Chapatis, Oil and Memories

I stayed in a hostel for 4 years during my under grad days. Like most I have good and bad memories of those days. It was fun and dreadful at the same time. One of the things which I hated was obviously the messed up food served at the mess. I survived 4 years on chocolate bars, frequent visits home, bulging food parcels from home and a random visit to the mess.

Our mess served chapatis dipped in oil for lunch and occasionally dinner. Oil adds a distinct heaviness to the air and the smell of oil in a dimly lit room, with 300+ girls noisily chattering is probably not any one's favorite. Why do I tell you all this ?

Yesterday, lunch time I stepped out into what is Fall like weather in Houston from a freezing office. In the typical flimi style, I opened the glass door separating me from the outdoor warmth, lifted my face to the sun, and took a gulp of fresh air.

Then I smelled it - I am not sure if the smell was a part of my over reactive brain and hungry tummy but I could clearly smell mess chapatis and the oil. It took me back to those days.... Long lines, laughter, stupid jokes, tense moments before the tests, the complaints over inedible food, the crushes and heartbreaks and more.

Laugh at me if you want to (I did at myself), but for a crazy moment I missed college mess food and the memories that cling to oil dipped chapatis..

Nostalgia and memories are bitter-sweet and I seem to be reliving and drawing energy from the past a lot these days...

Do you have any things you hated when you were younger and miss them today?

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ugich konitari said...

Maybe it was the smell from the oil rigs wafting over , and the chapaties just happened by strong association ?

I went to college in Pune in the early 60's , lived in a "ladies' hostel" on campus, and know exactly what you mean about the chapaties....

(Our hostel had sabudana khichadi on Saturday nights (!), it was really nice, and us permanently hungry types used to stuff ourselves silly....)

sementi said...

I can so relate to this post, being in college myself! Chapathis here are real hard. We have rice served for dinner on one of the days and it's named dog rice for its colour and taste! But I'm sure I'd miss all this in a year too... for the chit chats and gossips after every meal, for the never-ending complaints about the mess and the menu, for this, that and everything else! Phew! I can go on..

Anonymous said...

'these Chapatis are amazing - if we use them as rubber mats!' we yelled at the cooks!
And then there was the hard idlis at the mess! We called them Sambar on the Rocks! :P

Pooh! said...

Universally everyone hated mess food. I remember I was at IIT for a month training and I loved their mess food and was surprised to see the IITians complain mercilessly about the food. Well "familiarity breeds contempt"
And no way am I accepting my hostel food was even partly decent