Growing up in a small town has its own charm. It has some limitations too. When I was growing up, we had only one school affiliated to the CBSE board. My parents sent me Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi. (The school still exists)

I was 11 years old then. I was on my own. Sometimes I cried and wanted to go back home. The Longing got bigger whenever seniors ragged me or was hit by hostel warden.

There was no smartphone or internet in that era. We had one phone number for the entire school. If papa got lucky, my name would be announced on the loudspeaker and I would run for receiving the call. Most of the timeline would go off, it was a different era.

I was non-vegetarian and my school was complete veg. I was forced to eat paneer and drink milk. It was a pain in the ass. Some seniors would sit next to me on Thursday lunch so that they pick all paneer from my plate.

The only silver lining was the visit of Nanaji and Mamaji. They would take me out on gate pass and I would eat as much non-veg I could the entire day.

Our hostel was an army camp. We had to wake up by 5 and sleep by 9 pm. I had to change my attire multiple times in a day. We had all the co-curricular amenities: yoga, gymnastics, hockey, football, handball. We had it all.

I get a feeling I got lucky that I was sent to the hostel at such an early age. The experience I gained there has made me more resilient. The grit to survive and zeal to learn has come a long way.

We had our classmates from many different states, they were of different race and color. The myopic view I had on religion, the race was cleared very early.

Later on in life when I moved again to Delhi for my senior secondary, it helped me in making a friend circle and enjoying my stay.

Looking back in the past, it makes me realize my parents did a great job by sending me to the hostel. It opened me for the entire world.