Salwar to Shorts in 15 years .... revisiting IIT Girls hostel

Thu, 04/29/2010 - 20:47 — parulmittal
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It is the majors time at IIT-Delhi and so everyone is very busy ... (In case you haven't read my book, majors are final semster exams). Yet I thought I would put up my book's posters in the hostels so that students can read the book during summer vaccation.

So I started hunting for a connection in the student community ... surprisingly I found none! I called a few people and asked for help but nothing came out. I searched IIT D website, and tried mailing to an email address .. it bounced back. I googled a bit more (unlike Tanu 15 years ago, life is much simpler now) and found Board of student publication's online magazine and mailed to a couple of addresses there.

A day later, I got a call from a girl .... a 3rd year student at IIT-D. She introduced herself as the coming-in secy of BSP and said she could help me put the posters in all IIT hostels.

Me: Cool! So I will see you this saturday at 4pm.
J : Fine ma'am.
Me: Please don't call me ma'am. It feels too old.
J: Thats how we address our seniors.
Me : (Okay whatever) Oh! so whats your room number? Do I call your name at the PA system?
J: Just give me a missed call.
Me: (Ouch ... what was I thinking, ofcourse we have mobiles now .. I was talking to her on one) I awkwardly said bye and disconnected.

And thus I landed at the IIT girls hostel .. 15 years later. To be truthful I went to the newer girls hostel Himadri and not Kailash but to me it was one and the same. Even though I later discovered that the rivalry between the two girls hostels is as intense as it always was between the boys hostels.

I give her a call and she is down within minutes. I go and sit with her in the visitors room and immediately spot a couple sitting cozily in a corner ... Some things hadn't changed.
Then I noticed that many girls around were wearing shorts .... Some things had changed.

Me: Here is the book poster.
J: Looks nice.
Me: And here is a book's copy .. just for you to see.
J: (reads the blurb at the back) We have 20 girls in our batch but the latest batch has 40.
Me: We had 12!
J: Wow --- 12 must have been hard. Even now when a girl walks into the class, she can sense the guys gaze following her!
Me: (Some things hadn't changed)

After some more chit-chat she offered to take me around the hostel. She asked me if I would like tea and I eagerly said YES. I wanted to see if it was the same sugary syrup. Sadly it was, but I noticed the girls signing a register and eating maggie ... Some things had definitely changed for the better. I remember we used to persuade our mess caretaker Mohansingh ji to give us some raw bread pieces to eat with chai in evenings.

The new hostel also had an open quadrangle so all rooms balcony looked into it! I climbed up the stairs ... the plaster on wall was peeling off. Still no coolers allowed ... and bathroom was still the same. Lot of old memories came rushing by and I needed to be alone. I bid her goodbye and walked out.

Fifteen years from Salwars to Shorts ... A lot had changed but a lot still yearns to be changed !!



came to know about the book

came to know about the book from flipcart. Its a wonderful book, very well constructed .There is a non-stop flow, which is easy and comfortable. I stopped reading my other books, till i finished it just now.The conversations among the characters,and protagonist thoughts are very intelligently written.
Though passed out from IITD in 85, but still enjoyed the book thoroughly.Just a nitpick! why you had to mention the caste of silver(SC). In a single sentence , you suddenly brought down the community , along with the individual.


Thanks for your comments

Thanks for your comments Hemant. About Silver's caste - the intention nowhere has been to put him or the caste down. He actually comes across as a very strong character in the book. Part of the idea behind his caste is to make him singular and an outlier in a sense like Tanu and hence their natural bonding with each other.


how do u ppl survive in

how do u ppl survive in summers if they dont allow coolers....m askn becoz i would be taking admission this july....and i will defenately die without cooler ;-(


luckily you get 3 month break

luckily you get 3 month break in summers ... before the break during majors in april -- we used to pour a bucket of water in our room floor so that the fan would feel cooler :)


my 2 cents

Though most of the girls were in Salwaars, I dont think Shorts were totally non existent 15 years back...Id say about 40% of the girls did wear shorts in Kailash as well :)
I havent read your book to say , maybe Tanu does fall in the 60%.

I visited Kailash & Himadri about 4 years after I left the hostels. The change was obvious...Himadri was constructed much later, newer hostel, better toilets and a laundry there.... When i saw the washing machines there, could not help but laugh at the memories of the Dhobeejee and the piles of clothes he used to have. I dont think he ever kept a tab of how many you gave, it was always estimates...who knows who made profit !

Kailash - it seemed did have PA system.

Mohan Singh ji was still there in Kailash in 2000, I even was fortunate to have a lunch in the mess....After 4 years the food tasted delicious ! Rooms still looked the same (from the outside).
Of course what went ON inside was engraved in my memories..... :)


well... i haven't seen the

well... i haven't seen the posters anywhere in the boys' hostels till date! hope the incoming bsp rep is doing her work. typical.

for your info, there's only one girl in all of the 1st year (2010 batch) who wears salwar kameez! LOL.. its not like i have seen or know all the 1st year girls but she seems odd now. "The only girl in salwar (1st year)". pretty girl though ;)


let them(shorts) be existing

let them(shorts) be existing before also ....., but the way she writes keeps things interestig ...........,,
i really like that one of PA system , we literally used to shout on that ....., cells were not existing ....


nice to see such a book from

nice to see such a book from an alumni...I'm in IIT Delhi....and yes, Kailash :) infact new kailash as the older building is under maintenance....will give my review after reading it, firstly i have to tackle my majors :(

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Parul Mittal (maiden name Parul Agarwal) is the author of a national bestseller novel “Heartbreaks & Dreams! – The Girls @ IIT”. Her second book “Arranged Love” captured the hearts of Indian youth. Let's Have Coffee is her third novel and promises to be a humorous and fun light read.

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