Saturday, November 3, 2007


All around it was the Annual College Festival time. Ours was known as Tempest. What an appropriate name for our College Fest.....Miranda being the heroine of Shakespeare's "The Tempest".

The 3 days festival was eagerly looked forward to by one & all. All kinds of competitions are held and students from all colleges can participate. There are - debate, just a minute, quiz, rangoli competition, and many more. Didn't participate in any....but went to see....

Hostel Nite!

We all looked forward to the Hostel Nite! This is the night where we could invite guests...which means guys can even come! There's going to be entertainment & good food & friends! Yippee!

My friend & I, we too had invited some friends over....four to be precise......all Hinduites! (as in from Hindu College. Three of the guys were Hostellers themselves and the fourth, she was obviously a dayski!) This is a pretty formal affair. Nearly all the guys were in suits complete with ties while there were loads of girls who were dressed in sarees! The guys looked dashing all formal while the girls looked so grown up!

The Hostel was lighted up for the occasion.....flower pots placed nearly in all the possible places.....small circles of chairs scattered all around.....chowkidars (watchmen) posted see that no guys stray to the residential area!

Dinner was delicious.....the menu was pretty elaborate! We all enjoyed it thoroughly! After dinner, we made our way to the Auditorium.....for some entertainment....the grand finale of the evening. I don't remember what all there was but the ending was the much awaited Fashion Show put up by us First Years. It was sort of a tradition. I was in it too! I wore a blue dress....which was actually my Mom's.....a gift which she had got long ago from her German Penpal who had stitched herself! I also wore a ghaghra choli....courtesy a was beautiful! After our show.....some of the Seniors took to the stage....and spoofed our entire show! How wicked of them!

The evening finally came to an end...before the clock could strike, the magic midnight hour. The goodbyes to our guests were prolonged as much as we could..........we lingered at the gates as much as we could...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Diwali in the hostel

Diwali...the hostel is all lighted up....candles everywhere....down the looks beautiful! There's crackers too! Some of my enthusiastic friends in lighting rockets, crackers & various fire works have bought loads of it. I have never been the Participant....always have been the was my brothers domain.

Here again in the hostel, I watched. A friend asked me to try it out for myself.....if she can do...couldn't I? I tried...I blasted off a was thrilling!

Quite a few had gone home....or to their LG's place (Local Guardian) celebrate......but quite a few of us were here. I thoroughly enjoyed my first Diwali in the hostel. Dinner was always on occasions!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Miranda House?

I go home for the holidays......short Puja Break. I get to meet Mom & Dad's friends once again. They ask me where I am........what am I doing...translate studying...which College? The moment I say "I am studying in Miranda House College", I invariably get the raised eyebrows looks with..."Miranda House?" Actually, I love seeing that look. It amuses me to see them scandalized on hearing that a girl like me (I am suppose to be a prim & proper girl, minding my Ps & Qs!...having studied in convent schools where the Nuns have done a good job on me) has landed in that notorious College and secretly wondering if I am now Wild & Fast!

Miranda House.........I don't know exactly when and how it got this wild reputation......but no other Girls College can claim "Holier Than Thou" Title too!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tea Time/ Visitor Time!

Yes! Tea time was also visitor time in the hostel.........looked forward to by many of us girls!

A visitor walks through the hostel gates manned by a "Chowkidar" (watchman in Hindi). He signs the visitor book - Name, address & the name of the person he is visiting and a second "Chowkidar" shows him to the visitor room/common room where he can sit & wait while the "Chowkidar" goes to inform the girl for whom the visitor had come. Yes, the "Chowkidars" are the only men allowed in the residential block!

The "Chowkidar" usually would shout from below, (if the girl lived on a first or second floor)... "Mary, D-14....Visitorrrrrrrrrrrrr". Other girls hearing it would in turn pass the message....from one girl to the other till it reaches Mary. At times, if we had a feeling that it is an unwanted visitor we would ask the "Chowkidar" whether he knew the name of the visitor or to describe the person. If it was the same, we would send him back to tell the Visitor that we were not in!

Apart from the common room, the visitors could also hang around just inside the gate where we had a "Dhaba" serving "parathas" or bread slice & omelet served with tea.

For girls who did not have any visitors coming in, it was equally interesting to see who came for whom and this "watching game" we could do sprawled on our lawns with cups of tea!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Miranda House Gardens

Miranda House has beautiful lawns. Come winter and there would be a whole lot of beautiful flowers adding color to the green-green lawns. It is simply a sight to behold. Many a picture has been taken in these lawns and amongst these flowers! Additonally there would be many potted plants/flowers lining up the college building and the inner structures too.

On the other side is the Hostel entrance. As one enters the hostel gate, we have "The Island".....a small patch of green surrounded by a paved structure. There's a pole right in the middle where on Republic Day or Independence Day the National Flag would be hoisted.

Entering further, we have the Porch..........beyond which we have huge lawns spread in front of the residential area. Paved pathways divides this into 4 units. The pathways are lined on either sides by Palm trees on which some of us girls have profusely scribbled.........leaving our names for posterity. Somewhere you would even find my name too!

During winter, these lawns look exceptionally beautiful as now the flower beds are filled with such gorgeous flowers. Many of us would be sprawled on these one time or the other.......doing any 1-2-3 of these activities or all....reading, knitting, gossiping, eating peanuts, having chai (tea)/coffee or simply soaking up the sun!

Friday, October 12, 2007

My First Social - IIT

We got an Invite from the IITians........for a Social!

We are allowed one social each year and for us Hostellers this was an event to look forward to. Had never attended such dos.........having studied in all girls convent schools. My friends and I decided to go. We were real excited. There was the usual flurry......what to wear....what to wear..........the perennial question for us girls! The makeup had to be right too!

Come the day....evening to be precise......the Boys came to pick us up........a couple of them on a hired bus to take us to their lair........hee-hee-hee........I mean, to their hostel! The rest of the girls who were not going, all came out to see us off.....wishing us luck & to enjoy ourselves while some to see what we were wearing!

Reaching IIT and the venue where the Party was.........I was pretty apprehensive....I guess the other girls must have been sailing in the same boat......maybe the Boys felt the same. The place was quite nicely decorated and there was music playing too. The girls & the boys eyed each other and sized one another up......the boys trying to muster up the courage to ask one of us to a dance and the girls hoping it would be a cute one who does!

A tall handsome guy came to ask me for a dance. He turned out to be the Cultural Secretary. He was a real decent guy and we stuck together for the rest of the evening. Every now and then he would go off to attend to something........but then he made sure I was comfortable. He was a thorough gentleman.

The dinner was wonderful..........the evening was a success........and before the clock struck 12.00pm.........we were dropped back to our hostel.

My First Social........was a wonderful experience!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Classification of a Mirandian

The classification of a Mirandian (or for that matter anyone outside too) into a Behenji or a Non-Behenji was purely economic I would say. Please refer to my earlier Post - Dress like a "Behenji" for the meaning of a Behenji.

The Behenjis would be the ones coming from a school with a name like Guru Nanak Public School or any other Municipality schools and would be dressed in those simple salwar suits and usually have long oily braided hair. I know I am being cliched.....but this is the image which would come up when one talks of a Behenji..........and usually would be the Hindi speaking type. Even if they could speak English, the schooling and the dressing would not qualify them to be slotted as a Non-Behenji.

The Non-Behenjis on the other hand would be the ones coming from some of the country's elite schools like Loreto, Welhams, MGD, Woodstock, Modern School, Convent of Jesus & Mary, etc. Their fathers would be either a highly placed Official or a Rich Businessman or a Top Business Executive. Their English would be impeccable. Even if one were to wear a salwar suit it would be stylish & trendy.

Then, there were the girls who were termed as "Behenji turned Mod" meaning Behenjis who have now turned Modern........usually in their way of dressing. I guess its the result of the juxtaposition of the above two kinds for a period of time! The transformation of some of them were they were earlier and now how they had changed.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wardi's on her Round!

Using any electric appliances in the hostel was prohibited! Of course........we all used it..... illegally!

We had our electric iron.............cheaper than giving it to "Dhobs" (Dhobi or Washerman for the Non Mirandians or Hostellers!) & convenient!

Then there was the electric heater. How could we do without a heater? Our tea/coffee, Maggie, toast, & many more were made.......late into the night when the canteen or the Dhaba was closed. Not to mention, many a night in winter it kept our rooms cozy & warm.

As for music, we all had our Hi-Fi system. We were to have used only battery operated ones. Now tell me, who is going to buy batteries for these systems when we could just plug it in?! Saved our money on buying batteries!

Some of us even had hair dryers & the curling tongs! I rarely used hair dries off pretty fast!

Now....the Wardi (Warden) would come for a surprise check occasionally. If anybody spied her coming towards the Girl's residential side............word would travel before one could say Jack Robinson! Even if she did manage to come without having been seen by anyone and some unfortunate girls were caught with various appliances in the room............but then that would be the only haul for the day/night as by that time ......"Wardi's on round"......would have passed around from one room to another.....from one floor to the other.

There were girls who quickly had to switch off their heaters and hide it wherever possible. Some found its way in a bucket and the heat of it would cause the bucket to warp a bit! It was funny! Even if the heaters were confiscated..........the next day, these would have been replaced by a new one!

In all the 3 years...........I was never caught........yes! I had a heater, iron, music system & my hair dryer!

PS:- I even had a friend who had a small TV in her was a cute one by SONY!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Midnight Feast

Our conversations never seemed to finish...........we had loads to talk. I had loads of friends in the hostel...........and when we all gathered it was but to talk on everything else but all of us were studying different subjects.........most of us at least! Astrology & Palmistry was quite popular and many a times we tried to find out where our future was heading.

All these were accompanied with the tuck got from home, at least as soon as we came back after the holidays.......and for some of my friends, these were frequently replenished through indulgent relatives & local guardians. At other times, we had Maggie Noodles. We would cook these on the heater which was illegal.....but all of us used it anyway. Baked beans on toast or on crackers.......yummy! At times, as snacks, we would crunch a packet of Maggie Noodles, pour the masala, shake it and eat it........raw! Hostellers!

Coffee was our standard midnight drink. One of us would religiously beat the coffee till all the sugar melted and the coffee from dark brown color turned into a lighter color and when milk was poured we would get such frothy beautiful not to mention delicious coffee!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Travelling in Delhi

For the first time, I am away from home.......and so were many of my friends in the Hostel. While at home, I was ferried to and fro from the school in the Air Force Bus & then for an outing to Town it was to be with my family in the car. Inside the Air Force Camp, I would use my bicycle if need be or I would just walk.

Now here in the Hostel, we had to depend on public transportation and I was quite bewildered as to how to go about it initially. For the life of me I didn't know which bus to catch and where I should get off but I learnt quickly! Being in the North Campus, a trip to CP or to South Ex. or to GK or to.... was once in a while. We would usually be in a large group though as time passed by the size of the group diminished. Amongst us, there were girls who had done their schooling in Delhi Schools, Boarders they were and so knew Delhi quite a bit! Getting on DTC Buses was quite an adventure!

With time, we got bolder.......the Mirandian spirit I guessed had seeped into us.......instead of travelling in rickety, dirty & crowded DTC Buses.....we travelled in sweet comfort & style! Yes! We took lifts from passing cars.........but of course we tried to be careful.....we only asked from lone drivers so we could overpower in any.....eventuality and we made sure the doors could be opened from the inside!

Of course, we did use the 3 wheelers too, the Auto times 3-4 of us tightly packed in it! What a racket it makes especially when it speeds up!

While moving in and around the Campus, it was always the Cycle Rickshaw! Sitting on it made me at least, feel quite grand! I loved the ride on a nice cool day! Three of us girls could fit in....the one in the middle would sit on the backrest!

It was fun.......those carefree college I wish I could travel back in time!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Pure Entertainment!

Right after dinner, some girls would stay on in the common room adjoining the dining hall to watch some TV while others would proceed to their rooms..........either to their own or to their friend's.

Those days there weren't many TV channels like we have these days. We just had DD (Doordarshan) and one of the favourite programme was "Chitrahaar" ...which was a medley. This was at 8.30pm if I re-call and used to draw the biggest crowd........just about when dinner got over. More than the actual scene happening on the TV, it was the antics of some of the girls which made it more enjoyable. It starts with the Sponser's (NIRMA) advertisement. Nearly all the girls would join in singing the jingle, "Nirma washing powder...". When "Chitrahaar" started, apart from the antics there would be comments on the actors & actresses style, clothes, etc. It was actually quite hilarious....I got to see a few, during my stay in M.H.H.....thanks to some of my avid TV watching friends.

Personally, I never liked viewing TV.....with a crowd!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Miss Underworld Nite

The ragging in the hostel.......slowly was becoming fewer as the days passed. It would soon be over.........the last day....night to be precise was to be the "Miss Underworld Nite". We didn't have a welcome dinner as such.........this was to be it.

All of us "Freshers" were told to dress up as an Underworld Character. It was like a Fancy Dress Do......except that the Seniors were in their usual attire.........some even in their nightclothes! This was the last time when the Seniors would get to rag this batch of "Freshers" and so they were all out to make the most of it! M.H.H. Mess - the dining hall was indeed a long hall. At the beginning when you enter, there's the long table where the Warden, the Housekeeper & the Nurse would sit overlooking us students who were seated in 3 rows of tables. Now, there was a mike too nearby. We were to introduce ourselves as the character we were impersonating and then run through the rows where the Seniors sat with their legs stretched out so as to trip you when you ran through as well as grab not undertsand what they got out of was so childish!

Well, we had girls dressed as Ghosts.........with white sheets as their costumes with holes for the eyes, then loads of witches all dressed in black...with blackened faces and who when they cackled looked more hideous as some of their teeth were blackened too! Then, there were others dressed as thieves, dacoits...........a friend of mine was dressed as the famous Dacoit Queen, Phoolan Devi!

As for me, hmmmm I went dressed as a Gangster's Moll! My name was called out....they now had a "Good Name" for me, finally.........they had to come up with one.........everyone was given a name tag card....I guess it was a tradition?! As I said, my name was called out... "Fresher Bah!" Why? "M was a perfect sheep. Whenever we asked her to do something, all she said was "Bah!" Hmmm I would have to agree on this! As I said in my earlier posts, I just refused to be ragged. Me being a Goat (Capricorn that I am) ....comparison with a sheep... not far off too! After this, I crooned as seductively as I could, "Like a Virgin....." Madonna's hit song!

At the end of all this fancy parade, we were served a sumptuous dinner. Officially, ragging was now closed. At last!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our Hangout

K.Nags............Kamla Nagar for those who are not from the University.....and not into the Miranda Lingo......was a hangout for all of us here in the University Campus.......North Campus to be precise. Yes, there are 2 Campus - the North & the South..........and of course the North Campus is the best! No, I mean it really! Ask anyone! Most of the Top colleges were here in the North and all at a walking distance.

Well, coming to where I started.....K.Nags.....this was the place where we bought all our course books..........this was the place where we bought greeting cards for all occasions..........and occasions were plenty!..........Birthdays........Valentine Day.....Holi.....Raksha Bandhan... Diwali....Christmas...New Year.....and also for no occasion cards....simply!....Missing you...Sorry...

Then, there was this "Chana Bhatura" (Indian Bread with chickpeas) stall in a "galli" (lane).........."Chacha's". Chacha in Hindi means an Uncle. In India, everybody was an Uncle or an Aunt..........we do not address as Mr or Mrs....that would have been rude. This is the Indian culture. Coming to "Chacha's", this was a really popular place with all. The food was delicious and the price reasonable. One had to be served.........not in line though! Just hang around in front of the stall!

Another popular place with us, was the place where we would either have cold coffee or badam milk....."Badam" meaning almond. A trip to K.Nags was incomplete without having a drink........and this was really delicious.........especially the badam milk..........nutritious as well as tasty.....We would see that all the badam pieces at the bottom were tossed to our mouth along with the last bit of the milk..........full value of the money paid!

I also must tell about the corner cold drink shop where we would so often stop for a refreshing drink...........of "kancha nimbu"! No, this is not an exotic drink...........just plain old lemonade in a bottle with a marble for a stopper! Kancha is marble and nimbu is lemon in Hindi. The marble in the bottle would be punched in to remove it and masala (spices) which was black salt, pepper, etc would be added, shaken and a straw inserted and given to us. It was yummy!

Lastly, this was a place to see and to be seen...........for many boys & girls!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dress like a "Behenji"

Continuing with the ragging...........One of the silly things which the "Freshers" were made to do by the Seniors was to dress up like "Behenji" for the day or for a week. This means even going for your classes and everywhere else dressed like that or you've had it!

The word "Behenji" actually means sister (Behen) with the suffix ji (mark of respect). Here in the University, College, hostel, the word meant an were not hip, smart & happening...... something to look down upon. So to be one... or act like one was....demeaning.

Now, to dress like a "Behenji" meant wearing salwar (the bottom part of a Punjabi suit) with a T-shirt, oily hair braided if long and to cover the head with the dupatta (scarf/stole) and lastly to wear a big Bindi on the forehead.

How utterly silly!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Meals in the Hostel

We were served four square meals!

Breakfast was rationed.....the milk, cornflakes, bread & butter and we could either have an egg or a fruit! Tea was unlimited. Choosing between the egg or the was a major least for me! I was not a tea drinker back then, so I just had the bread & butter and the egg and went for my classes. The milk was kept aside to be consumed late at night.......... made into coffee to be precise!

Lunch was one meal that I seldom skipped, even though every week the menu would be repeated. Some girls would know precisely what we were getting............I never did............good in one least there was the element of surprise that I could look forward to. "Kadi"(made with curd & gram flour) & "Rajma" (Kidney Beans) were the favourites of nearly everyone. All "Dals" (lentils) were described by their color. Girls would ask, "What's for lunch?" to those who have already had....and the reply would be "Red Dal" or "Yellow Dal" or "Green Dal". There was also a "Dal" which we all knew as "Flying Saucer". I still don't know their actual names!

Tea was served with some snack. I only went for the snack as I didn't have tea. Tea again was unlimited while the snack was "Samosa" or one "Bread Pakoda" or one "Aloo Chop" or one..... At times, they would make teeny-weeny "Pakodies".......these we would get a handful. One should see the girls having their tea..........they didn't use the normal tea cups...they had these huge Coffee Mugs....... some even drank their's in Beer Mugs!

Dinner time, the Mess was packed unlike Lunch time when the girls used to come in as per their class schedule or when they felt like during the time limit. As in lunch, we were served Rice, "Chappati" (Indian Bread), "Dal", "Subzi" (Vegetables) and curd. We were also given dessert! This could either be Custard, "Kheer" (sweet rice cooked in milk with dry fruits) or even half a Watermelon............during the watermelon season!

My First & Last Ragging

I had escaped ragging so far. Seniors knew more about me than I thought.......they knew me as the Pilot's daughter.........Dad being in the Air Force! Seems they had been enquiring about me. They were really eager to meet me. These ragging sessions were conducted in little groups....and there were a couple of groups who were credited as being the Worst Raggers..... headed by Seniors who were BAD.

So far, I had just heard from my room mate & friends what happens in these session...and what they are made to do. So, when I got a call from this Notorious Group, I decided to check it out for myself. I entered along with a couple of other girls, the smoke filled room. There were Seniors on the beds....on the chairs...perched on the table....standing/leaning against the wall.... in short it was house full....nay, room full! They stared us down.......blew smoke from the corner of their mouth.... like the bad guys in the movies....they tried intimidating us. Was I scared? No. It was disgusting.........the bullying part....

They asked me to introduce...I didn't have a "Good Name" so far.....they couldn't come up with one either. Then, being an English Hons Student, I did the "Reading". I guess they didn't have much fun with me.

This was my first & last ragging session in Miranda House....I chose to experience it first hand.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My head held high....

I was told that I walked with my head held high & my nose up in the air.........well, nothing wrong at that but I guess while you were new to the Hostel/College, one was expected to have shown some fear of the Seniors & perhaps was expected to have shuffled along with your head touching your chin when you were around them! My upbringing & the nuns in the school had instilled in me what the correct posture should be so I just couldn't change to suit the Seniors!

The Seniors called me Snooty....Haughty...........none of which was/is true! A Pilot's daughter?........hmmmm.........partly Dad was in the Air Force....flying branch...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


One of the many nonsensical things which the Seniors made the "Freshers" do was.....what I call the Coo-Coo thing. Depending on the number of "Freshers" present, each girl was made to call out an animal or a bird. The Seniors would say, "Hey! be a be a then when the cock crows..........the dog barks....then you mew....then you say Coo-Coo!"

Some were made to stand outside the door....some in.... and one would have a bucket over her head. When one's turn came.........they were made to cry out like the animal or the bird they were representing.

The girl with the bucket had to peep out of the bucket and say "Coo-Coo!"

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cheeky, me?!

I barely got ragged. Yes, it's true. I dinner time, after attendance I just went back to my room....locked the door from the front & got in from the back door.........I never had dinner ..... didn't feel hungry at 7.30pm.....this was too Summer!

I remember one particular Senior who got the thrills when she was addressed as "Ma'am"......... Unfortunately for her, that was not coming from me at least! I would invariably bump into her a couple of times in a week... during the day..........and as no greeting came forth from my end, I guess she was trying to intimidate me....... "Good Morning Fresher" she would say..........and without batting an eye or stopping, I would reply "Good Morning!" a General to the Private!

Hee-hee! I enjoyed that! Cheeky, me?.....oh no! I was just being myself!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Mirandian Way

Ragging continued unabated.............not so much in the College as it was in the Hostel. This was probably because of the classes that we had to attend and so one could escape from the lurking Seniors in the corridors, lawns & of course the canteen...........and in between classes back to the sanctity of one's room........and even IF some unfortunate fresher was caught, it was but to sing a song or dance with the "dupatta" (scarf) covering the head or to woo a Senior doing all this three!

Thus, the "Day Skis" escapes the RAGGING which happens in the College Campus.........totally or with the minimum degree of it while the Hostellers are subjected to some degrading treatment in the quiet of the night which was revelry? for the Seniors..........never understood what pleasures they got out of the suffering of the "Freshers". Is this an initiation that one can look forward too? Never!

Now, everything that we had to do was to be done in The Mirandian Way......Before I proceed further, all Seniors were "Ma'am" as said earlier and Seniors from the same subject that we were doing, was our "Super Ma'am".

First came the Mirandian Introduction to the Seniors. We had to kneel and with our hands cupped together in the front at elbow level, greet all Seniors with "Good evening......" and then proceed with the introduction. "My Bad Name is.......... " our actual name & "My Good Name is...." the name now given by the Seniors after coming to Miranda. In case one had not acquired a "Good Name" this was the time they would be given "Fresher Smiley" because of the prominent smile, "Fresher Shammi Kapoor" because of the Shammi Kapoor Act which she performed....."Fresher Goofy" because you look goofy or acted goofy?...........

We had the Mirandian Prayer which was a lift from the Christian Prayer - "Our Father, Who art in Heaven.........." Now it was "Our Lovers, Who art in ......." the words were now substituted with the names of some of the Colleges which had Boy's Hostel..........

Then there was the Mirandian Walk....right foot forward with an exaggerated sway of your butt while slapping it lightly and saying "Hit the apple". Then with the left "Hit the pear" and with both feet together "And grind it" which is to roll your hips in a circular fashion like one sees in Latino dancing!

The Mirandian Exercise was quite popular and provided a good laugh to the Seniors. Some "Freshers" who were really adept at this led the rest like a Drill Sergeant. Stand with our feet slightly apart....hands brought up to the shoulder level with the elbows out....and then stretching it to the back with your chest out........all the while chanting.... "I must, I must increase my bust. The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater, for the Guys depends on us".

Lastly, there was the Mirandian Reading that one could be subjected to especially if you were majoring in English Literature. A "Mills & Boon" novel would be given and you would be asked to read a steamy part...........the Mirandian Way....after every 3 words one had to say "In my Uncle's pajamas".

The right way to be done..........nay, the best way to be done.........The Mirandian Way?!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Miranda Lingo

Life in Miranda House..........went on. We learnt fast. In the beginning what sounded strange to our ears soon comes out naturally. The Day Scholars were "Day Skis".........and was lower in hierarchy...... we were the Superior Ones!

Kamla Nagar, the nearest market soon became "K.Nags". Cannaught Place was C.P, Karol Bagh became "K.Bags".........and so on. The Co-operative store adjoining P.G.Hostel was known as "Coops". Even our favourite tea snack wasn't spared from having it's name shortened! "Hot Sam" was what we called the Samosas and for the lovely Hot Gulab Jamuns that we often used to have in "Bengali Sweets", it was "G.Jams"!

The Principal was always "Princi" to us and we talked of our Hostel Warden as "Wardi". Last, we never said was too lonnnnng..............for us, it simply became the Univ!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

“Square Meal”

Scene at Dinner Time, the 2nd night when the Hostel Mess opened. Having just arrived at M.H.H, we “Freshers” were pretty quite, well behaved & properly attired! The Seniors were boisterous & being the month of July & Delhi being hot, a few of them were clad in shorts & skimpy tops with a bit of cloth “dupatta” (scarf) thrown over to cover their modesty? & some were in their nightdress or in their pyjamas! They eyed a cat watching & waiting for the right time to pounce on a mouse!

At the tables...there were 3 rows of tables and in each row you had 2 tables.........the Seniors took it for granted that they had all the rights to sit wherever they felt like. Thus, some of us “Freshers” got pushed around or were squeesed in between them. One “Fresher” landed at the same table with a Stuck Up Senior who thought she was very clever. This “Stuck Up” lady made the poor girl’s dinner an ordeal! And how?

Miss Stuck Up – “Hey Fresher! Do you know what a square meal is?”
Miss Fresher – “Yes, Ma’am.” (By now, some of us have been told.....and the rest of us... word passed around that we were to address the Seniors as Ma’am!)
Miss Stuck Up – “Well, have a square meal then. Do you know how?”

It turns out that the “Fresher” had to pick up her food and take the spoon over her plate tracing an imaginary square and then eat it after which she had to say “Yum-Yum”. She had to do this for the entire meal! How sick! A Bully I would call, Miss Stuck Up.....nothing less.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day in M.H.H. (Miranda House Hostel)

It was in the evening that I arrived at the Hostel gates. The Hostel looked so imposing and the neat lawns laid out in front completed the majestic look. I remember parking myself at the Porch... sitting on top of my trunk....waiting to be announced which room I was to occupy. It was to be D-14 if I remember it correctly, on the first floor.

We, the “Freshers” as we would now be addressed for one whole year......were asked to check in a day earlier by the Hostel Authorities. I guess this was to give us a breather and get ourselves familiarized with our whereabouts before we got terrorized by the Seniors. Miranda House had earned notoriety as a place where ragging could be a nightmare and Mirandians were known to be notorious. Do not know where this originated from..........all Colleges especially the Hostels were all into ragging but it was us “Hostellers” who got the brunt of the ragging. The anti ragging squad supported by the Police, patrolled...........but still.........who could stop or monitor ragging in the hostel?

Shifting into D-14, I saw that this was a Double Seater which means I had a room-mate. One can say that the rooms in Miranda House Hostel are all double seaters except for a couple of (former) Teacher’s rooms (Teacher’s no longer resided in the Hostel....there’s a separate Teacher’s flats adjoining to the Hostel.) which got converted into triple seaters and again we also had a couple of single seaters too. One of my neighbours turned out from one of my former schools....we were school mates.............different section but had the 3rd language classes together! One tends to form little groups....and quickly I too was a part of a group which consisted of girls from different parts of India!

The first night, as officially we were one day early, the Hostel Mess Guys were still on vacation...... dinner was served in the College Canteen. Attendance was taken and a short welcome speech was given to us by the Warden after which dinner was served.......buffet style. One could see that by now all of us had made friends and we were all in our own groups. There was a lot of chatter, plenty of smiles and a few laughs. We discussed the ragging that was eminent but never could visualise how it would be in actuality..........only time would tell....

I guess we all slept that night thinking about the days to far so good....

Monday, September 3, 2007

Getting ready

I remember packing my bags to leave for the embark on my further education. We were to bring our bedding and so my favourite pillow along with my mattress, blanket, bed sheets, pillowcases were all packed into a holdall. I also had an aluminium trunk and a suitcase packed with my shoes & clothes.

While preparations to leave were going on, any opportunity when Mom would find me all alone, she would impart her advises..... “Concentrate on your studies...don’t roam here & there....Boys! Don’t believe them....they would say “I love you” just to take know what I mean” or “Be careful of your belongings in the hostel....some girls would live off other girls...always borrowing and never caring to return...” I know where she was coming from.........she too was once my age.........she too had gone to a College & lived in the Hostel.

The day arrived for me to finally leave Home....all these years I have never been away from my Parents & my two younger brothers & our dog....till now. My youngest brother bought me a gift on this occasion....a small carved rectangular shaped wooden box. Don’t know where he got the money or where he bought it. I was really touched by this was real sweet of him......I still have it.

With a mixed bag of feelings............scared at the thought of living without my family.......excited, at the adventure which lay ahead?! my family dropped me off to the Railway Station where I was catching a train to Delhi. It’s about 3 hours journey from Agra to Delhi. Of course my Parents did not send me all alone.........I was chaperoned by someone from my father’s office.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Admission

Being convent educated all through my school hope to go to a college where boys & girls mingled and had loads of they show in the movies.....were dashed to the ground when I was given ONLY, all Girls Colleges application forms to be filled in. Believe’s true. I didn’t have much say as I only wanted to study in Delhi University........and being sent away to a Girl’s College was last of my worries.

Miranda House was to be..........where I would be for the next 3 years. I got the subject that I wanted to, it was more like, the subject I was asked to major the first name was there in the First List selected from all the Applicants who had applied....again my name was in the First List for a Hostel Seat! I shudder to think what it would have been if my name was not there in the First List! Probably, gone back to Agra, the city where my father was currently stationed. The College Principal turned out to be the wife of Dad’s former instructor/colleague in the Air Force and this clinched it further as the right college... and thus finally, I got enrolled into Miranda House College.