The Munni Badnaam of M.B;B.S.

Monday, January 17, 2011 F.H 12 Comments Category :

It was a grey, cloudy day today. And the sun was shining too. Such a collision of contrasts. A Hegelian clash of the opposites. Like life. Like love. Like the Vital Signs songs I’ve been listening to today back to back. At this very moment I’m swaying to the tune of ‘Woh Kaun The.

You know, the thing about Vital Signs songs is that they can never become too old for you to listen to. And for good reason too. Those four musically gifted (and devastatingly handsome) guys sang to our hearts and souls. Theirs is a downright rock-the-floor and blow-off-the-rooftop success story if there ever was one. And it’s not just about the soul-stirring music and the heart-melting lyrics. (It might not even have all that much to do with the boyish good looks) It’s about the wonderfully compelling mystery, the deliciously convoluted subtlety that their music has to offer. It’s about being discrete and refined and leaving certain things unsaid and giving the listeners’ imagination its due space to build castles while still managing to make them sway and jive and rock and roll. Like the day that dawned today, they give the listener all that they have to offer – the sad, grey clouds and the frolicking ray of sunshine, giving them the power to choose as to what they’d like to let in through their window. As for myself, Vital Signs does to me what Edith Piaf did to the dreamers in Inception (which by the way is an out and out rocking movie!) For all its mysterious beauty, it keeps me in sync with reality. Tells me when it's time to wake up.

Am I being too overly gushy? I guess I am. But you’d understand better if you were here in my room right now, being held hostage to the cheesy lyrics of ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’ blaring from the loudspeakers at somebody’s mehndi three houses down from ours. Have you listened to the song? I bet you have. Because apparently that’s the tune the nation’s collective butt is swivelling to nowadays. Why? Why? Why the hell why? "Rrrring! Hello Mr. Lalit Pandit. Mr. Cheese just called and he wants his cheesiness back please." Good-bye subtlety and fine taste because this is the age of saying everything and expressing little. Of profits rather than passion and money rather than magic. So quite clearly my listening to a more-than-a-decade-old song by a band that’s pretty much done-n-dusted is a straight case of over-compensation. Ah well. I can afford the luxury. Second year’s professional exam has officially come to an end. Even for those poor souls whose vivas got postponed because of the unfortunate death of Mr. Salman Taseer(May he rest in peace). Prof’s over people. God be praised for small mercies. And big ones too.

But all disasters –natural or man-made – leave their mark. This one was no different. For starters, my sleep-wake cycle’s all messed up. I have this perpetual taste of bitter, no-cream-no-sugar black coffee in my mouth and even as I sit typing this, I keep expecting someone to shout ‘Time over’ and snatch the keyboard form under my fingers any minute now. And I have this irritating urge to concoct definitions of every word I see. Which kinda makes me wonder…why do exams have to be so mercilessly ruthless, so crudely robotic in their treatment of us? Why does this particular aspect of the healing arts have to be so unbearably tedious and insufferable? I don’t know. You tell me.

Have you ever felt the unease that comes out of dumbing things down and compartmentalizing every bit of knowledge you come by? Of taking hold of something incredibly wondrous and excitingly fascinating and turning it into this meaningless assortment of facts, figures and diagrams that only just manages to stir those grey cells of yours into action. Like an oil-in-water-suspension. Being together but never actually cohering to produce a whole. Never enmeshing to produce something more meaningful. It’s like being able to see, in glimpses, the universe’s glory and magnificence, to witness the different aspects of the human bodily processes coming together, something larger than yourself and the universe and to appreciate the workings of the behind-the-scenes Force that’s pulling all the reins and calling all the shots. It’s like looking at a brain specimen, running your fingers over its serpentine fissures and sulci, glancing with wondrous eyes at that arboreal conclave that houses the cerebellum and thinking to yourself, (as Dr. Attya Khalid puts it), “Saari kaarwai bus isi ik meesnay di si?” (Dear Ma’am Attya, I hate Anatomy, but I really really like you. You’re going away this year, so it’s only appropriate that we say to you in farewell what Keith L. Moore writes for his wife in the preface to his book on Embryology: “You will be missed but never forgotten.”) Imagine your frustration then, when that emotion of pure romantic joy and sheer awe that you feel has to be imprisoned in a plethora of headings and sub-headings(with squiggly lines running beneath them for neatness) and bullet-points and grotesquely coloured diagrams made from cheap coloured markers and highlighters. And all that in three hours. Three goddamned hours that, like Munni Badnaam’ focus more on saying it all without expressing anything much. Of regurgitating rather than creating. It’s trivia, all trivia(atleast that’s what it feels like now) and we’re powerless before the pitiless demands it makes on our failing memory and crumbling psyche.

Does that feel like unpractical, idealistic bosh to you? If it does, go easy on me in your comments dear readers. I’m still recuperating from the death-blows struck by the Munni Badnaam of M.B;B.S – the prof exam.

To sum up, a cousin of mine who’s taking his final prof exam is mostly found nowadays at the bed-side of his invalid grandmother, rubbing oil in her hair, massaging her feet, even escorting her to the bathroom. On my incredulous inquiry as to what had suddenly gotten into him, he replied with an evil glint in his eye, “Nothing! I have to pass my prof, that’s all!” I’d rolled my eyes then and called him a jerk but his reply made me realize that selflessness seldom comes in a 100% pure package, that prayers will be said in schools, colleges and medical universities (especially medical universities) as long as there are exams and that Robert Langdon was right about the observation he made in The Da Vinci Code, that college men (and now as I listen to Junaid Jamshed crooning ‘Amreeka k na Japan k, Hum tou hain deewaney Multan Kay”, all men for that matter) are still boys.

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12 comments

  1. Really cool.. Like it.. And you awake in me the desire to start listening to Woh Kaun The all night, which I am just going to give myself up to.. :D

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  2. Hey thanks for visiting the blog:) and LOL! I'd say that was a night well-spent:)

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  3. haha...munni badnaam=profs...!! that one was good...and girl wow i love reading your blogs..!! =)

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  5. Such an intelligent amalgam of vital signs,Munni badnaam, ma'am attiya , KLM, Robert langdon , and our inexpressiveness in written papers ...Wow Faiza...I never appreciated before what spate of intelligent co relations are needed for a wonderfully written blog...zaberdust yar.Alla!

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  6. hey faiza! m unable to find words to explain how much i love ur work... proud to be ur frend... :)

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  8. Great post ! Superb as always :)
    The way you put the hectic exam days,Langdon, Inception etc., is admirable. Liked the analogy of Piaf's je ne regrette rien and Vital sign's ! :)

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  9. Awesome post duuuude! :D :D
    Yeah, the way you've joined everything together, neat!! Especially the whole prof thing :P

    You know, I never thought they'd be anything more barf-worthy than mindless morning show hosts... But then Munni came along... and THEN mindless morning show hosts promoting Munni came along... just keeps getting better and better doesn't it :-/

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  10. vital signs, aww don't you just miss the 90s! :(

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  12. A TRULY well done job

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