Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Journey From Home To Hostel ... #StartANewLife

My 12th standard HSC board exams had just got over and I had decided that I will do engineering just like many of my friends. The wait for results was an excruciating one but that time gave many of us friends some time to contemplate about our future and the choices that we were going to make. The results were announced and I did not get very good marks, not that I was expecting to top the exams but the results left me disconsolate and worried if I will be able to secure admission in a good engineering college in Mumbai. The admission process for engineering stream is a long drawn one which can go on for several months.

We had to fill up a form in which along with all our personal and academic details, we were required to fill in the 'Top 50 Colleges along with the Field of our choice' in descending order. So that was it, everyone filled up that form like their life depended on that sheet of paper. Since many of us friends had got similar marks we filled up the form in the same way. The best 40-45 Colleges of Mumbai were filled at the top and then the last 5-10 choices were filled keeping in mind our moderate marks. They were supposed to be the fail-safe in case we did not secure a place in the top 40 colleges, the chance for which was minute.

I filled up colleges only from Mumbai itself as I did not want to relocate and live in a hostel. The mere thought of it made me uncomfortable. Nobody in our whole family had ever done engineering, forget about staying away from the family in some hostel. My friends, however had no such tough decisions to make and they included some colleges which were situated out of Mumbai and could take in students with a little lesser marks. As expected, I did not get selected at any of the top colleges of Mumbai and time was fast running out. I had to make a decision soon.

One day, suddenly, out of nowhere, I received a call from one of my childhood school friends who told me that he had taken up engineering at a college in Ratnagiri. We had not been in contact since school as we had taken admission in different colleges. When I told him about my current predicament, he told me that his college still had a few seats left in the field of my choice and that I should try over there.

I told him that I will tell him in a few days about my decision and also asked him about how was the college, its environs, its students, etc. He told me that many of the students were from Mumbai and the college was located at a good place. Then we talked about our good school days and the mischief that we used to have together.

I had a talk about this with my Father and together we decided that in order to progress one has to make sacrifices and live away from the family. Change was the only thing that is constant in the world and without change the world would stagnate. My Mother was not approving of me going away to live in a hostel but me and my Dad persuaded her. I told my friend about my decision and he was elated, he assured me that all would be fine. I paid the fees and took admission in an engineering college that I had never heard of before.

I was very circumspect about this whole 'Living in a Hostel' affair and set out from my home towards my destination with a heavy heart and perhaps with a tear in my eye. When I reached at my college, my friend was there to welcome me. He showed me around the campus and I was delighted to know that he had arranged for us to be room-mates! 

I remember that I could not sleep for many days at that place, the room was too small as compared to my house in Mumbai and the bathrooms stank. The food at the mess was the worst, it was insipid and tasteless. I was homesick and badly wanted to return home. With Diwali approaching, we friends were involved in a dare devil act to escape from the hostel, my first of the very many adventures that I would have during my engineering days.

Slowly, I settled in at my new home away from home and made new friends. The hostel life gave me so many experiences to savor, so many memories to cherish. I learnt so much during those days; how to do my own work, how to enjoy while studying, how to take decisions independently, how to survive without sleep and food, etc. I and my friend remained room-mates for the next four years and had a blast. Those late night vada-pavs, the mid-night birthday parties, spending the whole night playing card sessions, playing cricket on the terrace, studying in the jungle for an exam!!

When the time came to leave the hostel and return back home, we were all very very sad. I remember that we did not want that time to get over, those days spent at the hostel was the best time of my life. That was nearly 13 years ago. Even today whenever, we talk, the talk invariably starts from our college days and proceeds further. Change, as my Father had rightfully said, was the only constant and changing for the better was the only way to success.

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