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From Princess to Pauper - Life in Girls' Hostel

By Lubaba Mukhtar
1st Year

Hostel life is more like a washing machine which cleans out all the silliness and immaturity in people (except of course the exceptions who are too pigheaded to learn anything). Imagine girls who screamed like crazy on seeing a small, mini sized, humble, timid, shy and innocent mouse. (I’m seriously not a fan, but once you see the rats in old girls’ hostel, you’re bound to say this) and then imagine the same girls sitting n enjoying their food in the hostel’s lawn without paying any heed to the gruesome, humongous rat that is enjoying its own food just a few feet away from them! Imagine the girls who would have fainted had an insect come near them and then imagine the same girls coming into their rooms after some dish washing activity and telling humorously to their roommates that a rat just used their feet as a “foot-path.”

Imagine the princesses that all these girls were at home, calling out to their mums for every trivial need (ammi pani de den pleeez!), (ammi bhook lagi hai!), (ammi mere kaprey kahan hain?) and then imagine the transformation (almost like a mutation because the change is so sudden) when the same girls iron their clothes, wash their dishes (jab koi aunty nai milti), sweep their rooms (again jab aunty to milti hain but wo dhool le jati nai urati hain) and do all their necessary chores with their own hands (really!!!!!! Ammi dekh len to kitna khush ho jaen ke beti to sughar ho gai).

                      In the initial days, most of our time is spent puzzling over the enigma of why and how and when did we make the unforgivable blunder of choosing medical as our future hell! Then in every room for many starting days, suddenly you hear someone sobbing and then all the room mates rush to that girlie and console her (then suddenly from I don’t know where comes a flood of tears and a torrent of emotions and everybody’s hugging everybody and all and sundry start crying “as though they didn’t choose to come here but were rather kicked out of their houses”). 


Another very frequent drama in the initial two months among hostellite girls is the continuous fluctuation of friendship from one girl to another then the frequent change of opinion about every other person. One day you see two people laughing and talking together as though they are (in girls’ terminology “friends forever”). However the very next day you’ll see one of those girls sitting with someone else and commenting (“yar wo to bohat ajeeb larki hai, poori theta hai, me to itna serious ho ke nai parh sakti”) and this phobia about thetas is so common, lets say a girl who just went to the washroom and saw another class fellow sitting outside in the corridor cramming, while exhibiting a brilliant example of simple harmonic motion or periodic vibrations of her trunk (you know, the usual ratta motions of a student) and this sight is such a stimulus that the washroom going girl forgets all about why she left her room, runs back to her own cramming headquarters and tells everyone around her (bahar aik larki bethi KLM parh rai thi, yar hum ne to hath bhi nai lagaya) and then her own cramming drill starts (washroom still forgotten). And then there’s the “admirable” punctuality of 1st years for at least the first few days, getting up an hour before university time and reaching the class half an hour earlier with properly ironed clothes and matching accessories (and reaching the class before the doors of lecture theater have even been opened) but this state doesn’t last long. Very soon the same 1st years are seen waking up 15 minutes before university time and getting to the class 5 minutes late with hair flying all in the air (like a bombed hair style) with clothes the same as were worn the previous night. So nothing here lasts long except the rats and cats.

                 When talking about the hostel how can I ever forget the langar (free public food brawl, although here the food’s not free but definitely scarce and available in limited editions). As soon as we come from the university we run towards the mess with hands still so “SANITIZED AND CLEAN” from the D.H. Although we rush in, there is already a hungry mob there, and amongst them are seniors who obviously have the first right to food. 


After much wrangle and dhakam pail, we reach the entry register with a smile of satisfaction on our faces that we were amongst the lucky ones who won’t have to rush to the internees mess to get food. But alas, our hopes are shattered, our struggle appears to be useless, our tummies stretched with emptiness, our smiles vanish (sorry for the exaggeration but that’s exactly how you feel when mess wali aunty announces) “bacho: entry na karo, khaana to khatam ho gaya hai!” isn’t all this enough to turn any princess into pauper!
    And Oh God, this transformation is definitely brought about to a great extent by some azeeem seniors when they make you realize who have the innate ability of blowing out any freshman’s confidence.

 A very sweet friend of mine said in the days when ragging ka bhoot sab kay sar pe sawaar tha and I quote: “K.E me har cheez ka attitude hai yar; seniors se le ke hostel ki billion (cats) tak, mess walo se le ke K.E ke rats tak har kisi ka attitude hai, bas 1st year ke attitude ki hawa nikaal di sab ne mil ke!”
When the seniors are outside your room banging your door and calling out your names and blackmailing you (bacho akhir kab tak bach saktay ho, aj nai to kal pakar hi len ge), the terror of a freshman hiding deep inside the folds of quilt is unimaginable! 

how seniors look like
how we hide


Then the wrath and anger you feel for those of your class fellows who love to get themselves ragged and trick you into opening your doors is again not tolerable! But all this drama and fiasco definitely turns even the cowards of the cowards into braver people (except of course those who start crying and save themselves from getting ragged by compromising just a few tears!) 

There are certain other bajis who have the lovely intention of engraving the fact that we’re “MEDICAL” students into our minds on the very 1st day, (the little innocence that we have should be preserved for as long as possible!). I guess hostel life especially hostel life at the old girls’ hostel neela gumbad definitely has its demerits but it is the best, easiest and quickest way to transform a princess into a pauper (that is to say: a pampered foolish girl into a mature self-dependent women…don’t take offence, the word “women” here is just symbolic for maturity dearos!)

Special Note: “we should seriously consider getting the old girls’ hostel K.E registered for hosting the population of largest and most confident rats on the planet, we’ll have a very good chance of winning!”


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