Word count: 1345 | Estimated time to read blog: 4 min
“SPLASH!! Happy budday to you… smash! Wham-wham-wham”
“What’s in your heeeaad, in your heaaad, zombie, zombie”
“Her pants are damn tight man! You should have seen her today in class – I couldn’t even sleep!!!”
“CAGR and EBITDA? voh kis gadhe ka naam hota hai re??”
“Click-click-click-click-click-click.click-click-click-click-click….beeep-beep-beep. DAMN! Thrash, thrash, thrash…@#$%$%#…ah! click-click-click”
These were the various sounds that emanated from our temporary home while we were pursuing our MBA – the ‘TAPMI Men’s Hostel’. Yes, that is what the board at the entrance warned all the potential inmates – you got to be man enough to endure it. The board was rusted and the pegs by which it hung looked like they would give away any minute. The floor just below the board had a railing-like arrangement. Dogs, cows and other animals were not allowed, I suppose. But the caretaker always managed to get in somehow, I wonder how! There were 4 floors lined with rooms and no lifts. There was a steam engine equipped with a TV on the fifth floor. The mess was sufficiently far away to ensure that you get drenched while attempting a run during rainy days; the night canteen was sufficiently near to tempt you at all times. Vehicles could be parked anywhere except perhaps in the bathrooms – not because it was disallowed but because they could hardly accommodate even a bike. In a way it was good because one couldn’t ‘slip and fall’ in a bathroom – even if you slipped you couldn’t fall 😉
Talking about sounds in the hostel and beginning with a snoring sound like ‘Zzzzzzzzzzz’ is perhaps the best way to start. This is because, after all the grilling classes, we came to the hostel for – yes, more work and assignments. We stayed up till 3 am finishing off all the acads and case studies for the morrow. And by the time we plopped onto our beds and took a wink, it was time to wake up. So there were absolutely no snores, no Zzzzzzzzzz’s at all! But then, there was the watchman to compensate for all our lost sleep. His Zzzzzzzzz’s rocked our hostels and he woke up only when we whizzed past him on our vehicles as we headed towards college. His snap, in which he was captured sleeping soundly on the couch, was circulated to all of us. But he was a humble man who shunned all fame. So he decided to sleep in his room from then on.
Birthday times were moments of great celebration and joy for all– but for the birthday boy. A cold bucketful of water would be emptied on the bewildered boy who was armed with a knife that could hardly cut cake. The first piece would be smeared all over his face with the cherry on his nose and then he would be lifted and kicked till his tormentors got bored or their legs began to hurt, whichever came later. 😉 It was a moment of great cathartic relief to many former budday boys and other frustrated guys who were doing group work…still! All went back very happy after the birthday. Even the tormented, almost sodomized budday boy had reasons to be mischievously gleeful because he now had a list of people whose birthday he could look out for and buy shoes accordingly 😉
TAPMI hostel had a 24 hour FM-like music service running inside it. There were some self-appointed RJs in the hostel amongst us who believed it was their primal duty to play music at a pitch audible to all the residents of the hostel. Zombie by Cranberries was a hot favorite perhaps because we found a good amount of similitude in the lyrics and what the profs did to us in class – first bomb us with their fundas and then ask ‘What’s in your head?’ while we outperformed our own previous low score in the exam. So whatever little sleep one could catch had to be done by ignoring the musical notes of such RJs. Of course, there was always the class if you missed even this chance 😉
The dhobi always used to betray his word and never arrive on time. So we gave up talking about our garments and instead decided to focus on the garments of the girls in our class – well, in our batch, ah well –in TAPMI…hmmn no – in Manipal. Our consideration set was clearly defined and so were our research objectives. At night, we always had intensely thought provoking discussions. Though these things were redundant (because everyone would have seen it) we still discussed it because we were convinced that knowledge grows when shared. Not surprisingly, the number of researchers in such knowledge sharing discussions decreased significantly over the months as the object of research became so dear to them that they decided to have a patent over it and not share it in public domain! 😉 They soon took their research to End point, Coffee day and other lonely spots for better focus and concentration. (Psst. A secret. The other researchers continued their research all the same, patents or no patents! Their consideration set always remained the universal set. I am told that I will be awarded a Ph.D shortly, Hehehehe)
Those who were in no mood for research, studied – at least they tried. They grappled with terms like CAGR, EBITDA, 5Ps, Organizational Structure, Service Oriented Architecture, CoCoMo etc and tried to remember them by using whatever mnemonics available. When all else failed, they just exercised their necks and eyes while the exam was going on. 😉
And when they got tired of all this, they went to the CC – the computer centre of the hostel. Of the six systems available on each floor, 2 were supercomputers – they were in a perpetual state of computing preventing everyone from using it. Grapevine has it that someone from Batch 85 had booted them and is yet to log in. There would be at least two people on every floor who would have put up ‘Work in progress – don’t log off’ ppt and gone off for their 3-hour evening stroll. That would leave 2 spare PCs for the junta’s use. So when the frustrated, dhobi-betrayed non-researcher would come to the CC for a break, he would be overjoyed to see 2 PCs unused. Even people without much computer knowledge soon got the better of these PCs and knew exactly how to use them for maximum benefit – click random buttons to see the login screen; thrash the key board thrice to login; turn the CPU upside down if your screen freezes and bounce the mouse ball off the farthest wall from your seat if the mouse is not working. Oh and if the mouse is an optical mouse without a ball, your task is all the more simple – bounce the mouse itself.
Of course, if you have been keeping an eye on the list of sounds I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, you will realize that I have saved the best sound for the last. It is ‘Drip-Drip-Drip…’. Did you guess it? No? How can you not! How can you forget that angel of a watchman who emptied the fuel tanks of our bikes in the night so that no burglar, however experienced in the art of stealing bikes, could steal ours while he was fast asleep! How can you be so ungrateful? 😀
Life in the TAPMI hostel was a heady mix of emotions and experiences. All these sounds were the very inspiration, the muse, behind everything that we did – and didn’t. And if these sounds and experiences weren’t heady enough, there was always Thalloor’s or Downtown, what say?
PS: From the previous comments, I realized everyone wanted to read more on hostel life. I have now included a poll on the blog – you will find it on the top left corner of the page. Please vote on what you would want me to post next. Thank you.