6:30 AM – 7:30 AM
I’m partially woken up to my roommate’s alarm ringing. I hear her yawn as she shuffles around, getting ready for morning yoga. I have no idea why anyone would put themselves through that.
6:00 AM – 6:30 AM
My first alarm goes off at 6. I turn it off, but I have alarms set at 5-minute intervals because I CAN NOT afford to miss another yoga class. Eventually, I accept my fate and get out of bed. I go to check whether one of my friends, who also decided that taking morning yoga was a good idea, is awake. This agreement is the pillar of our attendance. The hostel at this time is pretty quiet, bar the few people that took morning sports. The air is pretty chilly, and it’s dark outside, which kind of sets the precedent for the next hour of my life. I drift towards the bathroom and do what needs to be done, splash a bunch of cold water in my face to ensure that I don’t fall back asleep. I go through my pre-yoga mental checklist once, grab my ID card, apologise to my roommate for creating a ruckus and waking him up, and start walking to class with the aforementioned friend.
The path to class from my hostel, Bakul, is pretty empty, and the only other people we see are the ones in line giving biometric for PT. Once we reach Kadamb, the building with two of our messes and the yoga hall, we wait at the front door for someone to open the front door because we can’t be asked to walk all the way through the New Boys Hostel (NBH) to get in. We reach a few minutes early and take a seat on the steps outside the classroom. While we wait for the door to class to open, I talk to the rest of the students there, and we eventually come to the consensus that 6:30 AM yoga was a terrible idea. Unfortunately, this wholesome gathering is cut short by the opening of the door, and we all trudge upstairs, keeping our slippers in the racks and ensuring that we don’t slam the door behind us.
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM
Try^to Stay awake during yoga.
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
The ending of yoga sparks joy in my soul, not just because I won’t have to go through that ordeal for another 47 hours but because downstairs, there’s breakfast waiting for me. However, this is not just any breakfast, it’s Kadamb breakfast, and Kadamb breakfast is love. There, I find myself talking to 2 types of people, normal human beings with regular sleep schedules that slept through the night and woke up for breakfast, and zombies that stayed awake all night doing assignments. After stuffing myself with whatever fruit they’re serving, except for pineapples because RIP tongue, I get on my way back to Bakul around 7:50. The difference between the path on my way to class and now is like night and day, literally. The road is filled with a bunch of people and a lot of familiar faces that I wave to as I’m on my way back. Luckily, the sun’s been out for long enough, and I can use all the hot water my heart desires and take a bath. Right after changing into my clothes, I go walking around my floor waking up my sane friends that didn’t take morning sports. After that, I get my bag and go down the lift with a few friends and either start walking or running towards Himalaya, depending on whether we’re late or not and take our seats in our customary row.
7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
After a lot of snooze hitting, my day usually starts at eight. The twenty minutes I’ve got before my first class is only enough time to do one of two things – shower or get breakfast. Deciding that I’d prefer not to hear my stomach grumble for the next 4 hours, I grab just my toothbrush as I leave my room.
Groggy girls are starting to wander out of their hostel doors, rubbing their eyes and we all drag ourselves to the common floor bathroom. Nobody’s talking, but there are quiet smiles passed around. Each basin has someone standing in front of it, scrubbing their face in an attempt to wake themselves up, and there’s always that one person in the shower stall with music playing.
As soon as I’ve grabbed the notebooks I need for that day and stick a pen in my pocket, I walk down the two flights of stairs with my earphones in, to the main wooden front doors, and down the ramp attached to the side of our hostel. Felicity ground is a big barren field that my hostel, Parijaat, shares a short wall with, and this early in the morning, it’s a serene sight. If my friends have gotten up early enough to make it to the mess, we sit at the same steel table, stabbing at pesarattus, watermelon, omelettes and sipping tea and coffee. If not, I usually scroll through Youtube while eating, and call the “wake me up five minutes before class please” friends.
Most classes (and all first-year classes) are held in the Himalaya building. It’s situated just beyond the intersection of KCIS and Vindhya Canteen and is one straight road from Kadamb. Minutes before class starts, students from all years start flooding in from all directions, gathering in front of the lecture halls. Lectures and tutorials make up the rest of the morning.
8:30 AM – 2:00 PM
After definitely listening in class and studying hard for the next hour and a half, I go outside to VC for the 10 minutes we have till our next class. There, I fight my way through the line of around 20 people battling for the vendor’s attention and buy the traditional doughnut, which is an absolute bargain and tastes fantastic, even though it probably isn’t the best nutrition-wise. VC at this time is incredible because it allows me to catch up with people from Group B as well, so it’s super cool that half of the batch is there in one place just chilling around. After that, I attend the rest of my classes and tutorials. Most of my tutorials are conducted in Vindhya and somehow, even after six months of staying on campus, I still manage to get lost or get stuck at a dead-end there.
My lunch, or lack thereof, depends on what time my classes get over at. If they end before 12:30, I can go to whichever mess I have and not have to worry about the line at the mess. However, if I have classes till 1, I go to the Basketball Canteen (BBC) with a bunch of friends because none of us can be asked to stand in line at the North Mess for half an hour. There, I buy a juice and a cheese Maggi and dump a TON of powder (red chilli) on it. The crowd at BBC is pretty large at this time and the tables generally aren’t free, which is always expected considering how half of many people’s diets consist of Maggi or any other instant noodle brand. BBC, however, doesn’t just have fantastic food. It has a few bonuses which make it the ideal Maggi spot, such as the amphitheatre which is an excellent place to sit at and eat with your friends. We also have the added privilege of getting to listen to the BBC aunty scream “BHAIYYA CHEESE MAGGI” every few minutes. These times at BBC are some of the best because it’s a short period of time where we’re all relaxed, having fun and not being preoccupied with our worries in the middle of our hectic days.
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
After the last morning class, it’s straight to lunch. Wednesday’s are the day that I and practically the whole campus looks forward to. We don’t wear pink, no, we eat biryani. The line at Kadamba on these days is always comically long. After my friends and I finally get our tiny hill of biriyani, and when we can’t manage to stuff ourselves anymore, we head to the back of the mess to wash off our plates, and then it’s out the door into the bright sunlight.
Convincing ourselves, we need a glass of 15 rupee nimbu paani to wash everything down; it’s off to the Juice Canteen (or JC). There are choco bars and Paperboat litchi that call for us at David’s, which is the shop that sells snacks run by a man whose name is surprise, surprise — David. We end up sitting at the steps to Tantra, the restaurant attached to the juice bar and mess around for a while before we’ve got to get to our afternoon lab sessions.
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The first semester at IIIT gets you two lab sessions a week. On Thursdays, I’d head up three floors of Nilgiri to one of the classrooms set up with PCs for CPro (Computer Programming). The TAs who ran the session would explain topics on a blackboard for a while, trying to coax out the most effective method for a problem from the mostly blank faces in front of them.
The Friday lab session was for DSM (Digital Systems and Microcontrollers). It was held on the ground floor of Niligiri in a massive room that fit around 100 students at a time. Huge rectangular tables with multiple circuit boards were set up along the length of the room, stools arranged around them. The lab started precisely at two. The first ten minutes of the lab was spent trying to come up with excusable stories for why a friend was five minutes late and begging for attendance.
For some reason, during DSM, no matter how much my lab partner and I had prepared, we were the only ones who’d always end up with broken equipment. Once we had to send a signal with a NodeMCU to a speaker that was supposed to emit a high pitched beep if the signal was received. Some teams shrill beeps were heard from across the 50-meter room. Everyone who had finished left early, and at the end of the three hours, only my partner and I were left standing. A couple TA’s who were trying to help us could not figure out what was wrong with our code. Frustrated and annoyed, I put my head down on the table. That’s when I realised that the speaker, which was now only centimetres from my ear, actually was emitting a noise. It was just too faint. So fun 🙂 .
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
LABS!!!!! I head to Nilgiri, where all my labs are conducted, after picking my laptop up from my room. The second semester has 3 lab sessions per week. I either have to walk upstairs to the computer labs for ISS (Introduction to Software Systems) or DSA (Data Structures and Algorithms), or stay downstairs and go to the IoT lab. I always freeze to death in the computer labs upstairs to the point where I end up strangling myself with my hoodie trying to preserve as much body heat as I can. I also engage in a tug-of-war with the LAN cables which were set up to be connected to the lab PCs and not our laptops. Pretty much every computer lab session proceeds the same way. I listen to music and chill while doing my lab work for the first 2 hours or so. Eventually, I realise how much work I have left and go into deadline mode for the last hour and somehow end up finishing my lab work.
However, if I have an IoT lab, I usually end up finishing early because my lab partner is an absolute bond. After getting our broken equipment replaced and showing ‘our’ work to a TA, I go walking around the lab flexing on those who haven’t finished yet, but eventually, I start helping them. I mean I’m not THAT mean. After a bit of walking around aimlessly, allowing a few people to finish up and getting scolded by the lab assistants for eating food or listening to music, I eventually end up leaving to go back to Bakul.
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Exhausted from the three-hour lab sessions, my friends and I would catch up at the canteen behind the basketball court (BBC). It was a shady area, with plastic tables, chairs, and cement benches painted by student art. Apart from the cheese maggies and masala dosas, my favourite part of the place was Gopi, the friendliest, sweetest dog on campus who hung around in that area. She had a whole personality of her own. She was spoiled from all the love and attention she got, shamelessly pawing at you if you stopped rubbing behind her ears, and smug because Gopi, oh she knew all the other dogs wanted to be her.
After the quick rendezvous, I’d have to rush back to my room to get ready for PT at 5:30. Attendance was strict, and if you missed scanning in your fingerprint at the biometric machine near the PT office, you’d miss that day’s attendance. The first thirty minutes of the PT class would start with a couple of rounds of light jogging, followed by many, many stretches. It wasn’t the most strenuous of physical activities, but it felt good to be out in the evening, breathing in the fresh air, and moving your body after a whole day of being plopped in front of a blackboard.
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
After a long day of getting my mind obliterated, I’m either kept busy doing assignments with friends or on the rare occasion that I don’t have any immediate deadlines, I’m on my phone on social media, youtube, listening to music or running to Himalaya to play Pokémon Go with a bunch of seniors (yes I know I’m cringing but please don’t click off, thanks). My home is super close to campus, around 5 minutes away, so my parents come every 1-2 weeks to visit me, and I literally can not tell how many times this has come in clutch. I pretty much don’t have to do my laundry unless I randomly feel an urge to be responsible. I also get a bunch of snacks every time they visit me.
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
On most evenings I go to play basketball for a few hours. I hunt around my room for a pair of clean-ish socks, get changed and run down to the basketball court. 6:30 is the best time to start playing because the 5:45-6:45 PT basketball people are playing there, and we have sooooo much fun just screwing around and messing with each other. After getting warmed up, I start playing matches with the rest of the regular players at around 6:50. The basketball seniors are AMAZING and not just at basketball and sports, they’re super friendly and helpful, and I’ve become good friends with many of them as well. I always get wrecked in half-court because everyone is at least half a foot taller than me, but the unlimited stamina that I gained from drinking boost for all these years allows me to run nonstop during fast breaks in full court. I finish playing around 8:30 and go to JC with everyone else that played. There I buy either a nimbu soda or watermelon juice, and the best part is that half of the time, I get it for free. This is because we either had a bet match or one of the seniors pay for me because I don’t have Paytm or GPay, and they say, “Lite pay me later” whenever I try to pay them back. They’re super lovely. After chilling at JC for a while we eventually part ways and I get on my way back to Bakul to take a quick shower.
After that, I head to dinner around nine at either Kadamb or South. Kadamb non-veg is extremely good, miles better than what I was expecting non-vegetarian food at a college to be. After finishing up, I walk back to Bakul and on the way, stop and talk to anyone that’s still playing basketball.
7: 30 PM – 10:30 PM
After dinner, our group usually hangs out at the workspace. Some days we’d cave and get the brownie and ice cream at David’s which was on the way from the South/North mess to the workspace in the Vindhya building.
The workspace was a room set up mainly for the first years by the college. Since we weren’t given wifi access in our rooms, it was where first-year students were supposed to go to study/basically do everything. Most of the batch ended up running on mobile data from their rooms anyway, so the workspace was usually pretty much empty except for us and a few other groups.
It was at the workspace where the academic stress would set in (if I hadn’t already been worried about it all day). If I wanted to get some studying done in quiet, the library one floor below the workspace was the perfect place. It felt like this sterile environment with ACs blowing in cold air and pin-drop silence. It had an upper floor that shared a glass wall with the workspace. The juxtaposition on either side of that wall was remarkable — on one side you’d see students spread out, hunched down over their laptops, deep in thought, and then on the other side there was a group of students all discussing loudly and stabbing at a notebook as they tried to make their point to others on the other.
9:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Assignment time. More often than not, my entire friend group is holed up in our group’s headquarters (one of our rooms) doing our assignments. Being in a group doing your assignments is extremely helpful, not just for getting help to get solutions for questions, but also because all of us being there together and being there for each other is enormously supportive. Whenever I get frustrated, it’s constructive knowing that I’m not the only one struggling and that others are facing the same problems as me. It’s also immensely beneficial to always have a few people to rant to so that you can get out all of the frustration you have built up in you.
10:30 PM – 12:30 AM
The workspace and library closed at precisely twelve. The security guard would not let you forget. He’d come and blow his whistle constantly and bang his stick on the walls of the workspace and shoo us out precisely as it turned midnight. It did not matter if he could see you packing up your stuff, he would come and blow that whistle a meter in front of you anyway.
Over the semester, my group and I ended up forming a kind of daily ritual. After all the studying at the workspace, or even if all of us had just been chilling in our rooms, without fail, we’d go to JC at midnight to get Bournvita. This canteen was extremely crowded at this time, a drastic change from a couple of hours ago when I was there feeding the dogs as a CCC (Campus Canine Committee) member.
Of course, midnight also meant birthday celebrations. There was always at least one massive group of people who had set up a cake on one of the tables and were screaming out the Happy Birthday song to their friend. However, the non-violent birthday wishes were fleeting, and soon the birthday boy, whose face had been smeared with cake, was being chased around the canteen, trying but ultimately failing to escape the infamous GPL. It definitely wouldn’t have been fun to experience, but the whole situation was hilarious to watch.
12:30 AM – 1:30 AM
If sleep felt elusive, and I was for some reason brimming with energy, some of us would go to the amphitheatre opposite of Bakul, the boy’s hostel, and lay around, playing music and complaining about how there wasn’t anything fun to do while also shooting down every idea somebody would come up with. Gopi would make her appearance, pawn for attention, and then get bored and trot away.
I got back to my room at around 1 or 2 (this is probably the best part about our college – no curfew) and collapsed onto my bed. I prefer waking up early if I’ve got to get work done, but my roommate is the exact opposite. Multiple times, just as I’m waking up, she’ll walk into the room after being up and out all night, which is a scenario I think a lot of roommates can relate to. After I’d gotten changed into pyjamas and reached under my covers, I’d video call one of my closest friends from home, and we’d talk till one of us dozed off.
12:00 AM – 1:30 AM
Another thing that keeps me motivated is the nightly trip to JC. Our assignment deadlines are usually at 11:55 PM, so it’s not uncommon to see dozens of students at JC after 12. JC right after 12 is filled with the sounds of students celebrating the end of yet another assignment and people crying in agony as they get their faces smeared with cake and their *explicit* beat with slippers on their birthdays. At JC I get a chocolate oreo shake and cup noodles and a Tropicana juice from David’s for later if I have to stay up late and ran out of the food my parents gave me. After everyone has finished ordering or getting their food, we all go and stand in a circle and just talk about literally anything. Eventually, once everyone’s done eating and it dawns on us that we only finished 1 out of the five assignments we have, we head back to Bakul.
1:30 AM – next day
1:30 AM – 3:30 AM
In case I felt like being responsible and doing my laundry by myself, I go to check if there is an available washing machine on my way up to my room. I borrow washing powder from my roommate because *redacted* lost it and run downstairs with my bucket full of clothes so that no one starts using the available washing machine before me. After that, I make cup noodles in case I’ve run out of snacks. I’ve perfected the art of making cup noodles, so I usually make my friends’ for them as well. After this, I either do other assignments and study, or we all play UNO or some other card game till 3:00. After getting scolded by the guard for being too loud, we either head to our separate rooms to go to bed or go to DLF to get shawarmas and tawa bondas if we’re still hungry. In case I did my laundry, I hang my clothes out to dry, but otherwise, I just brush my teeth, pack my bag for the next day and at around 3:30, finally go to sleep.
Authors: Pooja Desur, Ainesh Sannidhi