Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Starting a New Life : At Hostel

Getting into medical college was in itself a big achievement at the end of my higher secondary examinations . Here was I , all set to embark on a new journey in my life , enroute to becoming a doctor , and I was elated . After the formalities regarding admission was over , and the initial euphoria regarding college was settled a bit , I had to arrange for shifting to hostel .
       Mom argued with me , that I couldn't even make a cup of tea by myself, so I would struggle to cope with hostel life , and would soon come back. At first , life at hostel didn't evoke any thoughts of difficulties , as I only felt how I would become more independent , and lead life on my own terms . Several other guys were also staying in the hostel , so I didn't think it would be a problem at all. 
        The comforts of staying at home struck me within a few hours of my shifting to hostel , after my parents had left , when I started to feel a little hungry , and felt like giving a loud call of , " Maa , I'm hungry . Make some tasty evening snack ! " just like when i was at home . But the futility of the thought instantly dawned on me , and smirking at my folly , I got up to check out the dozens of food packets stuffed in my bag by mom. A few friends came over to welcome me at my new abode , and the evening was spent happily chatting away . But the real rude shock came , when at night , I went down to have dinner . 
       As the standard dinner of roti and sabji was dumped on my plate , I stared at it aghast . No way was I going to swallow the weird looking vegetable pieces swirling around in the greenish broth . The rotis looked like they were the ugliest pieces I had ever laid my eyes on . I looked around , and people were munching away the food without any qualms , while watching the news on the canteen TV. One of my classmates remarked , " eat it ....you'd soon get used to it ! " However , after a few attempts to chew the horrible tasting items , I gave up and went up to my room . 
       The hardships of staying on my own made their presence felt over the whole of the next week . It was a race to get to the toilets every morning , and the basin was always booked while brushing . No one would urge me to drink lots of water every day like at home, but thirst urged me to fill up large water pots from the floor below us , and stock it up in my room . The morning classes meant I either had to skip breakfast , or had to stuff bread in my mouth while running towards college . I missed being cajoled by mom , to drink the large glass of milk , that had been my routine from a very early age. Here , I had to take the trouble of preparing my own glass in the morning , which was too much . The bed sheets were in shambles , and worn clothes piled up in the corner . The utensils in which I tried to make myself some light dishes screamed out for a proper wash.  I began to appreciate  the superlative facilities that I had grown up in , where I didn't have to worry about anything apart from studying . Here , it was a case of managing everyday chores , apart from the vast subjects of human Anatomy, physiology and biochemistry . 
           In the midst of all this , I started to feel the change that took place within me . I realised that whimpering and cursing would take me nowhere , and I had to learn to do things in my own way , as the other guys were doing . So , for the first time in my life , I started washing my clothes , sent some of them for laundry , and made my room habitable by arranging things . The alarm clock on my phone became my 'de-facto' mom for the hostel , as I had been woken up all my life by mom shaking me vigorously . Now , sleeping late meant no breakfast , or bunking first periods . So I had to forget about the snooze button , and wake up early . 
         I had never ever set my feet in the kitchen at home , but here , I bought a small kettle and learnt to make tea. Instant noodles and  soups were the other things that I learnt to prepare . Even the simplest of things like adding sugar or milk in appropriate proportions was a mystery to me , but I developed the skills . My hostel friends all chipped in , teaching me various other dishes , and in a few months time , I had learnt to cook rice and eggs ! My self sufficiency rubbed off on me even at home, where mom and dad got stunned when I fixed them an evening snack when I went home ! 
       Managing expenses was another difficult task which I had to deal with . I learnt to be a master of my own finances as otherwise , cash could be blown off in no time . Initially , there were hiccups as I bought fruits or other items twice over , while having no ration at other times , but things smoothened out soon. 
      The hostel years subsequently turned into some of the best years of my life as I learnt to grow up into a man . I did things which I should have done earlier , but never got a chance to , as I was always too preoccupied with my school , tuitions and exams . The friends at hostel became like family members , with whom I shared a deep bond . In course of time , we all graduated as doctors , and left our colleges . But starting a new life at hostel taught me vital things which otherwise I couldn't have learnt ! 

  This was my Starting a New Life story , written for the  #StartANewLife campaign by www.Housing.com. You can check out their new website here .

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