That Last Night

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 26; the 26th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'That Last Night'.
He rolled to his right. He rolled to his left. He lay on his back and tried to count imaginary sheep. Ninety nine sheep had jumped over the fence. He had no patience to watch the hundredth sheep. He switched on the light and picked up a novel. Five minutes passed. Ten passed! Fifteen! But he had still not got past the first line. A black and white alphabet soup swam in front of his eyes. He gave up and put down the novel. He opened the door to let in some cool breeze.

March had still not come marching in with all its fire and fury. Fresh cool air flooded the room. Equally fresh memories flooded his mind. He had come here exactly nineteen months back on a hot sultry night. He had been greeted by two guys sitting in front of the television watching a cricket match.

Hello. Have you also come for the preparatory course?

His mind took a journey back to the preparatory course. That had been fun. The course had been very light and there had been lot of fun and frolic. The three of them had become fast friends and they had spent the evenings exploring different parts of the city. In the night they would come back to recline in front of the television watching one of the late night movies on Star movies or HBO channel.

The television was still there as were the chairs. But dust had settled on the chairs. The television stood silent as if dumbstruck. A new name and face came to life in his mind as his eyes drifted from one locked room to the next. Would he see those faces again? The laughter, the light banter, the serious discussions! And the spirits! Yes, the spirits! In spite of the state wide ban on them, the spirits had an uncanny knack of finding their way to the souls that yearned after them.

From the light of the tube lights he gradually descended into the darkness of the stairs to emerge into the shadows of moonlit night. He was soon in front of the college mess. But it was not the meals that he remembered which said something to their credit for seldom are hostel mess meals remembered in a positive light. His eyes were fixed on a small area near the entrance: the notice board. However the notice board had no notice. Throughout the first year, he had dreaded the post lunch surprise test announcement notice. Now he wished he could see one again one last time.

The next stop was the class room block. The past two years his life has been equally divided between here and the dorms. Again memories began to fill his head threatening to overwhelm him. The professors’ droning voices, the alert raised hands trying to score class participation points, the invigorating tea between classes! This place held lot of emotions, joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, excitement and boredom! Classes, exams, campus placements – all had happened at this very place.

By now the night was well into its unholy hours. He still had 2 hours – enough time for the auditorium, the playgrounds and the lawns. The director had welcomed them at this auditorium on the first day. They had entertained their seniors with their performances on stage here on talent night. They had entertained companies with their patience off stage during summer placements as the companies bored them with their presentations. In the second year the juniors had entertained them. Then it was the turn of the companies to entertain their ambitions. Finally the director was back again to bid adieu during the convocations.

Finally the hour had arrived. As he wheeled his luggage out, his eyes fell on a cardboard box with some hay in it. “Julie, Julie”, he called, finally breaking the silence of the night. No Julie came. He just shrugged in resignation and proceeded towards the gate. He had come here alone and alone he would leave. His juniors had all left on their term breaks. His batch mates were all already back home. He was the last one to leave campus.  No one left even to say goodbye to him!

As he was about to board the waiting taxi, he heard a short bark. Someone had come to say goodbye to him after all. It was Julie, the stray they had adopted in the dorm. He gently patted her on the head as he boarded the Taxi. His eyes were fixed on the campus as it blurred away in the distance.

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61 comments:

  1. Nice short story. Liked Julie the stray. We too had a stray in our hostel which was universally loved by all.

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  2. Hostel memories! Such a poor fellow, no company for him!
    A wonderful description of the night gone by along with the time spent in the past 2 years.
    Birthday Wishes to your blog too!!!

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  3. You have knack for creating vivid imagery with simple words. Every setting you described was so easy to visualize.

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  4. Good to have someone to say goodbye .. nice memory lane journey. I too remembered my hostel days!!

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  5. Ah, really well written! Made me all nostalgic and honestly, a bit sober. I wish though that I could whisper to that guy that the end of every phase is only the door through which we pass to begin the next.

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  6. Never stayed at a hostel but yes we shifted a lot...i too remember the last night of our 2 year stay in Goa... :(
    And happy birthday to your blog (just read DS' comment :P)

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  7. Nostaligia, made very sweet and ethereal!

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  8. Not sure about hostel life but I do miss my college days!! Ah memories!! Very nicely written loved it! :)

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  9. Thanks lIl hIgH. This was based on a dog we had at our dorm. I used to dislike dogs but somehow started liking this dog.

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  10. Thanks, DS. When I saw this topic it reminded me of my last night on campus. So though I will write a short story based on that.

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  11. Thanks for the birthday greetings, DS and Rinaya. Though 21 April is the actual b'day, I put official date as 1 April.

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  12. Thanks Sunjoo Krishna. Glad you liked the visualization. Put special efforts into that.

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  13. Thanks , aativas. Good that I made you remember your hostel days. That was the intention.

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  14. Thanks Sindhuja. Yes, one does pass one. But every time you leave something behind, the sadness keep coming.

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  15. Thanks, Rinaya. Last night at a place are always sentimental.

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  16. Thanks, amVaishnav. Glad the post had the intended effect.

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  17. Thanks a lot, Gayathri. Currently I am missing my last project colleagues. But I was able to use the mood to write a post around the time of leaving college.

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  18. Agree with Sunjoo Krishna... very vividly narrated. Could visualize the entire scenes unfolding right before my eyes. Was with the post till the very end.

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  19. very good description.....
    Reminded me of my college days...good ending ...

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  20. Thanks Chicky. I am happy I was able to keep you hooked till the end.

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  21. Thanks, Chetan. I was hoping to remind everyone of school/college days.

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  22. Everytime I am here, there is something different to read. Refreshing that.
    As to this post , it made me nostalgic. I loved how u started off on a comic note and then got poignant at the end. Best of luck for B-A-T!

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  23. Loved the light, fluid language that wove vivid images of the dorm, the pressure, the frolicking with friends and restlessness. The final see-off by Julie highlights the futility of it all!

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  24. really nostalgic, the interesting manner of waving the plot is really amazing. happy birthday dear Lucifer

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  25. Thanks a lot, Shilpa. I do try to keep experimenting with different types of content.

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  26. Thanks, Umashankar.You have caught the spirit of what I have tried to express very well.

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  27. Thanks a lot, Pramod and thanks for the wishes.

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  28. Wow. This post has such a nice touch in it :). Filled with emotions.
    I felt as I was with him throughout the whole story.
    Very nicely written TF JHI :).
    I'm just loving it :).

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  29. Thanks, Princess. Glad you could connect with the story.

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  30. Very well written. I'm scared of this day 2 years later, for me...

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  31. As if you know what I thought when I saw the theme - the last night. I instantly connected with your story. Nice one :)

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  32. I thought of my college and my hostel last night when I saw the theme the last night. So I could instantly connect with story. Nice one :)

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  33. Thanks, Neetu. This was came to me as well as soon as I saw the topic and then I forgot about it. Then with 3 hours for the contest opening, I took a challenge to be the first to post. Then I thought I will go with my first thought that came on seeing the topic.

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  34. Thanks, jojofeelings. Partings are always sad. Even if you have been through it ten times, the eleventh time is still sad as I am currently experiencing. But then time heals.

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  35. Hostels are places where students are boarding, am I right?

    Not here in our country, either a house, a flat, a studio type apartment...:)

    Always, parting is the saddest!

    A well received story :)

    Good luck for BAT 26!

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  36. Very nicely written... The feelings behind the letters are very much apparent

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  37. I shall be passing out next year and even though I have a million complaints about my college, that is the place that saw me grow up.
    The trials, tribulations, et al, of college life have made me who I am.

    Very well written!

    All the best for BAT!

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  38. Thanks, Amity. Good to see you back on Blog-a-ton. Yes. Hostels are places inside college campus where students stay.

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  39. Thanks, Enchanta. You are just sensing it now. It will really hit hard the last week of college when you see one by one the friends leave and it begins to sink in that there is going to be no more college life.

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  40. A simple and sweet tale, very down to earth and realistic...brings back fond memories of hostel life. Brilliant ending...All the best.

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  41. Beautifully written. Nostalgia is one feeling I can't handle. It breaks my heart.
    Crisp narration.

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  42. Thanks a lot, Cherry Blossom. As I said before, every time somebody says it reminds them of their hostel life, I feel my post has served its purpose.

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  43. Thanks, Karthik. Some of us are too fond of old memories.After all memories are the only thing that remain.

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  44. never been in a hostel so whenever I hear stuff like this I kinda miss that feeling
    something that I'll always miss :)
    awesome way to put it out bro :)

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  45. awesome 1 bro :)
    too bad I never had a life in a hostel :(
    ATB :)

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  46. Great description buddy. I read it so fast... was kind of desperate to know what was to happen..

    Only to realize it was the journey ;p and not the end. But then I liked the journey too. Liked it a lot - I could never write this type of 'emotion' wala stuff.. :) good job.

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  47. Thanks, Sankar. Hostel experience is one hell of an experience. I have had the opportunity to have it not one, not twice but three times.

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  48. Thanks, Kshitij. It is not always that something happens in the end. After all the end is just a single line. The journey is what makes up rest of the post. I have learnt to write emotional stuff over time.

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  49. Great post TF. Hostel memories are great.. :-)

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  50. Hostel life has been some of the four most memorable years of my life. I miss that time every once in a while. Nice read. :)

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  51. very well narrated. . . Though I have never experienced hostel life. . reading this was awesome

    ATB for BAT

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  52. @ TF - Yeah, I know the journey's important too. I usually focus just on the end... and then try to make the journey humorous. But that's me. I will take inspiration from you and try to write some emotional stuff.

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  53. Thanks a lot, Sulaiman. Hostel life is definitely a worthy experience.

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  54. @ Kshitij - Look forward to a high emotion post from you sometime.

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  55. Pretty nostalgic post! But after leaving school for the first time, never felt like this again. Sigh..

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    Replies
    1. I don't know - college felt more senti for me as it was home as I stayed in hostel.

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