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My hostel life: 'There was one phone for 250 students'

Last updated on: September 09, 2019 11:31 IST

We'd asked you, dear readers, to share pictures and tell us about your favourite hostel memories.
Reader Ranjan Banerjee, 62 from Baripada, Orissa takes us back in time.

Hostel life

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: A still from Chhichhore 

In 1976, I moved from a district town to the capital city of Bhubaneswar for my post graduation at the university.

Almost three months later, I was allotted a room in the college hostel.

I was thrilled. I took the key from the university office and reached the hostel.

I was allotted room no 64 on the first floor.

The room was probably used as a store room so there were all kinds of broken beds and chairs.

I cleaned the room with the help of my friends. We got beds, fixed the lights and stayed the night.

The next morning I met the building department engineer and requested him to fix a window, and paint the room.

Another advantage was that the room was near the toilet.

The best thing about my hostel life was I could meet so many new people from across the state. These were bright young minds, full of energy.

We bonded over cricket which we played in an open ground behind our 4th hostel.

One of friends Rabi later played Ranji trophy for Odisha.

I had decorated my room with posters and flower pots and even won a prize at the college annual function.

One of my first room mates was Vivekanand Kodikal. Vivek would finish 4 doshas while I barely finish one.

When Vivek was selected for NDA, his parents came and together we tried to convince him to stay on and pursue some other course. But he didn't relent.

After he left, I felt very lonely but at the same time, I felt proud for him. I don’t know where he is now.

The hostel was mostly good but had its fair share of problems.

There was a beautiful garden in the hostel, but the stairs were risky. During the rainy season, rain water would accumulates on the stairs and make it slippery to walk on.

There was only one landline telephone for 250 students. Whenever someone informed that the call is from Baripada, I would jump up hoping the call would be for me.

But there were other friends from Baripada too.

Our cook Panu would often say that he has added 7 to 8 jugs of water in the bandhagobi sabji so he could accommodate dinner for all inmates. None of us had any issue with the food.

Initially, there were no fans. When we students raised the issue, it was resolved.

There are many such memories that I can recall. The saddest ones are when we stated leaving the hostel after our term finished.

Initially many of us would go to the bus stop to see each other off.

Slowly, the numbers dwindled. I don’t know who was the last to leave.

My home was 250 km away. When I returned home, it took me a few days to acclimatise.

In those days, there was no mobile or Internet to stay in touch. We didn't even have a telephone at home.

Over the past few years, VIVIANTIES 76-78 batch have been meeting regularly in Bhubaneswar in December. On that day we recollect and share our old hostel days.

As many as twenty of our friends have left us and are smiling from heaven.


Send us your best stories and memories of living in a hostel to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject: Life in a hostel) along with your NAME, AGE, LOCATION and photographs, if possible. We'll publish the best responses right here on Rediff.com.

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