Elixir of wakefulness

Elixir of wakefulness

Recently, my house help asked me if one can stay awake by drinking coffee. Her son wanted coffee to stay up at night and study for his exams!

Going down memory lane, I recollected my college days. In college, I became very close with one of my friends, and the two of us did everything together, during/after class hours. The first year of college was a little nervy and competitive. We wanted to make a good impression on our teachers by scoring decent marks, so we made some study plans.

Usually, I would prepare seriously for exams only during study holidays, but my friend opined that once in college we should start preparing early and also study for longer hours, till late in the night. “That’s what my cousins did!” she would say. Much against my will, she convinced me to stick to the plan, explaining the benefits of doing so.

Half-heartedly, I agreed and we plunged into the challenge on an ominous Saturday night. We decided to stay awake the whole night and study in our respective homes. However, we didn’t make it even till 11 pm. Then, coffee entered our plan because “the cousins” drank it at night before studying. Sadly, that idea didn’t help much. The additional half hour of wakeful state was attributed to the coffee.

The next plan was to study together. My friend’s father dropped her off at my place after dinner. Splashing our faces with cold water to stay fresh, we began studying. Just when we thought we were making good progress, we started yawning at intervals. But we didn’t want sleep to overpower our spirit. So we made coffee. Drinking it quickly, we continued poring over our books. But the coffee adamantly refused to cooperate! We were already dozing off, sliding in our chairs, our determination sinking. That night ended when my mother, who had come to check on our status, urged us to go sleep on the bed.

My friend then suggested another brilliant idea — to keep some snacks, “just as my brother and friends did.” The next night, she appeared with a packet of masala peanuts. We started studying in all earnest. As time passed, our glances slowly drifted to the peanuts and we opened the packet. Initially, we ate a few peanuts, wanting to save it for the night. But soon, we gave in to the temptation and finished it in no time. With the peanuts done, we were not to be distracted by anything. But sleep, our fiercest enemy, began teasing us. Our eyes started closing involuntarily. We gave up the battle and succumbed.

Thankfully, my mother’s strong advice that early morning was the best time to study saved me from the saga of late night studies. My untiring friend, too, seconded it. Her final proposal to study together during wakeful hours worked and the strategy continued till we finished college.