Monday, 31 May 2010

Old posts in a new blog

These posts were published before. Hope to write something new...

My looks and the way I dressed was a cause of concern to everybody else, except me. “What's the big deal?” deal was my constant refrain when first my mother and then my friends in hostel, frowned at my mismatched salwar kameez or down-at-heel chappals.
“You know look like a proper jhalli. Just look at your hair, all frizzled. No one will believe that you have run a comb through your hair today. And, listen this dupatta doesn't go with the maroon kameez. By the way, have you ironed the salwar kameez before wearing it?”, Anima, my room-mate, went on and on without even pausing to check if I was taking it in. I was not. Why would I, especially when it's an everyday ritual – you know something like being forced to drink milk and then quickly emptying the rest of it in your sister's glass once your mom's back is turned. And your mom being very much aware of it...
Anima knew that I listened to her with sleep in my eyes, yawning, wishing that she skipped the daily ritual and hurried for the bus. A neat, organised and fastidious person, Anima cringed at the thought of being seen with me at the coffee house or theatre or park. She never ceased wondering, “Why anyone would turn out like a mess?” and perhaps that was the reason why she had promised my mother that she will transform me into a 'civilised' girl.
Did she succeed? Well, that's for Anima to answer!

Any hostellite will always recall with horror the food served in dining hall or 'mess' as they are called. No wonder that, hostellites who lived on hot chapatis, 'served fresh from the tawa', (which turned into papad if eaten five minutes late) and soggy, watery vegetables always had this gaunt and 'famished' look.
It was difficult to sleep on half-empty stomachs, so girls from the neighbouring rooms used to get together in one room and talk... of food.
“My mom makes very good pav bhaji. When I go home for Diwali I will eat to my heart's content,” said Rajashree. Then Prajakta started talking of chaat – our mouths started watering at its mere mention. Looking at the expressions of other girls, I realised that all of us were thinking of gol pani puris, bhel puri with its slightly tangy taste, hot ragada pattice... It didn't do any good, because we couldn't slip out in the dead of the night to eat chaat. There would be no chaatwallah either!
Next brain wave came from Darshana, “Chalo, hum yahin bhel banate hai.”
We all were galvanised into action. Farsan and gathia came out of the cupboard, one solitary onion was produced with glee, tomatoes and bit of coriander was smuggled out with the help of canteen boys. Since no one had any murmure, we added all the above-mentioned ingredients with chivda. No tangy imli ki chutney out came ketchup with khatta-meetha flavour. Did it taste good? It was heavenly!
Sated and happy, we sat talking for some more time and then fell asleep, dreaming of bhel! From then on, it became a nightly routine. Bread masala, wafer shev puri, pohe with cauliflower and peas added to it, khichadi...we were very creative and imaginative with the names as well as the delicacies.
As the term neared its end, we had lost the gaunt and famished look. Our parents thought the hostel food was nourishing and we looked happy. Well...parents are parents.

1 comment:

  1. hostel days are the best days of our lives, no matter how much we hate them at that time...when we look back now, its the only part of our lives that we would want to relive again :
    the hunger, the studies, the fights, the crushes, the camaraderie...everything is special and priceless...