Friday, August 22, 2008

Dogged doggies

This post was inspired by the inimitable Gunther, who jump started my blogger-blocked mind and diverted it to frolicking Fluffies. Many thanks comrade.

If you would recall, gentle reader, my hostel-besides providing a venue for impromptu thepla parties, chocolate cake and guitar evenings- is also a congregation ground for a variety of canines.The dogs(the four legged varieties) of the University vie with the students for top demographic position. And,it seems, for amenities as well. If it's not Frisky the too frisky frisking into your room,or Tyson(who ought to be renamed 'Hyperion'- or better still, 'High'perion.)chasing after your harmlessly hanging hand,then it's Sundari the doggy matriarch lounging in bathing areas.

But I over reach myself.

Welcome dear readers into the doggy world of the University hostels.Yours truly, ensconced in the Old Women's Hostel, ( well... they took one look at me and knew where I belonged ;P)found this out the hard way. The sun rose on the cluttered face of the hostel and the sweet melody of morning groans spilled into the moist morning air.The author rises from her cramped bed and moves towards the bathing cubicles with the happy hope of starting the day clean. With sweet thoughts of soap running through my mind I opened the cubicle door- and almost stepped on the gargantuan backside of Sundari the dog. Now Sundari, dear readers, is not your average dog. In fact, she is about the size of three average dogs put together. And perhaps for the same reason- immovable. What began with coaxing pleas to the dozing dog escalated to reverberating "Sundari OUT!"s and "SHOO DOG!"s : all of which proved completely useless- she continued to sleep undeterred. Soon these measures disintegrated into all out abuses.A particularly loud bout of swearing finally had the sleeping Sundari open one single bleary eye. Apparently what she saw didn't impress her at all because she merely shifted a bit and went back to sleep. Rage has a way of making the world get a wee reddish around the edges. Thankfully- the venue being the bathroom and all- there were no sharp objects at hand to apply on that thick furry hide. More fortunately the lady in the adjacent cubicle finally got out. It's probably because of that I didn't get hauled up by PETA. Now several weeks veteran to the ways of the Old Women's hostel, I have learnt that Sundari's apathy and dismissive attitude wasn't a unique case. Indeed, it is conjectured that even an earthquake wouldn't cause her to move her fat arse. In fact the only thing that gets a rise out of her is the sight of Frisky who she obviously can't stand. Which brings us to Frisky.

Frisky, unlike Sundari, is emaciated to the point of scary. But he makes up for that scariness with the studied application of Puppy-eyes whenever he wants to get his way. Frisky gets his name from his thorough frisking of the dustbins in the evening. (Sundari probably got her name through some weird joke- there is nothing beautiful about her)This must,of course, follow hierarchy- Frisky can frisk for dinner only after Sundari does- other wise Sundari would have him for dinner. Frisky wouldn't have been such a pain if it weren't for his terrible habit of barging into your rooms and refusing to leave. Just when you raise your slipper armed arm to render a stinging blow, Frisky looks up at you with those sad you-will-hurt-me?- you're-so-mean eyes and the earth shaking blow you were planning to render turns into a wimpy half-pat. And then we have to resort to literally shoving him out- and avoid eye contact. Frisky is the scapegoat in the campus- every dog has taken it upon themselves to make his life hell. The makes you feel even more like Cruella De Vil each time you attempt to whack him or kick him out. Especially since he just stands there and seems to invite hurt. He seriously ought to take lessons from his campus partner Tyson who never stands still.

For the record, Tyson does not have an ear fetish.(His palate turns towards other body parts, to which we will come to shortly)Why he is named this is beyond me. Maybe it's the whole 'crazy feet' thing, because Tyson can't stand still. Not to mention, he is absolutely bonkers!I cannot stress the point enough- he is completely,irrevocably nuts! I thought the whole theory of dogs chasing after nothing was mere fiction until I came across this particular specimen. Most people tend to swing their arms while walking. But we learned soon enough to keep our hands out of sight when Tyson is around. For some weird reason, Tyson seems to believe all free-hanging hands contain goodies. He refuses to eat biscuits unless they are dangling from your fingers. This trait has lead to the stupid dog happily snapping on somebody's lit cigarette. That must have been a hot snack.Another favorite trick of his is to run break neck at you and apply the brakes a couple of millimeters away from your toes. Not the best way to enjoy your evening stroll.

These are the key players in our little menagerie. They aren't that bad, really. They're amazing entertainment in all truth- though it takes you a while to see the humor in the situation.Especially when you are dying for a bath and have to concede to a fat dog, or would kill for sleep and end up spending several precious minute trying to get the dratted mutt out of the room and then be forced to keep the door closed all the time... But life in the Old Women's Hostel wouldn't be the same without them. We love the doggies :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Chennai meri Jaan

You know you're suffering from intense Chennai-itis when:

(a) you start talking really bad tamil just to hear some tamil.
(b) You crave filter coffee. Even more than you used to.
(c) T.Nagar starts sounding like a beautiful haven in your head.
(d) You get sentimental over M.T.C stories (!!!)
(e) When you whine "I wish I were home." you're thinking Chennai.
(f) You'd do anything for a landmark.
(g)You have an undying urge for Manga a la Marina/ Besant Nagar.

Damned Chennai- can't live with it, can't live without it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hostel Humbug I: Bootcamp

Class didn't happen. Couldn't find it. Hence I am now basking in the benevolent light of internet availabitlity. And that results in another post. Read on soldier-

Hostel is a significant part of student existence. They teach the untried to survive-provide us with the necessary arsenal to face the harsh world ahead. The author has had the questionable good fortune of having spent her Under Graduate life in two exemplary examples of the educational hostels and now spends her P.G life in an equally interesting abode.

The first one was a study in community closeness. We hostel dwellers were very close-literally. We were all crammed together in a manner that made canned sardines seem comfortably housed. The hostel was actually a medium size house converted into a hostel. And the conversion was a bad idea. Approximately forty women were clogged together in a four bedroom house.The "dorm" was located in the corridor and housed some 20 girls. Each room (which, by the way, hadn’t much room to go by) was packed with six girls. This was achieved through judicious use of bunk beds. Which were another bane. Being an unsuspecting rookie, the author was thrilled with the prospect of getting the upper bunk. Only after the first night there did she realise what she had got herself into. The bed was situated in such a way that the hapless sleeper in the upper bunk got niether the air from the pedestal fan nor the cieling fan. And this was during a Chennai July. Explaination is unecessary. Several months of waitng and drenching before sleeping later- the author finally got the bed below the "hotseat". This one turned out to be a hotbed for mosquitoes. Several mosquito families owed their upkeep to the author. This great establishment not only taught us the value of space but also how to tackle encroachment, eviction and other such evils. We’d make admirable quotation gundas after the training we got here. Besides this, we also learnt the fungal nature of squalor. A perfectly neat corner will be filled with rubbish from nothing more than the mere proximity of a group of people.

Following first year, the author escaped from this institution- which probably accounts for what little sanity she had left. The next establishment was much better-for one thing it was clean and didn't house more than two people in a room. Of course the rooms were tiny, had no plug points and may seem, as Ms.Shinyhair loves to put it,"like a concentration camp cell". But they came with a great location and good ventilation (the fans worked!). Of course electricity was switched off from 10 am to 1 pm. and the lights were switched off at the main at 10 pm... But those were all minor in comparison to the water problem. We hostelites would scrounge up every bottle in sight to store water. For you see,most mornings saw the hostel bathrooms waterless. Forget bathing, brushing your teeth was a shifty possibility if you haven't stocked your bottles. Hair washing,especially,was a very dicey business. God help you if,at a weak moment,you decided to oil your hair overnight. But then again,considering the amount of salt in the water it would be advisable to leave the mane untouched. Truth be told- a cannibal would not have to add extra seasoning to you if s/he chances upon you after your bath.

U.G days have passed by. and now the author finds herself in the world of the University. And residenceless. Several weeks of nail-biting suspense later, she finally managed to infiltrate the hostel. And there raged a war for possesion(s) as never seen before.Furniture needed protection from marauding bedless/cupboardless/shelfless bandits. Meanwhile beds needed to be strategically acquired before other conquering souls swooped upon them and marked them with baggage.Constant information must travel between you and your allies to see that you are sufficiently guarded and your supplies untouched. Much like the ancient battles for supremacy, space and territory were coveted with a vengeance. It is at these trying moments that one's territorial nature is awakened. May be it is some kind of weird allegory that the hostel premices are populated with a variety of dogs- them being fiercely territorial and all.

A new hostel saga has begun. Heroes will be born. Legends will told. But all that will have to wait. I need to get to class. Forward march!


I believe the title says it all but still-

Wake up oh blog of mine! Your sleepy days are over!
Chennaisickness, doubtful net connection and 9-6 classes notwithstanding, the Creator shall not let you go to seed. Perhaps you might even get extra exercise- what with all the interesting characters that populate the grounds of the University. The possibilities are endless!

With that warning I shall move on to pastures anew. Which reminds me, Yipes! I need to run for Milton!

The Creator,