-By Pranjal Pokharel

This pose is cool, change my mind.

You need to beat the alarm clock. So, wake up exactly 10 minutes before it rings. Then lie in bed squirming, waiting for it to ring anyway. Good, the absurd anime song has rung and you're now 5% awake. No worries, you only need to make it to the toilet and wait idly for 30 minutes or so, battling constipation and the periodic hissing of flush. 10% awake, 50% liberated.

Back-pain sucks, but not as much as doing the kapabhati and then some crunches to keep that skinny tummy in check. Mom snarks from the side , "Do not dare skip the surya namaskar!"  But the sunlight is your enemy and your skin is as pale as that of the vampire lad in The Twilight Saga. The pushup count has increased a bit, from NaN to 7 in a row, although the pecs are still as flat as a chop-board and your legs cramp almost every time you attempt squats. 20% awake and 30% energy-depleted for the day.

Another motivational "you can achieve everything you dream of" quote to go with a girl flaunting her curves to ridiculous proportions. A group of boys making awkward hand gestures and quoting "mates till death". Well of course, it's "lock down time" and you idiots are out there mingling without masks on. Hate that you can't angry-react on an Instagram post and hate some more on that spaghetti code on a main menu UI you made a month back on JavaScript. Pound the keys on your keyboard with fury and let them enjoy their fair share of BDSM fantasies. 50% awake, 100% angry.

The veggies are the same as the ones in the dinner last night, and the night before, but it's lock-down and mom claims that there are no bhindis in the shops, so make do with bhentas (although I'm quite sure I heard the street vendor screaming aalu tamatar at 6 in the morning, dismissed as a dream at every dinner conversation). A neighbor comes by and loiters around the passageway, hesitating whether or not to enter into further depths of the 'COVID-infested slaughterhouse'. The chimeki aunty comes by a moment later and starts crying on my mom's shoulder, typical rude chhora-buhari story. Why some people are oblivious to the contagious corona virus threat I ooze with my, quote, "anti-social" character, I'll never know. Neighbors? What? Whom? They have decided that they're too lazy to go malami for us, so why not all die together, right? The carbs-rich steamed rice kicks in and drugs the brain for a quick nap. (50–15)% awake.

You rarely get a hundred meters outside home confinement, except for an occasional visit to the groceries. Even then you balk at the shopkeeper counting each note with a quick lick to the fingers. Ahh, Nepalese and their money-counting fetishes. Good thing you chose computer engineering for your Bachelor's; all you need is a laptop, a stable internet connection and a 'I am a super hacker' hoodie that the media says you must wear to be dignified (or deprecated) as a programmer. Lunch announces itself as dahi chiura and your friend posts some obscure, low-level C code that supposedly decreases the space complexity of 'passing array into a function' by a factor of 2%. Show-off. Some initial confidence boost due to the output of 'Hello, World!' on the terminal increases the awake percentage to 65%, which plummets after you encounter the dreaded 'Segmentation Fault' error. Awake percentage: (35+30–25)%. You know what, let's reduce it even further to 30%, because that's what you deserve, you pathetic programmer!

Dinner is almost identical to the breakfast, except the tamatar chutney for which mom seems to have found some tomatoes conveniently lying around. Soon enough, it's 11 in the night and you find yourself watching videos on how it's now medically proven that beshar was the cure to COVID all along. Hey, even the supreme leader of our state confirms it and, as far as we know, politicians are always honest-to-goodness. Out of the blue, the lower half of your body declares the urge to watch two horny individuals duke it out in a competition of ahem "last person standing". Sure enough, you turn on that VPN on your mobile browser and cover your ears with your allegedly sound-proof headphones. Albeit in this case, it is known that regardless of the volume on the device, the sound within the headphones will never be heard by the mausuli staring intently from the ceiling. Awake 110% with a major testosterone boost.

But soon enough, your party pooper of a collaborator DMs you, announcing that he just pushed the latest commit onto the GitHub repo ,  boasting of how he completely 'revamped' the master branch, installing new audio modules and better playback options. Horror followed by shocking curiosity ensues and you promise your 'little friend' that you'll get back to him some other day. A promise you know you'll likely not keep, at least until the project is completed. It's almost midnight and you check your eyes in your reflection off the laptop screen – 50% awake.

So you crash down, half-asleep, half-awake, running around in circles of your own making, chasing after pipe dreams while the world around descends into madness and stupidity. Love or hate this situation you're in, as you lie with your eyes shut, half-naked and half-dreaming, you are one with the world and the world is one with you. And that is the only thing that matters.

Potential FAQs (prepared just in case):

Monsieur Pranjal, I'm not from Nepal and so I'm having a hard time understanding all the local slang you've used here. Would you care to print their translations in English? (with love, from France)

Of course, my dear fan. Here you go:

  1. kapabhati, surya namaskar: examples of yoga exercises (asanas)
  2. [ bhindis, bhentas, aalu, tamatar ] = [okra, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes]
  3. dahi chiura: traditional Nepali dish, curd and beaten rice mixed together
  4. beshar: tumeric powder, currently trending in Nepal
  5. mausuli: common house gecko
  6. chimeki aunty: a middle-aged married woman whom you must accept as a neighbor no matter where you live in Nepal
  7. chhora X buhari: son X daughter-in-law
  8. malami: person attending a traditional Hindu funeral ceremony

Konnichi wa Pranjal senpai! What anime opening/OST do you have as your morning alarm?

Mostly it's either 'You Say Run' (OST) from My Hero Academia or 'Garou's Theme Song' (OST) from One Punch Man. Currently I have 'お気に召すまま (As You Like It)' by Eve, a song I recently heard and fell in love with.

What's up with all these programming terms? And what's with that odd hate you have for Instagram feed? I can't relate to it at all…(btw, you'll never get me as your girlfriend, you boring weeb!)

There's a reason why we are all unique as individuals and have our own personal tastes, baka.

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