When there are hardly a couple of weeks left to come up with that ‘final draft’ which would be printed, hardbound and given to examiners (the academic equivalent of assassins), it’s high time I should make use of all the strategies that would help me complete the dissertation on time. The aim is not just finishing it before the deadline, but coming up with a work that would look (at least to me) like something worth spending a year and a half on. At the end, I don’t want to look at it and think, “I took 18 months for this shit? OMG! I must hire somebody to steal it from the department library. I don’t want my juniors to read it!” So, whatever it takes, self-induced insomnia, coffee, alcohol, lack of clean clothes and zero social life, I am determined to use them to my advantage. A bit of self observation for the past two days has helped me come up with this time-table that I’ll probably follow in the days to come:
8:00 am- Wake up to the annoying noise of the alarm, silence it and go back to sleep. It is early morning…and I have the whole day ahead.
10:00 am- Wake up to Mom’s call and (rather sadistic) description of the delicious breakfast they enjoyed at home.
10:30 am- Finally decide to get out of bed and take a bath. No shampooing though. It will take some 10 minutes more and right now I can’t afford to waste that much time.
11:00 am- Settle down with a mug of coffee in front of the computer and start reading the supervisor’s comments and spend an hour feeling bad about it.
12:00 pm- Start some serious reading and make necessary changes.
1:00 pm- Spend some 10 minutes on the phone with my boyfriend, telling him he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me, how much I miss him, and the usual lovers’ blah.
1:30 pm- Am I hungry? I guess I am. Time for a coffee break.
2:00 pm- Go out of the room, find a fellow researcher who hasn’t started writing her dissertation yet. Scare the shit out of her by telling her how long it takes to write one and feel good about it.
3:00 pm- Reflect on the futility of life and decide to commit suicide. Change that decision in a few minutes because, you see, dying is also futile.
4:00 pm: Look at all the clothes in the laundry bag and wonder whether I have any clean clothes to wear tomorrow….But yeah, I won’t be going out tomorrow…or the day after…or the day after that. The laundry can wait.
5:00 pm- Time for another coffee and FOCUS. No more distractions. I must write!
6:00 pm- Call up boyfriend and tell him what a pathetic creature he is. Give him some radical feminist theories about how insensitive men are and give an empty break-up threat.
6:30 pm- Wonder what would happen if he takes the break-up thingy seriously. I mean, can I really handle break-up depression with all this stress?
7:00 pm- Time for some serious writing!
8:00 pm- Try explaining to parents that researchers don’t get holidays for Christmas.
8:30 pm- Silence the phone and start writing again. Pause for a Vodka break every half an hour and a music break after an hour of writing/reading.
10:00 pm- Apologize to the significant other and again rant about how much I miss him.
10:30 pm- I’m famished. I seriously need some solid food. What should I eat? Biryani? Nah, too late for that. Pizza? Nah, I’m broke. How about some khichdi? Sounds yummy, but I must spend some good 30 minutes in cooking it and I can’t afford to do that. Where’s the Maggi?
11:00 pm- Write, pausing once in a while to feel bad about all the bad things happening in the world.
12:00 am- Read blogs, watch some videos, put up some sorry looking status on Facebook and if I am lucky enough to find somebody to chat with, rant about how unfair life is.
2:00 am- Log out of Facebook, Gmail and WordPress and decide to concentrate on writing.
3:00 am- Music break! And may be another shot of Vodka…
3:30 am- Start reading whatever I have written and wonder what the examiner is going to think.
4:00 am- Seriously think about quitting everything and going away to some obscure corner of the world to ‘find myself’.
4:30 am- I think I should somehow stay awake till 7:30. It’s been a long time since I had breakfast…
5:00 am- Doze off, with the computer on and piles of books and papers around.
8:00 am- Wake up to turn off the alarm and the computer, wonder why my neck hurts so bad, and go back to sleep.
I think, if I continue doing whatever I have been doing till now, by the time I submit my dissertation, I’ll have- a dusty room, a huge pile of laundry, a fucked up relationship on the verge of a break-up, puffy eyes, a glowing complexion, a slimmer waistline and a dissertation that is not even close to what I intended it to be.