The frenchie and the frivolity

2003 was the scariest year of my life. I left maa ka anchal (mom’s errr skirt) and went into the big bad world. No I was not going to school but was going to the hostel to do my second Masters. Yeah, I was that old and had never left home and was shitting my pants at the prospect of going and living in a hostel in Haryana – the land of Jats and bodybuilders and goons (that is what Haryana meant to me then). Although Kurukshetra is just a three hour drive from Delhi, Momma was drowning in tension as if I was going on a space mission to detonate a nuclear bomb on a meteor hurling towards Earth. I reassured her that I will come every week with a bag full of dirty clothes.

I took Pops with me to Kurukshetra because I was scared that the moment I will enter the hostel, I will be surrounded by 10 burly goons who will beat me to pulp on the pretext of ragging. Nothing of the sort happened and everything went pretty smooth. Pops even cleaned my room with me. Soon, it was time for him to say goodbye and leave me alone. My fears returned and all the horrible ragging stories danced around me like African tribal men. As Pops bid me farewell, I decided to skip the dinner in the hostel mess, switched off the light of my room, covered myself with a bed sheet, stopped breathing and pretended to be dead.

An hour later something happened that stopped my heart.

“No. 7!!!” Someone screamed from outside. It took me some time to realize that 7 was my room number and the voice was not coming from the door but from the garden outside my balcony. I ignored it and dropped dead again.

The boy kept screaming the number of my room again and again giving me massive consecutive heart attacks. I had visions of me stripped naked and asked to dance to ‘Babuji zara dheere chalo’ in the middle of a crowd of hostellers in the ground as they whistled and clapped and japed.

I finally had to get up before the whole hostel would have been on my doorstep. I unlatched my balcony door and peeked outside and to my relief found the garden empty. I was still scared and cautiously stepped outside.

“No. 7!!!” the voice thundered again somewhere above my head. I looked up and saw a boy wrapped in his towel staring at me.

Flying Frenchies!?!

“My underwear,” he said.

“What?!?” I gasped. This was the last word I would have imagined a stranger boy speaking to me.

“My underwear is in your balcony. It flew off. Can you throw it up?”

I looked around and found a blue colored Frenchie lying like Kareena Kapoor in Ran One’s arms on my balcony railing. The wave of relief that bathed me (because I was going to live some more) was intoxicating. I had never picked up another boy’s underwear before in my life and this was certainly not an encouraging experience on the first day of my hostel life. I picked it up like a lizard and threw it up. The boy caught it, thanked me and went inside.

There is a stranger in my lap!

As I settled in my bed again and pretended to be dead once more, someone knocked at the door. The way I reacted, it looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie. With one hand on my heart, I opened up my door and saw a puny guy beaming at me. He said hello and told me that he was my classmate. Then he barged in and as we sat on the bed, he placed his head in my lap and began chatting as if he was my wife. It was surreal that minutes ago, a guy had asked me to toss his underwear and now this head of a complete stranger was bobbling and babbling in my lap. I was speechless. What had I landed myself into?

My classmate’s name was Raj and we went to the mess together. No one jumped at me. The food was pathetic. Over the course of the next 1.5 years, I made great friends for life and spent the most beautiful time of my education in Kurukshetra. When I came back to Delhi in a hired car, the driver thought that I have left my girlfriend behind the way I alternately wept and sulked the whole way. I could not smile for two months after reaching home and behaved like Nirupa Roy and that worried momma like crazy. He son was not the same guy who walked out of the house 18 months ago.

Hostel turned me into a fiercely independent guy and I developed a rhythm to do things my own way. I also started eating anything mom made instead of throwing tantrums (as I used to do earlier) because I now knew how bad food tastes. When I look back, those two incidents on the first day played a massive role in helping me to take it easy and let go of my frivolous attempts to be an introvert. Hostel completely transformed me and I thank God for that.

Help me God. This senior better not be gay.

Although I was ragged later, it was very mild as we were post-graduate students. And horror of horrors, a senior (male) took fancy to my meek baritone and asked me to read newspaper to him as if he was my granddad. Ahem! Weird, I know.

Crazy days they were.

*Pops = Daddy, Father, Pitaji, Papa (In case you were wondering)

[images from 1, 2, 3]

58 comments on “The frenchie and the frivolity

  1. Wow! that was quite an eventful first day at the hostel 🙂
    Hostel life changes everything and I believe it teaches us lessons that nothing else can 🙂

    • Now that I look back, yes, I find it eventful but back then I was really scared.
      Yes, I was completely transformed. It was one hell of an experience. 🙂

  2. I can’t stop laughing!!! I too entered a hostel for the first time during PG although I had been living away from home during my grad( with relatives) It was an experience I can’t ever forget and has given me friends for a lifetime! Kya din the…

  3. Wow! That’s quite an interesting account of Dasy 1 in hostel! The way you describe the incidents make even the simplest of them complete crackers! 😀 Mine was not even quarter as interesting as your’s! 😦 But hostel life is a totally life transforming experience. I too made friends for life & cried like crazy for 2-3 months after leaving hostel even though it was a PG course… Those were the best days of my life!

    • Thanks Sreetama. It sounds really funny now but at that time I was really scared. 🙂
      I can understand. For two months after I came back, my dad will crack a joke and then look at my serious face and utter a completely filmy dialogue like – He has lost his smile somewhere.
      And then I will give him a stupid sad smile with tears glistening in my eyes. 😐

  4. Sweeet.. I love hostel stories since I never lived in one. I’m glad my husband lived in a hostel for I cant stand tantrums when it comes to cleanliness and food!!
    Tribal men, babuji zara dheere chalo, and Nirupa Roy created awesome imagery 🙂

    • If your husband lived in a hostel, then he will be a cakewalk to manage. It gives direction to a lot of guys. 🙂
      Thanks Nisha for liking the post.

  5. Never lived in a hostel but read your post with vicarious pleasure. My husband told me everyone called him “Maader” at his hostel instead of Mathur. His next door neighbour was Chowdhury and I don’t want to make your ears burn by telling you what he was called but the two words go together.

    • LOL! I missed a lot of intense ragging because I was a post-graduate student but I heard horror stories of the B.Tech students while I was there. One of the incident I remember is that they were asked to rub oil on their butt and press a paper on it to get a butt-impression. They were then required to sign it and hand it over to the senior girls and ask them to file them.

  6. hahaha!!! this one just put a smile back on my face (the day was shitty from the moment I stumbled out of bed!) … good read! Brought back memories of my hostel days.

  7. Very interesting! Loved reading this account of your first day of hostel life.

    I had never been away from home before marriage for more than a couple of days. I have never lived in a hostel. Now, I think it would have done me a whole lot of good. I missed the experience. 😦

    • If you were an irresponsible brat like me who would not expect a seven course meal from his mother everytime he sat on the dining table, hostel would have straightened you up. I became straight as an arrow in those 1.5 years. My mom was taken aback by the transformation.
      It teaches you a lot of things, the primary being to be responsible and stop being a momma’s boy. 🙂
      Thanks for liking the post TGND. 🙂

  8. Hahah your narrative reminded me of my brother’s account of his hostel days during studying for engineering. 🙂
    He was exactly like you – terrified of going, and once he got attached there, terrified of leaving. He was almost dragged back kicking and screaming once college got over. 😀

    • Thanks Rachna. Yes, I have heard of horror stories. Too many of them. Some of them sounded funny but I know that it must have been traumatic back then.

      • My husband had some pretty bad ones of the IIT. They sound funny now but must have been horrible to live through. I was lucky that I never did engineering, and we had the cutest ragging session in MBA :).

        • A lot of ragging sessions are so bad that I cannot discuss them on this blog. They sound funny a few years later but they are really humiliating at that point of time. One of my friend who did his B.Tech from Haryana told me that they were stripped naked and asked to climb trees (which were behind their hostel) and howl like wolves till the warden arrives. The boys were so terrified that the moment the watchman appeared to check what was happening, they were climbing down the trees and running naked on the road.

  9. seems like i’ve lived in a hostel forever : your post just brought back al those memories.. was in a hostel from 99-2004, then again for internship in 05… then pg life was in a hostel inside the hospital from 2007-10.
    but some of my best memories were in those days… any long term hostelite will tell u that 🙂

  10. First time delurking here. A very hilarious post! This post brought back memories of my hostel life too, some really nice friends, and overall a nice experience. Best part was packing to go home and then unpacking to re-settle. Both were fun.

    • Welcome here Chattywren. Thankyou for liking the post. 🙂
      For me, unpacking was a very sad experience. It took me a long time to settle down.

  11. Ok, I lived on my own for all my education since I was 17 and never had the stranger in my lap situation! That’s hilarious! Did you ever find out why he felt the need to take over your lap?

    • Oh yes. I have made fun of him a million times in the last 9 years and he always give the I-was-trying-to-break-the-ice answer. No sir, you scared the shit out of me – I keep telling him. 🙂
      He is a bit of an extrovert and I think he was equally scared, so he got a bit carried away while preforming the breaking-the-ice routine. 🙂

  12. What a start to life in hostel!! Stranger in your lap 😯 Your heart rate was normal? 😛 Bravo 😀

    I have never had the experience, though I have heard of all the fun from college.

    • It was one of the moments when the character looks at the camera and raises his right eyebrow and says – WTF!
      Thank you! I survived somehow. 🙂

  13. Hehe. Reading this was fun, Amit 🙂 you have had one special day. I understand when you say that about hostel life because most of my friends who resided in the hostel are thankful for it.
    I was a day scholar but have stayed in hostels for about 2 days on off for dance rehearsals or clinical presentations and all. But I would run home early morning. Mornings have to begin with ma, pa and brother 🙂

    • I read it. 🙂 I had given similar heart attacks to my parents once in a while when I would drop by without any notice. My mom looked as if she had seen a ghost when she would open the door. 😀

  14. ha ha..a wonderful day my dear son 🙂
    even I was very(VERY) scared when I had to move to hostel for my graduation.I skipped meals in the initial days,so that seniors won’t catch me at the mess.Good old days ::) 🙂

  15. hostel life is real fun…i spent 5 yrs there, starting from living in dorm , later living with 4, then 3 and 2 ppl in final year.. lived with same roommate throughout.. hostel has made me strong and independent.. 🙂
    ragging was scary, but later enjoyed it too.. :). i had good senior friends as a result of ragging .. 🙂

  16. I don’t know how I missed this one. What a funny tale! I love the analogies you use! You really have a way with words yeah!

    It reminded me of my hostel days. 4 years of hostel life was so much fun!

So, you were saying?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s