It was gonna be fun. Freedom! Going away from home. Far away to study. No one shall bother when lying around lazy. Neither would anyone taunt over everyday failures or about something that happened two years earlier. Ah! that feeling. Maybe the best to say the least.
Shopping, packing, and a tearful adieu! And then? Hostel and books. Freedom! And it was fun. New people, new place and lots to explore. Super excited. Days passed by in that initial high of being far away. Everything was gleeful, pretty. Different culture, different ways. Exploration. Adrenaline high.
And gradually, the high started disappearing. Excitement had put a blanket over flaws. Now they started peeping their heads out like one, two …! Thoughts started filling up the mind. Comparisons. Can someone really replace family? Can your freedom be worth the cost paid? Was this actually freedom? Sigh. Fooled into a mirage. What seemed an open sea was in reality a small pond filled of rain water. Some heat and everything vaporized.
Homesickness. Initial visits to home were desperate. As if trying to escape some nightmare. And the urge to not join the college back. And those tearful eyes of one’s mother silently asking not to leave. Those calls from niece asking the reason for being late. Being told that the one year old’s are crying out your name to seek you. It seems good to know that your absence is being felt but it also kills you to know what all you are missing out. Is missing out all the family fun worth the freedom?
Living away from home, kitchen gets replaced by hostel mess. And all the curses are dedicated to it, criticizing as if it were the worst food available on the whole planet! King sized beds get replaced by a small single bed. And many times you even share the room. Back home? “Don’t enter. Private territory!” Many things change, many myths bust. Living with friends seemed to be fun in thoughts but in reality, issues creep up even with the best of them. Groups emerge and some hate you for no fault of yours, and go on spreading false rumors.
“Get used to and survive”, that’s the only way out. Surviving the day seems to be the ultimate goal. And if it is summer and you live in planes, only God can protect you. The heat, scotching heat is beyond people’s patience and endurance. Most in-campus hostels do not provide AC’s or provide them at high fees and they won’t work during college timings even if you stayed back. Welcome to a living hell. Back home, either the temperatures would not soar so high, or the infrastructure would ensure you peace of mind.
Purpose of hostel: Study. Results: Being lazy. No, hostels do not ensure a student’s study. They are better equipped to ruin students than to create good ones. More often than not, join a party and celebrate. Some days it’s a birthday; on others, anniversary. Many times there are no reasons. Just to fill that emptiness. And studies? Well what is the night before exam for!
Going places, cooking in hostel room and loud music. Which hostel is spared of this noise. What what is cooked? Maggi! Nothing else fills up your tummy that fast. And no one knows how to cook anything else either. Other times, time is killed in photo sessions. Get dressed and Click. Like it were the only job left to do in the whole world. As if all other things had been achieved. Like a bird set free…
Life usually gets out of gear except for highly disciplined people. Sleeping at 6 in morning and missing out classes is just the norm. But then, one month before exams the student population surprisingly rises to full so that people do not get debarred due to attendance woes. A dreaded result.
Living away from home for some four to six years; visiting them for a month in a year. Many times the time period would extend due to the urge to earn a Masters’ or for a job. Vising home less often; many times not. Is this not something so similar to getting married? The day you leave for hostel equivalent to your valedictory ceremony! For parents, even more difficult than that. Getting married takes you to a new household only. And studies? To far off beyond places beyond one’s daily reach. Choose to study out of the station and suddenly everything good is left behind. Sometimes even life is left behind.
However happy you are, a corner of your heart would long for home. Something inside always remains empty. Something… Dad’s pat on back can’t be replaced by a friend’s kind words. Neither can mom’s kisses be replaced by group cuddles. Some things mean so special that even the best of luxuries can’t replace them.