The perks of being a Hosteller

By Shyam Kamal

The date still remains etched in my memory. July 19th, 2013 – the day I was officially declared a Hosteller. Before coming into the plot, here is the flash-back: I didn’t want the college – I was forced. I didn’t want the course – I was cornered. I wanted to remain a day-scholar at least. I hoped that I would get third time lucky but looks like the law of averages never works when you want it to. I was enrolled in the hostel even before I could completely contemplate how the hostel would be. So, back to the plot now.

One look at the hostel and all my hopes got shattered like the stumps facing a Brett Lee yorker. There was nothing phenomenal about it. Not the most palatial building you could see. Nor the sort of building situated in the middle of a vast garden surrounded by trees and bushes of great diversity. Nah. It was pretty much simple. Ordinary. Compact. Or to make it simpler , it was okay. Just okay to make sure you survive.

To be honest, the initial days were hell. That was the period where I really understood relativity (metaphorically) – that time flies past when you are doing something you like while it moves slower than a Rajat Bhatia delivery when you hate what you are doing. Yes, hate. The right word for what I felt then. I hated the room I was given. I hated the wooden door to my room. I hated the people around me. I hated that stupid lizard on the wall. I hated my self for letting others influence my life decisions. I didn’t fight for what I liked so I was bound to like whatever I ended up with. It was not like I felt murderous or suicidal but just that I fully understood why people tend to commit suicides – it’s like every one around you seem to be filled with happiness but you and only you are full of an unquenchable sorrow. Like you are drowning except to realise that all the others around you are swimming freely.

To this day , becoming a hosteller, even if involuntary, seems like a blessing in disguise. A play of hand to get me into the game. Because this hostel teaches you things nothing else can and nobody else will. It teaches you about survival, trust, bonding and feelings that haven’t yet been given names. It strips you of all the possessiveness and self-centeredness you brought along. So, you have a laptop and are halfway through a movie? There will always be a guy who interrupts you and asks if he could join(indirectly asking you to play it from the beginning)! Yes, you could say NO. But you don’t. Why? Because that’s the unspoken rule here – “Thou shalt not say NO to a fellow hosteller”. Because he might be the same guy you go to for something the next time. It was rather like a large gathering of musketeers with their ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE philosophy. Nothing in here belongs to a single person. Not your perfume or your shirt or your shoes or your charger or your soap or your hair oil. Communism is the rule and there are no exceptions. And this is not the introvert’s paradise. No. People strike conversations with you wherever you go, even in the most unlikely of places(you should have guessed by now). Aah! Speech . The only thing that keeps us same amidst all the chaos.

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Another advantage is that you get exposed to so many slangs. So many, that people find it difficult to judge your hometown by the way you speak. From the beautiful vaa ley, po ley of Tirunelveli (yes. I am biased) to the arey, nahi yaar of Hyderabad, from the pozhicharalam / chalambittan of Nagercoil to the station aanda / en Kaila sollu of Vellore, you get comfortable with everything. You get so comfortable that you forget about the time issue. The speeches last longer than a Nadal match. Well into the night. Beyond the night. Into the early morning. Without even us realising it.

That’s the truth. It’s an insomniac’s paradise. If you can find some solace in the darkness, you will enjoy this place. Even if you don’t like the darkness, you will learn to enjoy the night. At least for those midnight snacks or those late night FIFA tournaments or those carrom friendlies you simply don’t turn down. Happiness was all those moments I never dreamed of.

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Ten years from now, I may not remember the road from our college to annexe. Or that my first year hostel room was on the second floor, 2nd room on the left to the staircase. But this time I spent, I wasted, I enjoyed with the friends I earned, shall never be forgotten. I say here ‘friends I EARNED’ because nobody in a hostel is not your friend, but those true friends, you got to earn. And finally if someone asked me what I think about my college, I could , and maybe I would, say
” MIT? not bad!”

P.S. deep inside, every hosteller loves his hostel. But if you ask us directly, we would mostly not be open with it. Why? Because it can take it. It is not the one we deserve but definitely the one we need( once at least in our life).

By Shyam Kamal

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