Almost a year ago, we left our rooms in NITK thinking we escaped from the grim, dark hostel life for a few weeks. Turns out, it was an extended stay at home but most of us couldn’t care less. Introverts were having a field day in the comforts of their homes and neighborhood. We all hoped for college to close for an indefinite period, and our prayers were almost answered when the entire world went into lockdown. The entire student community thought the stars were in their favor and enjoyed the entire of 2020 in their homes, staying close to their loved ones, attending online classes (neither physically, nor mentally), even predicting getting placed and graduating from home. Alas! How wrong I was for thinking that way, and now almost certainly regret cherished moments spent at college, particularly my hostel. My pursuits to go back to college are determined majorly by two things: The stuff I left in my room and the chance of reliving the memories I conceived in college.

“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever”

“So what do we all miss about hostel life?”. Well, it can’t be fully justified, but I’d like to give it a go, although it can’t be fully compressed even in an everlasting article. As I write these words sitting comfortably on my desk with my laptop I can’t help thinking about what I would be doing in college if the pandemic snapped out of existence. It might be studying, watching all sorts of videos, berating the college, eating at a local cafeteria, meeting and greeting my classmates and acquaintances, or strolling around the campus. There are other things too, say going to the beach, staying at your department,building stuff, studying, working out in the gym, playing in the open fields, or even hanging out with your temporal SO, which many in college dream of. However, there are a few important things which most certainly need to be stressed upon.

  1. The sense of being on your own feet

Well, this is something that was certainly the nexus around which your hostel life revolved around. Despite many of us relying on our parents for monetary support, it was evident we were making decisions ourselves, spending money on things we need and don’t need, and managing our time (somewhat) well, to do room tasks, college tasks, personal assignments etcetera. The closed walls of our room with all the various things strewn across the floor, not mentioning your roommate were the companions you had when you weren’t going to classes or roaming outside. They taught you well and enough how to deal with daily obstacles, ranging from washing your clothes, cleaning your room, keeping yourself comfy, and dealing with almost no-privacy from your roommate. Alas! That fleeting sensation of self-reliance and independence was taken away the moment we came back to our homes, and now are always under the watchful, ever caring eyes of our guardians or parents

  1. Jugaad

Yep, this is a thing in your hostel life. No mirror? Use your mobile camera! Is the WIFI signal not good enough? Well buy your own router or figure out someone else’s passcode. The hostel isn’t good? Switch hostels, duh. Nothing to play with? Build your own stuff and you’re good to go. Cook varied delicacies in a kettle, especially Maggi, eggs, or sometimes an entire meal, all because everyone admonishes the monotony of the mess food!

“Do more with less”

  1. The local food-shops and the Night Canteen

Everyone hates the mess! There’s not one soul on campus who likes it, if they do then they can certainly be cancelled. Nescafe, Amul, F&H, Nandini, and Night Canteen were the heroes we didn’t deserve but needed. Despite their food being unhealthy and emptying your wallets faster than your ever needing peers, it was always a good thing to come visit the place to feast on the delicacies they had to offer even if the mess provided a good meal that day. Oh how we ate only canteen food during study nights!

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

  1. Roommate and wingies

Now unlike most of my readers, I had to make do with a new roommate every semester and new wingies, but despite our troubles and occasional quarreling, all of us seemed to develop a mutual sense of respect among each other. Ranging from sharing our rooms, eating together outside, and even studying with each other they offered us so many new ventures which can’t be put on pen and paper. Also don’t forget, if your wingies were smart and resourceful you could always have discussions on many things and work together despite your intellectual differences!

“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is a conversation”

  1. Homesickness

“Screw this hostel! It’s depressing, boring, and irritable”, were some of the thoughts I always came up with during my initial days in Block 7. The electricity was unstable, WIFI was weak, corridors smelled of alcohol and piss and the extroverts drunkenly singing loudly at 5AM in the morning were some of the things I dealt with then. I dreamt of always going home and forever in the arms of my mum every now and then. Eventually, I got used to it and allowed myself into some of these situations too, rather not talk about them. The quicker we suppress our emotions for the greater good, the better.

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you”

These are just a few moments that will fill your dull life with sheer excitement as a hosteler. Remember that every college has a different crowd; depending upon the course and circumstances, expect unique moments in your life. All in all, living in a hostel can be a life-changing experience and you will definitely cherish it for years to come. Whatever happens in life, can always be dealt with if you’ve made peace with your past.

Until we meet again,