Room No 69

It was 8th of June, 2018 when a friend of mine called me to tell that our University entrance exam result has been declared. I rushed to fetch my laptop to check my result, and there it was, my name on the list of the selected candidates. That is how my journey of an awesome campus life at Pondicherry University began. The University, standing tall opposite to the beautiful beach with the trees around the campus and an ambiance fit for all sorts of people.

Going to hostel almost 3000 km away from home is like finding liberation for kids like me. But it wasn’t only about staying far away from the watchful gaze of your parents, relatives and neighbors; it was more like getting free from your own self, getting to know who you truly are and what your emotions hold. The chapters of PU are numerous filled with many sweet and sour memories and life lessons. While all of them are close to my heart, the chapter of ‘Room no 69’ is one of my favorites.
Room no 69 of Ganga hostel with my two roommates Riku and Kruttika. While I was preoccupied with something important, my two roommates/ classmates stood in the line from 5 am along with hundreds of other girls, pushed and shoved, sweating all over, and somehow managed to secure this room for us for our second year at the campus. Cleaning, unpacking and making the room pretty enough for us took us almost one week. The dirty walls gifted to us by the previous boarders of the room almost made us go mad to the extent that we even considered painting the walls ourselves. But as typical Indians from middle class families, we three figured out a ‘jugad’ and pasted pink and yellow chart papers all over the walls. After all, pretty girls deserve a pretty room.

It was a good final year; we three in room no 69. Going to classes together, cooking simple Maggie to tasty main course dishes, evening tea outside university gate, late night movies and ladies night at Storytellers bar, riding our scooties and singing with our horrible voices; it was a roller coaster ride. We actually had two scooties, Riku’s and mine but most of the time we only used one. The three of us riding one scooty like 3 idiots.
We were like a package, buy one get two free. If anyone of us gets too close with someone else, then the jealousy meter of the other two starts going up. It won’t be much of a shock if someone confuses us of being lesbians; we even used to pick same color or same type of clothes unknowingly and finish each other’s sentences. But unfortunately we were not lesbians, so we had our own personal lives outside the group. It did affect a lot our plans, we always thought we had more time and so we kept postponing. But that is the thing with time; you never know when it’s going to slip through your fingers. And just like that, pandemic hit us and we were sent to home for 10 days vacation by the University on March, 2020. Not knowing that it is going to be our last time together in that room, our last meal, our last puff together, and our last laugh.

The room has seen it all; our laughter and joys, our tears and failures, our insecurities and vulnerabilities, and our friendship. We never really got to say goodbye properly; so many things were left unsaid. If I could go back in time then I would definitely let you guys know how much you guys mean to me.

Maybe that is why this chapter is so close to my heart; it never really ended;it never really had a formal closure, so a part of us will always be in that room, laughing and chilling.

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