When you’re shifting to a new city for further studies, it’s expected that you would moving in with someone new, you will be sharing your space with a stranger. And it’s natural to be supremely nervous, because how many new things can you endure anyway?
As I got admitted to a college in another city, I was mentally preparing myself for all the new things that were to come. One of those was -- a hostel roommate.
The process was nerve-wracking, oof. I was supposed to pick up a chit that flashed the room number. And fate would decide who gets to pick the twin chit.
I had all sorts of thoughts rushing at the back of my mind. I had spoken to almost everyone about what it’s like to have a roommate, while some stories were great, some were legit out of a thriller movie.
I walked towards the building. Unlocked the room. Checked if someone had been here already; empty cupboards, empty drawers. She was yet to come.
Nervous, I left for lunch. And eventually curiosity got the best of me and I went back to my room. Couldn’t wait to find out who it will be. Will I like her? Will she be like me? Will she share the same humour, will she understand me like my friends back at home did? It was all a mystery.
As I entered the room, I looked towards my left and saw a black suitcase kept on one of the beds. The room was empty but she had arrived.
I set up my side of the room while and waited, nervous. I was scared of what I might experience.
After a while when she was finally here. She had a kind face, nice smile, curly hair and the nervousness in her eyes was evident too. Seems like I wasn’t the only one. We introduced ourselves. Mostly quiet, we both did our own thing in the beginning and preferred to stay out of the room as much as we could.
We had a different set of friends, at first. But what I loved about her was how she gave me space to grow accustomed to sharing space with each other. She was accommodating in its truest sense.
And then I realised, it was like I hit jackpot! An accommodating roommate, really? I had mostly heard otherwise.
My first impression of her was that she is quiet (here’s where you laugh) but things were slowly unravelling. And weirdly, so was I. Here there was this girl, absolutely carefree, obsessed with 90’s music. She had me singing and dancing to the music I only secretly listened to.
After a few months, we started doing everything together, organically. I always thought making lifelong friends was not that easy when you’re old, but here she comes, proving me wrong. Not only did she become my best friend, she became family.
The first glimpse of her caring nature was when I fell sick with typhoid. Skipping classes, she would sit next to me all day making sure I had enough water, making sure I had proper meals, heck, even treating me to the age old method of thandi-pattiyan when my fever was high. In her, I saw glimpses of my mother, my sister, my friend.
The time we spent together was mood lifting. Even just a movie we had watched a hundred times before seemed way more interesting, we would laugh, repeat the dialogues and tease each other about how filmy life is.
Motivating me to complete my assignment, she was my cheerleader. Cheering me on every time I finished even a small glass of water. Everything was easier with her.
Life away from home was easier together, we knew we had each other to count on, to come back to. Even while studying late night, or waking each other up the next morning.
Her presence was reassuring.
Our evenings were full of Maggi-making sessions and trying not to burn the kettle (or our hands) while making tea. And we would sit and enjoy with all sorts of things to talk about.
She was my silent (and not so silent supporter). Cheering me on even if I finished a glass of water.
She knew not to judge me when I didn’t shower on a lazy day, she knew not to speak to me early morning because I’m as grumpy as can get. She knew everything without me having to tell her. I would often wonder how I was blessed with someone so perfect.
All the horror stories of hostel roommates took a backseat.
We would sit for hours and talk about what happened in class, all the complaints about the upcoming project, the giggles we shared over something funny that happened back in class. Or the intense discussions about “what is life?” It was surprising how we didn’t even get to know it was 3:00 am. It was like a night stay with my best friend, every night for two years continuously.
Slowly, we became partners in crime. During college hours I would earn to catch a glimpse of her reassuring face that would give me strength to endure the three hour lecture. Grabbing the same boring lunch seemed bearable and fun in her company.
Staying by each other's side, we didn't even get to know how quickly the time had passed. Towards the end of college, we were upset. Was it really time? Will we really not be roommates anymore? It was difficult, having to say goodbye to the schedule we had both formed, surrounding each other. But all good things must come to an end. And it was time to move on.
In different cities now, we are still constantly in touch over WhatsApp pings and video calls but the memories of how she became this special to me are as precious as it can get.
To my room, B703, and the perfect roommate, here’s to you. My saviour, my rock, my human journal, my personal comedian, dancer, DJ and my family away from home. It’s only because of you I survived those miserable days away from home.
Thank you for being you. You made the most annoying things fun, you helped me keep it together when I was losing my mind because of academic pressure, you helped me let loose, be myself and be even better at the same time, accepted me for who I am. I’ve never met anybody as readily supportive as you and I really got lucky, from day one you have surprised me with your kindness, your unconditional love. Hats off to you! For being what I aspire to be one day. Kind, sorted, happy, and everything in between.
To the best part of my college years, you’re the treasure people spend years looking for.