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WHAT HOSTEL DOESN’T TEACH YOU & LIVING ALONE DOES.

It’s a dull day at the office, as we draw/draft our thoughts away, trying not to think of the minute we could just get up and leave for home. My own thoughts hover over the idea of having to make dinner tonight and to go grocery shopping. It’s quite interesting how God has swept me away from my family and is making me do things in order to come out of my comfort zone that I had guiltily made for myself.

Hostel was easy compared to this. Food was available three times a day. We had a regular pattern of studying, being fed, having water to bathe, had garbage/waste taken out every day. Not having to worry about pril (dishwashing liquid) running out and thereby, allowing the kaamwaali aunty, the excuse to not wash the dishes. UFF! Why should I complain, right? Isn’t it just my fault that I didn’t get the essential demanded by her to wash the dishes?! Man! This is hard.

All those talks about living in a hostel and being ‘free’ and ‘independent’ and stuff.. Who was I kiddin’? Living in a hostel doesn’t teach you anything about real life, does it? Well it does teach you some valuable things like – tolerating a good number of people and their stupidities. It does teach you that ‘community living’ is not a myth and you ‘cannot’ (mark my words) go out and buy yourself a ‘maggi’ for yourself. You buy maggi for everybody or none at all. Whatever you buy/make, it’s not just for you, it’s for everyone-no questions asked! I think if you really had to get down to list down things you do learn in a hostel, there could be few. But let’s focus on what it doesn’t teach you and why you are still clueless when you are living on your own, off your own money.

First of all, accept that you are on your own and ‘freedom’ is relative. What seems freedom to one, may not be freedom to another.

So, what are some of the things that you are unprepared for, when living on your own? Why is it so different from hostel living?

  • You are your ‘own boss’!

As much as that phrase makes you happy, ask yourself this –‘”Am I really prepared to be my own boss?”… I mean, it’s not that you can complain to your mom, about how hard it is to live alone!  Weren’t you the sole person responsible for this ‘huge’ decision of yours?

You are your own boss ,which not only implies that there is no one you need to answer to, but it also means that you are accountable on all counts for your own actions and can’t expect anyone to be at your beck and call for every small thing anymore.  E.g. Search your own apartment, pay it off with most of your own money etc.

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  •  Accounts and finance- “Arrey, paise kaha gae?”…

Remember the time when you were still living with your parents while earning or flashback to hostel when Rs. 500-2000 dresses weren’t ‘that’ expensive to buy. Well hol’ up sista! Your spending spree ‘keeda(bug) just got a loud wake up call. You find yourself checking your balance at the end of each month to check there is enough to pay this month’s rent, khaana-waana, ghar ke other bills and even after that if you think you can afford a 500rs. Ultra- awesome top, then ya, go ahead and buy it! But don’t go lisiting things down if you can’t believe that you are falling short of money even after being ‘so careful’ about it ‘this month’.

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  • Entertaining people- is it really your thing?

I would have to say that this is definitely more of an extrovert/ introvert thing and it does get difficult for a lot of people, if not been surrounded by people all the time. However, it has been an eye-opening experience for me because I never thought I would be the person, not wanting to entertain people if I have my own space. So, when one day one of my intern friends wanted to stay over, watch a movie and order a pizza, I was shocked to hear myself refusing and being blunt about not wanting to ‘hang out’ at all. If you are wondering why this change happened then it would be good to know that when you’ve come back from a hard day at work (or just doing nothing), all you are looking for is some peace and alone time. You don’t want someone else’s interests to influence you, especially under your own roof where your cozy corner is waiting for you.

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  • Uncle/ Aunty Zindabad!

Do you see yourself being extra nice to the uncle and aunties around you? Do you see that those- once-judgmental eyes, now soften when they see you? Do you feel the unexplainable security of knowing that these aunties and uncles would never (hopefully) give your landlord a bad review of the kind of people you are and whom you bring home?! Did any of the aunties just ask how you are and offered you ‘gujiya’ for Holi? Hol’ up again. You don’t want to be ‘too friendly’ but establishing a good relationship with the neighborhood uncles for their deep source of information or ‘duniyadaari’  gyaan and aunties homemade food is something that is valuable in the longer run.

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I think, now since I’m into my fourth month of struggling to settle in, these are the top four things that I can tell you, from over the top of my head. There are definitely a zillion other things you can talk about- paying electricity bills, how to make khaana? etc. But those I’m sure can be found in any ‘survival- guide- for- bachelors’ (if there is any).

Having said all that, living on your own is the best thing (cliché alert) and it is something one should definitely try once in your life. This could be in fact, something you do between college and the mind-wrecking time that your parents want to see you married. Running away is good and living on your own is awesome but NEVER through all of it compromise the values that you grew up with and enjoy your self-claimed freedom till you fall out! Cheers!

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