It is 1:00 AM. The whole country is trying to sleep. But I am still awake-wide awake. You don’t sleep at this time here. Very few people do. And those who don’t will be found doing what they usually do. Because at NITK Hostels, you are what you do.
Somewhere down the corridor, PV is blaring “Be yourself” on his speakers (probably for the 22nd time today).
Die-Bitch, the hostel dog, begins its nightly howl (probably it has got fed up with its lifestyle). Poor thing-got stuck in the collapsible door last night. Howled for ten whole minutes before it realized how to get out.
Psycho returns to his room after his 4-hour stint at the reading room. His bond with RR seems to have been forged in the hot fires of Mount Doom. Nothing to break it).
Tharkari just returned from the NC(Night Canteen). Must have got something for somebody from NC. He usually does.
The Snake Warrior can only be doing one thing at this time-or for that matter at any given time-studying. Now I got nothing against people who study-but this poor chap doesn’t seem to be getting equally rewarded. Never speaks a word to his room mate. For his own reasons.
Then you hear something that you have become really familiar with-“FIGHT”, “EXCELLENT”, “2 FRAGS LEFT”, “1 FRAG LEFT”…….This can be only one thing on this planet: QUAKE 3 ARENA. Quakers quaking on their computers. Blasting off their rockets, anticipating where the guy next room is going to land, capturing the flag, getting the armor-its all there. But strictly no rail guns allowed. This Quake game is going to late in the night. My roommate is somewhere in the corridor-either watching the proceedings or taking part in them actively.
The Champions League Football matches start in half an hour. It is Barcelona vs. AC Milan. The heroics of Ronaldinho (a.k.a GOD) against the rock solid defence of Nesta, Maldini and the likes. This is the usual time it starts. Only today-someone is going to get a computer and actually record the whole match. There is support for both the clubs. But everyone knows Barca have the edge. Two more hours and we will know who is going to the finals.
I go outside for some fresh air. The night sky is crystal clear, completely filled with stars. Everyone in all the other blocks seem to be awake as well. I take in a breath of fresh air. And as I do so, my mobile sings its ring tone -GODFATHER THEME. Wonder who would be calling this late. At the back of my mind, I know what I am thinking. I try to deny it but it just seems to come right back at me. I hope it is her.
But again-it is just that-hope. Because when I answer the call, I realize it is only my classmate asking me my notes. I respond what is required and hang up. And then I cant help myself traveling back in time- a time when I spoke to her late into the night…a time when we used to talk daily for hours together. She was the only reason why my mobile existed. She was the only reason why I was still in my right senses. Those were the times when I knew I could call her anytime and I would be given a conversation.
But then, those times are gone. These are new times. And new times are never the same as old times. It has been 2 weeks since we have spoken. It feels like a handicap. But then I know things wont get any better. But that question always remains-WHY?- I have pondered over the question ever since things began to go wrong. But never really found a convincing answer. I guess I just gotta move on…maybe I will be alone, maybe I wont. Maybe things will get better, maybe they wont. But whatever happens, I know that things will never change in the hostel.
People who study will study. Quakers quake. Music listeners listen to music. And howling dogs howl. And amidst all of them, I will still be there-waiting for that one phone call. Or maybe something better will take place. Who knows? Anything is possible in a hostel life…..