“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” – Phillip K. Dick
Behind the well-guarded walls of the girls’ hostels and in the shades of the surrounding extensive greenery, there live ghosts of those who perished in the attempts to become engineers and instead became legends. Frankenstein Mujahideen armed with a drafter, hipster ‘bai’ never prepared to dust the room and V with a Vendetta Against Math are just some of the lost souls who have found home here. *Black Sabbath music plays dramatically*.
The girls’ hostels are more than just living quarters. They are homes to engineers-in-the-making who have found all the wrong reasons not to study and all the right ways to spend their time elsewhere until a golden opportunity came their way on Halloween last semester.
On the eve of my Chemistry practical I was all ready to have a Halloween party. Instead, I switched off the music, opened my books and then five minutes later, I bolted my room and left. After two minutes of lifeless wandering I met my partners-in-crime. For the protection of those involved, their identities will remain undisclosed.
Our plan was foolproof– we would dress up as ghosts/monsters and go to each room to scare our friends. We assembled together everything we could find– from kohl pencils and junk jewellery to geometry boxes and brooms. Then we got creative and put on all the accessories, drew on our faces with kohl and draped ourselves in bed sheets. One of us found a torch for added effect, someone made a witch’s hat out of a newspaper and assembled together, we could pass off as at least partially scary. We rehearsed our lines in five minutes and at midnight, while everyone was snug in their beds doing last minute revisions for their practical exams, we walked into their rooms eerily singing ‘boo’.
We switched off the lights as they poured over their textbooks and started our scary assault. The first room we went to was a fiasco, because before we could make scary sounds we burst into great fits of laughter that lasted a whole minute. But as we progressed in our journey, going door to door to haunt people, a group of eight ghouls joined us and by the time we reached the last door, it was no secret what we were up to.
Sounds of manic laughter and scary ‘boos’ rung through the corridors that night and to an outsider, the hostel must seem genuinely haunted. Of course, we don’t take the blame for our casual stroll out of sanity- we have inherited it from our seniors. Yes, those people who are shrouded in mystery, because once you know their secrets there is no going back. From the creation of characters who wear all black during exam power cuts reciting the motto ‘Andhera Kayam Rahe’ to dipping their beloved friends in a mixture of cosmetics (including toothpaste, foundation, gloss, etc. in the same mixture) on their birthday, crazy antics are an integral part of life at the girls’ hostels.
In the first semester itself, I might have learned more by living in this building than I have about life in the past eighteen years. Life skills– how to make Maggi, how to make pasta, how to make tea (yes, my life skills are limited to cooking food), strength, perseverance– and most importantly– the value of homemade food. But there is something that no one told me I’d learn, though I think it’s my most important lesson so far– how to chill out in the face of difficulties and then overcome them with flying colors.