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A day of optimism

March 18, 2015

I sometimes look back at the spring-summer months of 2008 and wonder whether all of it was a bad dream or did I actually go through it?

I had finished 4th year of my law school and arrived in Delhi for a two and half month internship with Luthra & Luthra, a leading law firm of the country.

When I was accepted by the law firm, I immediately began my research for a place to stay. Internet suggested Shakti Ahuja’s Women’s Hostel in East Patel Nagar, on the Blue Line of Delhi Metro and quite close to my office in Barakhamba Road. Assured by the decent reviews all over the internet, I asked my father to do an advance booking when he visited Delhi on a work trip two month’s prior.

I landed up in Delhi, alone and reached 7/17, East Patel Nagar. The hostel looked just like all other bungalows of Delhi. The owner, Ms Shakti Ahuja who lived in the ground floor of the house asked for the rest of the amount the moment I set my foot in. I was paying a steep Rs. 7.5k for only stay.

I was taken up the stairs by the servant, Raju to my room. To my utter horror, it turned out to be a tiny hell hole on the roof! It was what is usually the servant’s quarter in other houses! The bathroom was the worst I have encountered in my life till date (and I have encountered NDMC hostel a year ago). And top of it all, I had to figure out a way to feed myself.

For the next few weeks, I went through the worst phase of my life. I starved on the day of Holi because all restaurants were closed, had no friends because everybody else lived in proper rooms in the first two floors, got extremely lonely during weekends with nobody to hang out with, struggled to cope with the pressures of a corporate law firm and tried to fend off unwanted male attention.

And then one day, my expensive and branded formal  wear got stolen from the clothes line! My bravado crumpled as I broke down for the first time.

One of my closest friend was also in the city but he was staying quite far away and that’s why we hadn’t met till then. I called him up and told him how depressed and lonely I was.

“Let’s meet up one day,” said he.

He came down all the way to the Rajouri Garden malls, along with his boyfriend. We had coffee, talked our hearts out, teased each other and laughed a lot. They provided me with a much-needed break from the drudgery I was in. They made me understand the beauty of being alone rather than lonely.

For the remaining duration of my stay, I made friends with a few girls from my hostel, went out to explore Connaught Place by myself, bought books and read them in the terrace, went shopping for new formal clothes and took a stand with the offensive males – all by myself. That one day outing helped me get over my miserable state and tackle my remaining stay with optimism.

I encountered more hardship in the days to follow, especially when my luggage got stolen from my room! I managed to retrieve it (it was a handiwork of the servant) and left the hostel earlier than stipulated after telling Ms Ahuja exactly what I thought of her.

I vowed to myself never to return to the city.

Look where I am now 🙂

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