I learnt to make my best coffee in the medical college hostel. As freshers we were supposed to help the exam going seniors by doing small chores for them. These included picking up groceries from the nearby store or making tea or coffee for them so that they could stay awake late at night and keep studying uninterrupted.
I don’t remember who taught me that, but I learnt to beat the perfect coffee and even today if I have someone coming over, I offer them coffee as I’m horrible at making tea.( Hush! This was a secret ). Hostel life was full of late night conversations over a cup of coffee and Maggi. These would peak in the term preceding exam. We were supposed ton study, yet the sheer inability to do made us cluster in one room and have those coffee chats. At around 12 every other day or so, having failed miserably at memorizing the vast medicine we all would just resign and sit together gossiping about nothing and everything. There was nothing that could not be solved over Coffee, Maggi and the midnight friendships. Funniest part was that even during exam term we all would sleep after having this Maggi party. After all, sleep is the best anti-depressant, and having wasted 2 hours in chit-chat, one would end up more depressed over the unread pages and the unfinished syllabus.
Sleeping at 2 would hardly leave you fit to attend the early morning lecture at 8. Yet, some of the sincere students would still manage to wake up and attend. There was a huge disparity in the attendees among hostelites and the so called localities.
One particular incident I always remember is the one on my 1st birthday away from home. As was the trend, cake would be cut at 12 midnight. This would be followed by smearing of the face with the cake. The best facial one could have. And the most dreaded birthday bumps. However heavy you might be, we managed to show our powers and give the n number of birthday bumps. Yes, you guessed it right. “n” is the number of years you have survived on the planet earth aka age. You might be imagining if such things happen at girls hostel? Yes, they do. The volume of lone borrowed stereo would be at maximum and at times warden would come to warn us to switch off and sleep.
We all stayed awake till 4 am that night. Singing, dancing and just enjoying. Next morning, only 2 of the12 girls in our group woke up to attend the mandatory lecture. The lecture was on embryology by one of the most dreaded professors, Dr Panse.
Whether you attend or not, it was a tradition to mark attendance of all your friends. After all, loyalty matters. Usually, we would be careful not to mark an attendance too close to our own roll no. Yet, that particular day being my lucky day of having being born, I tried proxy for one of the friends close to my own roll no and fumbled badly. Got caught red-handed, and scolded in front of the whole class on the birthday. The most memorable gift ever.
Yet, the tradition of proxies continued! Ever After !
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