Hostel Diaries

Vasanthi Pillai, III Year B.A. Economics.

Almost a month after surviving a tide as big as the board exams, new cities build bridges across your heart, tempting the wanderer in you. Even as you walk towards new places to begin your college life, a bigger tide energises you, some call it change, and some others call it hostel life.

If you’re new to the city and newer to this hostel expedition, here are six things you will nod your head to; a little too vigorously to some.

The survival skills session
Every other friend who had not spoken to you for more than three years will call you up to ask, “How is hostel food?”, even before they say “Hello”. Bearable, okay, edible, not bad, just fine, are words you’ll have to store in the front page of your dictionary. A ‘good’ might shock them and you might have to repeat it several times.  Irrespective of how many people you answer with interesting synonyms, your eyes will still hunt for home food. Before one forgets, the next question will be, “Oh, so you wash your clothes by yourself?”

Yes, you are allowed to cry.


It is the general rule of the universe that once a day scholar becomes a hostelite, her/his time-estimation skills scale up tremendously, because hostel life gifts everybody with curfew. Beyond finding the shortest route to your hostel from your favourite hangout spot, you also find the easiest path to convince your warden with the right basket of excuses. Meanwhile, the rest of the world wishes you luck for your creative skills.

Stranger than Strangers
Your great-grandfather’s last daughter’s second son will call you home the same weekend as your second cousin’s uncle’s wife’s daughter. The dilemma is not just about choosing one among the two but also about recollecting the faint memories that re-establish the existence of these relatives who still remain strangers in your mind. We all understand how you’re appalled at the sudden rise in the number of relatives; it’s hard to face this overwhelming love, all of us understand.

Mother Promise
    “Use your independence wisely, don’t waste time.” They’ll repeat this more than just once, but they will never know you enjoy your independence by partying with your pillows and nachos. You’ll be your friend’s envy, for they would yell out loud how they wished they could stay in a hostel, and your mind will echo the phrase, “God forbid!”

Bond Makers
“I am from Karnataka, oh you’re from Mumbai?” From chapatis to phone chargers, timely help will walk across your room in the guise of your roommate. Late night homesickness can be can be healed through hostel gossips, for life will feel so much easier with the bonds hostel rooms shelter.

Sigh of Relief
That moment you see a person casually stating that they stay at a hostel, it’s customary that you give an acknowledging smile and a painful nod that only both of you will understand. The grief box shatters and after an hour long conversation, you will observe a minute of silence for all those sailing in your boat.

Listing an endless series of emotions is impossible but hostels lead you to new languages and new meanings, and apart from developing your ranting skills you will surely make a million memories.


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