Saturday, July 23, 2011

Growing Up in a Boarding School - The Dining Experience!

I cannot remember if getting into the groove of things at Pratt was easy or
difficult. My memory of those first few years is somewhat fuzzy. I stayed
there for about four years moving on to another boarding school, but more on
the move in future installments.

Apart from sleeping in an uncomfortable bed with a room full of total
strangers and using those common toilets and bath area I think the biggest
adjustment was the food. If you know anything about Bengali's you would know
we are all about our food. Our daily meals are pretty elaborate and
delicious and parents jump through hoops feeding their kids to make them
round and chubby. Before stepping into hostel life I did not quite appreciate
that of course. I used to be one of those kids not too keen on eating and
would take hours finishing one meal. It didn't take me long to realize the good life I'd left behind soon after I sat down for my first meal at the hostel.

The aluminum plates and a trolly with two large buckets filled with rice and daal respectively and some kind of vegetable concoction already served on those plates still manages to churn my stomach whenever I think of those days. Breakfast consisted of a runny porridge also served on plates which later somehow became my most favorite food at Pratt. Non-veg which consisted more of curry and less of meat was only served on weekends. One positive came out of this culinary experience - on my fist vacation back home I absolutely devoured anything that was served to me. From there on eating was never a problem and I could eat almost anything given to me without being picky. I truly began to appreciate food. Till date I hate wasting food - it reminds me of those days where I didn't have much to eat.

Talking about food - we did have a tuck locker back in our dorm area. This was the place which held the most precious of our possessions - little snack items that were sent from home. These were all kept locked and was given to us on weekends. I remember relishing each cream biscuit one lick at a time. There was also a guy who used to come to the hostel on weekends to sell cookies from his black trunk. He had these bright pink and white cookies that he sold for a few paisas. I would almost always spend my tuck money on those.

These days I'm served huge portions wherever I go to eat and I see the amount of food being wasted around me. It makes me sad and I remember those days as little girls when we would have given anything to eat the way we do now.


MattuSunny said...

Sunny always says all those people who do not appreciate & respect food should spend a few years in hostel!
I totally agree with you... so much food is being wasted all around, especially the huge family size portions given to one individual in the US. I am with you, I can't stand people throwing food away, only take as much as you can eat and taste a little first to see if you want more.

UC said...

Nice post Mala...reminds me of my hostel days and the food that was served as well as those priceless treats from home!

MACMD said...

I'm loving these posts. I just can't imagine being in a boarding school. I would have been completely inconsolable.

Joy @CGBC Youth said...

I've had two different boarding experiences in two countries, and it wasn't until I got to the one at South Africa that I experienced a little bit of what you described here. My boarding school in Taiwan served me food that's wonderful and full of variety that my classmates and I often talk about how much we missed them (even though we had to do dishes afterwards)! The one at SA, however, would served us one piece of toast with cheese as dinner...and I was hungry most of the time! Your posts certainly brings back lots of good/bad memories. Lucky, they have been purified and become part of who we are today. I'm thankful for every bit of it.

Mala said...

Thanks everyone. I've been pretty amazed to find out how many folks I know have had similar experiences in their lives in different boarding schools.