Thursday, April 9, 2015

'H' is for Hunger! A to Z Challenge Day 8

When I left for college back in 1989, I had never lived alone. I so looked forward to the big adventure. We also did not know a soul in Pune, the city where I was studying. So I had no one to watch over me nor did I have anyone to run to if I was feeling miserable or hungry or whatever. Pune was, also, in terms of distance almost as far away from Calcutta as you could get. It was a 40 hour train journey with us having to change trains once. Flying was not to fashionable those days and was expensive. That said a flight was two and half hours and the airport in Bombay  was almost five hours away !  
I guess that's why I picked the place.
College was a varied gamut of experiences. That was also when I learnt what it was to be hungry. Two reasons:
1.       I never had enough money. Don't get me wrong. My parents ensured I had enough. But you know how young adults have no budgetary sense? I used to save most of my money for petrol. Because I believed I had to be able to reach wherever I was going. I knew I could always drive over to a friend in the AFMC and she would give me food from her college canteen. Food that was wholesome and filling and dirt cheap. Only that particular canteen was at the other end of town. But that designated 'petrol money' never lasted...I would end up using it for other things and then mid-month realise I was broke!
2.       Our hostel had no decent canteen. After going to college from a home environment where food is always available and something you take for granted, it was a surprise when I suddenly found I had to fend for myself, which meant cooking! I tried a dabba wala but the food was so spicy that within a month I had mouth ulcers! I had a roomie then, a Kenyan girl called Jane who nursed me, making me drink cooled soup and bland food and one Kenyan dish which involved boiling cabbages which smelled disgusting but did not taste half bad! So that left me to cook for myself and that meant shopping and cleaning and all kinds of stuff and THAT is a whole new story altogether!

Getting back to hunger. Sometimes, I think it is good for the soul. I learnt not to waste. I learnt to appreciate plain bread dipped in tea. I learnt to shop, I learnt to cook. I learnt to share and cook for others. I learnt no one could ever become poor by sharing food. I learnt to drink a bottle of water and go to sleep feeling 'full'.
Most of all I learnt to adjust and live with things I could not do anything about.

And that's a big lesson. 


  1. Hah! don't forget spending food money on music tapes & books. Though they did fill another kind of hunger. :) College does teach you a lot of things besides book learning.

  2. Yeah, what's that they say? Stay hungry, stay foolish!