Monday, April 28, 2008


The View from My Room
The alarm heralds a new day. I heard it used to be roosters but i probably like them better for curry than waking me up. 

It's still early. Let's sleep for another 10 minutes. 

The stupid alarm rings again, all too soon. 

Still in the comfort of the bed, my hand reaches out for the water bottle. Pushing myself up i sat with my back against the wall, i gulps down 2 mouthful. Nesa, my roommate, is still deep in slumber. I will wake him up after i have showered. I always take longer to get ready. 

The early morning breeze buffets against my face, gently bringing me further from my sleepiness. Level 8 is blessed with generous winds, and i am really glad to have stayed here for 4 years. 

Untangling my slippers from Nesa's, i slip it on and walk down the corridor, and down the stairs. The bathrooms are empty. They always are, at this hour of the day, and i find that welcoming. 

The sound of water gushing out of the shower, and the cool water that bats on my head finally brings me completely out of my sleep. 

I wake up Nesa. He always respond promptly by sitting up over the edge of bed, but whether he truly wakes up or not is another matter. I will not be surprised to find him snoring on the bed one second later. Haha. 

I know Rags won't have woken up yet. 

'Eh Rags wake up d?', i ask anyway. 

Nesa drags his feet to Rag's room next door. Opening the door that probably isn't needed at all, as it is almost always left unlocked, we see a baby sleeping like a, as we medical students instinctively say it, prawn. 

'Hey rags wake up!' Nesa breaks the silence in the room that envelops Rags. 

Like a guard who falls asleep on duty, Rags jumps. The blanket is all over the place except on himself, while the standing fan rotates lazily at the head of the bed. He stares at us with reddened eyes that are as widely open as humanly possible, yet conveys unmistakable sleepiness. He still manages to look puzzled, after we have woken him up the exact same manner for countless times since he moved up to E8. 

It takes him almost 5 seconds before he comes to his senses and loses that puzzled appearance. But i will not be surprised to see him sleeping like a baby prawn (cooked) in a second too. That reminds me i have yet to video that amazing wake up routine.

I can never understand how i take so long to get ready. While i get dressed up, and pack up my bag, Nesa and Rags have already finished washing up, maybe poo-ed as well, dressed up and all ready to go. 

Descending the stairs to E4 on our way to breakfast, i realise we forgot about Lydia. Walking back up to E5, the three of us speculate whether she will be ready to go. 

Through the glass pane on top of the door, the room appears dark. That can only mean the blinds are still down, and she's probably further down in some dream. I tapped on the door, and Nesa started, 'Lydia, Lydiiiaaaa, Lyyyddiiiiaaa...' like my old ringtone that gets louder progressively. My ringtone had a nice melody to it though. 

After probably 15 seconds, i hear a rustling noise, telling me she's climbing out of the bed. A few dull thuds of footsteps later, the door lock crackles (extremely loud and low pitched, unlike bronchiectasis) and turns. The door opens slightly and she peers at us with a bedhead that any hairstylist will be proud of. Her sleepiness permeates the very air that we are breathing, and i want very badly to yawn in spite of myself. 

'You guys go down first la, i will join you all there,' she mutters, in an infectious sleepy voice that makes me wonder if i am doing the right thing being awake now. Sleep deprived, we all are. 

Walking down more stairs and we crack a few jokes. The usual bad and not too tasteful jokes. But that's us la. 

Queuing for breakfast, i tap my matric card at the card sensor. Contented that they are still the same old familiar array of food, i pointed to the fried rice. Carrying my plate on one hand, i collect 3 sets of cutleries, raising them up to show the 2 tall black guys i have taken for them. 

Putting down my plate on the table, i walk back to get myself a cup of soy milk. 

Nesa forgets and gets himself another pair of utensils again. Haha. 

As usual, Nesa finishes before me, while Rags lags behind. I have never had anyone eaten faster than me before coming to university. Now i have my match as my roommate. 

With no more fried rice to chew on, the three of us stare out at the view in front of us. Nothing great actually, just a huge block of beige flat that blocks what used to be a view of the seaports. 

Lydia always amazes me at how fast she gets ready. Just as we wonders if sleep has reclaimed her, she hurried into the dining hall in small shuffling steps, with a face that is so focused i surmise it must be for something other than the bread that she's heading for. No one can be so bent on getting food, can they? 

We exit the dining hall through the new door next to the counter. It's one of the few additions in Hall that actually improves quality of life. No more long detour. 

Walking up the slope leading to the carpark, Rags passes Nesa the padlock key. The carpark was recently padlocked to prevent outsiders hogging up parking space of privileged Keviians (KE VII is the Hall's name, for King Edward VII) who drive. The carpark is underutilised, most of the time though, unfortunately.

I volunteer to stay with Nesa next to the metal bar, while Rags drives down the car. It serves no real purpose to not get into the car first, and Nesa needs no company for the brief one minute waiting for the car to come down, but i do it anyway. The camaraderie of roommates i suppose. 

The car creaks to a stop. Nesa lowers the metal bar and inserts the padlock, but it does not click. He tries a few times, and resigns to asking me to do it. Somehow the stupid lock likes me better, and clicks to engage after only one try. 

We climb into the car, and immediately wind down the windows. 

'Naga hasn't arrived,' Rags noted. 

We sat in the car and stare ahead of us again. 

Rags' sms alert chimes, and with the swiftness of an accomplice of bank robber waiting on the sidewalk, he ignites the engine and kicks on the gas. The car leaps to the front and make a sharp turn into Kent Ridge Road. 

Enjoying the gusts of air that comes along with open windows of a moving car, i look at the people walking along the pedestrian's path. Where are they going to? That girl seems a little too overdressed (or too 'under'dressed if we take the plunging neckline into consideration) for a lecture. 

The car swerves into the link road to AYE (Ayer Rajah Expressway), and stops at the bus stop. Naga looks up from her book, gets up and hurries to get in the car. I wonder if she listens to music streaming in from the earphone more or study more today. 

Lydia gets out of the car and Naga jumps in, wedged between me and Lydia at the backseat. Everyone greet Naga at once. I guess it's her saintly aura that compel us to always greet her immediately. 

Rags kicks on the gas again, and the car lurches forward. Looking to the back, i see the bus driver eases the bus to a stop without too much of a displease on his face. We did not get in the way. Good. 

I wind up the window as it is no longer gentle breeze that comes in, it's howling strong guts of wind that deforms my yet-to-be-dried gelled hair, and the noise is deafening. 

The car gets into the tunnel after endless rows of beautiful shady trees. I look around, Rags and I are the only 2 still not sleeping. I decide to dump him and sleep too. Poor Rags. 

This part of the journey to Changi General Hospital is always a blur. I will wake up somewhere in PIE just before we arrive for another typical day at hospital.


Today is not a typical day. 

I did not wake up Nesa, or Rags, or Lydia. I am the only one going down to NUH today. Today is the first day of O&G posting, unfortunately still as a student. 

It feels weird to go alone. After spending almost 24 hours everyday with these people for the past one year. 

I walked out of Shepherd's path, and down the Green Staircase alone. I arrived at the office, seeing not the familiar faces but faces that belong to poor souls who have the misfortune to fail Surgery Finals. It reminded me that it really wasn't only competency that was the key of the exam. Luck was at play also. 

It's not that difficult. I will just have to get used to a life without these close friends studying together, or rather, doing everything together.

It's 11.32am now. It does not feel too bad. 

Don't worry, i will be fine. I am tough. You dare say no? 

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