, he would pay for the curtains, appliances, and furniture, at the very least. It was all too much for him. He was well off, but had many other obligations. He told one of his servants (A young boy who lived with them and received an education, as well as free food and housing, in exchange for his labor) to bring him the deeds to his ancestral properties after the guests had left.

If he sold one of those plots, he would have enough to repay the marriage loans. Hopefully, the dowry demands would end once the couple was happily married. The children had, at this point, spent over twenty minutes in the kitchen. That was enough time, and he signaled to his wife. She got up and walked toward the kitchen, using the excuse of clearing the table. She walked in and saw her daughter sitting silently on the kitchen table. She saw the hollow look in her eyes, and for a moment, her own eyes reflected the desperation and resentment that she knew her daughter was experiencing. After all, isn’t this how she’d ended up in this household? It had certainly not been her choice. But she had adjusted, and she hoped that her daughter would too. The boy wasn’t all that bad. If he shaved and changed into a less forced outfit, he may even look handsome. He was certainly no match to her daughter however.

The girl got the signal, and politely excused herself from the conversation. It had not been the most enlightening. She knew that he enjoyed buying a new pair of shoes every month. He’d obtained his medical degree abroad, in the United States. He had three younger sisters, and lived with his parents and siblings in a large mansion, a haveli, as they called it. He spent an hour getting ready every morning, and used a face mask at least twice a week. He had to keep his skin radiant and glowing after all. She scoffed inwardly – this insolent fool knew nothing about conversations, he only rambled about himself. She couldn’t see how she would live with him. It would be an insufferable lifestyle. She prayed that her true love would help her escape.

She walked away into her room, awaiting her parents’ decision. Nothing was in her hands. Her life, her love, her marriage, her future husband – it was all to be decided by her parents. She sat and wrote in her journal as the tears fell down, marring the perfect ink and paper. She wrote with all her heart, pouring her emotions out onto the pages. She wrote about the arranged marriage, about her dreaded prospective husband, and about all that she would have to give up. And last, she wrote: “Please save me. You’re my only hope. Take me away, I’m ready now.” And the following day, when he sat by the bench, she gave him not a note, but the entire journal. Pressing it into his hands, she spoke to him. She asked him simply. “Marry me.”

And he said, just as simply. “Yes.” And then he took the journal, and he walked away. She hoped it was to prepare for her escape. She prayed it was. And then she went back inside.

For some strange reason, her heart told her that all was lost. He was never to be hers in the way she had wanted. She would never marry him. The Fates simply would not allow it.

Arranged Disaster – Part 6 {{Dowry}}

The father hesitated before bringing up this dreaded topic. He had to be crafty and subtle while gathering the following information. One misstep and the marriage would fall apart. He questioned, casually, what type of cars they owned. The dreaded response, just as expected: “We own a Maruti, but our son…he needs a new car. We were thinking of buying him one of those new fashionable ones – a convertible, perhaps.”

Part one of the dowry. A car. A convertible one at that. Well, this, at least, was in investment. His daughter too would be able to ride in it with him. She’d live a lavish lifestyle once he married her off. She would live a happy life.

He had three younger sisters, this potential man. Part two of the dowry: Expensive jewelry, clothing, accessories, handbags, and perfume for the three girls.

His next question: “Where will they live after their marriage?” Response: “Why, with us, of course,” Inwardly, the father breathed a sigh of relief. He would not have to worry too much about house furnishings. “…unless they choose to move out to a flat of their own. We would wholeheartedly agree to it. We’re not old-fashioned like that. But why don’t we let the children speak to one another first. We’ll see what they want to do afterwards.”

Arranged Disaster – Part 5 {{Courtship}}

He watched, eyes glazed over in horror, as the family entered her house. The boys clothes showed off his wealth, and the gaudy saris the women wore flaunted their social status. Every single portion of their bodies – the jewelry, hair accessories, makeup, clothes, and shoes – screamed money. And by the way the man was entering confidently into her sacred abode, he knew the game was over. This family had the political sway her father craved – seeking an alliance with them meant a prosperous future for his young daughter and her future children. He was proud of himself for having secured this match. It was almost too good to be true. Something was bound to go wrong – it had to, eventually.

They entered and sat down. His wife signaled to their daughter – a rapid gesture of the hands which the untrained eye would have mistaken for an ordinary bout of restlessness. She entered demurely, head down, veil covering her hair as was respectful in front of any potential in-laws. She set down the snacks and then passed the tea tray around. Of course, the next step in this political process was her mother’s announcement: “I hope you all enjoy the tea. She made it especially for you.”

She was sick of that line; she’d heard it too many times before. But still, it was tradition. So she gritted her teeth and went back into the kitchen, preparing the lunch that was to be served once tea was over. It was all so rigid, this system – it left no room for fun. There was no spontaneity. Her entire life would be structured as such, once she were married. Her sole duty lay in obeying her in-laws and husband. In a sense, it would be a relief to be degraded to this robotic lifestyle – if there was no room for love, then there was no room for heartbreak. If her very core would harden so much, she would not miss him. There would be no pang in her heart every time she gazed out to that bench. No feelings of futile desperation if her core were deadened. She so desperately wished she could kill her own hopes and ambitions before others did it for her, as it would be far less brutal and painful in the long run. She wanted nobody to blame for her unhappiness but herself. If she could not overcome her feelings and learn to accept what was to come, then she was bringing misery upon herself. Her parents were merely fulfilling their roles. Mechanically. She had to do her part. Her duty now was to be mechanical. And she was going to fulfill it, whether she liked it or not.

She steeled herself and walked back into the living room, with lunch this time. She set the table for them, and briefly, she made eye contact with him. He winked. She didn’t know whether to be frightened or reassured. They ate and made small talk as she took her food back to the kitchen, pushing one tasteless morsel after another into her mouth. She forced herself to chew and swallow, but all she could think about was Him. He was sitting there outside, on the bench. She knew it – she could feel that it was true. And today, she hadn’t had the chance to give him his tea. She knew he wouldn’t begrudge her though. He probably even knew that this rich snobby family had come inside. That this rich, snobby man had dared to wink at her, dared to ask for her hand in marriage. And the thought of her parents accepting broke her heart.

She heard a knock on the door. The man entered, the stranger that could potentially be her new husband. He introduced himself, and told her his name. She did the same. Mechanically. She made small talk with him, cringing inward at his stereotypes, at his attitude, at his arrogance. She would have to put up with this for the rest of her life. She may as well die.

Arranged Disaster – Part 4 {{Courtship}}

He began writing to her as well – in Hindi, of course. They had a plan – she would step out into her veranda, or porch, and leave behind a cup of tea. He would walk by, pick up the coffee, and leave her a letter. They were not love letters, and sometimes, there was no more than a short couplet, but whatever it was, it fueled their romance, the intensity of which was heightened because of its secrecy. Nobody noticed an extra cup of tea – in fact, tea was so commonplace in Indian households that, were a kettle not boiling on the stove, it would be more conspicuous than the extra cup she made for him. She cherished each and every single note he had written her – one for every day they had been secretly courting one another. Theirs was a simple romance, fulfilled by the simple gesture of writing to one another and drinking tea. He would sit on his bench, writing and sipping the chai that he’d made her. And she would sit on her chair, reading what he wrote to her, and writing more in her mysterious journal. He loved watching her write; the look of intense concentration on her face was exquisite. To him, she was a goddess.

The girl, she really enjoyed scrapbooking. Each day, she would attach his note to a fresh page of her book, and the steadily growing pages reminded her each day of his devotion. She hoped their love would overcome their social differences. If her parents did not buy into her romance, then she was doomed, and would be sent away unflinchingly to marry another man, one from her own caste and status, but one who had no feelings for her, save for lust. But he…he was different. He did not lust for her, he merely craved her presence. She did not need to do anything. He came and sat on that bench, reading and writing, to her. And he came regardless of whether or not she had made him tea. Even if she did not step out into her porch or balcony, she knew he was there, reveling in their proximity. And the more she saw, the more she wanted to escape with him.

From the village, marriage outside of parental parameters only meant one thing – elopement. There was no other way she would be able to live with him. He was too far below her in caste, though far above any other suitors she’d had. He had an amazing smile – she had seen him smiling as he sat on that bench – the epitome of patience. And his eyes, she could get lost in them. Or maybe that was the cliché movies she watched that made her feel this giddy. How could she, a plain simple girl in unknown village have a perfect Prince Charming? Something was bound to go wrong – it had to, eventually.

Arranged Disaster – Part 3 {{Sim}}

Sim had gone to college, and he had a degree: a bachelor of arts, or something like that. At any rate, this meant he knew enough English that everybody in the village went to him for their translations. Sim didn’t mind, but he did wish that more of the village’s young children aspired to go to college. Education was becoming increasingly important, as anybody who stepped out of the village would rather abruptly come to know.

But still, he could not complain much, because his unofficial role as the village translator allowed him sneaky glance s into everybody’s lives. He came to know tidbits of information which otherwise were obscured within complex family history. He came to know about the troubles, and successes, of cousins and relatives gone overseas. He came to know about the downfall of eager young villagers who had set off to Bollywood, aspiring to become famous and bring some respect to their small hometown. Overall, it was not a bad job. He peeled open a banana, ripe for one day too long, and reflected upon his life. He had gotten into a government college with a scholarship that covered all of his tuition and housing. He had snatched up the opportunity and made the most of it, graduating, as his parents proudly put it, “top of his class” and receiving the first Bachelor’s degree in the village. But then he had come back and, as was his duty, taken care of his parents. He helped the villagers translate their news, and taught English to other villagers – anybody who wanted to learn – but had no job. He was paid not with rupees, but with fruits of labor. Sometimes, he received bananas, and other times, milk freshly squeezed from a villager’s cow. The work may not have made him rich, but he was loved around town and the gifts brought to him were enough to sustain him quite comfortably.

As he pondered all these things and ate his banana, one of his closest friends came running down the small alley with a note in his hand. He looked excited. He watched as his friend bounded into the living room and, without so much as an introduction, placed the note down on the table and said “Isko mere liye angreji me padh yaar” (Dude, read this to me in English please?) He could guess who it was from – everybody in the village had noticed the love struck actions of his silly friend. He picked up the note, laughing and teasing his friend the entire time, and began to read to himself. Since the note was in English, he read it first to himself, so that he could translate it without losing its meaning. As he read it, he couldn’t help but grin, and his smile only grew wider as he read more of the note. Finally, relenting to his friend’s anxious pacing, he told him what the note said. It was actually a poem, some beautiful lines of verse. In it, she had explained the constraints of their relationship, and she hinted at her unwillingness to break away from social norms by herself to pursue her love for him. She was afraid, and sure that a rash and dangerous decision on her part could bring death upon both of them. However, she told him that, if she was worthy of it, he should never stop trying to get her. One day, she would be his. That is what the note said.