Saturday, April 30, 2011




My last 18 minutes as a second year engineering student, which means I am now officially ass deep in my 'chosen' career. Screwed up my endsems big time after a neat performance in the midsems, which basically means, I am staying put as a 7 pointer. Engineering Grades Inertia, the mystical condition where the graph of your academic performance gets suspended in time and space, making you fight to hang on to your average while offering no chance for improvement, has claimed its latest victim.


The electricity returns to our rooms, breathing life back into my desert cooler. The noisy apparatus drowns out the irritating voices of the final year students, who in a collective stroke of nostalgia, had been playing antakshiri for the last half hour. My cooler served me well for these two months, its water-choked breeze seeing me through the worst of the summer. I shall be returning it tomorrow, its stint over in room B-318, the meagrely dimensioned space I shared with another full-grown human for the last one year. We had settled on staying here because it was the only room that wasn't locked, infact it didn't have a latch, and no lights either, and one wall covered with graffitti that was both meaningless and obscene. When we leave it tomorrow, it will have a layer of debris thicker than a hedgehog's hide, and infinitely more dangerous( I sometimes hear sounds from under my bed that convince me, the two of us aren't the only occupants of this room), a very hastily hammered together latch, and FOUR walls full of meaningless obscenity. And we intend to take away the lights.


"Self-imrprovement is masturbation."
Me not being a smoker, the backpost wasn't at all the reason why I had chosen to come to Hall 7. "Its got a gym better than DTS, a music room and many other such designated 'rooms'" is what my senior, a Hall 7 addict had told me. Here I am ten months later and I am yet to see what the gym looks like. If there is one word I associate with Hall 7 it is 'ennui'. In a corridor that has Gulti M.Techs and people from the strangest parts of India playing the most obnoxious form of music ever invented in the most obnoxiously loud speakers, it is no surprise that I hardly ventured out of my room. My days here were spent stretched out on my bed staring glassy-eyed at my laptop, occasionally strumming my guitar and/or reading the previous occupants' wall-scribblings for the umpteenth time.


Hall 7 wasn't all about boredom and inaction. There's a reason why this place has been christened Hell 7. And if this hostel is hell, my corridor, the hill-facing B-top, is where Satan takes his dump. His minions, the little red ones, swarm this place, arriving in thousands every evening, all year round, wreaking havoc. You need nets everywhere, on your windows to protect yourself from these tiny terrors. And even that is not enough. I personally don't have a single part of my body that does not have scars testifying to the my ordeal here, my suffering at the hands of this plague.


Two minutes to go now. All in all, Hall 7 is where I wanted to come at the end of last year. Now, I never want to see this place again. Its not about how good the place looks from the outside. Its about how it makes you feel inside. The environs of a person do affect his outlook and state of mind. I know I am going to try my damnedest to get shifted to another hall next session. But there is this one place where I can never go back to. It was a place where you always referred to your room as "our room", where ALL doors were broken, yet we somehow never worried about our belongings, where the mess was the size of the room the Hall 7 night canteen is in, but it had a fridge and you could wake up the guy anytime in the night to give you an amul kool. It was a place where I had the most helpful of GMAT's living next door, the craziest of gamers a few doors away, whose desktop was as good as a public computer, and who could solve any technical issue with a swipe of his mouse, and a college-superstar-in-the-making sleeping right next to me. It had a real lawn, one that was not surrounded by concrete and people on all 4 sides, where one could have a long phone conversation without everyone in the hostel being able to see you. It was less silent than Hall 7 but infinitely more peaceful.


I miss Hall 4.


  1. One word: WOW. Nostalgia meets chutzpah, a graphic retrospective on life in a sometimes-amazing-sometimes-frustrating college. Evey line tinged with subtlety and nuance. Could hardly be bettered. What stands out is the telling anecdote, the remembered detail, the relived emotion...Devraj, you somehow managed to bring a miniaturist's eye for detail into this one. For an ordinary mortal, it would have been a magnus opus, but for you, I hope there's more to come.
    Too good, too good, too good. Mashallah.