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And then there are those who come to JNU to have a good time. In all an excellent idea. Except that those who do intend to have only a good time end up staying in JNU for ever(defined as close to ten years). On the face of it, there is no reason why this should be so. Over the years, hostel accomodation has become a problem. Years of `over-admission' had seen to it that the number of students applying for hostel accommodation far out-stripped supply. This practice reached its zenith last year with admissions in some centres reaching almost 200% of capacity. The situation is expected to ease considerably next year, when a large number of students will quit the hostels on the completion of their M.A. programme. In any case whether one is allotted a room in a hostel or not, outstation students are almost always accommodated by their seniors as guests/second residents etc. Thus the immediate problem of lodging and food is solved since such guests also have mess-facilities.
But what of campus
life as such? Well, there are no rock shows in JNU, no `fests' either.
Then what, pray might one ask, is there?
Well, find out what Omair and Sid have to say about it?
"Would you kindly remove your toe from up my nostril?" I murmur gently to my roommate.
During the successive apologies and rather painful extraction of the said toe, I muse gently on the travails of resident life here at JNU.
During the first overcrowded days before the hostel lists are out, accommodation is hurriedly, if rather uncomfortably arranged. I do not know how the female section copes(they cope pretty well:girls don't face a hostel problem now-webmaster), but us men end up with joined beds, more people than are comfortable and a strong urge to bathe as many times as possible during the day- the twist in the tale being the availability of that mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, a.k.a water. As the semester progresses, things ease a little, especially after the hurly-burly is done and the battle for admissions is either lost or won. For the new there are discoveries to make, such as the much acclaimed Tefla’s, the only cafeteria in the Northern Hemisphere where it is possible to find an omelet both burnt and undercooked at the same time! Such delights await the newcomers, while for the old timers it is old hat, they stick to tried and true recipes, such as good old soup. "How, after all, "they say, "can anybody ruin the dishwater they serve us under this name?"(Methinks they complaineth too much-webmaster)
Speaking of old timers, there are many of those, and these also are pointed out to the newly arrived, with whispers of, "See that poor wretch, he is only the left over of many attempts at the Holy Grail, i.e. UPSC."
Merits and demerits of successive ways to approach the Holy Grail are then discussed, hotly argued over tepid tea, whereas the serious contenders or those who would like to think they are, give a knowing superior sniff and walk into rooms whose doors declare, "No Casual Visitors Please."
In the midst of such discussions, though, serious topics arise, "Say, that new movie is on at PVR, can you convince a few girls to come along so we can get the seven rupee tickets?" Obviously it is the end of the month, when money supplies are low and those who have not borrowed, have lent out all they can afford. It is also the time when people become very health conscious, and you can see them running everywhere, whether debtor from creditor, or creditor after debtor.
Before you get disillusioned with all this hogwash about the serious side of JNU, let me initiate you into our Library- all eight stories of it! One is yet to discover what lies beyond the fourth floor but that is irrelevant as all you’ll ever need will be found (or not found, as the case may be), within the Holy cum cosy confines of the first four floors. If you get bored and tired with all the night studying you will probably do at the library, we suggest a refreshing break for you. Just a hop-skip and jump away is the famed PSR or Partha Sarathi Rocks, supposedly the highest natural point in all of JNU. A word of caution though: please do not visit PSR if you are a heart patient or if you are pregnant or plain, simple narrow minded. Wonderful, scenic visions of JNU await you; you can catch the sun rising over the spectacular Stadium (and if you’ve got good eyesight, you can even make out the tennis courts nestled against the background) or dreary eyed, with your loved one, watch the sun set in all its splendour.
If you seek adventure and possess a penchant for thrills and drama, the Caves are the right place for you. It may be somewhat of as struggle to get there but it sure is worth the trouble. Come November and the campus is rife with budding politicians. They come in all shapes sizes and beliefs. They try their level best to goad you into their ‘idealogy’; their ‘agenda’ and much more. Speeches galore, pamphlets floating around the place at a premium, verbal and ethical slander at its most sophisticated forms, processions and torch light marches will surely brighten up your nights. You will suddenly witness the awakening of the dormant, latent forces that make JNU a force to reckon with!
Finally, if you find yourself lonesome, depressed, burning with passion or a new idea for your thesis, wanting to offload some of that heavy thinking or drinking, or just hungry, then Ganga Dhaba is the place for you. Open till the wee hours of the morning, you will always find a friend (or foe) at your service. Be it the ‘bun-omelet’ or hot tea or political idealogy served on a platter- you are bound to find it all here.
Given the fact that admissions to JNU have been severely curtailed, the
hostel problem is likely to ease substantially, for the coming batch of
students, who will be admitted in the year 2000. Don't take Omair and Sid
seriously; they were always the complaining types.
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