It’s the night of the second IPL match. Some twenty odd people are huddled around a laptop in the room with the fastest internet connection. The room looks more like a shady den of a hustler from a 90’s B-grade Bollywood movie than a college hostel room. Avi, who is seemingly disinterested in the match reads out aloud from his phone – “Tribalism is a way of thinking/behaving in a way in which people are more loyal to their tribe than any other social group.”
A bong rip is heard in the other corner of the room followed someone shouting “Bokac**da! Shut up, will ya?”
Avi continues – “…Based on strong relations of proximity, not kinship, members of a tribe tend to possess strong feelings of identity. We’re a tribe, aren’t we? A friendly neighbourhood, a self-contained village.”
That’s dorm life.
Stick together, team!
Learning to find yourself while studying something you found vaguely interesting right after your 12th standard with 100 other people is what college is about. And dorm life is the very essence of this experience. It’s a phase of life. Rather, a journey from point A to B, during which your room might not have changed its geographical coordinates, but you know you have travelled. Acquiring such insights into life is unheard of in any other routine. A good part of this journey of 3, 4 or 5 years (depending on your degree) is spent in the dorm – your second home, and your primary educational tool. This is where you learn new skate tricks, new Counter Strike tactics, new ways to style your hair, new routines to bench press better. This is where you learn the importance of hard work, and how to celebrate and acknowledge it. Self-reliance and the ability to adjust are just a secondary outcome of what dorm life pushes you to be. It tests your limits of both work and play.
So far, both of my “Once I got so drunk..” and “One time I was so high…” incidents have either happened in the dorm or in the company of these lovely people. I am sure most of yours will have too. My “I am proud of my work” moment has also happened in this very same dorm on the morning of the submission, after pulling a series of all-nighters with the same bunch of people that I have my taken my craziest wanderlust-induced trips with and depended on for my health and safety on multiple occasions.
What makes this experience inherently fun is that there are always people to celebrate with, drink with, work with, get inspired by, or just sulk with, if you just stepped into the corridor or peeped into the next room. Inspiration for that athletic physique or that new software skill you wanted to learn last semester – it’s right next door. Even the most hardcore cinephile learns to appreciate dumb movies because he has the company to crack dumber jokes to. You learn more from this family of idiots you go to college with than what you are taught in class.
Strange how when you were being allotted your room, you cringed at the idea of sharing your room with someone you have never even spoken to before. Look at you now, living in this tight space with 30 other odd people from all over the country. And when it’s time to leave, you know you will miss each one of them. Even that bastard who borrowed your limited edition copy of ‘The Justice League’ and never gave it back.
“Be like water, making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.” - Bruce Lee
Photography By: Pranav Pendse