Sharing a room with someone has never been my cup of tea. Though I have two siblings, I have always liked to have my space. The challenge hit me in the face during my first year of graduation in Nagpur. Only seniors were allowed to have a single room in our hostel, freshers had to share rooms. I was sharing a room with two other girls — a classmate and a senior. The senior seemed to be okay, but the problem was with the other girl, my classmate.
I think the equation was uneven since our first encounter. She shifted in the room after me. As soon as she shifted, she started acting like a boss! She shifted my table and my bags in order to make space for her baggage. She had this air around her as if she was a princess. I, on the other hand, was shy, intimidated and timid. My bed was in between hers and the senior’s. As days passed, she came to be my senior’s super favourite and would often jump on my bed to talk to the senior. Also, another irritating thing about her was that she snored loudly.
As the academic calendar progressed, I came to be known for my good academic record. She could not digest the fact and would give those negative vibes. She was also very loud while speaking over the phone. She used to speak in her mother tongue (Maithili) to tell her mother what a nuisance I (‘a small-town girl’) was to her.
Hygiene was another issue. I have always been a hygiene freak and she was my exact opposite. On Sundays, she would not brush her teeth unless she had to eat (that meant even late afternoons). She would stuff clothes in a bucket under her bed for weeks until she would be out of stock for clean clothes.
She always tried to insult or undermine me, except when she needed help. She mocked me for not possessing a cell phone or about my dark complexion. During exams, she would come seeking my help in some subjects I was good at, and then would quickly finish studying and call up her friends from other rooms to make noise and shout and hoot in the room, disturbing me to the best of her abilities.
I clearly remember one incident in peak winters. Being from Delhi, she always felt hot here. She would run the fan on full speed while knowing very well that it made me uncomfortable. One day, I finally asked her to slow down the fan and she asked me to wear extra clothes.
Every day, I cried under my blanket and cursed my elder sister for forcing me to shift to the hostel, and prayed for my first year to pass quickly so that I could shift to a single occupancy room.
The silent mayhem by her continued till I finally shifted to a different room with single occupancy. It continued to some extent where she mocked me for being too ambitious and ‘a shame for the female community’ for having opinions about my life. Thankfully, I was rid of her soon enough though.