Life in a hostel
Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 16, 2009
I have been thinking to write on this topic since long, but sometimes I didn’t get enough time and sometimes other posts that somehow took priority came up. Today, I think I finally have enough time to write about how it feels to live in a hostel…
At home, even if you’re not home for the entire day, and return only at night at the time of dinner or even later when almost everyone has gone to sleep (except your mom who always calls out your name even if you step in silently enough to make sure you don’t make a sound), you still feel at home. But at the hostel, even if you have all the time in this world to stay back at the hostel, you still don’t feel at home. The feeling that someone is waiting for you at home, the feeling that you have when you think about going home and sharing a news with your loved ones and to be able to see their facial expressions and reaction to that news, the feeling of feeling everyone so near you, is what differentiates between living with family at home, and living in a hostel.
At hostel, there is almost no check on you. You can do whatever you want to do. You’re free to do things at your will. Dining out with friends till late night, not sleeping until it is 2am in the morning and then sleeping until 10am (obviously when there is no class in the morning), watch as much TV as you want, waste as much time as you want. You’re all by yourself. Which definitely is not the case at home. If you don’t have anything to do, mom has a bunch of tasks for you already. You have to be in bed by a set time because any light found switched on after that, and you very well know what’s next. You automatically remember all of your prayers when your dad is at home (though this makes me think if we pray for Allah from our hearts?). You cannot be late dining out with friends after some pre-decided and agreed upon time, because even if you have the keys to the entrance gates, your mom still waits for you.
When you’re staying at a hostel, more often than not, you want to skip your classes. Sometimes because you don’t feel like going, sometimes because you couldn’t wake up on time, and sometimes there is a whole lot of new justifiable reasons in your mind that convince you not to take the class that day. But that just is not an option when you’re at home. You’ll sleep on time, hence you’ll wake up on time, so missing the class because of oversleeping is out of question. And because you wake up well before time, you always want to go to attend your classes because sleeping doesn’t remain an option after you’ve become all fresh. And besides, if you stay at home after coming up with a great excuse, your mom will somehow know it and will make you very well realize your mistake by only asking you to do things, that you’d prefer taking classes over them!
And when you’re at home, you know how everyone is doing because there all right in front of you. Which is not the case when you’re at a hostel. At a hostel, whenever you get to talk with people back at home, and you inquire about everyone’s health, everyone is always just perfectly fine. Even if God forbid they aren’t, they’ll never tell you and pretend they’re OK. And when you get a chance to visit everyone, that’s when you get to know if someone from your family has even stayed a night at a hospital because of not feeling well. While being at a hostel, you can only pray that everyone is actually just perfectly fine Insha-Allah.
Though life at a hostel has many positive aspects to it, but almost all of them have equal number of negative aspects as well. You get to decide your own schedule, but because there is no check on you and no one forcing that schedule on to you, you almost always tend to deviate from that schedule. After all, who cares. At a hostel, you either under-sleep, or oversleep, you either under-eat or you overeat, you either under-utilize your time, or find yourself short of time.
When I went to Lahore for my summer vacations and my mom unpacked my suitcases, the first comment I got from her was “Haris tunay tou buhat achi packing ki hai” (Haris you’ve packed your stuff very well). This was a sign of appreciation :-). When I tell them I have to clean and mop my room almost every alternate days at least, and have to wash and press my clothes as well, they hardly believe me. But still, life at a hostel has its own charm. Life at a hostel has its own glamour. And sometimes, when you know your vacations are coming near and you’ll get a chance to see everyone, the enthusiasm with which you wait to meet everyone is just unexplainable. That feeling is something one can only feel if he has lived in a hostel. Life in a hostel is an excellent experience in general I’d say. I hope I miss this time that I’m spending at my hostel, the same way as I miss the time I have spent with my family…