The experience of hostel life is unique to every person who has lived one. Some are excited in the anticipation of living independently. Away from the watchful eyes of their strict parents. Soon to realize, staying away from home is not that easy. When you have no one to pamper, no one to serve food, no assistance for your work, no TV or freedom to go out anytime you want, you are bound to feel homesick. And some don’t want to leave the comfort of their own homes. Even though everyone comes from such varied backgrounds, they are united by the common problems that they face. Tasteless food, strict warden and underwhelming rooms. So what makes the hostel so lovable? What are those memories of the hostel which are worth bringing a smile whenever relived!

All the initial hesitation and inhibition slowly fades away. The awkward hellos turn into calling each other by embarrassing pet names. The polite handshakes turn into warm hugs. From eating your food alone in the canteen to eating out of a friend’s plate within a few months. Those who have lived in a hostel in their academic years of life know the real meaning of sharing. Be it food, dresses, footwear, makeup, assignments or even sim cards nothing belongs to you solely. The need to take permission is defied so ethically!

Staying up talking and gossiping, losing track of time only to realize its way past midnight. Be it your exam or any other important thing, it is customary not to sleep before midnight in the hostel. Eating Maggi at night is what you can’t resist in a hostel. Even if you want to sleep, your super-energetic friends won’t let you. So the only option remains eating Maggi, sleeping late, waking up late and entering the class late! The most unforgettable are the birthdays celebrated in hostels. If a friend has a birthday he or she is left alone after 7 pm for all are busy in decorating a room for them. Cakes, candles, balloons, handmade cards. Everyone pours their heart into planning this midnight surprise.

But inevitably, not everyone gets along all the time. Every human relationship has its share of ups and downs. There are fights between friends, roommates. Getting irritated over some peculiar habits of your roommate or just having issues understanding each other’s view at times. The fights that happen in a hostel over silly things are recalled as fond memories later in life. Fights are only temporary. Each one finds their way of dealing with problems, handling relations healthily. Expressing their issues and finding solutions together. Only to come back together as friends with a stronger bond.

In a girls’ hostel, if a friend has her first date, everyone becomes a professional make -up artist, getting her ready, deciding her dress and making her look best on the day. The excitement is not only seen in the girl having the date but in all her friends. Eagerly waiting for her to reveal all the details the next day itself.

Another beautiful memory which though was a matter of risk in the actual moment – is fooling the warden to save a friend. If a friend gets late in reaching the hostel on time or goes for late-night outs, friends are the lifesavers.  They fabricate excellent lies and weave stories to convince the warden. The funniest of all is becoming their friend’s mother or father whenever warden called home for verification!

From being scared of a new town initially, to going out with your circles of friends. Planning group treks and week-long trips. From splitting the bill to paying for a friend with a shortage of pocket money. Convincing each other’s parents, assuring them their child is doing fine with everyone. Teaching your friend everything needed for the exam, a single night before the exam. Forming study groups and sharing the study material. Encouraging your friend’s talents, helping them pursue it. Supporting and nurturing each other only to do better.

Hostel life is a learning curve in a student’s life. An experience that teaches one to deal with adversity, changing times and build lasting relationships. The place where friends make you feel at home.

Shreeya Mashellkar

Final Year, Grant Government medical college, Mumbai

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