IIT Madras hostels & My student life and cluture in the campus
Each hostel has seven floors and 350 single occupancy rooms. All are identical in their design. Due to increased student intake in the recent years, in some of the hostels two residents have been allotted one room, which has created certain problems. The residents in these hostels belong to different regions, linguistic groups, departments and programs. In order to ascertain how they interact with their built environment we made a questionnaire and interviewed some of them. We tried to cover as many people as possible belonging to different degrees and diverse social groups we interviewed 12 people. These were students of Btech., Mtech., MA, MBA, PHD programs and students of IIIT Kancheepuram( Indian Institute of Information Technology ) who have been temporarily allotted these hostels until the construction of their own campus is completed.
The First year MA students surveyed were living with roommates. As the room had been designed only for one person, there was not enough space for both the people and the furniture. Most of the non-fixed items (like cots, chairs etc.) had been done away with. This provided them with more space although they complained that cleaning the floor was a big hassle as all the items were on the floor. The congested nature of these rooms had made these first years dislike being in them. Hence they would only return to the room to sleep. Sometimes this would result in them staying out quite late and therefore waking up late the next day. In fact one of them claimed that his daily pattern had been altered now as he did not have time to bathe in mornings. He would now bathe only in the evenings. Privacy was also an issue due the congested nature and the design of the hostel. Cultural differences could be seen as south Indians would insist on keeping shoes outside the rooms. The central area was designed for student's to dry their clothes but it serves many purposes for the students. Sometimes students decide to not make the long walk to the bathroom and just brush in that area or they dispose of their dirt there.
The IITM fourth year MA student had found the room to be quite habitable, as a single occupant it was large enough for all his belongings and it provided him a nice view as his room faced the forest. But he said that his earlier room was on the inner side where ventilation was a big problem as his room faced other rooms. Privacy was also an issue in these rooms. Lighting near the table was also not adequate which meant that the student had to find other places to study (like library or DCF)
The MBA respondent who is in first year of the program comes from a rural background and hence finds the infrastructure more than enough. However, he also concurs that the toilets are badly maintained. The respondent mostly works in his room with his colleagues in groups. However, the room is not suited for this purpose. He complained that the fan doesn't work. Even after intimating the respective people in charge, they do not take the initiative to repair the same. The same is the case with the wash basins from which expensive fittings have been stolen, but not replaced. He also lamented about the lack of clothesline.
In fact, the respondent did not seem to use the room much. It was mostly empty and hardly looked lived in. Posters left by the previous inhabitant have not been taken down. Pigeons, which most others find as a nuisance, are something the respondent is okay with. Hostel life has not changed the respondent in any way. He continues his earlier life style. He states that the social celebrations that take place on the occasion of major festivals are more than enough to take care of his cultural needs. The ventilation seems enough but he thinks only summer will prove how adequate it would be. The respondent does not use much of the common space and the only common room that he used was the reading room for the newspaper.
The pigeons are an issue. When it is windy, (as it is most of the time), the whole room stinks if the window is left open. Like most other freshmen, the respondent also uses most of the common rooms in the hostel such as the Computer room, Music room, Games room, TV room, etc. They enjoy the freedoms of hostel life but bemoan the fact that they have to most of their work (like washing clothes, ironing etc) by themselves. They said that the ventilation is good, although a net could have been provided to keep out the pigeons from littering the balcony area. Both of them use all the common rooms frequently (tech. room, computer room, TV room and Table Tennis room). They said that they would like to see a place for whiteboard where they can note important information, and place for hangars. Although this was their first ever hostel experience, they have not faced any adjustment problems or loneliness.
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