Hostel Life: The good, the bad and the not-so-ugly

(This column first appeared in The Goan on Saturday)

By now, through my writing, I’ve established that I live in a hostel. Last week, I shared some stories that are related to the millennials and how the GenY is perceived to be vis-à-vis what we actually are. If given a chance, I could go on and on filling pages with information about my generation and how we aren’t all that appalling. But dear reader, that’s not what I’m planning to share with you today.

This very day, I will give you a sneak-peek into a hostel. Let’s start with the good, followed by the bad and then the not-so-ugly.

The Good
Do you know what happens when you put more than 100 women under the same roof? No! It’s not what you’re thinking. Let me shed some light on that. We try to have our meals together, bond over the latest trends, go out shopping together, keep our Sundays aside to watch a movie or two or even four (which means we’re entering and exiting auditoriums back-to-back), keep aside dinner for each other before the timings are up, bully the warden, watch movies after the lights are turned off at night, and read and exchange books.

We also learn the practice of obeying rules and various codes of behaviour — in short, discipline. Apart from the bubbly social atmosphere, there are certain responsibilities that stay put on our shoulders. Like what? We wash our own clothes, clean our rooms and clean our own plates. At times, we do have some Good Samaritans who help us now and then. For me, it happens all the time. If you have seniors, you’re bound to get pampered. And no, we…no, we don’t practice ragging.

We learn how to be independent. Besides time management, we also learn money management. Hostel like gives us the exposure we’ve always looked forward to, which in turn moulds us for the best or worst.

The Bad
The first thing that comes to my mind is hostel meetings. Why? They’re unending! Meetings can go on for two hours even when we’re yawning, fidgeting with our mobile phones, or murmuring. Actually, there is something worse — limited power sockets. Oh yes! Try asking us about a gift preference on our birthday and we will say it in a chorus that “we want more plug points”. In a time when we’re going through a digital revolution, limited power sockets can be a serious problem.

One evening, I went to a friend’s place and ran out of the bathroom after I spotted two power sockets! My reaction to this just added to the awkwardness and everyone stared at my happy face like I’d just blabbered something in a language the evil ones speak. I wanted to adopt at least one of these plug points, but let’s end it at, I wish…

The not-so-ugly
Timings! We’re so tired of people asking us about our curfew time. No, no, that’s not what we like to call it. If I want to take a night out, I can. If I want to return to the hostel, I need to do it before 10:30pm. It’s that simple. And the various timings within the hostel make life so much easier. Discipline, remember? Who said we don’t party? Hostel parties aren’t all that bad, you know.

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