PLOT: 4/5

Those who have lived in a hostel in their college days in India will relate to Hostelitis: Surviving Hostel Life. They would certainly relate to the whacky ideas that inhabitants of the hostel cook up, and how they make it through the difficult course of engineering in their first year.

What is the book all about?

Based on the author’s own experiences in the four-year stint at Regional Engineering College, Surat, Hostelitis: Surviving Hostel Life is a humorous, emotional, and adventurous journey that takes readers through the transcending and multidirectional lanes of friendship, career goals, and true love.

Those special years

In short, it is an ode to all the years of being neither a child nor an adult, and yet being an adult without letting the child within them die. Yet, as the title goes, the idea of being in a hostel is a contagious disease. Once someone enters the hostel life, it may seem difficult initially, but it will be hard to say goodbye.

First impressions

The book cover deserves special mention. The title of the book is written in bold black, in large font, with several tiny things that are quintessential hostel strewn around the word. This includes an Idli Dosa platter, compass, a bucket of water, a pair of shoes, a book, and some Maggie and Samosa with chutney.

The story as it goes

The plot revolves around three friends Manish, Thomas, and Swami who are in their freshman year in college. It is a coming-of-age story for Manish and his friends who are all learning to strike the balance between being adults and kids, and not feeling like either at the same time.

It is their tryst with exams, elections in college, college politics, fights in the bathroom, heartbreaks, and finding new crushes.

The writing 

The plot has several ups and downs with multiple twists that make it enticing and relatable at the same time. The book is relatable because the circumstances are very much the same in most hostels of engineering colleges even today, and this adds to the timelessness of the plot. Only perhaps, technology has invaded lives through cell phones that were not so prevalent during the 1990s. 

However, the plot is rather episodic which takes away from the monotony of recording everyday life in hostels. It presents a view of the highlights of events that take place with the characters. There is a lot happening and there is a lot at stake when parents send their children to engineering colleges in India. This is very much reflected in the novel.

The book shows the various aspects that a so-called ‘hostelite’ or a student residing in a hostel needs to take care of. This includes the smell of urine, potato fights, and mess food. The overall plot is applicable to students studying in Indian engineering colleges and the book seems unputdownable.

The characters

The characters are all uniquely crafted. They are from different backgrounds and of course, their families have high hopes for them in terms of making it big in life after completing engineering. However, the characters have their goals, priorities, and responsibilities in mind.

Yet, they are at a phase where they have just stepped into the adult world and moved out of the sight of their parents. These characters want to experience newfound freedom, try new things in life, have fun, and make the best of everything that comes their way. In that sense, they are very much relatable because of all the confusion, heartbreak, and exam tension they go through.

The language

The writing style is rather easy to follow but there is a lot of slang used throughout the book which has been censored and not censored at the same time. There are many circumlocutions, especially in the chapter names like Eggjam Phever. Otherwise, there is plenty of humour and a lot of colloquialism. To top it all there is frequent shayari used in the text, and some of them are just hilarious.


On the whole, the book is an easy-to-follow, humorous, and light-hearted take on perhaps some of the best days in every student’s life before entering the real world.   

Who should read?

The book is a must-read for all those who’ve experienced hostel life, and definitely for those who haven’t, so that they know what all they’ve missed out on.  

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Hostelitis: Surviving Hostel Life using the link below.