Hindu hostel alumni bid adieu to beloved building, make memorabilia from rubble - Hindustan Times
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Hindu College boys' hostel alumni bid adieu to beloved building, make memorabilia from rubble

ByKriti Kambiri
Nov 02, 2023 12:29 PM IST

As Hindu College Boys’ Hostel’s old building makes way for a new one, nostalgia-stricken alumni preserve pieces of it as keepsakes from their #CampusKeDin.

During his recent visit to Hindu College in Delhi University’s North Campus, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali got emotional while speaking to HT City. The reason being the news of his college’s Boys’ Hostel building being razed down. But it isn’t just him who is feeling overwhelmed about facing this situation. “I am in a very bad mood. We are all very upset,” says filmmaker Nalin Singh, a 1994 English (Hons) graduate from the college.

As Hindu College Boys’ Hostel’s old building makes way for a new one, nostalgia-stricken alumni preserve pieces of it.
As Hindu College Boys’ Hostel’s old building makes way for a new one, nostalgia-stricken alumni preserve pieces of it.

Singh was the hostel president during his MA (Previous) days in 1995. “My film My Virgin Diary (2018) is practically an ode to my hostel roommate, late Arun Jaiswal, and the hostel where I spent five years,” he shares as his voice shakes. “Since the building wasn’t habitable anymore, I feel it should have been declared a heritage site rather than being brought down to be replaced... The best of the best brains have shared space in this hostel during their college days. Even today, if a hostel junior calls, most alumni ask, ‘Shaam ka kya scene hai,” adds Singh, explaining how intimate is the senior-junior bond even years after they graduate from college.

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“Our souls are still living there,” adds Singh, who along with other alumni has now decided to pick rubble from the broken building, to create memorabilia out of bricks and wood as keepsakes for this lifetime. “A junior came up with an idea of keeping a little something for ourselves,” shares Singh, informing how a group of five alumni brainstormed and came up with the idea of turning the remains of the hostel building into mementos for the alumni who still want to keep a part of their college.

The junior, whose idea clicked with the rest, is Rahul Rajora. A 1995 graduate of BA (Pass), Rajora says, “We knew that the building is to be replaced and it was inevitable. But we found out about the demolition at the last minute and unanimously felt ki kuchh toh bacha ke rakhna chahiye! We then got in touch with the contractor who is working on the project and decided to keep some items such as the old furniture and use some, such as the bricks, to create mementos. I have taken an old bookshelf for myself and a senior, who lives in Mumbai, asked me to get the chair from his old hostel room. I managed to find two chairs, not knowing which one is his, but will be shipping them to him soon.”

Filmmaker Nalin Singh (extreme left) during his hostel days.
Filmmaker Nalin Singh (extreme left) during his hostel days.

The network of Hindu College alumni is quite widespread and many are already putting in requests for their souvenirs. “Over 500 former hostel residents have reached out to us requesting for a memento; some have requested for their hostel room number to be mentioned on it... The emotions are running high, and some of us will be meeting officially in this week to finalise on a design. We haven’t decided whether we’ll be getting photo frames or plaques made from the rubble,” informs Hanuman, an actor-screenwriter and a 1994 graduate of BA (Pass) course form the college. He adds, “Even today it feels as if we never left the Hindu hostel... In fact, other than my wife, I didn’t make a single new friend after my college days, and whatever friends I have till date are from those days only. This is how special that building was and will always remain for alumni like me.”

Some alumni are keen on taking back old furniture from the hostel building.
Some alumni are keen on taking back old furniture from the hostel building.

When HT City approached the college authorities, vice principal Reema Jain said, “The building committee has awarded the contract for demolition via open tender to the highest bidder on an ‘as is where is’ basis. Now what that bidder is doing with the material, the college has no control [on it]. The hostel area is a restricted one due to the ongoing demolition. Trespassers are not allowed.”

On the other hand, the emo quotient is equally high among the present students, who have been feeling a vacuum ever since the place was vacated for a new building in place of the old one. “We’ve been seeing such an influx of our super seniors in college ever since Imtiaz (Ali) sir posted about this news on his Insta. This makes it evident how much the hostel meant to everyone,” says Sankul Sharma, a final-year student of BSc (Hons) Zoology, adding, “I feel sad since as an outstation student I never got a chance to be part of this hostel because it has been locked up since 2019. A part of me also wishes to keep a memento for myself, and I’m hoping that the new hostel building comes up fast so that future students get to experience the true meaning of college's hostel life.”

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