Hostel is a home away from home : The Tribune India

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Hostel is a home away from home

Hostel is a home  away from home

Photo for representational purpose only. File photo

Archit Watts

ASK people to describe a hostel and many of them will say that it is a low-priced inn of sorts that offers basic, shared accommodation. However, for a university student, a hostel is a home away from home. It is very hard for alumni to visit the city where they studied and not go to their hostel.

Recently, I was in Chandigarh for an office meeting. I stayed in a hotel overnight, but the next morning, I went straight to my hostel to refresh all the memories. I even got a chance to have breakfast there.

Except for a few changes, everything was the same: the parking lot, notice boards, corridors, rooms, washrooms, the dining area and even the monkeys, which were roaming everywhere. It reminded me of the good old days of 2005-09 when I was a hosteller.

Walking in the corridors, sounds echoed in my ears, as if someone was calling me. However, I immediately realised that I was a guest, not a hosteller, and there was hardly a chance of anyone knowing me here.

As I entered the dining area, I just could not say ‘no’ to the mouth-watering aloo parathas. They seemed as delicious as they did two decades ago. For some students, hostel food is unpalatable compared to home-cooked food, but the two can’t be compared — both have their own value and charm. For example, while rajmah was some students’ favourite dish, it reminded others of medicine capsules.

Even as I relived the old scenes, I recalled that I was in tears on my last day as a hosteller. This time, too, I couldn’t stop my eyes from welling up.

Those who haven’t stayed in a hostel won’t easily understand what hostel life is all about. A hostel gives you a sense of accountability, independence and self-care. Numerous good and bad lessons of life are learnt in that place. With the new academic session about to begin, I would ask every youngster to make the most of his or her time in the hostel; bidding it adieu is not an easy task. Try new things and form strong bonds. They can turn ordinary days into extraordinary adventures, filling your lives with joy and meaning. Treat your warden like a guardian and other hostellers like your siblings. This will not only make your stay comfortable but also help you forge lifelong relationships.

‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’ is a common refrain. I say, ‘Hostel na milega dobara.’ One can reach the pinnacle in one’s field, but one hardly gets a chance to live a student’s life all over again.

Someone has rightly said that you never truly leave the place you love; you take a part of it with you wherever you go.

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