Those were my first days in this college. I managed to get a wooden single room which failed to give me the privacy I yearned for and I spent rest of my time filling each hole in that room with my huge collection of old pens and pencils. My hostel mates-they kept me busy loosening screws of that room. I couldn’t blame them for all they could hear was the huge voice of me closing the door behind their backs. Each time they loosened one screw my collection of pens got one less. I still can’t forget that one day they kept me awake till 2 past midnight insisting they wanted to know what I kept hidden in my briefcase. Needless to say, I won sitting on the briefcase with all my might for long four hours .Even if they had won it wouldn’t have made any difference for it wasn’t a porn book or anything as they suspected.
It was a new world to me. I was shy and, isolated. All I could think of was getting out of this hell as soon as possible. Though I kept away from my hostel mates, slowly I got familiar with most of them. There were obsessives of every description. In the left end corner there was this soft-spoken and studious boy who never missed a class, and after his classes were over in the evening, he went through his books when all others were playing and having fun .But the day just before exams when we all were banging our heads, he watched movies, read magazines, went to sleep early and woke up late in the morning laughing at us, inferior creatures. He showered me with advice. Next to him was a C programmer, a nice fellow who never troubled anyone other than that he stole most of the computer time and played four of his favorite songs all the time. Then there was one who got on everyone’s nerves (especially mine) with his arrogance and loud mouth. His arrogance knew no reason other than that he had a loud mouth and was good at calling names. He made fun of all other muggers, but secretly woke up at 3 in the morning to mug up. Next to him lived this poor soul who was made to believe he resembled a South Indian movie star. Next to him was one who always had one of his eyes fixed on his mirror and its said the Cosmetic Industry reaped millions out of him. The last thing he wanted was others well-being. One was a studious insomniac, a hopelessly insecure man who had a calm voice, but would chew you alive if you wanted to know when he slept. Another One bored me to death with his gospel knowledge on spirituality and life after death. His spirituality was just a mask which stemmed out of his disappointments and complexes. Pornographic sites kept him awake till 3 in the morning and he had a huge collection of wallpapers from porn sites. He too was good at calling names though those were easier to endure than his spiritual lectures which weren’t as long as his abuses. Next to my room was a short crooked fellow who would make you cry with his cynical view of this world and next to him was one who looked like a clown and seemed to have preserved his innocence and childhood spirit even in this harsh world. Then there was this game addict with his huge eyes fixed on the screen and hands on the keyboard which moved as if he controlled the whole world. They all had only one thing in common that the sole aim of their life was to get placed in an MNC.
2 years is a pretty long time and there should be more to write maybe, but there isn’t. It all comes back to the very first day our Graphics Lecturer bored me to death.
PS: I wrote this account of my hostel life in 2004 April and was later published. It was among the three stories chosen in a Sulekha-DNA contest in 2005.