My Experience with Clothes in Hostel

The case we are going to discuss today is one of the most common case we see at any boys hostel. Reader’s minds were already paralysed with that stupid story of When Earth Broke in Two, so we thought we should give something nostalgic to read. Rumours are that one literary student vomited after reading the 5 chapter fiction series on how earth broke down in two, and then again further broke down into another two. No moral, no love story, just an ending within an ending.

I thought okay, the guy tried, let’s give it a try. I read all 5 chapters, they were shit. Did you notice the grammatical errors? Any child could have written better than him. No doubt he likes Rajkumar Thakuria“, one angry reader commented and continued, “And don’t fucking start me on that podcast thing. The self recorded audio? Motherfucker, I swear if I find that writer I am going to shoot him down with that same sniper with which they killed General Flavio.

Just in case you want to get adventurous, you too can read the 5 chapter fiction series

Leaving the fiction series behind, we are going to discuss the clothes sharing cult in boys hostel today. If you ever lived in a hostel, you know it’s true, your clothes are not only yours, it’s everyone’s, specially your seniors have more authority over your clothes than you do. I am sure this ain’t true in Developed countries. But we in India, don’t give a shit about privacy. We don’t care if the other guy has any skin problem or when he bathed last. “Just give me the new shirt you bought, I got to go on my date in the evening.”

But the fun part is, you also get to wear your hostel mate’s clothes. A friend of mine Zasel, once got a camouflaged cargo pant from his friend in Haflong. He bought it to hostel and I took it from him. It further went down to Anjan Da who would wear it in the lush green campus of JNU. The camouflaged cargo pant travelled from a small town in Assam to the prestigious university in New Delhi. I was later shocked to know that the cargo pant was actually from a rebel militant. Things in life right, you never know.

Anjan Da, a research scholar in JNU, with the camouflaged cargo pant in December 2019

Few weeks back my friend Prithvi sent this picture of an old jacket on WhatsApp. And suddenly I realised, it was the jacket we exchanged exactly a decade ago. It survived 10 years. I gave him my Nike jacket and he gave me his Reebok sweatshirt. The sweatshirt did not survive. He always thought I gave him a first copy Nike jacket but it actually was original and cost me Rs 4,000. Prithvi is a research scholar in IIT Bombay and my jacket is now at another prestigious institute in India. Fucking things in life right?

The Nike JacketIt was Prithvi only who asked me to write on this topic

And the list doesn’t stop there. I once bought a shirt from H&M at Select City Mall, New Delhi. I used to wear it to my office. It really looked good on me and I was happy. But things took a turn when my room mate from hostel, Abhijit Das, came to New Delhi to visit me. He got me drunk and took away that shirt. In exchange he gave me a t-shirt. Later Abhijit Das became an Assistant Professor in NIT Tiruchirappalli. These days he wear that shirt to his lectures. All aspiring engineers watch him wear that shirt today. There are countless such stories. One thing which is for sure is that hostel network is the strongest. You never know where your things will end up. I believe Abhijit also has my Shiva idol which I used to keep at my hostel study table. I later turned to be an atheist.

Me at the hostel before I turned atheist. The shorts are not mine.

When Abhijit entered second year in hostel, he got the full authority to attack on newly joined junior’s clothes or rather I would call their accessories. After the bath everyday, on his way from the washroom to his room, he would enter each and every room. The juniors would quickly jump and hide their clothes which might fit him. But his eagle eyes would find what he needed. He would get a pant from one room and then move on to another room to get a shirt. He would even leave his wet sandal in exchange for the shoe from the third room even in absence of the owner. The junior would later realise that his shoe was not stolen but gone on a trip with a senior. If someone had nothing to offer, he would use their deodorant and face cream. And thus on his way from washroom to his room, Abhijit used to get dressed up. Do you now see the advantages of living in a hostel?

Abhijit with the un-ironed H&M shirt. The Shiva idol can be seen in the background (left).

But tensions would grow when festivals would arrive. Seniors would fight among themselves on who will take the newly bought shirt by a junior.

Tur uporot bhaal laga nai. Saa, muk de xun ek baar. Mur gaat besi fit hobo“, one senior would say to another. The junior a mere spectator, silently watches his shirt go from one body to another. Inside his head, he would be counting the days when he would be a senior.

Sometimes, clothes would disappear and that’s when things go bad. Everybody would blame everybody.

"I saw you last wearing it. You wore it with that black denim."
"No it was you last night. You wore it to the cinema hall."

And no one would know where did the t-shirt go. But you get my point what I am saying. Life is not always happy, it goes up and down. But you always have to look at the bright side of things. Things were more interesting for us because none of us came from a rich background. Some of us were the first from our family to ever go to a college. My hostel has now crossed 100 years of existence, so I cannot count how many lives have been changed till now. I will forever be in debt to SMH Hostel, Cotton College.

SMH Hostel, Cotton College

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