Hostel elections are round the corner. Every aspiring secretary is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to his contribution to the hostel. It’s funny some times when every aspiring secretary is made to work like a dog while looking for votes. My friend once told me that this is the time when any request made to the secretaries are actually heard by the aspiring secretary and positively ‘fulfill’ them. Activities in and around the hostel peak during the summer. Every unkept (if there is such a word) promise by the previous secretary is answered by the contestants. In my hostel, new garden is being built. As an icing on the case new cycle fence is also being constructed. The administration and previous secretary had their own reasons for why this work wasn’t done last time around.
When one reads the manifestoes of every secretary, it is hard not to notice the fact that we hardy have any powers. They include points like ‘door stoppers for every room’, ‘shampoo holder for the bathrooms’, ‘door mats for bathrooms’ and other really really tiny stuff. Nobody ever has any concrete point in their manifesto. I remember reading about student body in IITM hardly has any powers unlike in other colleges. Quite evidently this is true every at a grass root hostel level.
Almost every evening leading unto the elections, we are disturbed by the contestants for their ‘manifestos’. It’s sickening when they try to explain every point. It is like they make us feel 5 years old. They go on to say ‘door mats, so that you can keep the bath room clean when to enter it after a game of cricket……blah blah…same point, 5 minutes’. Are we really that dumb not to understand the purpose mats? The ‘trivial’ manifestoes take at least 45 minutes of our time. At the end of it all, our lives don’t change, no matter what promises are kept. Secretaries are just consolation we are given.
Beginning of every academic year, in all hostels a formal general body meeting (GBM) is held. Our elected representatives head the meeting. The year’s expenditure on all hostel related issues are discussed. For instance, buckets for bathroom are bought from this allocated budget. All 250-300 students share the cost. Here’s how a typical argument goes:
Secretary(S): we need Rs 260 fro 20 buckets.
An arbit guy (G): why 260?
S: because each bucket costs 13 bucks
G: are you sure?
S: of course
G: but you are buying 20 of them
G: you might get them at 12.5, have you enquired?
S: 13 is final
G: we are not ready to give 13, bargain for 12.5
Probably somebody should tell him that at 12.5 each person saves 10 paisa. This kind of arguments happens through out the GBM fro about 5 hrs on a good thursday evening in the month of August. Some other regular arguments include, “why can’t cricket team adjust with 3 bats instead of 4?” After much effort, we might end up saving only about Rs 30 for the whole year.
Suppose entire money is not spent, what happens? Well, it goes to black hole called hostel account. I know that over past 5-6 years no money has ever been taken out of it. In fact, our hostel has about 6 lakhs (or 3 lakhs) bucks it. This year, the institute had decided to spend some of it on hostel renovation like garden, cycle shed etc.
Our hostel elections are on 4th of April. May the best deserving candidates win.