Like so many people out there, the pomp of Jamia Millia Islamia attracted me to it and wished to get admission into it. And so I moved to Delhi imitating the exodus of so many others who settle in the Dilwaali Dilli looking for a better job or better education; in my case, it was education of course. Stepping right into the medley of the rush and hodge-podge from a peaceful small town was the very first brawl I had to face. For me, it was like a change in worlds; staying away from home, away from motherly affection and managing pell-mell of everything on my own. And as I was a newbie, I had no friends to really rely upon for assistance.
After I got admission at Jamia, I had to decide whether I would live in a girls hostel or stay off-campus in a PG. After much thought, I decided to live on-campus in a hostel. It was one of the biggest and boldest decisions of my life. And what I thought would be a walk in the park turned into a living nightmare.
In the Delhi summer heat of nearly 40 degrees Celsius, I remember standing in a long unmoving queue to submit my hostel form, rushing from gate no. 7 to gate no. 4, collecting all the required documents from Maktaba. Yes you read that right, documents! Admission to Jamia hostel is not an easy task – Jamia requires you to carefully fill a 6-page long form and arrange two local guardians to sign off on your form. And then you also have to send a few pages of the form to your parent’s employer and get those pages signed. And finally, when all is said and done, and if you are lucky, you and your local guardians will be shortlisted for an interview with the authorities. It is only after a grueling interview you finally get a hostel room.
What makes the entire process challenging is the extreme heat of Delhi. It got on my nerves. The scorching heat of the summer played so evil that I regarded this phase as the worst time of my life. However, a lot of tanning taught me to stay prepared for all the next times.
Fortunately, after so much hardship, I had made it into Jamia hostel. It felt like a great achievement! But before I could fully savor the feeling, I was given the shock of my life — I was told that I had been allotted a 7-seater room, which meant I would have to share a room with six other girls! I felt cheated. After such a long and arduous ordeal to get a room in a hostel, what I got was a bed in a dormitory.Only a single girl had arrived by the time I moved in. I kept my luggage in the dorm, and left to have a casual, ‘How was your day?’ talk with my Mumma. I returned after some time and lay in my bed for what must have been a long time because I was lost in thought when one of the girls came and informed me that I had missed dinner.
My roomie, who is also my immediate senior, became my savior for the day. She got me a bowl of Maggie from somewhere, but the idea of eating it all alone in my room didn’t seem pleasant. I wanted my family-like get-together. I wanted to have my meal like I had at home with everyone. I felt sad, which my senior surprisingly noticed and invited me to the common room. It felt awkward at first, but “Comedy Nights With Kapil” TV show made the evening a relishing one.
As time went by, my outlook on Jamia hostel started to change. Jamia girls hostel, you see, is not really a hostel; it’s a hub – a hub of various cultures, religions, practices and prayers, with five different hostels within the same compound called the Hall of Girls Residence.
I was amazed and excited to explore the compound. One fine day, during my exploring sessions, I went to the hostel canteen to ease my irregular pangs of hunger. As soon as I reached the canteen, it started raining. I rushed towards the Bi Amma Hostel, and that was the day when I fell in love with my hostel. The campus looked immensely gorgeous during the rain. The lush green immense grounds and huge trees drenched in rain water looked magnificently wonderful.
I had made friends. My six roommates are more like my sisters now!
I spend time with my room-mates sitting at my favorite place, ‘Badnaam Bridge’ as it is called. (There is a funny story behind its name.) I love this homely and secure feeling that the hostel gives. My regular arguments with my roommates over dishwashing and late-night gossips and dancing with full volume music gives the feeling you want to have when you move out of your home.Reading rooms are a huge comfort. One can sit and study peacefully or simply sit in an air-conditioned area for a while; and then there is a common room with a TV.
Canteen provides many daily needs items within the campus, from food items to stationery and mobile recharge options. And then there is an excellent gym and a really amazing beauty parlor where girls can get their eyebrows done for just 15 bucks! And the beautiful lawns, where I can spend hours gazing at the seemingly endless sky above me, and this happens to me only here.
Dressing up to look absolute chic for DJ parties in the hostel at times of Christmas and farewells adds to the charm of staying away from home.There is something about this place which makes me feel pure, content and peaceful each morning, every single day. There is something which tells me how everything one does at hostel is somehow larger than life. Earlier, I could never imagine myself sharing a room with six other girls, but now the experiences I have had in my hostel and the new friends I made, are the best things that I would carry with me from Jamia after I graduate.