Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Hostel life

Two years of MBA is the first time I have ever lived in a hostel. So far it has been a roller coaster ride for me. All of you may have heard about the usual clich├ęs related to hostel life such as shared accommodations, common toilets, ragging of juniors, shouting, chaos, fights, boozing, playing computer games, watching movies, messy rooms, and thefts and last but not the least, the unpalatable food. But you can truly appreciate them only if you have stayed in a hostel. On top of that if you happen to be a student representative for hostel and canteen, who is called as RAC (Residential affairs Committee) member in my college, then you would definitely learn a lot. By making such a claim, I am betting on the fact that you are a modest and sane human being who is ready to accept his mistakes and keen to learn from them, although your decision of becoming a RAC member itself might be termed as an act of insanity. By the way the literary meaning of the full form of the acronym RAC (Residential Affairs Committee, repeated once again to increase word count of my post and pamper my ego) member does explain one of his unwritten and untold responsibility of at least protecting, if not promoting, the affairs of the residential students on the campus and not grudge against them like other numerous single souls staying in hostel. The acts of these single men of venturing out into the virtual worlds of Yahoo chat rooms in search of fairer sex are often criticised as the manifestation of hunger for lust, but I would term it to be a side effect of nature’s curse of doping youngsters with high levels of testosterones. Anyways, the day I was asked to be a RAC member, I wondered what must have prompted my fellow hostel mates to do that. I am not a person who likes to linger in a fool’s paradise for long, hence I could quickly find out that apart from my affection towards alcohol (which was officially recognized by college authorities with a fine of 1000 rupees during the very first week of my hostel stay), I am not a very gregarious and extrovert person who has the persona of Sylvester Stallone of Rocky I, II, III, IV to punch hard blows and make the unyielding college authorities and shrewd mess manager to accept innovative and never ending, but often unjustifiable, demands of the students . But the simple truth of the matter was that there was no one else ready to be a scapegoat. I know the phrase ’to be a doormat’ from my undergrad study days, but I could realise its true meaning after being elevated (as in chane ke ped pe chadhana) to the post of RAC. So if someone’s fan stops fanning him in the middle of the night, I should expect a knock on my door. And if the washing machine is not working (thanks to some moron who stuffed it with all he was having including a leather belt, 4 coins of five rupees, a pack of condom and a pair of sport shoes along with the usual shirt and pant, before moving to the adjacent bathroom to take shower), expect another knock. If that is not sufficient, someone obsessed with cleanliness (perfectly suitable to be placed with the sanitation dept of NDMC) would come cribbing about his room being not cleaned properly. And there are many such maniacs obsessed with different things but yet staying in bonhomie in a boiling pot of multi lingual and multi cultural students called hostel. An ablutomaniac demands 24 hours hot water supply so that he can purify his entire body after wanking at multiple times during a day in winter. And there are dipsomaniacs who want consumption of alcohol within the campus to be made legal. And there are hydromaniacs who want water coolers to be installed on each floor. And there are insomniacs who want to wonder in the woods of Sanjay Van after midnight when the main gate is closed. And there are melomaniacs who play incomprehensible hard rock music at the deafening decibel levels to end up clashing with silensomaniacs (now that’s my addition to English language) at unearthly hours during night time.

Although Maslow’s theory of Hierarchical needs has been contested many times and the ancient Hindu spirituality advises to skip indulgence in the basic needs of food, water and shelter to pursue the higher goals of self actualisation and moksha, you won’t find anyone following this advice in the materialistic 21st century. At least not in the hostel of a B school. In fact the very purpose of seeking admission into a B school is to get keys to open the doors of a treasure of wealth and excesses which should last you forever. So the students staying in the hostel are keen to satiate their basic needs in best possible way (which is different for everyone), most important of it being food. But a hostel mess runs as a zero sum game where a Punjabi can enjoy his parathas and paneer tikkas by depriving a Mallu of having idli and dosa. Hence the RAC members are always chasing an elusive dream of coming up with a menu that can satisfy all the students. They sit together and break their heads over all possible permutations and combinations of food items to create an ideal menu, only to realise later that it is more or less same as the previous one. They are supposed to play the role of a mediator in a game which I would call ‘who blinks first’. The students pissed off with the pathetic food refuse paying the mess fee and the mess manager is reluctant to improve without receiving mess fees from the students. In such deadlocks, RAC experiences an ordeal similar to that of a middle level manager.

As they say every dog has its day (har kuttte ka din aata hai ), the RAC also gets his chance of acting to be pricey when the second year room allotment is to be done. But in spite of allotting a smaller room with no box-in-built beds to himself, he is accused of playing favouritism. In between, he is summoned by college authorities to curb the menace of smoking in the campus where he reverses the argument on its head to lobby for a dedicated smoking zone for the so called adult and mature residents of the hostel and attracts wrath of hostel warden.

In hostel, birthdays are to be less enjoyed and more feared. Boys celebrate the birthday of their friends by kicking his ass without mercy till they get tired and pouncing on the cake to grab as much of its share as possible. The birthday boy would consider himself lucky if he even gets to know the taste of it. The interesting part is that the same guys would not hesitate from sharing their parathas, chips, biscuits, cold drinks and what not with each other on all other times.

The hostel life teaches you to be social, share everything with your friends and a sense of privacy is a rarity. So you decide to have a clandestine booze party with your close friends in the hostel to avoid the eye of college authorities and the next day you find everyone talking about your groovy footloose dance in the verandas after every man in the party turned into a superman on the high spirits.

But don’t get discouraged if you are planning to move to hostel anytime. The hostel life has its brighter side too. Sometimes you suffer from the panic attack before the exam and within one hour your room mate teaches you all the essential stuff to sail through the paper. You just screwed your interview with a dream company today and tonight you booze with your neighbour in the hostel to wash away the sorrows of the day. On a chilly winter morning, you enjoy sitting with friends in the sunshine in front of your room and blabber about anything from US Foreign policy to the difference between a bail and sand (ox and bull). You enjoy watching hi quality video movies in the free time thanks to your friend who downloads it for you. At the end of every trimester, when your ass is on the fire, you sit through the nights in the hostel and finish your group assignments and presentations in the company of your friends. You go out with them to explore all the food delicacies which Delhi has to offer. You make real close friends who know you inside out, whom you can trust blindly and whom you expect to help you any time in future. As only 45 days of my MBA are left now, I want to make the most of it. Create as many memories of my hostel life as possible so that I can cherish them for the rest of my life.


Debayan said...

The end is written with a very desirable quantity of emotional touch ;)

nick said...

Excellent!! Hw cn I miss this one .. evrythng seems so fresh .. u should have posted ds on notice board atleast ppl cud realize we weren't completely useless :)