It’s neither a hotel nor a house. It does not entail the strict commercial reciprocity of a hotel; or the series of obligations that characterise domesticity. A hostel, where a substantial number of the educated youth around the world find themselves for a few liminal years—is a kitsch—worthy of being observed. However, as a space, it does not get any academic or artistic attention. Its (un)aesthetic splendour does not quite attract the uninvited visitor, who arrives in the room post-midnight—desperately wanting a drag of smoke or a peg of cheap whisky. The creepy voyeur seeking some excitement, while peeping into someone’s privacy—also remains indifferent about the material and visual anarchy of the space.
Along with the uprooted bodies of a gregarious student-crowd in the hostel-room, arrives their aspiration, enthusiasm, dreams and desires. Repressions and expressions gradually populate the walls and windows; the floors and the soft‐boards. The rooms often become a culmination of infinite post-adolescent articulation of anxieties and announcements. Material and visual placements indicate the emergence of the independent self; the assertion of the hard earned freedom from parental authority. Arrangements and disarrangements expose several inclinations—studiousness, rebelliousness, or disenchantment. The material and visual disposition of one’s identity through the choice of colour, message, décor, offers layers of meanings and a discernible character to the space.
What has been documented here are some of the elements of residents’ habitat—observed from close quarters in fragments and in tight close‐ups. They offer a glimpse of their efforts to aestheticise, arrange or disarrange the ten-square-feet room‐space with objects that wait to be wiped‐out by the next whitewash in a university hostel.