Live in various hostels Part 2

First time readers are kindly requested to click here, to read the first part of the story of my year’s long struggle in various hostels.

I am back with the continuation of my hostel saga! Here goes the second part of the story!

As I said before there was a danger lurking near the window of my hostel room. Want to know what its?
Exhibitionism is an incurable psychological disorder, and there was a victim close-by our hostel, who used to jump the hostel wall and roam around freely in the premises, especially in the evenings. This made it difficult for us to freely open the windows and enjoy fresh air from outside, as we feared the ‘porno’ effect of  a half naked man with shameless glee, at times throwing stones on our windows whenever he had the ‘un controllable’ urge to  make someone enjoy the ‘beauty’ of his weak and wrinkled ‘manliness’. Our constant complaints about this were never heard and police help not sought on time as our warden wanted to ‘safeguard’ the reputation of the hostel and not us. Situations went so bad someday later, and one among the girls called police men from her mobile and cried for help. Although they couldn't arrest the ‘porn star’, he reduced his visits to our hostel. Yet, we lived in fear and never bothered to open the windows, fearing he would come back again.

Life in that room was nothing less than hell, but we were fifteen to share our joys and sorrows. Extreme heat, limited power supply, scary surroundings, and no proper food; I stopped revolting against the endless number of struggles, and instead, started adjusting myself to tackling them all to the best of my effort.  Injustices were common to all and there was no one to hear our voices, which made me go subtly submissive.

There’s yet another shocking fact, and that’s the unreasonable doubt that arouse in our warden’s mind whenever she saw two women walking hand in hand or sitting close by.  I think she had this very bad misconception that no two women can be intimate friends unless they are lesbians. I can say this as I have heard saying this about a few girls who were pretty good friends.

I never raised my voice, but started thinking about going back home, and opting for a daily travel, which I knew was not going to be easy.  But I felt travelling back and forth in jam-packed buses for about three hours every day would be much easier than living in the hostel.
I went home for a one week vacation, mainly to get my dad’s permission to shift from the hostel. I came back the next Monday and found that our warden had given my place to another ‘favourite’ of hers and kept my bed & other stuffs in a damp place, which made it a cosy home for fungus and mould to live in. When I asked her the reason why she almost destroyed my bed, she said she wanted to give me a ‘better’ room, but didn’t have a place to keep my stuffs until I reach. I couldn’t take-in anymore and vacated the hostel on the same day.

Coming up: ‘Hugging’ house owner plus hard-faced and supercilious maid

Life in various hostels: Part 1

After living in various hostels for almost 6 years, I can definitely say that hostel life is something that everyone has to experience, at least once in their lifetime. Hostels will give you a good share of sweet, sour, bitter, hurting, and insulting experiences to help shape up your mind to face every possible circumstance that you may come across in life, bet it good, bad, or even the worst. You will become unassumingly patient and polite, and at times shockingly unemotional, thus making yourself wonder how can one be as calm and composed as a sage and keep bearing all the ‘agonies’ with a pleasing smile!

Let me start telling you my story, which I will be continuing in a couple of posts to come!

After living in a palatial home for about 20 years, I first moved in to hostel room for two, half as big as my bedroom. The hostel was close to the school in which I taught, and hence I had no other option left but to move-in.

One fan and a small bedroom lamp was the 'luxury' that I had in my room, apart from a half broken coat on which I had to sleep on. Luckily I had a good bed that dad brought from home! It was a hub of mosquitoes but my fragile roommate couldn't bear the smell of mosquito coils. In short, I sat and killed mosquitoes every night,  instead of enjoying a sound sleep after tiring works.

We didn't have an attached bathroom, but had to take turns and use one of the three common bathrooms and two toilets meant for almost seventy five inmates in the hostel. Making matters worse, our warden always made it a point to lock the inside toilets during day time, asking us to use the outside ones, which were extremely dirty, saying it would help us save water. But we actually had a well inside the hostel premise, and there was absolutely no scarcity of water. I think it was too cruel on her part to for making us use those dirtiest of bathrooms, even after knowing about the possible health consequences. Yet, she didn't bother to give her decision and second thought. Her water saving theories went too further and once I saw her locking the water supply to the inside bathrooms, saying we used more water than what was allotted, and this happened when a few of the inmates were taking bath! Above all, the bathrooms were hardly cleaned once in a week, and we had to make sure to constantly complain every week and get them cleaned.

Want to hear yet another bizarre rule? We were allowed to take bath only once a day, and were not allowed to take bath in evenings, however sweaty and smelly we were! If someone was seen violating this, our warden always made it a point to embarrass her before everyone thus making sure that she never does it again. But I knew how to manage and get myself a good bath, and used to carry only my mug and soap to the bathroom, in the pretext of going towards the wash basin to wash my face.

Being a staunch vegetarian, food was what scared me to death! For lunch and dinner we had rice non-vegetarian dishes often, along with just one veggie dish, and the kitchen staffs were not really kind-hearted to get me vegetarian dishes in place of the non-vegetarian dishes served. So I had to make myself happy with whatever I was given, as I knew that complaining would not help. We were never allowed to bring plates from our homes, and instead food was served in the plates that they provided, which were often dirty and stinking.

There was just one plug point in the room to charge our mobile, and we had to do it without the warden’s knowledge as mobiles were not allowed inside the hostel, even for working women like me, as she feared the possible line of ‘boyfriends’ that we would have if we had mobiles.  But she was hardly aware that everyone had mobiles with them, and had the required knowledge in ‘electronics’ to charge their mobiles without her knowledge.

After living in the room for about one month, I was asked to move to another room, as there one of the ‘ favorites’ of our warden was about to arrive, and they wanted the room for her.  I shifted to another room, and was shocked to see that it had fourteen other girls in it, or in short the room was jam-packed with fifteen people. Adding to my worry, the room was just above the cooking place, and I felt like I entered in to a hot furnace, as the room was filled with all the heat and fumes from the kitchen.  Problems didn't end here, and I soon came to know that except for the room where I stayed initially, others were only provided with limited power supply. The switches of fans and lights were connected to a power plug in the warden’s room, and she often switched it on after nine in the night and used to switch it off at five thirty in the morning, and yet give us huge lectures on mounting electricity bills.  After having a tiresome day  I couldn't even enjoy the liberty of having some time enjoying cool breeze, and had to go the ‘nature’s way’ opening all the windows of my room. But there was another trouble awaiting me!

..................................................... (Will be continued)

Dream man

My dream man: When the whole world is so keen on knowing my thoughts about my 'dream man’, I really don’t have any kind of goose bump creating fantasies that they would expect from me. So I keep mum when I am asked about my ‘dream man’ concepts, and people keep mistaking this as the lack of feminineness, for I don’t blame them at all, as I know that they represent the whole lot of ‘romantic’ females who do carry a good share of 'fairy tale like' dreams about their would-be life partner, whereas I may come under the category of ‘unromantic’ and dull women who will silently fit in to the life that I am given, without any discontents and  qualms. They are totally wrong, but I haven’t yet tried to prove this. I am not as fragile as they think and I am not someone who can flexibly bend my mind l, to fit in to a life just for the sake of it. But on the other end, I am not naive either and don't believe in getting a 'prince charming' like the ones in the stories of Cinderella and Snow white.

I believe that when it comes to a relationship, it’s always good to have minimum expectations, and thus avoid facing the harsh reality of knowing that the dreams that were nurtured for years together are never going materialize. I don’t mean to say that I have never had any dreams about being with a romantic partner, but gone are the days of such teenage infatuations.

When it comes to looks, I am not someone who carries ‘starry’ fantasies, but this in no way means that I would opt for a man who is way below average in looks. I am not too broadminded enough to make such a choice, and hence if I say that I would be lying. He should have the average ‘manly’ looks, and should be educated well enough to get a decent job. But I really don’t want him to look like Tom Cruise or Gerald Butler, he need not be an ‘intellectual’ giant to bore me to death, or a multimillionaire to get me diamonds and platinum, nor do I want him to replicate the romantic gestures of Shahrukh Khan in DDLJ.  He should be an average man, who is honest, trustworthy and loving. Above all, he should know how to respect women, which I think is a trait that one can find only in a minority of men in the country.

I have many friends in the hostel who keep watching those blown up romantic scenes of daily soaps and keep concluding that they would soon get a guy similar to those unrealistic characters on television. I really don’t understand how a woman can bear a guy who is too over expressive in romance that the crosses all the borders of sanity and sensibility, thinking that such gestures would make a woman happy and go weak on her knees. I don’t think any woman would accept an obsessively passionate person who makes her choke to death with his fervent love. In my opinion, people who exaggerate always turn out to be deceitful, and cheat on their partners with absolutely no regret, whereas people who are sensibly average in their thoughts and actions often turn out to be sincere.

When I mean sincere, I will never say sincere to the core, as no one in the world can be utmost sincere throughout their life. We are all human beings, and at some point or the other, we would definitely get wooed by someone or the other from the opposite gender. There’s nothing regretful in it, if we know where to limit our fantasies and get back to reality. But this is where many people get weakened and end up incestuous. It’s always easy to cross the thin line between fantasy and incest, but people often don’t remember that once it’s crossed, they will never find their way back, and thus get lost in the darkness, finally find themselves caught in the enticing claws of incest or adultery. Such weaklings are often victims of  the ‘dream man’/’dream woman’ thoughts, and for this reason won’t be able to resist themselves on seeing  a man/woman with the same ‘qualities’ that  they had once dreamt  of.

I think it’s good to have a sensible share of realistic dreams like expecting him to treat you with equal respect, become a good friend, avoid vices, keep away from being dominant, remain with you in thick and thin, and share your joys and sorrows equally. Beyond these ‘real’ dreams, one should never go on and knit a whole lot of unrealistic demands and fantasies, only to end up seeing that they can never ever find them in any guy that they come across. I believe that equality, sincerity and trustworthiness are very important to fall in love with someone, and if one can give me all these for lifelong, I can definitely say that I would jump in to a relationship him without any second thought.

Some ‘unreal’ facts on Facebook

There was a time when I was avidly in to Facebooking, and used to take a major share of my day for ‘postings’, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’.  Those crazy days got over when I myself took a much required ‘break’, by deactivating my ‘greatly active’ Facebook account for about a month last year. I felt it good as I was free from the obsession of frequent updations in the quest for maximum likes and comments. When I was back on Facebook, I had almost lost the fascination that prevailed before, and thought of maintaining the account only for the sake of a couple of good friends that I have. Nowadays I don’t post anything other than quotations that I read, as I have almost lost the charm for getting endless likes and comments.

Facebooking is still a kind of fixation for most of the people I know. Right from the moment they get up, till they go to bed, people are always on Facebook, posting updates continuously, giving a meticulous narrative of what they are doing.  I see endless number of posts and pictures getting posted every day, about awesome Sundays, memorable holidays, loving relationships, lasting friendships, cute and cuddly moments, and a lot more, and keep wondering how the world go so immaculately perfect for many people, or are they just too good in PR or self promotion.  I do agree that there will be umpteen blissful moments in our lives, and I am convinced that they happen to many people I know. But all that I can’t digest is seeing people hyping their experiences and making others feel that they are in the zenith of happiness, which I think is not humanely possible.

Yes, we all are happy most of the times, but there are times when we aren’t, and they do happen every day, for all of us. So, by sharing the joyful moments alone, we are just turning a blind eye towards the raw and the real time that are spend in glumness, making mistakes and learning from them. Or are we trying to ‘airbrush’ them to look good as good as real? If so, then that’s just a good PR work, which has nothing to do with reality. Or in short, I believe that there are many people in Facebook who are way too much in to self promotion doing  good PR, instead of being genuine.

I laugh my lungs out seeing the ‘awesome weekend’ messages of many of my friends, especially when I know very well that they might have had the worst possible weekend. At times weekends suck big time, and that has to be accepted. But some people deny the reality, and go on faking things, with shiny happy status updates. I keep wondering what they are trying to prove with these fake messages and updates.
Reading ‘airbrushed’ Facebook updates have now become the part and parcel of my life. I am not saying we should open-up our life to the whole world, but we should at least make sure not to pretend before others and make a fool of ourselves. If there’s nothing worth mentioning, it’s wise to leave the status page blank till there’s something worth posting.

Some ‘PDA’ thoughts

Be it in coffee shops, malls or roads, PDA or Public Display of Affection is now as common as handshake. Go to a nearby part in the evening and you can see many older couples holding hands and walking or sitting on the park bench, which I think is a romantic sight to watch. But what I am saying is often a ‘porno’ kind of affection, which should be done only in a closed bedroom and not in public. Yet people go out and do all these in open places.

Seeing the 'over-pouring' intimacy, many people misconstrue PDA and call it the intensity of love that two people share, but if you ask me, I would say that in most of the cases PDA is just an exhibitionism that people often indulge-in, only to hide the fissures in a relationship, only to make others believe that they are intensely in love with each other. Or else, why should a couple with rock-solid relationship go out in public and cosy, when they have their own private space and time to cuddle and get intimate with each other? PDAs can be seen most among people who are in immature relationships give vent to their initial fantasy and delight, where as people who are in forceful relationships that have hit the rock bottom, only to make their near ones feel that they lead a happy life.

I am not sure whether to say PDA is good or bad, as the opinion may vary from person to person. But I personally feel it’s something that people should try and avoid and make themselves understand that when they are in a healthy relationship, there is absolutely no need to go out and display it in front of the whole world and make them go gaga over your relationship and your happiness. If you are happy being in a relationship, that would obviously reflect on your face, and person with average intelligence would definitely understand that you’re happy, only by looking at your pleasant expressions.

But nowadays, you can see a whole lot of people who are seriously in to outward displays and PDAs, whereas in private, they often fight like cats and dogs. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of couples, including many of my friends, who are still going on steady with their relationships, yet don’t even hug each other or give a quick peck on the cheek in public. Initially I used to wonder why they remain emotionless in public, whereas now I feel they are absolutely right. No one can make a relationship stronger and lasting by getting intimate in public.

What will be your immediate response on seeing a couple kissing passionately or getting intimate in a public place, like on the road or in a shopping mall? Want to know my answer? I would laugh my lungs out!

Appetizing to the eye and the palate

Whenever I have a new issue of Vanitha, my mom's women’s magazine, I turn the pages swiftly and start looking at those glossy shots of beautifully garnished dishes displayed in the cookery column, as I have a high instinctive attraction towards visually appealing food stuffs, even if they lack nutritious value.   I think food can become increasingly delectable with its incredible looks, which is why I love watching cookery programs on television, to see mouth watering and tempting dishes being prepared and served with incredible perfection. But often we give undue experience to the health benefits of food and thus undermine the relevance of color and smell.  Food can stimulate our digestive juices only with its smell and visual appeal, and I've also read that nice smelling and well garnished food can actually aid to proper digestion.

It’s Friday today, and as usual we will have that same old dinner which we call Kanji, and when translated to English can be called a kind of rice soup, rich in nutritious value, tastes average, and takes the last place in looks. To be frank, I don’t hate it, but nor do I love it. Ask me the reason and I will say it’s mainly because of the totally unappealing look and smell, which kills my hunger in no time.

Colour and smell of the food have tremendous effect on my appetite.  Those reds, yellows, and greens excite and entice me a lot, and so I am very much inclined to the food stuffs with incredible looks and smell, the reasons why Kanji fails so badly with its lackluster look and lack of alluring smell. I really don’t mean to offend any ‘Kanji’ lovers out there, but for me, Kanji is one among those dull looking foods that I would prefer when I am left with no other choices.

Be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I 'eat with my eyes first'.  This in no way means I would opt for an expensive meal, just to get a visual delight, as there are many affordable options to have a tempting and scrumptious meal, without becoming a spendthrift. If you ask me about my option for the day, I will have a lip-smacking Dosha with 2 different chutneys and Sambar. What’s different about Dosha when compared to Kanji is its enticing smell and look, and I love having it with tantalizing chutneys that are appetizing to the core.

When served with tea, Dosha would make a perfect dinner, in just thirty rupees, which I think is quite very reasonable, as I take the liberty to have this lavishness only once in a week.