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Reminiscing those hostel days

The hostel was not just a place to stay and study
Last Updated : 16 March 2022, 21:28 IST
Last Updated : 16 March 2022, 21:28 IST

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Having spent my formative years with my parents and the college days till I got the BSc degree in my maternal grandpa’s abode, in Gandhi Bazaar opposite Vidyarthi Bhavan, getting a seat to study in an engineering college far away from Bangalore was a welcome change for me. When I received the letter to join the engineering college in Davanagere, I felt like a bird, perched in a cage being let out to fly freely under the sky.

I joined the BDT College of Engineering, Davanagere. I stayed in a community hostel known as Brahma Chaitanya Hostel in the town. In the hostel, I befriended Sudhindra, Gopinath, Nagarajan, Suryaprakash, Raghavan, Narayana and many others. Our hostel had about 40 rooms, distributed on the ground floor and first floor. It was not equipped with modern-day gadgets. A steel bucket, a mug and a wooden stool were provided to us. There was no hot water. A concrete slab embedded in the walls in the corner of the room acted as a table.

In those days, every Wednesday, famous radio anchor Ameen Sayani would present the Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon at 8 pm. We used to have dinner and enjoy the music. I used to watch a minimum of two films a week, irrespective of language.

The hostel was not just a place to stay and study. Ramaswamy, a keen cricket enthusiast, and a relative of legendary cricketer GR Vishwanath took a lot of interest to arrange cricket matches among the inmates. There were ground-floor and first-floor teams. We used to have fun on the field playing cricket matches with the tennis balls. I represented the first-floor team with a spin attack.

Once, my mother sent obbattu and other items through my friend who was on his way to Bombay by train. I had already told my friends about this. One of my friends at the hostel announced this to the hostelmates, standing in the quadrangle of our hostel.

On that particular day, I was at the railway station by 10 pm. After coming to know that the train was running late, and was expected to arrive at 12.30 midnight, I came back to the hostel. I reached the station again at 12 midnight, only to know the train had passed through at 11.30 pm. My friend did not find me on the platform.

On reaching Bombay, he promptly gave it to my cousin at Wadala. She was astonished to get a packet from my mother. She informed her father of staying at Bhadravati. A couple of days later, I got a letter from my uncle, with a word of caution: “The train will not wait for you, you have to wait for the train.” From then on, I have never missed any train.

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Published 16 March 2022, 18:00 IST

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