A Little Nostalgia for the Residential Life at Ashoka

 

 

Edited by: Lasya Adiraj

 

This pandemic has been hard on all college students, but for those used to living in a residential campus, it has been particularly distressing. There is a different kind of happiness in living on campus, especially in one that is as separated from the hubbub of city life as Ashoka is. For us Ashokans, our dorm life is a very important aspect of our college experience because of how vibrant the campus is at all times. So, yes, when I say that staying at home for months has not been good for us, I mean it. To all the first-years who have not gotten a taste of what it feels like to live there, I know times are difficult but once you get to Ashoka, your living experience there will more than make up for all that you’re missing out on now. To all other Ashokans, here’s a nostalgia-filled piece of some things I miss most about living at Ashoka. 

 

Maggi

 

Honestly, I don’t know what sub-heading to use other than this, because at this point maggi is an entire emotion. My friends and I would make maggi every weekend for lunch without fail and the process of cooking it was the best part. Instead of just buying the ingredients (because college will inevitably make you a miser), we would go around asking for garlic at the dhaba, onions at Chai Shai (or was it Chit Chat this year?), and so on. We’d plan to watch a movie while eating the maggi, but then half the dish would be over before we were able to settle on something to watch. From midnight maggi-making sessions at the pantry to asking people on the floor if they have cup-noodles to share, I miss it all. Heck, at this point I even miss the mushy maggi they would serve at the mess for snacks sometimes. Or not. It was gross. 

 

Birthday Celebrations

 

If you think you’re going to miss celebrating your birthday with family or friends at home once you get to college, think again because birthday parties on campus are an absolute blast. I mean, consider this: your friends are going to try very hard to pretend like they’re not planning anything for your birthday. Come midnight, though, one friend or the other will call you and ask you to come to their room to help with something. It’ll be a little awkward for you, honestly, to pretend like you don’t know what they’re up to and to go along with the charade. But when you actually go up to your room and find your friends ready with a birthday cake, decorations, and gifts, you will be genuinely surprised by all the love you have managed to find in this place in the middle of nowhere. Amidst all the partying, dancing to trashy Bollywood songs, and clicking pictures, you won’t get enough time to miss your family back home. And that’s okay. This is family too. 

 

Festivals on Campus

 

I remember how upset I was before Diwali in my first year because I wouldn’t get to celebrate the festival with my family. But that year’s celebration eventually turned out to be the best I’d ever had. My friends and I dressed up, danced for 4 hours straight, and played Poker till 3 am. So when Holi came around in March, I was prepared to have a blast, which I did. It was supposed to be a ‘dry holi’, but then someone figured out how to use the water hose on the cricket field, and there was no going back. We ran out of colors pretty soon but hey, in college, everyone learns how to do jugaad. We ended up playing holi with mud and in the mud. Anyway, the point here is that during none of the festivals in the last 2 years did I wish I was back home and not on campus. So Ashokans, my advice is that even if you have the option of going back home during festivals, try staying back for at least one year during your time at Ashoka. You won’t regret it. 

 

Finals Week

 

I never thought I would say this but right now, I even miss those absolutely terrifying days before finals week. The one thing that made those days even slightly bearable was watching everyone around me suffer as much as I was. The campus is a different kind of alive during reading week and finals week. No one has any sense of time and people are scurrying in and out of their dorms, student commons, library, and the gazillion other study spots on campus 24/7. It’s not uncommon to find people sprawled across the couches in the common rooms or dozing off in the library, taking 30-minute power naps because they can’t afford more sleep. Despite the craziness surrounding these couple of weeks, we would all manage to survive because we would have our friends with us: acting as our alarms, motivating us (even if they were failing their own courses), and crying with us. Even the midnight dhaba runs and endless coffee cups have a different kind of appeal at this time. Finals week will drain you out, no doubt about that, but as long as you’re on campus, it’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

These were just some of the things I desperately miss about living on campus, and I can’t even begin to cover everything in a single article. From studying with friends to crying with them in the mess lawns at 2 am for no reason whatsoever; from buying room décor at every club-sale to never actually getting to put them up; from getting irritated by all the people talking in the corridors to creating a ruckus in the pantry with my friends—I miss it all. There’s a certain kind of happiness even in getting sick on campus. I mean, the being sick part isn’t great, but it’s endearing how your friends get you food from the mess, accompany you to the infirmary, and even talk to your mom on the phone to assure her that you’re okay. So, to all the first years who aren’t getting to experience this right now, I envy you because you still have at least 2 years of a wonderful residential life ahead of you. And to the rest of us who are desperately missing this life, here’s to being back at home real soon.