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Week #6
25/8

Focus, focus, focus…. Discipline, discipline, discipline…

It doesn’t matter how many times I say this to myself. I can’t stop checking Oppa’s twitter stream. Sitting in the public library with all the books and papers spread around me, I was admitting defeat.

“Seriously woman… are you expecting to find research material somewhere in Oppa’s twitter stream? I don’t think his specialty is math theory on comms… in case you didn’t know” Anjali is the best of friends most days. Then there were days like today where her sarcasm was at a whole different level.

 

“So funny… you are not helping you know.”

 

“Really? I’m competing against all the chatter inside your head, am I? am I distracting you from your distraction? Just trying to help here. You know there’s a real world out there where your parents are waiting for you to graduate, get married and have kids. That is of course not to mention all you keep saying you want to do to change the world.”

 

“All right buzz-kill. I get my daily dose of guilt trips from my parents already. Lay off the sarcasm. I’m getting back to the research paper”

 

“Let’s see how long you can go before checking twitter again…”

 

Anjali got up and went to find a book she needed for her work.

I was grateful to Anjali for her challenge. It helped to remind me my obsessive focus on oppa wasn’t sustainable, that I needed to get my work done if I was to live a life that wasn’t stuck in the stereotype my parent’s station in life put me in. I had dreams to reach the stars. Not the movie stars like oppa but the gas and dust type stars rolling around in the vast spaces beyond human borders.

 

“She seems like a really good friend. You should really listen to her.” The guy sitting at the table behind me spoke softly.

 

I was annoyed. How dare someone eavesdrop on a private conversation.

 

“It’s not really polite to listen to other people’s conversations, you know.”

 

“I apologize. But you were really loud. Especially given we are in a library.”

 

Though he continued to speak softly, the voice was finally registering. It felt like I was moving through syrup as I turned my head to gaze at the opinionated stranger.

 

“You are Oppa.” I whispered.

 

“Yes, Captain Obvious. I am. I’m glad you’ve decided to lower your voice finally. That was really loud and disrespectful.”

 

“Huh?” everything was just white noise. I kept looking from my twitter page to Oppa’s face unable to reconcile reality.

 

“Did I lose you there? You look a little dazed.” Oppa waved his hand in front of my face. I’m glad it snapped me out of my trance.

 

“What are you doing here? You don’t go to school here.”

 

“The library is open to the general public too, you know.”

 

“Huh… still, what are you doing here?”

 

“Research”

 

“Research on what?”

 

“Not mathematical theory on communications.”

 

Ahh… He did hear what Anjali was referring to then.

 

“Well, you at least know what that is.”

 

“Hmmm… You should get back to your research before your friend comes back and scolds you more.”

 

“I can handle her.”

 

“I’m sure you can. What are you going to do this time… point out you are at least not distracted by twitter anymore?” Oppa raised his eyebrow to punctuate the sarcasm, but it didn’t work. I was so used to watching this signature move on TV that I involuntarily giggled. It didn’t feel like a real conversation. In my head, it was only a drama moment.

 

“Really? You think that’s funny?” Oppa sounded actually cross for a moment.

 

“I’m sorry but you have to understand. This is as surreal as life can get for me. Having you here in front of me is a tad hard to believe. But you do that with your eyebrows and well… I don’t think I can explain how to explain it…” belated I realized I had really begun to talk nonsense.

 

“Ok… I see now we’ve lost the ability to make sense all together then.”

 

“Right… let’s start again, shall we?… Hello Oppa. Fancy seeing you here. What might you be researching about in my school library?”

 

“Better… at least we are coherent this time” the little smile that danced across and lifted the corner of Oppa’s lip was a sight to behold. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Instead of attempting to speak again I decided to tilt my head and continue to watch him expectantly.

 

“I’m looking through some history books on anarchy.”

 

“Anarchy? Why?”

 

“I need it for a story.”

“Huh… not the best of human traits.”

 

“No, but it’s so prevalent in the history of humans. It’s important to understand.”

“Hmmm… to learn from?”

 

“Yes, only if we learn will we not repeat… that’s the reason for learning history, isn’t it?”

 

“I suppose… but sometimes people get stuck on all the bad things that happened in history that the good that could be in the present gets overlooked. Ultimately, we come up with fixes for past mistakes that just lead to creating new mistakes and new victims”

 

“I know what you mean. It’s like pendulum swings. Since you are into math, think of it in those terms. Neither end of a pendulum swing is a stable position. You have to expend all the stored energy for it to reach stability. But that means the pendulum has to go back and forth until all the energy is dissipated.”

 

“I wish Anjali had heard you explain it right now. She would never be able to tell me I won’t find math theory in your social media stream anymore.”

 

“I didn’t expect such profound thoughts from you, given how silly you were being before. But Anjali is right. You should put that brain to use and finish your school work. The world needs more great minds to balance the greedy and myopic ones breaking it right now.” Oppa smiled.

 

The kindness in his voice and smile felt like a soft blanket gently wrapping itself around me to keep my world warm.

“You are nothing like what I thought you’d be.” I didn’t realize I was whispering.

 

“Huh? What did you say? I couldn’t hear you.” Oppa leaned over.

 

“Nothing. Never mind.” I stuttered. I could feel the tips of my ears burning

 

“So tell me, how many times do you go to twitter anyway for your friend to be so mad?”

 

“Like every 2 minutes. The joke in our apartment is I obsess over Oppa 25/8”

 

“That is funny… so you obsess 25 hours a day, 8 days a week?” Oppa laughed.

 

“Yup, that’s me… every waking minute and all the sleeping ones plus a few imaginary ones on top.” I had to laugh at myself for being like this.

 

“Nice, let's break all the laws of physics then... No wonder your friend thinks I’m a bad influence.”

“Actually, she doesn’t think you are a bad influence. She’s honestly a big fan. She just thinks I’m not balancing my life appropriately. That I spend too many brain cells on you at the expense of getting through grad school and finishing up my education. She just cares about me genuinely. That’s all.”

 

“She does sound like a good friend. You are lucky to have someone like that in your life. You don’t know how few people has that in their life.”

 

“I know”

 

“But what is there to do for 25/8 as you put it? I’m really curious what you can do? I mean I might post like 3 things online on the most active days. Most days its one post, if that… at best, that would take on average only like 5 minutes to watch and comment.”

 

“Well, there’s what you post. Which for the record takes a lot more than 5 minutes to properly digest! Then there’s all your fan accounts that post their videos and their theories about your day and your personal life. Then there’s an entire sub culture that dissect every word you say and discuss what they mean in your values and beliefs. Trust me… there’s more material produced on you in a 24 hours than one can take in. That’s why we need the extra hour and day…”

“So, it’s not really me that’s filling up your day. It’s all the others’ opinions… it’s the network effect that’s taking over your time.” Oppa smiled.

 

If I wasn’t already crazy over him, I certainly would’ve converted right now, seeing how he was trying to make me understand myself in a way I could relate.

 

“Hmmm…”

 

“I think I have a fair case to exonerate myself in front of Anjali. I really want her respect at this point.”

 

“Funny… Like I said, her issue is with me, not you.”

 

“All right… then I’ll make a deal with you. Here, show me your twitter handle”

 

I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but I showed him the screen. It beeped for a notification.

 

“There… I’m following you now. So, here’s the deal.”

 

“Ok.” Whatever he offered, I knew I would take it.

“When you graduate, let me know how you did. If you get through with Honors, I promise I will come to your graduation and I’ll even come up with a good graduation gift. But remember, all this is only if you graduate with the highest Honors.”

 

“Hmm.. Deal.”

 

“Change the world little genius and make me proud!”

Week #5
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