Patterns in the Ivy…. #4 =)

Fall in love .. you must fall in love with this..



Wonderland syndrome….Like Seriously?!

‘There is a place like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery and danger! Some say to survive it : you need to be as mad as a hatter. Which luckily I am.’ – the Mad Hatter 

A place full of mystery, wonder and danger .. hmm .. I’d call that a crazy place. A place that’s right here, right now – all around me these days.

For the past two months, more specifically the past two weeks, I have been on quite a roller coaster ride. One on which I wouldn’t want to go again. As I march on in the ‘real world’ right now, I’m the one who’s looking left and right with the ‘hunh?!’ face trying to keep up with the beat. For my frequent complains I’ve switched to thinking out loud rather than just think and now it goes something like this;

‘Too many errands to run, too many deadlines to meet, too many agreements to vet, too many meetings to conduct, too many people, too many friends, too many parties, too many expectations, too many things to do, too many dreams, too many ambitions, too many math problems to solve, too many forms to fill and too many freakin’ mosquitos!!’.

Only the insane equate pain with success.

There’s just too many of everything!


There are times when I feel plain stupid and I want to stop – sit down. And stare. Stare at all the madness that’s going on around me. Because of the ‘too manys’ that life throws at us sometimes I feel as if my eyes remain normal but the rest of my senses – hearing, touching, seeing – all seem to malfunction leaving me in the ‘hunh?!’ state of mind.

The idea of reality being a product of mere perception is rather fascinating don’t you think? Consider this, if that line was true for all given circumstances then dear friend, your key to the perfect life is simply ‘optimism’. But what fun would a completely predictable state of living be? It so happens, or to me atleast, that despite my desperate and careful attempts to pursue tasks with a positive note, something unexpected pops up. And those unexpected events are often followed by frustration or disappointment. I have been no exception to this ‘lame law of the Universe’.

Since my second year at law school I have been keen to pursue my MBA. Almost two years ago, I started working immediately after my final year exams (standing 6 months away from the MBA applications) just so that I could gain some work experience. I prepared for the GMAT after work and used to fret about it at work. Juggling with a fresh career, family life, social commitments and my MBA dreams circling my head like little blue birds 24/7 – I was doing everything I could to cause myself a nervous breakdown… As the application deadlines approached the picture began to render itself and the ‘clouds with the silver lining’…? Well they disappeared.

When that day comes I shall futterwacken... vigorously.

I was first told to get a certificate from this institute which had to do with my bachelors degree being equivalent to a 4 years bachelors program. In trying to get this done, I found out I needed an equivalency certificate for my O and A levels too. Till now I kept nodding with my *mhmm*. My mental calculator was constantly at work telling me whether or not my documentation would be in place before the application deadlines. 10 days for the O/A level thing and a week for the Degree certificate – I was good!

‘So sir, where do I get the O/A level thing made from? Which office do I need to approach?’ I asked Mr. I Know Nothing (thanks to whom I didn’t qualify to apply for my MBA that year). He said; ‘Oh, there’s no point going there yet – my eyebrows began to raise – they will not entertain your request unless you don’t give 3 more O levels’. *he smiles*

Okay, so my nodding and *hmm-ing* suddenly turned into the weirdest ‘whhhaaaattt?!?!’. I didn’t even bother to rationalize this piece of information; I was immediately looking towards my mental calculator – shit! O level exams were to take place next month! I was probably too late! But I could still try getting registered? So here I was, not thinking left, right or center – I didn’t know jack about the three subjects I had already decided to give next month! I dialed up the British Council and inquired. They told me that I was way past normal registration time but I could still register with some penalty fees. Pphheeeww! I looked back at Mr. I Know Nothing and told him that i’ll give my O levels, get my results somewhere in January, get the O/A level certificate made in 10 days and get back to him for the Degree cert, right? ‘Ji Ji bilkul’ *smiles again*’ … jerk.

I got back to my mental calculator, I was going to give three O levels for 3 alien subjects, get their results (hopefully no F’s) get all the documents in time and be able to apply.. it all seemed really edgy but I was being optimistic…that’s our word right?! This was going to be a tough ride. Not that I was already juggling with enough things to add 3 O levels to it – thank you God *I smiled* but I can do this.

Alice: This is impossible Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is

I sat down to fill the registration form for the O level exams and it said ‘Penalty fees 9000’. Nine thousand is no joke when you are paying around 26,000 (regular examination fee) but I was like what the heck. This is compulsory plus it’s 9000/- (meaning 3000/- per subject) not too bad hmm? Not too long after I had convinced myself to move on with the form I was completely taken aback in shock when I came across the line which read “Penalty fees 9000/- per subject”. 27 freakin thousand!! That meant I was going to pay around 50,000+ for subjects I had no clue about?! And even then my application being totally edgy?! Where was I headed? What am I doing?!

I went to my dad and told him I’m not throwing away such a big amount when I’m not even sure if it will all work out in time. I dropped the idea of applying for my MBA that year.

Like I said, despite of cautiously staying optimistic, it didn’t work out. But I believed that this was for the better.. if I do my mba next year I’ll be more of an MBA! Ha! So smileeeeeeeeee

I continued working for a while and then took some time off. During my time-off from work I made it a point to enjoy myself. I did everything I wanted to do. Shopped, dined out with friends, paid frequent visits to the spa, practiced music, took yoga classes and what not. Life was the bubbles! And also during my free time, I ended up paying a visit to the office from where my O/A level certificate was to be made. Since this was not a planned visit I had no idea about what my ‘inquiry conversation’ was going to be like. So I randomly started throwing questions at the guy who was there.
‘Sooo how long does it take to issue this certificate?’

‘About a week… 10 days’

‘hmm.. and how much does it cost?’

‘That depends on how soon you want it’

‘Right, umm.. I understand I need to give 3 olevels (named each subject)…but don’t you guys make the O/A level certificate without those three? Just wondering…’

‘Where’ve you given your O/A levels from?’

‘Saudi Arabia’

‘*giggles* you don’t need to give the three O levels then – students who give their O/A from abroad are exempted’

*jaw drops* ‘You.have.gotto.be.kidding!’

Optimism?! Yeah sure! I could’ve made it for my MBA applications! I wanted to go kill Mr. I know nothing! *sigh*

After spending almost all that I had saved, I decided to go back to the working life. Luckily I got myself a decent job and I began preparing for my MBA applications once again. For a good two months my life was sabotaged by 4 institutions. (I’ll just call them A, B, C and D)

So, A being the university I want to apply to, requires me to get a letter from B. I submit my request at B. Now they want a ‘direct confirmation’ of my documents from C (which is based in UK). Since I couldn’t get in touch with C directly I approached D to forward my request to C. After the tedious application procedure I found out that one of the forms did not go along with my documents. I kept running back and forth, begging people to direct me – I had no idea what was going on, I had no idea where this was going. After much running around, C emailed the confirmation letter to D and D forwarded the same to B. I thought my work was done! That’s what they needed and I got it! Only if life was so simple..

I heard nothing from B for a good three days.. and I decided to give them a call. When ‘I’ called they told me ‘Oh well, we don’t accept the letter through D, we need a direct confirmation from C’. Had I not called, I don’t know when I would’ve found this out.. *kill me?!*

So I call up C and I tell them there was a mistake in the address I sent to them. I requested them to resend the same letter to B directly. After giving me the due dose of humiliation, they said ‘ok we will send it’. Great! Finallyyy my work was done! I was back to being all optimistic … that’s our word afterall, right?

Just when I’m enjoying my relief, I get an email from C saying ‘We will send the letter to B BUT only if B emails us first requesting for the letter.’

This had to be some kind of joke, like seriously?

After much calling and requesting and waiting and ‘pull my hair’ moments, I got a call while I was at work last week. It was my mom.
‘Hey mom, all good?’

‘The letter your university requires… it’s here. Make sure you offer shukrana (thankfulness) after your prayer today’

Now this did seem like a joke. I was so happy I didn’t know how to react. I called up my friend and I was like guess what! Because of my life’s drama which had been running for two years now, this obviously had to be the easiest guess…

Optimism right? Well that doesn’t always work.

Alice: But I don’t want to go among mad people.
The Cat: Oh, you can’t help that. We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.
Alice: How do you know I’m mad?
The Cat: You must be. Or you wouldn’t have come here.

Last week, just before this letter arrived, I had a nervous breakdown. For real this time. My doctors said all my test reports were perfect hence, the cause had to be stress.

Stress?! I was so sure this wasn’t the problem. I was keeping myself on my toes with ‘optimism’. Yeah maybe I was tired and all.. but stressed out? Hell no. I was meeting friends, joking around, watching movies.. I was doing almost everything to give myself a break every now and then. I was trying my best to stay positive.

But it’s not that easy. Optimism isn’t that one magical word. In spite of all my cautious efforts to stay positive I broke down. It was because I was living with an invariable fear. The fear of ‘whether or not it will happen?’ ‘what if it doesn’t?’ ‘what if I can’t apply again this year?’ ‘What if they don’t send the letter?’ ‘My life would .. finish?’

This constant fear.. this lack of belief.. this was why optimism was doing me no good. It did work out in the end right.. I got the letter.. but at the cost of what? Constant worry. Constant stress. A nervous breakdown?

It’s not easy to live optimistically. People who live every moment to the most live with optimism and belief. Their blind faith in whoever they confide in. That’s what I didn’t have probably… I prayed regularly, I asked God for all I wanted but did I truly believe that I was being heard? Probably not.

I am still trying to counter my fear of whether or not I’ll make it into the university for my MBA. At times it works and at times I begin to worry about unseen consequences. We set goals – which is a great thing to do – but in the process of chasing those goals we keep forgetting to enjoy the journey. Being determined is appreciable but when you’re after one thing for too long you’re expectations begin to touch new levels. What if the MBA program doesn’t turn out to be all that great? I’ve been wanting this since I was in my second year of LLB.. I don’t even know how much I’m expecting out of this one MBA.

I’ve promised myself to live everyday now. I can’t be sure, but I will try not to worry about things that are beyond my control. When I pray, I will tell myself that I’ve been heard. And since what I’m asking for isn’t an unreasonable demand, my prayers will be answered. I will believe that.

I promise to chase my dream and achieve it inshallah but when I stand at the end of my MBA and look back upon this time, right here, right now, this mad crazy phase of my life.. I want to be sure that I smile.

Come on, this isn’t the end of the world, like seriously?! 😉

Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?.....Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.