This is my own despriction about my life in the hostel, my experinces, and some memorable, nostalgic moments.
I joined a girls’ hostel in Noida, in class IX. Never before had I ever been exposed to hostel life. Initially, I was in a much clouded frame of mind, but then I convinced myself and decided to ‘go with the flow’ (that’s what they call it). After all, the Army teaches us to reconcile with the changing environment. Though I had a very sincere and ardent welcome in the hostel, I felt like I had been tossed out of my dear home, where I was acclimatized to domestic pleasures (being the only child), like throwing tantrums at my parents or feigning a stomachache, just to bunk school. It took time for me to realize that my mom would not be there any longer to wake me up lovingly; instead it would be the blaring and irksome sound of the morning bell.
The food was surprisingly not barbaric, though it was extremely oily, sometimes raw, and monotonous. Maggie (our all time favourite) was boiled in a ‘cooker’ and given to us, as a treat. We were allowed only one night-out and two days-out in a month which led us to give a new name to our ‘not a home away from home hostel’- TIHAR JAIL, believe it or not. The summers were intolerable but we had only one cooler in each dormitory, which was used only by the seniors. This, and some other issues, of course, used to lead to venomous fights, and the whole hostel would become a wrestling ring. In the beginning I was very petrified to see the ferocity which everyone possessed all of a sudden. It took me some time to get accustomed to these fights, which I too, soon joined, unsure for what I was actually fighting for. Maybe it was just momentary happiness.
However, all these things seemed very trivial as the realization of being so fiercely independent in an uncontrolled environment was absolute bliss. I had made a lot of good friends who enjoyed this ‘freedom’ with me as we ventured across the forbidden line of demarcation, clearly outlined by our warden. We would often pity the day scholars, who according to us led a vapid and arid life. Little did we realize, that what was slowly being imbibed in our minds was that only we were going to be entirely responsible for our successes and failures. Our life and nature would change drastically, based on how we molded ourselves. No parents or siblings to blame. We would be answerable for our company, have the power to choose our friends and enemies. All this was exciting and intimidating at the same time.
There would be times when we would go to the prohibited terrace on the top most floor at 2 o’ clock in the morning, simply to spend some time in solitude. We would stare at the blinking stars, share secrets, and look at the city which was enveloped in darkness. So silent, so implicit. There I would ruminate upon those traits of my personality; every shade of my psyche, which had earlier been veiled. Some good, some bad.
The biggest benefit of being in the hostel was that we could go to the teachers in school, anytime for our doubts and queries. During the exam time, we all used to grab some corner of the hostel or sit- in silently in some part of our school (the swings in the junior block, or the stilt area) and frenziedly look at our scribbled notes and reference books, but if it was just some minor monthly test, we used to sit for a group study taking breaks in every ten minutes, indulging in absolute irrelevant, random gossip and gorging over others’ tuck.
Hostel is actually a mixed bag. It’s not full of mirth and fun, but neither is it all about studies, ragging or solitude. It teaches you about the kinds of people you can encounter in your life, how you can deal with them, how not to be dependent on anyone except yourself. It’s all on us on how we live our life and should not blame anyone else for our failure. We all want to stay close to people from whom we can learn something. I love the hostel life, as it has taught me so much. The two years that I spent in the hostel were probably the best in my life, and I shall never forget them.