Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Birds Road Tales

Is there a world of the ladies, by the ladies and for the ladies? Yes, indeed. I was so happy to be a part of that Kingdom ( oops, Queendom!) for almost 7 years! Every morning typically starts with a bucket fight, as my room mates usually elope with my bucket in the mornings. Me being a lazy-goosey always sleep till 8 o'clock on a day duty. Every morning I get up and start yelling -" Who has my bcuket?" Dashing to the row of bathrooms, i bang on every door. I know whose towel hangs on the door, can identify the trouble makers and go yell there. When i finally get hold of my bucket from a towel-clad roomie, next starts the hunt for a vacant bathroom. There are 'advance' bookings where towels are hung to say someone will be back there soon. Moving the towels to some other bathroom is fun, the person inside shouting- " Hey, who is this?" After a fast bath, its a super fast breakfast time. Our menu always goes in order- idli, upma, dosa, pongal, bread and again idli....Oh! How i despise those idlis...They can kill a man instantly if thrown on his head! And as for the dosas, the journey of cooked dosas from kitchen to the dining hall is by itself a misadventure. A stack of dosas are hoisted on the hips of our hostel cook Pushpa akka, who takes bath only on festivals! Pongal and upma always are so sticky they never get off the serving spoon on to my plate and the bread served is so stale you can almost have the 'patient' feel seeing it! So I usually skip my breakfasts and settle for a cup of coffee, which is 99% water and 1% decoction+milk+sugar! May be a short stay in my old hostels would do wonders in my weight reduction graph!

After a coffee its a run to office and we usually get packed lunches. It is again a strict timetable- variety rice, each different everyday. Tamarind rice, lemon rice, tomato rice, curd rice and a repeat of the same...No wonder i hate the sight of these now. As for the vegetables that accompany them, its usually papaya, bottle gourd, cabbage and ash guord, all no waste veggies! Cleaning the veggies is done with utmost care, you often end up staring at a boiled maggot! Well, it is boiled anyway! We were offered chicken only on sundays. Wait, no over enthusiasm here- did i say chicken, oh...mistake, it is chicken skin and bones! The chicken curry on sunday afternoons is a watery gravy made with only the skin and bones and a few muscle left unscrapped from the bones. The pieces walk to the Convent kitchen all by themselves and land themselves on the nuns' plates! Oh i forgot to tell you, i was in a hostel run by Catholic nuns. All of us were supposed to assemble for daily night prayers irrespective of religion, it often looked like a Dictator's Victory Speech by Mother Superior. I wonder how she never got bored saying the same thing all again and again- "No lights after 10 pm, no power during the day, only two buckets of water for everyone, no unauthorised visitors, no phone calls after 10 pm" and so on. She was our Peter...Repeater!

Those were the days of no mobiles and the only phone was in the hostel parlour. And it had a parallel connection in the convent. Every phone call came routed only if the sister dear there felt it was absolutely necessary! When you talk more than five minutes, there will be a clearing of throat clearly audible from the parallel phone! There was nothing personal there. Washing clothes was a ritual on sundays here, groups of girls washing and singing- a la dhobighat! And the best( worst) part was about the night close, which was at 9.00 pm. You cannot enter the hostel after that, so forget the late night dinners and movies. There was a watchman and a few dogs who kept strict vigil at the front gates. They obviously forgot the side gate, which however tall, was scalable by a few musketeers like us! Armed with biscuits (Tiger biscuit for Tiger dog!) and a Rs 50 note ( that was for watchman anna), it was sheer fun jumping the gate, i have even had my hand fractured in one such escapedes...

There was also the other 'dark' room, where no inmates stay. It was rumoured the ghost of a former hostelite haunt the room. I face the other side whenever i cross the room and try my level best not to pass there during the nights. There are unauthorised 'fashion shows' where each one of us tries to outbeat the other when it comes to night dresses! You can see all varities- long sleeves, sleeveless, laces, velvettes, satins all glowing after the ceremonial 'switching off' at 10 pm! Mother Superior would have definitely had a heart attack seeing us then! And oh...i forgot the "inner" stealers! They were the active pack who always used to whisk away new ones, especially those with laces;) That you call 'thieves with a taste'! There were episodes of late night dances, girls waking up in morning with close-up red gel moustaches, some who had surprise unknown hair cuts, some pushing and pulling when their long braids have been tied to cot stands, omelettes on secret stove-tops and purported "ghost appearances". I forgot to say i am a nocturne. God! Was i a handful? May be, may be not;) The food was bad, but the fun was good! Indeed, i did love my Queendom and the women( including the nuns) at No. 1, Birds Road. Wish i were a bird there, right now!


  1. PPL of VENUS were livin paradise... and one day they came to know abt PPL of MARS and they came to earth to meet the Marsians..
    so aft meeting the mars ppl and attracted to their intellegence, broadminded ness, straight thinking, friendly attitude etc.. etc ,, they forgot to go bac to VENUs and start to feel that EARTH was better place to livin.. and marsians were their better companions..

    some times when they feel bored they also say" will it come like older days in venus".. " how we would be"... " hw we were All" etc...etc,,... like watchin a old song in a TV..
    The next day they will forget all that happnd at VENUS and start their earth life..

    add.. ithink a jump acrss the wall is the basic qualification of any hostellite i suppose ( in all ages). i heard my dad telling the same abt his friendsof PUC grade.

    the birds tales wer interesting...


  2. Anonymous, so you agree you too have scaled a few walls, right?;)

  3. hey nive... very good article. i think u have now mastered the technique of narrating of events in a a humourous manner. hope to read more such articles in future.
    best wishes.

  4. Hey Ramnath, Thanks for your comment yaar. Hopefully i've started writing humorously, but haven't mastered the art yet! More such practise will make me a better writer. Thanks again for your kind wishes:)


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