Category Archives: hostel ramble

Service with lips, lipsticks and lights

During the second year of my Undergrad, I was highly inspired and motivated to do my bit for the society, thanks to the subject Sociology and the compulsory credit courses we had to take up to fulfill the requirements for  the award of our degree. Whatever…

Since, Outreach offered maximum credits in minimum time and didn’t involve hours of sitting through painful lectures on weekends, many of us opted for it. I was a highly motivated individual at that time remember? We were sent to BOSCO Mane and those days made me realize how hard it is in reality if you really have to do your bit for the society.

It was during such a phase, in December, I think in commemoration of Human Rights Day, we hostelers were asked to take part in this particular ‘candle light vigil’ organized by some Germany based women’s organization. I don’t even remember the name, it was unheard of till then and unheard of even now, but I remember it rhymed with the word onomatopoeia. We were all asked to wear white for the vigil, which saw many a ‘beg, borrow, steal’ attempts by the ones who wanted to contribute to the well-being of the society.

We had to report at M.G road entrance and the rally was to be held around Cubbon park, the popular venue for any ‘Socially Conscious’ Bangalorean. The organizers distributed some fancy candles and paper cutouts to prevent wax from dripping and burning our hands and spoiling our clothes. After the women had finished air-kissing, hugging and exchanging pleasantries (read the designer for their sari, or where they got their accessories from),  putting on that final dab of lip gloss and a brief talk ‘praising the works of their organization, the walk was inaugurated.

The members of the group could be distinctly identified. The white clad supermodels and the ‘hostelers’ like us who were assembled solely with the purpose of ‘aale koottal’ or rather ‘speak volumes’ of their organization. The chiffon clad, stiletto clamped womenfolk started ooh-aahing within 5 minutes of the commencement of the walk. Each five minute break was followed by camera flashes, posing for the press and short page 3 type interviews.

“We’re here to work for the betterment of the Indian woman, who has been suppressed and tortured for years” a fat aunty started off.

“We want these atrocities against women to stop”, another aunty shoved off the fat one and fought for her camera space.

We proceeded, watching this circus and I was ashamed to have walked into this. All that mattered here was not letting your candles blow off, make sure the photographers clicked the right faces and give page 3 type interviews. I had no clue on how I made a ‘difference for the women in this country’ with that namesake of a walk.

That day when I returned to the hostel I was not a content person. This publicity stunt for the ‘sake of oppressed’ women of the Indian Society on World Human Rights Day, left me disgusted. That, I had been part of another venture ‘where people misuse the names of the downtrodden for the sake of showing off their service’ made me cringe. Every bit of motivation and inspiration drained off with the realization that more than 90% of these pseudo-service-minded-people do it only for recognition. For them it was just another gimmick to have their faces plastered on newspapers and magazines.

After that particular incident, I’ve been very apprehensive about taking part in these vigils and rallies. I do agree there are many out there who do whole-hearted service but, these candle-lights and rallies just don’t make sense anymore. A momentary realization, awareness which lasts for like what maximum few hours, the undying spirit of patriotism that arises only during national holidays or terror strikes… and what purpose does it serve?

A few months back, we had this Seminar in college and there were some leftover unopened biscuit packets. We decided to distribute the packets among ourselves. I was traveling home with a friend. We stopped at the signal at Bhasyam circle and saw the bunch of kids who sell some arbitrary hand-made stuff or sometimes come begging. At that moment, we decided to give away the biscuit packets to those kids and I will never forget the smallest kid of the lot who actually smiled and said a ‘thank you’. That day, I was a content person.

I still remain pessimistic about the services rendered and how people go on harping about being the change with just a few rallies and candle-light gimmicks. Poverty, deprivation, hunger, and illiteracy nobody actually knows the way out of it. This is the truth I realized after the invigorating ‘growth and development’ exam yesterday.

Sustainable development, growth, strategic planning, poverty alleviation, integrated measures, objectives, goals, targets, achievements, income gap, human development, equitable distribution, population- environment- development nexus, welfare, efficiency of allocation, optimal utilization, mobilizing resources, knowledge base, inclusive growth, eradication, universal literacy… and many more. All of it makes me puke. Reminds me of the trash I’ve to churn out for the next exam, Indian Eco… Yes, these are stuff just worth putting down on paper.


If tomorrow comes!

Tomorrow would be the last day, I would

Wake up at 8.25 for an 8.30 class. I’ll always be indebted to the college bell (which makes my life a hell), conveniently located right opposite to my room.

Rush into the class at 8.35, unbathed and uncombed in some drab clothes (courtesy the dhobi) and give the eternal excuse of water shortage in hostel. But a more lame excuse can come up this way… And I’ve been hearing this for the past 3 years.

Me or any other member of, home away from home sistahood : Sister, there is no water in the hostel.
Sister : That is because you girls finish of all the water.
Me thinking: If not for our basic necessities, are they preserving water to make wine out of it! I know Jesus Christ did that. But these people??? so who has a better excuse?

Sneak out of class for breakfast, 10 minutes before the first hour ends. If the possibility of sneaking out seems impossible, then get into the evasive act of showing a sullen face, marred by starvation and gain the lecturer’s sympathies for this poor famished hostelite who never gets proper food to eat. I’d get a proxy while I’m out scavenging. If I face the forthcoming trials and tribulations in the hands of the examination department, for attendance shortage and other similar charges, I shall denounce the class rep for Breach of Trust.

Feast on the homemade food that my day-scholar friends generously share with me, while the lecturer is distressed about the Sensex crash, the sub-prime crisis, and the appreciating rupee.

Control that irresistible urge to yawn or nod my head while class is going on. SMS in class without the lecturer noticing… who passes chits or talks in sign language these days?

Pay those fines finally, and get into another verbal assault with the librarians. Its going to be the last time, hence, I rather speak out whatever was unspoken and tell them that they deserve to be throttled for commiting such abominable crimes against, a small section of humankind who were interested in a simple task called “reading” and another section who had to enter the gates of this forbidden place, to do their assignments.

Shuttle back and forth, class, and hostel, for every book or paraphernalia that I keep forgetting (deliberately) and grab a cup of coffee on the way. One of the reasons of the detour being, forgetting to change my bathroom slippers ( A habit that hasn’t died ever since ragging days).

Cut a innocent sorry-figure for those unfinished assignments and for those wouldn’t fall for my innocent CHARM, finish the assignment, in a supersonic writing speed.

Tomorrow would be the last day,

I would Binge on the exclusive delicacies responsible for adding on extra 10 kilos to this body in the past 3 years i.e., ice creams and chitchat (chips).

Wait in the long queue ( if that scary, unruly, disorganized cluster of young women can be called a queue) , get pushed, thrown around, tossed and twisted by the girls, have my feet crushed by stilettos, and high heels(ouch!), have sambhar spilt all over me, my last chance to have a sambhar bath(pun intended). In Bengalooru, anything that contains rice is called a ‘BATH’ is guess.

Fight with the canteen chechi for acting like the treasury-keeper of GOI. Even if you ask for salt the reply is “Illa”
Go online during the shortest of breaks, expressing my sincere gratitude to the wi-fi. Did you notice the rare note and tone of appreciation for the obvious reasons?

Tomorrow would be the last day I would,

Bunk classes for one last-time*sob* Sleep in the confines of the classrooms, the lectures being lullaby to my ears and the last bench being my favorite cradle in class( too corny), only to be woken up by my classmates for moving out of the class.
A sleepy faced-me would enter class and the lecturer pops the question, ”Aren’t you feeling well”?
A simple nod and she says, “ok take rest.” The siesta continues after a short commercial break. Crib about the nuns, the lecturers, the college staff, the students…and ramble about how hopeless they are. Though you know, its not gonna make a difference. Only if… I’ll figure it out soon.

Hold on strongly to my faith and cross the road in front of college, counting my lucky stars, each time I manage to cross, unscathed by the distracted uncles and their younger versions on cars, autos, bikes and all possible vehicles , while passing by a reputed women’s college in the metro.
Dash towards loafers’ street, feast on Raj uncle’s ( we call him uncle to prevent a family feud) chaat while frantically searching for the Xerox copied notes and bug the person at the Xerox shop.
Hail thee, goody-goody punctual and organized girls. How would I ever survive without you for those notes?
Hang out at the drive ( havent figured out which one is the front drive and which one is the back drive yet) and give our critics review of every random girl we see, which can also be termed as bitching or gossiping.

Tomorrow would be the last day,

We would all gather at the dining table and share our news and woes for the day And I know, for once, all of us would be sharing the similar woes, (not about the sickening food) but that of going away.

We would share our stock of junk food for the midnight snacking cum gossip sessions.

The last time, we’d all fight for the boiler room, the newspapers, and the T.V remote
We’d be breaking into fits of laughter seeing the exclusive comedy show performed by goose-berry ( read warden)

And this would be the last time I would be blogging like this,

Writing down all that comes to my mind, when the teacher thinks I’m actually taking down notes in her class.

This happens ( writing down notes in class) when I’m afraid that noticing my recurring illness, my lecturers would drag me to the non-existent dispensary in college, to that moron I once met, who said she was the Doctor in-charge.

(Right now I’m having a tough time, trying to figure out the location of the blog drafts and the notes dictated in class).

And until today, I thought it was all routine stuff!

This is the first time I realized, however I crib, cavil or complain, I’m sure I’m gonna miss it all.
I’m tired of writing slam books and journals. Its ok, if I know you very well and it all comes from the heart. But, the first time you talk to me, is asking me to fill your slam book , what shall I write?
And with promises of keeping in touch we are gonna bid goodbye. I’m sure how many of them are going to do it after all.


How I wish tomorrow never comes

PS: don’t misjudge that all I did in college, which was also my home, for the past 3 years was to eat, sleep and grumble.


Saree story part 2

If Saree shopping was a pain, draping a saree is even more painful. I know few years down the line I wouldn’t be saying this. But, as of now, yours truly is just stepping in to adulthood, with high heels and flaunting her new saree. It all began last day.For those of you wondering what it was all about. The day before republic day is observed as Saree Day in my college. Being an all girls college you might as well guess what would be the situation. Everyone had just one topic to discuss i.e.,decide what saree to wear. So after that strenuous, painstaking, tiring experience of saree shopping

I had to show off right?

Having been busy with fests and tests, and then post test phenomena( you know what s that) realization struck that, Saree alone won’t do. Accessories are also equally important. Since there were quite a few tubelights, the association of I’ll-do-it-in-the-last-minute girls set out to looter’s paradise and shopper’s nightmare Commercial street. By the time everyone found the matching and mix and match and mis match and ended the whole process of match-making, it was late. Then, it was all about beautification. Waxing, hair-straightening, curling, perming, threading, bleaching, french( Portuguese, Italian, Mexican),whatever manicure and pedicure and all cures . Looks like the hostelites are soon planning a business venture in the beauty care industry to meet the expenses of our (exorbitant) hostel fee
Morning dawned and, even before, the first rays of the sun kissed our windows, the girls were in action. Draping a Saree, when you are in the learning stage is nothing short of action. What would you do if you find yourself, entangled in a 5-6 m piece of cloth oops..saree.
There are two categories of people who wear Sarees. Don’t worry I’m not gonna start bantering about various styles of draping a Saree. Coming back to the point, the two types are , people who can dress up perfectly well in sarees, themselves and people who can dress up others perfectly well in sarees.(Too, much of hypothesis and research in socio class has gotten into my head). So, the entire sisterhood united, irrespective of caste, culture, religion, nationality and all such barriers which do no good to the society, to help each other in the wearisome task of wearing a saree.

Few things I learnt in this arduous task of flaunting my saree.

*Accessories count, but never forget to buy the most important accessory.. Safety pins. Anyone who lost their safety pins this day, can count on me. Its always the beg-borrow-steal policy sisters.
*Putting pleats is not as easy as you think, when you spend a considerable amount of time, like half an hour, adjusting it.
* Never give an excuse to the lecturer, that you were late to class coz you were wearing a saree.
* Its good to wear heels, but be careful not to fall head over heels.
*If its your bad hair day, then forget it.
*Make sure to compliment everyone you know, who is wearing a saree but don’t be snoopy to ask anyone why aren’t they wearing a saree.
*You needn’t smile for every single photograph being taken else your jaws will hurt.
* However hard you try to convince girls that they look thinner in saree, they wouldn’t accept.
*Even if the saree is perfectly draped and pinned properly, you won’t get peace of mind, unless you fidget with it at least once.
*Its difficult to make out the difference between a student and a young lecturer on this day.
*My favorite lot in Bangalore, the autowallahs mint money this day.
*There was a competition among us hostelites as to who would come back to the room maximum number of times to adjust their saree.
*The score keeper for the above mentioned competition was the dudette who was constantly stuck in front of the mirror near the stairs at the entrance.
*Your Saree’s pallu is something to be handled with utmost care.
*After swaggering your saree the entire day, you need to get out of it also.
*It’s necessary to fold the saree too. And even that is not an easy task, as it seems to be when your mom is doing so. But practice makes a man perfect. Offer to help your mom when she s back from office after a tiring day. You’ll learn the task and wouldn’t have to struggle as I had to.

This is the Saree story. The purpose of writing this blog is to make it a reference in years to come,.for all you future ladies and wives for whom wearing a saree will be something that’s done once in a blue moon and for all you gentlemen who need to rise up to the occasion when the blue moon occurs and handle all the mental distress your ladies will be going through while wearing a saree.


I had a bad day

Its as plain as that..Mayhem, confusion, impediment, a severe body ache, a running nose , Monday morning blues, post fest and pre test depression can do this to you.
still trying to figure out?????? read on..
When I woke up, it struck me at least today I have to give my clothes to the dhobi or else …ah never mind.
Realization dawned that my tests begin, ya actually begin in another 2 days. I was busy enquiring about the syllabus and taking xerox copies of notes. These days I believe the xerox machine is the greatest invention by mankind, which has been worthwhile to the student community. But you do feel the pinch..(in eco terms).. First hour and first set of notes…Once, I got delayed, well it’s O.k.
Second time, I go and again the machine gets conked up…ok..its just not my day. But the machine getting screwed up for the third time, something is really wrong with me.I ‘m jinxed.
My patience was put to test yet once again by the girls who were pushing their way through the crowd and the xerox machine which refused to oblige to my despair. Few more minutes of waiting in the crowd and hunger pangs struck. O.K I can control for few more minutes. But the minutes became hours. Finally, I managed to squeeze my way to the counter in canteen. I was reminded of this quote I read somewhere, “Stay hungry, stay stupid” or something like that.
Warning/Advice for all fellow collegemates : If you suffer from a terrible body ache and require a body massage, just get into the crowd at the canteen. You will be subject to turnaround sessions with girls pushing you to the front and girls again pushing you back when they are making their way out. Its an experience of a lifetime and I mean it. I manage to get to the front finally after about 30 twists and turns, comparable to a washing machine experience! But in case you have bad cold and you deliberately sneeze without covering your nose, you can make your way easily as the girls obviously wouldn’t want to come anywhere close to you. This was an accidental discovery, like our primitive ancestors leant how to cook, because I didn t mean not cover my nose. Its just that in the twists and twirl exercise, I couldn t even lift my hands, and I lost all self control.. AAAAAAAAchoooooooooo. For once , things that went wrong, worked right for me.. the body ache lessened and the cold helped me reach the counter faster.
Me: Chechi, idly?
Che: No
Me:vada?
che : no
and I knew dosa would take ages. Finally I had Sambhar bath. Now any bath/baath in this part of the world relates to some dish made of rice..like bissi bele baath, khaara baath etc But I had a Sambhar bath literally. The girl standing next to me got nudged by some impenitent soul and lo.there was sambhar all over me. Thank god I’m in the hostel, and I could change quickly. I stayed hungry for another hour. Needless to say, I was wondering, did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed today? Why is it that everything has to go wrong today itself? I managed with a cup of coffee and disaster struck again. I burnt my tongue and spilt coffee all over my dress, and there was neither any time nor any clothes left for another change.(remember I’d given my clothes to dhobi). Climbing, running, huffing and panting I reached the 3rd floor, being stopped by a few friends on the way. heck, I so badly wanted to talk to them , but the time factor was a risk factor. Why do the wrong people always turn in at the wrong times!( I sincerely apologize my friends). I enter and the lecturer frowns at me and nods her head. The message is clear, “You better get out of class instead of wasting my time”.
Even my message was clear,” To hell with it, I’m just 30 seconds late and skipped breakfast for the sake of reaching early. Now I have all the time in the world to satisfy my craving for masala dosa”.
Re-entry to the canteen. I get the much yearned for, plate of stumptous mouth watering dosa.
I touch the dosa and its as cold as ice. Damn! but I didn t have the strength to complain anymore.
When things just dont come your way, you accept things in the way they come.
So, now I have two jobless hours when I can actually attempt to study something but I am not in the right mood for it.
(Did I mention about venting all my frustration by blogging?) And I’ve been humming the Daniel Powter song, “You had a bad day” all day long


Of changes and places

These are the thoughts I penned down partially on my way back from Trivandrum, partially in a very boring Industrial Socio Class and also on a jobless afternoon when I’m trying to sleep but was quite unsuccessful and why?????? I’ll let you know.
During the journey, I happened to listen to this conversation between a first year grad student from Kerala and an Engineer who’d joined AOL 9 months back. The conversation led its usual course on life in Bangalore, how people tend to change etc etc.
I was reminded of the days of my departure to Bangalore. Though I lived in this city for almost 6 years, its nothing compared to what it had been then. I had constant reminders, advice, warnings etc pouring in.. on keeping away from bad company, on being my self, on not changing etc . Today when I retrospect, I feel how wrong I was when I said, I’ll not change. Places and people can change you without you yourself realizing it. I was so lost and confused initially. Everything seemed to happen at such a fast pace and it was too much to take in for a small town girl like me.
There was the new slang which sounded Greek to me then, and today Its like my mother tongue!. This Mallu kutty
Life just turned around for me. I was this timid silent girl in school and I realized that it is not possible here. You have to make yourself heard, there is none bothered about what s going on with you, If its your problem, solve it and get over with it.
It would sound cliched but I did learn the art of selfishness and the virtue of sharing at the same time.I actually experienced what it meant by, “Survival of the fittest”. You actually gotta struggle to survive here.
Speaking about changes, I gained a whopping 12 kilos in this place, when its said you tend to lose weight when you join a hostel. My shrinking pocket money and increasing waistline would prove(disprove) that.
I had the opportunity to have a hands on experience with corporate life and I realized that’s not what I wanna do all my life. To rot in an MNC. And it’s here that I realized there is lot more to life. I also had the opportunity to work with an NGO working for the cause of street children, and these little kids changed me, my thought process, and my attitude and outlook towards the society.
This small town girl who thought from the age of 16 you are supposed to wear only salwars, and jeans are supposed to be worn with long kurtas transgressed into short tops, capris, shorts etc. Hence, changed my dressing style and sense. Branded clothes, labels, flats, shoes, belts, sandals, accessories, bags my parents were in for a shock when I was explaining the differences and needs for each of them! And that is some sort of change which I really don t like in me, It s just to fit in that I had to change.
From my keyboard and superhit film songs, my music tastes changed to punk, rock, hip-hop, metallica and what not! I still haven t figured out.
Books -from Sidney Sheldons and Jeffrey Archer’s I developed an interest in all kinds of books. Anything to do with economics, commerce, finance, philosophy, wildlife, nature, psychology… my interests just diverged in so many directions!
From a sensitive teen I have turned into a woman with determination..( sounds too big??????)
Gaining confidence, to realize your potential, to make the right decisions, to choose your friends and to keep the friendships going, compromises and adjustments are things I learnt here.
Now when I realize I have just 60 days left here, I believe I ‘ve changed. Changed in a way I myself did not realize, changed for good or bad, I do not know but I know one thing, there is no looking back. But the simple mallu kutty in me wil remain forever.
Maybe, places change, lives change and you yourself change without realizing but its left to you to decide what to do with the changed you!


Beginning of the FINALE

15.6.07- With tearful goodbyes and promises to keep in touch I was back in Bangalore from HYD.
16.6.07- I started feeling homesick and with major drama and overacting , I managed to get a break for a week.
1st week of the last year of college- Roll No 18 was regularly marked absent by which I imply I bunked in simple words.
25.6.07- The first day in college(unofficially)
The first hour was pub-ad. I faintly remember something being mentioned about administration…z.zzz..zzzzzz…zz zzzzzzz breast cancer can be cured completely if you detect it in the initial stage….What? Now how are admn and breast cancer related? I am spaced out!!!!!!!!!
Next, International Relations. The Mal lect caught me hiding at the backbench. “JJ, what happened? Where were you all these days? I thought you went to Kerala and was laid up with Chikungunya( however it is spelt). Now talk about letting your Imaginations run wild!!!!
“No, Ma’m, And I resume my google story.
My cell started vibrating and I couldnt take the thing out or switch it off. Due to user inexperience ( I mean to say I gotta new cell :P) I d put it on repeat every minute mode!!!
Few more hours and I m feeling very restless and terribly hungry. Thinking Chechi would be there with her grumpy face I walk back to home away from home which now looks like a hotel.
Realization struck when I saw the huge crowd in front of the canteen. Oh! the mess has closed down to avoid further mess I guess. Now where do I go loot the store?
Just after lunch I had a class which dealt with alcoholism. I was in a shock seeing the new avatar of my previously very sweet warden ( Did I forget to mention, All my wardens have been my sociology lecturers). She looked straight at my face and said,” Some people are sitting here as if they are watching some movie”. …………….spaced out again. Was I feeling sleepy or did I go high listening to all this alcoholic stuff? I still cant figure out but there are many interesting facts which I learnt about which I’ll be blogging soon. Now don’t even bother how soon.
Ain t that a perfect way to begin your final year in college. I was so disappointed to discover we arent allowed to rag oops interact with the freshers. So with all the uneventful events of the first day, I am looking ahead for an eventful final year in college especially in my abode here.
Though there is no mess food to loot we have discovered more interesting things and are strategizing on it which I m dead sure will not work out as long as we plan lol


THE SHIFT

A week in Google and here are some things which have turned things upside down for me.
My cab is always the first one to come. That means i have to wake up at 6.30 and get ready.
Now getting ready is another routine which I had to change. Waking up at 8.25 a.m and arriving late by 10min for a 8.30 class is something I was very much used to. And I hardly bothered about the way I dressed up.
But, Waking up at 6 and getting ready for office( the word sounds too big for me) in a professional way rather presentable way is something I am not used to.
Sleeping in class is OK, nobody cares! but dozing off during a training session and getting caught by the trainer is something that bothered me a lot.
At least once a day I would complain about food in hostel, but here there is nothing that I can complain about.
Having a workstation of my own, using the computer as much as I want without The ” who’ s after you” questions in hostel is again something different for me.
No more switching off the lights at 10.30 p.m, no curfew after 6 p.m, No screaming for ” chechi no water” and I need not worry about using my cell after 8.30.
But the sad part is my cell s on roaming and I m missing my free smses and b’lor friends :P.
I learnt to play Foosball.
Making new friends, getting to see new places, hanging out, fighting with the autowallahs (however you complain about autos in Bangalore,they re much better), its all in all a new experience.
But professionalism is scaring me these days. Quality errors, performance reports, consistency, minimal error, perfect pull……… all these are pushing me into deep uncertainty. I can’t afford to be the fun-loving, freaking out kinda girl anymore. The work demands me to be serious, focused and all those what I never was.
I m not sure what the next few weeks have in store for me.. and I move on!