Eight of my 78 year life was spent in hostels
From the age of 15 till I attained 23 , I spent my life in four hostels and four different corners of India.
SKV college Trichur (South west 1955-57))
Few months after I joined the Kerala Varma college , the new hostel (vadakkunathan block) was inaugurated .During first year I was with N.Sambashivan who was my neighbour in my village .Life was very pleasant .I developed friendship with many people .Sri K.P.Balakrishnan , the former Ambassador to Sweden, Sri.K.K.Padmanabhan(Pathan to me), Mithran etc were my close friends Due to Pathan I became member of a big Malayalam library in Trikumarakodam and read lots of Malayalam books.I gained lots of knowledge from my friend Balakrishnan who was a great genius.I remember very many hostel mates. Sri Vaidyanathan( we use to call him Kallu Vaithi) , Sri Chidambaran of Puthucode , Abdulla kutti, Rajagopalan ,Mithran etc etc.
The cook was one nair .I do not remember his name but I remember one Balakrishnan who used to serve us food.For the first time in life I tasted Puttum Kadalayum. AApaam Ishtu, Theeyal , unni appam, Elayada with avil for some reason called Vathsan was all new to me. One Nendan pazham steam cooked daily formed a part of our breakfast. I remember a funny incident regarding food.One day Idli was very hard and so One Idli was nailed to the notice board in front of warden’s room .
Since I had played in state tournament in Hyderabad at age of 13 , I was a good carom player ,I took great fancy in playing Tenniquoit (ring tennis) also. I enjoyed my stay here
Annamalai university-South east –(1957-1960)
I stayed in THiruvalluvar block and Kambar block during the three years.I had lot of friends.Among them the most important were DR.C.K.Nalina Babu (who is no more) and Dr,P.Sivadas( who is my face book friend even today) .They both recognized that I was suffering from inferiority complex and changed it and made me a very confident person,
There were seven messes in the hostel during that time. All the three years , I took meals in mess 1, where the personal cook of Sir C.P.Ramaswami Iyer was the chief cook. Food was indeed divine. Among the new things that I ate there was Samba chatham , vadai KOthsu, Vegetable Pulav etc .I really enjoyed my stay there .
Annamalai university had a divine library .I also became a member of District Library , Chidambaram and read lots and lots of Tamil books
Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta-North east -(1960-1961)
I Stayed in a single room .Large number of my seniors and several of my class mates were from South .The Great DR.Subramanyan Swami was my classmate there. Among my friends there Sri Kalakkad Sundaram Natarajan, DR.P.S. Nair who was my senior are my face book friends today. The hostel had a wonderful library of English fiction. I read almost 300 books during that one year. Once I was playing ring tennis wearing A dhothi . Our warden who was passing by that way shouted at me for wearing a Dhothi. Next day all the South Indian in mates went to his class wearing Dhothi and he was really shocked.
I never expected that I would get South Indian food there. But our head Cook was one Rao who was from Udipi. He prepared mouth watering Kannada dishes. I still remember his Vangi bath
IASRI , New Delhi-North west (1961-63)
I stayed in atriple room in the first year and single room in the next year. My senior V.Gopalan was a book worm like me. He had a huge collection of english detective novels. He was a great fan of Perry Mason and Agatha Christie .I read all of them. I also read lot of Hindi novels when I was there. Sri Kalakkad Sundaram Natajan and SRi Seetharama Sharma, Dr.Vinod Prakash Monglik who were my class mates then are my face book friends today
Both years we had to eat North Indian food only .Almost daily our breakfast was Corn Flakes and Bread .I developed a taste for some North Indian dishes there. WE used to buy one bottle of south Indian pickle every weak .Whenever any South Indian goes home , he invariably brought South Indian pickles. On every Sunday the hostel mess was closed in the afternoon. All of us used to Karolbagh and eat in Ramanujam Mess, Subbarao Mess, Kanpur mess etc
I enjoyed my eight years stay in hostels and improved my knowledge by reading lots of books