I stayed in my college hostel the first one and a half years out of three and it was the best time of my life. Of course we later left that place because of a rather notorious priest, but while we were there it was fun giving him sleepless nights while we wrecked havoc through the three floors of youngsters sleeping, studying, playing, and hogging in the middle of the night. Cooking with illegal water heaters, talking on the phone during study hour, reading after lights-out and jumping from one floor to another and then outside the premises of the hostel were some of the minor offences we engaged in during our stay there.
One of our favourite pastimes was playing cards. We had bought around four decks and we used to rendezvous at one room or another much like smugglers, and play till two or three in the morning. It was quite safe for us to traverse the corridors when the rector was either sleeping or not in the hostel, but if he was around, we used to sneak into rooms through window sills and balcony ledgers, risking our necks for a game of cards. Sounds stupid, but it was the only diversion we had in that mundane and rigid hostel. So, putting our bodies on the line and trying to behave like Spiderman just for the thrill of it and a lively game to pass the time was pretty OK in our books.
So it was just another boring, gloomy and wet Sunday evening in August, 2011, and the eight of us were wondering what to do except study, you know, because you don’t do THAT on a Sunday! So we decided to have a go at the cards till we managed to decide which roadside dhaba to invade for dinner.
We started around 2 pm, after an atrocious lunch at the hostel mess; where we were served ‘neck-severing’ rotis, ‘radioactive’ daal, ‘sedative-laced’ buttermilk and other “Khana bane Hathiyaar” type of food. At around 4 pm, one of us complained that he needed some tea, it was probably me. But then there was a problem, none of us wanted to pay for it; yes, we were cheapskates back then. So we decided that whoever lost the most games from then on would have to pay for everyone’s evening tea. We reached this amicable solution and started playing again. Fortunately for us, one guy lost almost all the games from that time and he got to pay for everyone’s tea and smokes, which amounted to around a hundred bucks at our favourite Kitli.
We had to pay for his dinner that night…