While studying at Osmania University MSc, Geography, I was staying at B Hostel (now known as Krishnaveni Hostel). This is a historical hostel, where mostly the science students stay. It is said the former prime minister Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao also stayed here and started the Vandemataram Movement for the freedom from British Rule. It has students from all disciplines of science. Because of demand for space as more students are there, students need to adjust, say in small room 3 to 4 students and in large size rooms up to 10 students used to stay. This is 2 storey building in triangular shape. The main entrance was very elegant. My seniors from PG College of Science Saifabad, OU, were also studying here. Some of them those students are now leaders representing the youth wings of political parties. Although there were no elections for students in the university, but the student leaders with affiliations used to conduct some activities in the university. In year, 87/88 due to clashes between the students, causing death of some students, the elections in all the collages are banned by the state government.
With the recommendation of my seniors, Mr. Ramana Reddy, he has offered to give his cot in the hostel, as he has completed his course. With a nod from senior leaders Mr. Kasam (Physics) and Mr. Srinivas Reddy (Chemistry), I got the cot. This room was on the first floor on the rare side or corner of the building. It had three beds, I was sharing with Mr. Rajendra Prasad (Botany) and Mr. Murali (Chemistry).
Coming from IIT, Bombay, I was simple. After joining the college, I was wearing rubber slippers, jeans, and a T-shirt. I always kept the beard and never died my gray hair. Once my brother-in-law saw me at the entrance of Arts College Building. He said that this is not IIT this is Osmania University, you should wear a better dress and don’t wear the slippers. My habits from IIT did not change much. The university students used to have mostly a white shirt which is well ironed. Rarely they used to wear T-shirts. A Reynolds pen with blue cap in the front pocket was the mark of the university students usually.
B-Hotel was dominant with ABVP students. In the hostel, I used to wear a short, instead of Lungi which majority of the students were wearing in the hostel. The ABVP students did not like me wearing the shorts.But short was more comfortable to me than lungi. They had some regular activities. On one of the weekdays regularly they used to organize Baitak (means sitting in Hindi). Some students used to bash at the door and say, “Baitak”, so that all in the room should go and attend. it was in the Television Room in one corner downstairs. The ABVP leaders used to give a lecture on some topic or party activities. Only once, I went there to see what it is like, I did not like the way it was organised. Although they used to invite I ignored and never participated. Some of the leaders chelas (followers) had a grudge, used to whistle and make cat calls behind me to provocate. I never minded and walked straight without turning back. As I did not respond nor react to their cat calls and whistles they got insulted themselves and never did again. Because the leaders knew me and my interest in studies, they did not bother much. I was preparing for civil services competitive exam in those days. I always walked alone to the mess which was about 100 meters from Hostel and never went in a group to be the cynosure of the leaders. Some of them who did not attend or heed to the leaders were bashed too. My roommate Mr. Rajendra Prasad was beaten seriously because he and his classmates from Botany Department were independent and were not actively participating in the activities of ABVP. I was called by one of the ABVP leaders into their room, Mr. Rajendra Prasad, was there sitting on the edge of a bed. His face was bent down and he was bleeding from the mouth. He was completely shaken and in shock. He was only pleading sorry to the few leaders standing in the room. I came to know that he along with his other friends were beaten by them before the Astronomy department and was later brought Mr. Rajendra Prasad to this room. I was asked to accompany him to the hospital for treatment. Although they have beaten, they had the concern to take him to the hospital. I took him along with few other junior leaders to the hospital. The doctor did not ask how he got hurt but gave an injection and medicines. Things are understood.
But in spite of contrasts, B-Hotel has given me so much energy and inspiration. The students from this hostel have achieved so many things in their later life.
Each hostel had its own mess. The sambar of B-Hostel and A-Hostel was excellent. Every student loved the sambar. Nobody demanded curry if sambar was provided. Rice and sambar were the basic in the menu. It was like intoxication and addiction. Once in a year, a lizard or cockroach lands in the sambar by accident. The students’ fury goes up to abusing and beating the staff of the hostel mess. The hostel used to be closed for few days and reopens again. The way students used to through the food, plates, chairs and upturn the tables. Once I was witness to this situation.