Let me tell you my own tale...I am the only child in my family, protected and of course, highly pampered! I was never in my life told to do any errands around the house. I have never even washed a hanky!! No one had ever spoken to me above a volume of 50 decibel. Cooking meant Maggi making for me. Never did I bother learning how to cook considering I never felt the need of it. My mom actually used to think that my future husband and kids would have to survive on Maggi!! For me, life was a party! I never had to answer anyone, didn’t need to justify anything. Life was just fine till the day I got the letter from the University approving my admission. Time had come for me to enter the real world..
HOSTEL – Your Makeover Machine...
The first few days were scary. The routine was petrifying for someone like me. I had to wake up all by myself and that was a herculean task! Back at home, I had three alarms – one an actual one, one on my mobile and the most effective one, my mom!! After reaching almost an hour late consistently for the first lecture on each day of my first week in college, I realised the first two alarms were actually not of any use! Next, arrange the bed.. Next, wash (read .. backbone cracking activity) the entire bucketful of clothes lying in a corner since 3 days..and just in case you did not notice, we don’t use a washing machine since there isn’t one I had domestic help for all these activities back at home. But here, Iam the ‘kaam wali bai’!!
Thanks to my ‘effective alarms’, I never could make it on time for breakfast. So most of the times, I had to either skip it or had to pretend to faint in front of the Mess In charge so that he would have some pity on me! And the stuff offered at the Mess could not be called food. It was a cross breed between rubber, water and masalas. Many in my hostel who ‘could’ cook, used to prepare food themselves to save themselves from the fabulous buffet offered by the hostel mess. But, you know by now, the ‘Tarla Dalal’ in me!!!You have no clue, how much I missed the ATM (Any Time Meal!!!) service I had at home. All I had to do was scream my lungs out to my maid and she would come running with a plate of piping hot ‘khana’.
Another major problem was the room sharing. We were 3 girls in a room. I was never used to sharing my room with someone. But in the hostel, I had no choice. I did not want the top bunk, but that was what I got. After heated conversations, a ‘cold war’ with my roomies for more than a week, I had to give up. There used to be a fight everyday over who gets to use the bathroom and in which order. I never had to line up to have a bath since I had a personal bathroom, all for myself back home. Also, one of my roomies used to snore!! Man, you have no idea how I used to manage to put myself to sleep through that! Also, one of my roomies who is a serious nerd, used to get up at 3 a.m. to study. She would put on all the lights in the room and just FYI, I can’t sleep with the lights on..
I guess the worst was when I was down with malaria for almost a fortnight and I had to stay back in the empty hostel, all by myself, with no one to even find out if I was alright or not, whether I needed anything or not...That was the time when I did some introspection and I realised that this hostel has taught me a lot of virtues which I never valued earlier. I have become tolerant to people and the differences between me and them. I no longer throw tantrums and I have learnt to sleep with the lights on. I have understood the value of my family and friends. I even SMS those people who used to ignore when I was back home. I crave to see that phone blink...who knows some stupid pal of mine must have thought of me!! I used to make faces when Mom would make 'karela' and 'baingan ki sabji', but today, anything...absolutely anything, made by my dearest Mom is more than welcome!!Yes, including the karelas and baingans...I have become more responsible and independent. And i do not regret it!! I have taken charge of my life and no longer take it easy. I wouldn’t be what I am today, had it not been for this experience. I had to learn it the hard way, though!!But I guess, that is what makes hostel life so special...It teaches you to live life!!
And you know what, the person whom I respect the most since I have returned back home from my hostel is none other than my 'KAAM WAALI BAI!
- Aishwarya Sitharam