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My Introduction to Hostel Life

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

From an earlier post

The year was 1991. I had just joined Panjab University, Chandigarh in the Department of Mathematics. And, I also took up boarding in a hostel. It was also the time when there was no law against ragging (not that the present one is any good). So a hosteler used to get the best of both worlds – you would get ragged in the department during the day, and then your hostel seniors would have a field day during the night.

Sometimes it was fun. Most of the other times it was a pain.

This was one of the “most of the other times”. I was going to sleep at about 11:00 pm when I got a knock on my door. It was, as expected, my seniors.

A sadistic senior: Going to sleep, huh?

Me: Yup!

Another sadistic senior: Shouldn’t you be saying good night.

Me with a feeling of This is not good: Good night Sir!

Yet another sadistic senior: What about me?

Me with a feeling of This is definitely not good: Good night to you too Sir!

The last sadistic senior: And me?

Me with a feeling of This is going to get worse: Good night Sir!

The first sadistic senior: You never said goodbye to me.

Me with a feeling of I am so dead: Good night Sir!

One of the sadistic seniors: There is a whole hostel, waiting for you to say goodnight.

And so it was that on that eventful night, I went to each one of the 300 rooms in my hostel to wish everyone a good night. Not a very happy time. When you knock on the doors of every person in various stages of indulging in sleep/booze/fantasy/whatever, let’s just say that the answers you get range from understanding (You getting ragged? Good luck), cryptic (See you soon – Explained later), and abusive (I’d rather not mention what they said).

Needless to say, it would have been futile, not to mention even more embarrassing, to not do what they said, and it would definitely have been suicidal to do something smart. It was like kissing a frog – just get it over with already!

Alas! The frog wanted more of my time. It so happened that by the time I returned it was 1:14 am in the morning. You don’t have to ask why I remember the time. My seniors were there in my room, boozing and immersed in the worst imaginative debauchery.

“Ah Rupi! That was a long time to say good night”

Me: “Uh yeah”. I knew better than to say anything this time around.

“So, what time is it?”

Me: “It is 1:14 am in the morning, Sir”. Oops!

“Morning huh?”

Me (with a feeling of GOD NO!): “Yyyeesss?”

“Well you should be saying good morning now to everyone, shouldn’t you?”

Needless to say, that night I got to know a lot of people in the hostel, or should I say a lot of people got to know me. It definitely was not the kind of introduction I was hoping for.

That night was embarrassing, but it was not the most embarrassing. The most embarrassing was the one… well let’s just leave it at that. The funny thing about hostel life though, all that embarrassment feels funny now, and it brings a laugh thinking about it.

#Anecdotes #Ramanujan #Zero #Hazing #Hostellife #CollegeLife

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