I think those who stayed once in their life in hostels, might get the chances to run the hostel mess. That is to control mess…from collecting the mess dues to the mess menu. During this period, the boarders who are running the mess have to do all the jobs connected to the mess….collect the mess dues from both the permanent boarders and the guests who come to stay for few days during the mess period, prepare the daily menu, do the marketing of the ingredients or let other people from the kitchen maintenance to do the same, keep the records of the expenses every day properly, maintain the mess fund collected in their time so that mess can be run smoothly to the end with that estimated budget and most importantly digest all the complaints from the rest of the boarders regarding the menu.
In my long hostel life, I got those chances twice…once in my university life and another in my research scholar hostel. In the rest of the hostels, we, the boarders did not have to maintain the mess. Those were maintained by some other people who were appointed for that particular job. But still I think people should have the experiences regarding the mess maintenance. Since for me, it is some thing very fruitful for we people in the later part of our life.
In my university life, 4 boarders were given the charges for running the mess in one month. Those boarders might be from the same Department or from the different Departments also. We were there equally from two
Department….combining Mathematics and MBA…….me, Sujaya, Moitreyee and Daisy. We decided to divide our mess between us equally in number of days. Accordingly I and Sujaya would run the first 15 days and rest of the mess would be run by other boarders. For a successful mess, some times things were dependent on the time also. Means in which season, you got the chance to run the mess. Because we had to maintain the mess with the same amount of dues in both the season. Vegetables were available in the winter season but very rare in summer. Still credit went to those who could run the mess smoothly and properly with the satisfaction from all the boarders.
We got the chance in the summer season where nothing was available except the jackfruits. Honestly speaking, we were very much excited to experience our capability on a new job. First few days, we enjoyed a lot in keeping the records every day. Those things seemed to be very interesting for us. But slowly we really got irritated when we saw that it would not be possible to complete the whole mess in that estimated budget in the time of vegetables crisis. Still we had to maintain it some how and had to complete it also some how. Finally we completed our 15 days some how with not so many complaints from the boarders.
But when the rest 15 days got handed over to the rest of the two boarders, one boarder started her cunning tricks in avoiding the mess. She was from the MBA Department and from her concept MBA was not a Department to waste their time in maintaining such type of silly things. Oh really???? Then the other Departments went there to enjoy their life??? MBA had lots of assignments, lots of exams, lots of seminars to be presented which were not there in other Departments….she gave the logic. The rest of the Departments would not have to worry enough to pass their exams like MBA.
Those were the reasons why I had some allergies for that particular Department in my life….those allergies were still there in my life where I met some MBA people. But interestingly my mess partner Sujaya was also MBA, but she completed her term with me without a single objection. Ultimately we let them to do their job in their way where we people also got involved in directly. Our mess was considered to be one BAD mess by the boarders. I accepted that since I knew personally that it was really down in the later part of the term.
But I personally appreciated those we completed their mess very successfully. Whatever be the reason, those mess were really very good. Among them, I still remember one mess which was maintained by my friends Anamika, Rupjyoti, Ananya and Minakshi. I personally praised them after completing their mess. In my university life, I met some of my friends who could maintain every thing parallely…their studies, their high profiled life style, their room decoration, their friendships, their attitudes….every thing. I often told my husband about them who cooked the items deliciously themselves at the mess endings. It was very hard to cook those recipes on those big kitchen utensils. But my friend Yesmine, Ayesha and some other maintained very nicely and properly in preparing those delicious foods.
Though my mess experience was not so smooth in my university life, still there were nothing so much serious about that. People did not keep complaining all the time about the mess. Those things could be forgotten straight away since we had not enough time to discuss those things due to hectic schedules. Hectic schedules were not there in the MBA Department only, those had to be maintained by all the students from the rest of the Departments also. But my mess in the Gauhati university research scholar hostel was a bit controversial I could say. That mess had to be maintained by one boarder for 15 days. More interestingly, there were lots of complaints if things were going properly also. That hostel was in fact crowded by the politics only. Politics was there in all the matters, not in the mess only.
Running that mess, I simply came to one point that, we could not satisfy the total crowd where things were pre planned to attack some one. In that mess, you had to do the marketing yourself, because the kitchen maintenance people were not to be reliable. I could not go every day for it since I had to attend my Institute regularly on time. So I let them to do the marketing where they earned lots of every thing every day. I came to know it one day when one of them carried 20 Kg potato bag by his one hand. Just imagine, 20 Kg on one hand. Those 20 Kg potatoes were finished in 3 days for only 25 boarders!!!! But that was the end of my mess. In those days, I simply wished to complete my mess at the earliest. Accordingly I completed it spending extra Rs 1000/- from my pocket. For me my mess was not the best one, but not the worst one also.
In most of the messes, some boarders do not hesitate to spend the money for their personal purposes also. Some times it is seen that boarders keep waiting for their term to run the mess so that some items can be bought by spending from the mess fund. Those things are happened generally where complaints do not work. I personally know one friend who took one leather jacket, one jeans and some of his other necessary stuffs from his mess fund of an engineering college. Most of the parents do not agree to send their children to the hostels because of the worse foods in the hostels. But apart from some disturbances, the foods are worse only because of the boarders itself. This routine is continued regularly batch by batch following the seniors foot prints.
If you have some disturbances in running the mess smoothly, then the bad quality of food can be accepted at some level. But if the food is worse only because of the personal usage of the mess fund, then it can not be accepted any how at any circumstances. Think for the system, where you have to continue your life also.
NB. I beg sorry to all my MBA friends including my husband….I am not generalizing you poeple.