“Oh, you just joined a new university? You must love your new hostel! So many new friends!”
This is a common phrase you hear from well-wishers when you are about to join a hostel, but sadly, hostel life in India is not all fun and friendship.
There is a darker side to hostel life as well, which people do not always talk about, either in fear of ruining the name of the institution or to avoid ruining the reputations of the individuals concerned.
But from violence to substance abuse to jealousy to theft, there are many issues that lurk behind the printed curtains that innocently shield the hostel windows.
When there is more than one hostel for a particular sex in an educational institution, rivalry between the hostels is bound to crop up.
A reputed autonomous arts and science college in Chennai faced an incident in early 2016 where an inter-hostel sports tournament caused plenty of friction between two rival boys’ hostels, and the weekend after the tournament witnessed boys from one of the hostels going to the other one and beating up members of their council.
A reputed university in Hyderabad recently faced an instance where plenty of items went missing from one of their girls’ hostels. Ranging from large sums of money and ATM cards to clothes that had been hung out to dry, several girls reported missing articles which were never recovered, despite lodging a complaint with the hostel authorities and the student council.
When you are thrown into a new atmosphere where you have to interact mainly with people your own age but from different socioeconomic backgrounds, jealousy is bound to crop up on some basis or the other.
From backbiting to internal politics and anti-campaigning during hostel elections and festivals, the green-eyed monster is not new to the interiors of Indian hostels.
For many, alcohol and sometimes cigarettes are synonymous with the freedom that comes with living in a hostel. However, it is also a fact that college students are a large part of the customer base of small-time drug dealers, with cannabis and LSD being the most commonly purchased drugs.
A reputed religious minority college in Chennai recently faced problems with hostelites who were discovered taking drugs in their rooms instead of attending class. An anti-drugs campaign was conducted on campus, and a Brother was brought from a local church to “advise” the students.
Hyderabad also witnessed a crackdown in 2017 on campus drugs, with the police visiting several institutions in the city to conduct raids.
All’s Not Rosy…
The bottom-line is that when you leave the confines of your home, it would be unwise to carry a sugar-coated view of the outside world.
There is a dark side even to something as innocuous as a students’ hostel, and it is important to be aware of one’s priorities while being a student to avoid slipping off the slippery slope.
Image Credits: Google Images