Friday, August 5, 2011

Madhouse: True Stories of the Inmates of Hostel 4 IITB

Editors:       Urmilla Deshpande, Bakul Desai
Published:    2010
Publisher:    Westland Ltd.
Paperback: 358 pages

Almost everybody  who has lived in a college hostel  will say that those were the best years in his/her life. We nostalgically remember those days and talk about it when we happen to meet our hostel mates after a long time. But the inmates of Hostel 4 IITB (Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai) have gone beyond just remembering and talking about their tenure in the hostel. They have collaborated to collect their reminiscences and create a book out of it. And they managed to convince a professional author Urmilla Deshpande who happens to be one of the inmate's wife, to edit the book.

The result is a book that is authentic, hilarious and takes you back to the good old days in a student's hostel. The anecdotes in this book are roughly from the period 1975-85, when the life was not gadget driven like the present times. They strike a chord with any hosteler since they touch upon areas like - Ragging, Inter-hostel competitions, Smoking & Boozing sessions, friendly pranks and fights, Hostel Mess, Movies (Clean & Pornos), Music, Girls & Games - which one can easily relate too. I can vouch for it because I myself had been a hostelite (though not in IIT-B) during that era.

There are some unusual and unique stories also - for e.g. a Arun Kaul  riding a horse to go to attend lectures; another one is about  Bakul Desai meeting   the don Vardarajan Mudaliar to organize an elephant for an inter-hostel competition.

Manohar Parriker (ex- CM of Goa), Madhu Pandit Dasa (President, ISKCON-Bangalore) and Subrah Iyar (Founder  & CEO - Webex) are some of the distinguished inmates of the Hostel 4 IITB.  Reading about  their exploits during their hostel life makes an interesting reading, especially the one about Madhu Pandit Dasa's travel in a suburban train.

It would have been better if this book had a short title for every anecdote (some anecdotes do have them) and an index of  names of the persons mentioned in the anecdotes. This would have made locating the portions you want to read much easier. And believe me many of the stories are worth a re-read !

Maybe some enterprising guy can make a movie out of this book too. It might give the blockbuster 3 Idiots a tough competition.

Overall a MUST READ book for anyone who had lived in a student's hostel ! I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

P.S. I only wish I and my batchmates from KREC 1984 batch also get together to write such a book. Surely we will also have lots of similar interesting tales to tell !

  • Madhouse Musings - This blog has some stories which did not make it to the book, but nevertheless gives a you a feel of what to expect in the book

No comments:

Post a Comment