— the saga of my ‘getting used to’ hostel life
Gone were the days when my mother gave me washed clothes to wear daily.I had joined a college and got enrolled into a hostel.
this was the time when taarak mehta’s reign over indian television was over. It’s realm now extended over just the joint families (like the one I have) where elderly ones , who could see and hear, and still had the senses to figure out which planet they were on, watched TV with their children or grand children.
and also over the families with middle-aged parents and teenage children, because this program was the only one common among the Venn diagrams of elders and teens.The reins now, have clearly been taken over by ‘Bhabhiji ghar par hain?’ .
I came to know that there was a laundry service which we had paid for, and that they would take our clothes twice week.
At that time, it didn’t really matter to me because i was all prepared to wash my ‘dear’ clothes all by myself,…….except the college uniform 😛 .
It hardly took me 4 attempts at washing clothes before my head appeared plunging out of the window from the third floor, eagerly waiting for the dhobi.
The DHOBI (laundry-wala) came like a boss with an attitude which clearly said –
“don’t you dare call me dhobi , sounds cheap ….”
“I am the (personification of the) laundry”
” I AM THE LAUNDRY !!! “
call me ‘SIR’ .
and the guy never waited for anyone . If you missed , you missed . now go to the laundry and enjoy seeing yourself getting screwed finding your clothes in the heap.
To mark our clothes, we were made to write our registration number and laundry notebook number on the collar or any other suitable place. and my laundry number just happened to be ‘ 69 ‘ . (even to this day, I wear a pair of shorts with the number 69 flashing at the left bum)
for writing the number , he carried 7-8 markers and a couple of whiteners along. and when we were writing it for the first time, he drove us nuts by making us write it 10 times over as if it were some school punishment, until it looked ‘dark enough’ for his hypermetropic eyes to see.
When I used the whitener one day and didn’t notice his cloth (used for spreading on the ground) beneath my trousers, the whitener ink went through the trouser and my number got printed on the cloth.
As I picked the trouser, he wed mad for a few seconds , uttering the words-
” OH SIT ! PHAKK MAN “
(the Bhojpuri dubbed version of “oh shit! fuck! man” )
The words fell from his mouth every bit as instinctively as the gutkha (tobacco) which had fallen moments ago.
He gave a scowl which was so furious that I checked my feet just to make sure I hadn’t stepped on his tail (or testicle).
Once when I forgot to collect my clothes because of having slept at the time of his visit, he took them away . the next day when I went to laundry, what I saw reminded me of the good old days of 200 BC.
The five of them were sleeping half-naked on each other . (they were a group, one assigned for each floor,and the luckiest one for the girls hostel ).
the dudes were sleeping in such a cosy manner they might accidentally would’ve even given each other a handjob twice or thrice.
I approached the only awake member of the gang and enquired him, to which he responded by pointing a finger at a heap of clothes and advised me to help myself. It literally took me like forever to find them and I swore never to fall asleep again at the time the laundry came.
Finally , came the twist in the story. ‘SIR’ got engaged and started getting busy. thereafter , he was always spotted taking to his to-be wife named Pooja on the phone. I overheard the name once when I had gone to the laundry again. The other guy had said-
“ever since the day of his engagement , he’s been busy on his phone with Pooja for days altogether”
Though, however , he hadn’t put this together that eloquently. Verbatim , it sounded something like this-
“jab se ch***** ki shaadi tay hui hai…., tab se bh****** Pooja se hi laga rehta hai dinbhar ”
*gutkha spit ensued*
And just before marriage he had a swollen eye to take care of. and I sincerely wished his eye never gets well and he gets to sit in his wedding with a blue eye. Even on his suhaagraat (wedding night) , he gets to perform the necessary with that pegasus poop donut still around his eye. Even then, he’s the laundry-wala, and he won’t wait for anything.
Finally , he was gone and in the second year, another guy took his place. This one, now, is a sweet guy who would come searching you to your room for room delivery if you failed to take your clothes and would even give you a rub if you feel like it.
And things like this keep on going and guys like these keep on appearing in my hostel life and there’s lot more to come till I find myself under the hats of a graduate. and right now I’m getting used to it.