By Lubaba Mukhtar

the new block at old girls' hostel

Dear K.E Old Girls’ hostel,
                              I’m at home for the summer break and it’s just been two weeks since I left your premises but I already miss you and your perks. You are an amazing friend and I thought I should really tell you what you have done for me in the past one and a half year. You have taught me so much; you have helped me grow so much as a person. People may see the overcrowded rooms, the rampant rats, the screeching cats, the not so clean corridors in you; I am obviously not blind and I also see all this but I also see all the good and nice things you hold for us girls.

Because of you I have learnt new ways of shooing away all kinds of cats every other day. I have learnt after many encounters and useless attempts that the male cats are shooed away more easily and the female cats cannot be shooed away at all unless I pick up a slipper and throw it towards them (if I only wave the slipper in the air and pretend that I’m going to throw it; because the female cats have a very high I.Q and attitude assessment ability; they can judge what I’m going to do and stay right where they are i.e. in my room’s dustbin)

                                        The male persona…

                                    The female beauty…

You my dear friend are a labyrinth of mysteries and you hold new lessons in every corridor I turn, every landing I climb. One of my weird activities in summers when I’m on my way to “New Block” is, to watch the seven or eight or sometimes even more lizards on the side wall right outside the main door of New Block. They are so prominent against the white paint on the walls. There is always such a variety of them, some darker than others, some fatter, some weirder; some have split tails and some have no tails at all.  They usually prevent the girls from sitting with their backs against the same wall on the New Block stairs to study; because there is always the danger of them dropping on our heads, it’s odd but I always stop on my way indoors and count them and observe them for a minute. The only problem with this unique activity you have provided me is that I still haven’t found any advantage to it. (P.s, I’m not crazy!!)

                                Hi, I know I’m disgusting!!!!

You have given me another family, dear friend. When I walk into your premises back from home, I feel like I have come back to another place where I completely belong, another home.

I have learnt solely because of you the way to kill a bee by smashing it between two books (usually two BD’s if you’re wondering which books). BD is heavier yet not too bulky at the same time, so it’s easier to perform this assassination with ease. This is really not a stupid hobby; I only kill the bees when I have to i.e. when they fly in and start circling around my head IN MY ROOM.

              I don’t have a BD right now so I’ll mange with this…

The best thing you provide me, dear friend, is a safe haven at all times when I want to sleep in and avoid the hard benches in lecture theaters, the gloomy walls of dissection hall, the condescending looks of teachers.
You have taught me the art of swinging on and enjoying the single, highly unstable swing in one of your lawns. You have acquainted me with the art of banging the cupboard near the dish washing sink to make sure that the rat under it knows that it’s not supposed to saunter out as long as I’m in that place. You, my dear friend, have given me the talent of breaking open a lock with an ordinary hammer when the residents of that room are stuck outside as they all forgot their keys. You have taught me how to make the most delicious maggi noodles in a microwave oven.

The best thing you have taught me is the way to deal with all kinds of people, to make new friends, to deal with my own problems, to fight my own battles.

In your premises where I don’t have my parents to protect me from the world around, I have fallen completely and insanely in love with Allah. I have learnt to trust Him completely, I have grown closer to Him and I feel He is much nearer to me when I’m within your boundaries. You have carved an easy path for me to my Lord, I have learnt to offer prayers with much more passion than ever before. In the dark, gloomy days of prof, in all stressful times when I don’t have anyone to shield me; I know now that He is with me and will always be. Thank you for this precious gift.

You may be old but your old, almost tumbling down buildings have definitely given refuge to many more silly girls like me for so many years. May God give you the strength to stand the tests of time and may you be a good friend to many more to come.

Yours affectionately,



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