End of living-Beginning of Survival

The first day. The very first. I was suffering from severe home sickness. So severe that I was breathless. Mobile wasn’t allowed but I wanted to call my mother like hell. There was a coin box type phone in the office room of the hostel. I ran down to it. But the sight bought tears to my eyes. There was a queue leading to Dubai. The queue was that long but I was not ready to give up. I went to the warden and acted out really well. I had all the possible pains you could think of. Head ache, loose motion, nausea, stomach pain, breathlessness. But then it was then I realized that some people were born without a heart. The warden was ruthless.

” All the students standing in that queue have all your problems, but they are also standing there without complaining.”

And with that she resumed reading the Bible. I wondered what she learned or absorbed from that great book. I was defeated. So I had to wait. I stood there for almost an hour. After an hour, there were almost forty children left out. The warden closed the booth. You could use the phone for only 1 hour. I returned to my room feeling dejected and defeated. There was no escaping this jail and I was not ready to accept it. All the memories from my childhood and my school came rushing back to my mind. At 7:30 pm there was the call for dinner. I went to the mess with the other room mates. There was rice and some other dish which required Albert Einstein to name it.

“How do we eat this?”

“Well let us try it out.”

We took a portion and walked to the tables. We had to be experts in hurdles to get a seat. We had to jump over the benches with the plates in our hands. We started eating. I felt as if I was chewing a piece of cardboard. The unidentifiable nameless dish would be a tough MCQ question for the greatest chef alive on planet earth. Veg or Non-veg? We had no idea. The only option left out for many of us was to dump it. We returned to our rooms with half-empty stomachs or should I say fully empty?

“How are we going to survive with this type of food? Why can’t they at least boil the rice properly?”

“Well, Wini, you should have known how it is in hostels.”

I had no answer for that. I went to bed with disturbing thoughts. Within 1 day I had learned to watch movies in my dreams and listen to songs in my mind. I had no other option. The next day there was the wake bell in the morning at 4:30 am. We had to go to church early in the morning but I was too tired to get up. But I had to. I had to get up. As I said before, hostel life did not provide me with many options. In fact I should say that there was no such thing as options. I realized how within one day, one experience could change a person completely. One day in that hostel, I painfully realized, that for me, it was the end of living and the beginning of survival…………

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