Monday, December 19, 2011

The NAOP Conference story: Prologue

Being God's favourite child, my life has never been hunky dory. 
Wait I'll explain. 
My dear creator has this very normal wish that his favorite child gets to know how super intelligent and creative her creator is and how wicked(and brilliant) his sense of humor can get at times mortals call tragic. 
Yes my life has never been too difficult. But it has never ever been smooth either.

Smooth is boring, na? How could God's fave child have a boring life, haan?

OK, without elaborating on the intro further, let's get to the story.
Now, there was only a week to go for the 21st annual conference of the NAOP National Academy Of Psychology to be held at IRMA (Institute of Rural Management Anand), Gujarat which was also holding an International Convention on Alternatives to Poverty Management, and in this conference I was to orally present a research paper (turned out that I was the youngest over there and drew a lot of accolades and attention :)). Exams were just over for which I had worked like mad for there was this one subject in which I was severely under prepared. And then, like every other normal student I had not paid much attention to my subsidiary subjects(who would tell me, when the main subjects and practicals are enough to burn you out without asking much?). So, do din ka break toh banta hi tha.

Now what did I do to destress myself in those 2 days? Picked up a book that I was dying to read since some days. Gone With The Wind. I thought I could carry that book with me to the conference to read in the train. But I dropped that plan as soon as I packed my bags 4 days later to mentally prepare myself for the amount of load I had to carry. My suitcase was already overflowing, in fact I had great difficulty to close (hehe I know this may not be the correct expression) the zip. Now I still had to pack many things more that would go inside my handbag. So carrying that erudite tome(800+pages) would have been impossible.

In short, I not only had to finish my project, prepare a ppt and see if I could manage to say all that I wanted to in 15 minutes, now I also had to finish that novel in the next 4 days. The latter I would happily do, as I discovered. It was the former for which I was worried as Tragedy no.1 had already played itself out. Here's how.

 Tragedy no. 1- Project file deleted from pen drive(by mistake, of course). Now why that's a tragedy? Well, there was no back up for it, I mean I had not copied the file to any location in the laptop! So, my labour of those 2 days after the 2 day break went down the drain. 

I was left with a hard copy of what I had done earlier, so yes, not all was lost. Now I had to consult my professor at least once, face-to-face, and not through text messages or calls, so I decided to go to college with my ppt presentation and worry about the word file later.

Tragedy no. 2- Woke up late. Breakfast was gone for the kitchen was locked. Now the cook bhaiyya couldn't have waited for just one girl. Fair enough. Next I discovered that there was no balance in my phone, in both the sim cards. 

And in the moment of frustration when I discovered this, I forgot I had a message pack. So, yes, there I was going to meet my professor in the college without giving prior notice. Anyways, she would be there, I thought, after all, didn't she have to check our exam papers? Hastily I went to the college in a rickshaw cursing my mobile that didn't wake me up at the time I had set alarm. DRC could have aptly been named XYZ Khandhar or ABC Bhootbangla by its looks that day. Noticing that there was nobody to give me odd looks at the way I was running(considering that it was not an exam day), I further upped my speed and hastened up the stairs. Even my beloved department bore a haunted look. WHERE IS EVERY BODY?

 Tragedy no. 3- All labs closed. The classrooms closed. Even the staff room and the department office closed. So I had ran to my college to find out from the good looking sweeper that it was Muharram. Or some other festival of the Muslims, which I don't remember very clearly now. Oh yes, one more day gone. Wednesday gone.

Tragedy no. 4- Something told me to look at my purse. My intuition, never being wrong, discovered a blunder I was about to commit. I was close to halfway my college and I didn't have the pen drive that contained my ppt file. Going back halfway is better than going all the way back and so, I ran and got that damned thing and again ran to the college.Fast forward to Friday. 

Tragedy no. 5- I still didn't have the packet sent by my father via speed post and I had my train the next day at 3. So I decided to go take the packet from the post office. The Jawaharnagar post office people said they won't have it anyways. I would have to go to the larger, MalkaGanj post office. This place I went, and they said my packet had not yet reached and considering that I had to have it as soon as it reached here, I should come to the place at 11 the next day.
One good thing happened that I completed 'Gone with the wind' finally, crying all through the last 30 pages till 4:30 in the night(or morning, watever).

Tragedy no. 6- My phone's alarm betrayed yet again and I woke up at 10. Yes 10! Damn, my hair was oiled and the heavens knew that I won't go outside in such a condition even if an earthquake strikes. I was running short of time and here I had to take an oilbath and pack the rest of my things and get to the post office...all in an hour! 
This was tragedy indeed.

Tragedy no. 7- The packet was still not there. I had to leave for the Nizamuddin railway station which was quite far from my pg, and had to board my train at 2 and now these people were telling me to go collect the packet from the Speed Post Centre itself, in New Delhi. 
Good news was that I would have to cross the New Delhi metro station in any case. Bad news was that this thing called SPC was jot near the New Delhi metro station. Turns out there would be unforeseen expenses. Great. Another tragedy.

Tragedy no. 8- The friendly auto wale uncle didn't exactly know where SPC was, so we had to do a bit of exploration and then assuring him that it won't take more than 10 minutes and luring him with the additional Rs.100(he took Rs. 130 extra in the end) that he would get if he dropped me at the station, I went inside, ready to recount my story yet again. Tragically enough, and typical of a sarkaari office, I was sent to 6 people, the last of whom was the missing manager. Does it need to be told that I had an argument with his P.A (I never seem to get along well with women in authority as I do with men, dunno why)who told me to keep my problems to myself and not bother her one more time?

No more immediate tragedies since I was sent by the sympathetic supervisor to another man, this one again quite friendly and not helpless for a change, who listened to me very patiently and assured me that I wiould get my packet in time. 

All this while Mr. Manager was sleeping on the couch and had just got up. Now this man was super friendly and totally manager like. He quickly told me what I had to do: Attach a photocopy of my train ticket(to show that my problem was indeed urgent), a photocopy of my identity card and an application explaining all that I had just told his associate. It was already 10 to 1 p.m. and these people had taken away the identification number of my packet, which had long ago been traced to have been opened in a bag here, and these people wanted me to get photocopies of documents I was showing them? But as the manager said, his file had to be fed.

My conversational skills came to my rescue again with the angry auto wale uncle whom I had assured it won't take longer than 10 minutes but who had now waited for me for close to an hour. Thankfully, and funnily, there was a photocopy shop right next to the complex, a mere 5 minutes by the auto. 
Panting, when I wen to the manager, with the auto wake uncle in tow this time, I got hold of my packet in 5 minutes. Huh! But the manager was taken aback at the train timing. 14:05. 
This was no reason to get surprised. Wasn't it already 1? Will it not take me at least 30 minutes to reach the station? Then another 10 minutes or so to get to the correct platform?
 To the amusement of the manager uncle, auto wale uncle, and all others standing there helping me with the formalities (had to write my name, phone no, adress at 4 different places) and to my utter embarassement, I discovered that the clock in my mobile was, only God knows how, 1 hour fast!

P.S.- After a lot of reflection and a particular 'aha' moment, I discovered that while setting my alarm the previous night and trying to find out what was wrong with it that I could never hear the alarm bell i.e. playing with the settings, I had changed the 'time' settings as well and seeing a mismatch between the time showed by my watch and my mobile sometime during the day, I had chosen to go with my mobile. Considering the kind of mental tension I had to bear due to the paucity of time I had to face, this probably, was the biggest of all tragedies.

P.S. 2- Keep coming back to know the full NAOP Conference story. Unlike the prologue, the story is all-happy-happy-but-not-boring kinds. 

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