Exams have been approaching now. It had become mandatory for us to study till late nights if we wished to pass. Hostel life hasn’t been a cake walk for me. But I was happy that I was able to pull out myself from the reins of pleasures and adjust with the pains of hardships. It was Wednesday night. I had finished my dinner by 10:00 pm. I was busy tracing my notes and surfing the net to find the adequate information regarding the topics. The time was running fast I felt. The clock stroked 1:45. It was hard for me to keep awake so late. But I was left with no option. My eyes were getting closed when suddenly my room mate came to rescue my pending task and brought me back to consciousness. She offered me a cup of tea. She told “Didi drink this tea, you will feel fresh”. I was happy about the fact that away from home there was someone to take care of me. We both were having a small conversation while enjoying the sips of the hot masala tea. She was a specialist when it comes to preparing tea. She had brought special masala from her home and used it while preparing the tea.
Her name was Kritika. She was 4 years younger to me and was pursuing her bachelor’s in the field of computer applications. She had been in the hostel for the past 2 years (a senior when it comes to experience the most dreadful encounters in hostel). It was my first year. I was lucky enough that I was able to pursue my bachelor’s at my place but for the masters I had to move out for better prospects. Hostel life was a completely new and weird experience for me. For an independent and a pampered girl like me, it was another planet. Back at home I had my own bedroom, my own bed and thankfully I wasn’t coaxed to share it with anyone but here there were 4 people loaded in the same room. It was difficult to maintain peace around when you have vulnerable people around you. I cursed myself many times for letting myself out of my comfort zone but this time was very crucial, I knew. I had to grow up, learn new things and move ahead in life.
The first two months after my shift to the hostel were really horrendous. I was brash most of the times with my room mates. I refused to sit and talk with them. I ignored their suggestions; I hated them for no reason. They were no good to me either. They overheard my talks and made my fun, they made plans and plots against me. Whenever I used to enter the room, they used to stop their conversations and started staring at me most of the times. I hated the three for being so mean to me. Two (Nandini and Lisa) of them were pursuing masters but in different college and Kritika was pursuing her bachelor’s in my college itself. Kritika was the youngest of four. The other two had manipulated her and started using her as a weapon to brutalize me. Kritika was taken into their confidence. I was completely okay with it because I had no relation with them and I never considered them my friends. During the weekends, I used to rush to my town which was a 4 hours journey by bus and returned back on the weekdays.
I used to get disrupted due to swinging constantly from one place to another. My physical capacity had reached a saturation point where I couldn’t move to and fro so frequently so gradually I had cut down spending weekends at home. I was spending my more time back at my room with my room mates. I had no other option but to talk with them. With the passage of time I realized that it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just was the situation which wasn’t in my favour. I was running away from things. It was I who didn’t wish to accept new challenges or adopt the changes. I was withering and the sole reason for it was my attitude towards life. It was then I realized that I need to bring a change in myself. If I change then maybe the situations and people around me would change. I started taking the initialization. I tried to befriend them. Initially the response was cold. But I didn’t give up.
Navratri festival had approached and the madness had begun around. My other two room mates had left to spend some quality time with their family but Kritika was there. Now it was me and her all alone. We were left with no option except talking with each other. We slowly started with casual collage talks. We started going together for evening walks. We both loved sitting near the river front which gave us a beautiful view of the entire city and she used to prepare tea for me every evening. That one sip of tea refreshed my tired nerves. It gave me that refreshing feel. We strongly bonded over the tea factor. During one of the days of Navratri, Kritika had got 2 passes for playing dandiya. She cordially invited me to join her. I was reluctant initially. We were just room mates then, not more than that. But I accepted her invitation and got ready to accompany her. We both got dressed up traditionally and went to the place. Her friends were waiting for her. She joined them and asked me to join too. But as I didn’t know how to play dandiya, I refused. I sat at a corner holding her mobile and feeling bad about why I was so weird. Why I didn’t make friends so easily? Why did it take so much time for me to get adjusted to things? Why god had sent me here to such place? When I was busy thinking all these Kritika came running to me. She was said “Didi there has been a small fight between two guys and now it has turned out to be outrageous. We have to move out quickly or things may get worse. We rushed towards the gate. I held her hand firmly. She was trembling with fear seeing the stampede and rush. But I managed to pull her hand and made her reach out to a safer place. She couldn’t still find her composure. She was extremely frightened. I held her tight and assured her that we were safe. She hugged me tightly on the road and said “Thank you so much Didi. I don’t know what would have happened if you were not there. I had always behaved badly with you so extremely sorry for that”. I tried to pacify her. I replied “It’s okay. Let’s go to our room”. We went back, prepared our favourite Maggi and fell on our respective beds and began to chit chat. We were talking about how was our first reaction when we met each other. How crazy we were at that time. Time passed slowly. We got to know each other very well. We tried to spend more and more time together after our respective college hours. In the meanwhile, Nandini and Lisa also returned back. They were completely taken aback seeing this new friendship. It took time for them to sink in. But later on even they started to respond to my hand of friendship. We made it clear that it is going to be tough time for all of us to stay away from our homes and families so we should make it a point to forget all the differences and conflict and live together as a family.
A year has passed since then and we now have become a small family. We are concerned about how can we can make each other’s life a better place. We enjoy those late night sips of tea with each other and those leg pulling. Those have become the wonderful part of our routine lives. We solved each other’s problems; we tried to bring smile on each other’s face. Caring and loving is what I have learned here. Blood relations didn’t matter. It is the fact that sheer love for each other that matters. Few relations don’t need any definition. They are imperfectly perfect. We may come from different backgrounds, having different paths and different views about life but one thing is common that is friendship and love. We all need someone who is a dear friend to us and who takes care of us in the absence of our family. It was truly said “friends are the families that we chose”. Life is a beautiful journey. Every other day we meet some or the other person who becomes responsible for shaping and redefining our lives. A tons of thanks to some wonderful friends.