The good, bad and ugly. Hostel life is meant to be a lot of fun if you live it the right way. Patricia Mascarenhas gets a glimpse of this jumpy life.
What is the first thing that flickers through your mind when you think about hostels? Is it the late night munchies? Long gossip sessions? Or the sneaking in past curfew hours? Ask hostelites and they will say it`s all this and more that lures them to the corridors of a hustling bustling hostel!
It is said that home is sweet. But even then life at home cannot be compared to the life in a hostel. “At home one has to live as other members of the family live. Elders are always there to keep a check. But in a hostel, you`re a free bird,” says Arpit Phillips, former hostelite, St Xavier`s boys hostel.
Hostel life gives you wings. You become your own master. “You learn to manage everything yourself. From washing clothes, managing pocket money, managing time and studies to keeping up with the gossip,” equips Sonia Thomas, student, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
Despite the rules and regulations, the things one gets to learn in hostel are endless. “Fitness tips, early morning jogs with chai and the different languages from different parts of the country, some of which you didn`t know existed. A hostel gives you a glimpse of the great Indian diversity,” informs Ashwini Narayan, student, MSUW hostel.
Life in a hostel is a blessing youngsters can have. It gives you independence. Those who love freedom love hostel life. “You can sleep or wake up whenever you like, noone will question you. We get out of bed and head straight to class, sometimes even in our pyjamas. It gives you a somewhat different swag which is why you can spot a hostelite easily,” says Divya Ruth Jose, student, Ridge House, Hyderabad.
Each hostel has a life and culture of its own. Arrangements of games and sports, Sunday Maggi specials, eating competitions, all night music medleys and day-to day merry-making, make this culture a thing of envy for all.
“We have this tradition called `Birthday Dunking`, so basically the birthday boy/girl stands in the middle of the hostel courtyard and all their friends practically everyone comes and dunks them with buckets of water and any other toiletries around,” laughs Sanjay Deshpande, student, Young India Fellowship campus hostel, Delhi.
If students enjoy the hostel life in different ways, they also work very hard when the time comes for it. When a negligent student sees his/her roomate studying, he tries to follow his/her example. “We all have exams around the same time so everyone studies together, at the same time hence, we are automatically motivated,” says Deshpande.
Hostel life not only develops the spirit of healthy competition, but also teaches the lesson of mutual cooperation. “When in doubt one can always walk up to anyone and ask for notes or explanations. Sometimes we don`t even need to study all the chapters. We do alternate chapters and then exchange notes,” says Rose.
Hostel life with its so many advantages has some drawbacks too. Students coming for the first time find this new freedom overwhelming and may go astray. They fail to choose good companions. The unlimited freedom proves harmful for such students. “In any hostel, you will always find someone crooked who will try to manipulate you into doing wrong things,” informs Phillips.
The pollution may be in any form: drugs, excessive drinking of alcohol, sexual activity, procrastination, misuse of money, undue partying, smoking etc. “Since there is no one to watch over our every move. Being able to stay away from these temptations is one big challenge we face,” he adds.
Apart from this, another drawback that hostelites will harmoniously agree upon is that, in spite of the much needed space from mingling families, the one thing that they terribly miss is ghar ka khanna. “The food maybe edible, but there is always a craving for home cooked meals. Whenever someone comes back from a home visit, it is mandatory to get home food which is equally shared by all,” Abrahman Luke, student, Christ University Faculty of Engineering(CUFE), Bangalore. “All dabbas have to be opened in the presence of all the roommates. Its only fair,” he laughs.
All in all hostel life has a charm of its own. It can be a comedy of errors or a living dream. With the freedom to explore, no tantrums to face and the luxury of time, hostel life can be one happy experience, that is if one survives it. It need not be fancy but definitely is memorable.