The Bookoholics recently sat down with Srinivasa, author of “Hostelitis”. We had an endearing and interesting conversation with him on his book, and everything that comprised it. Have a read below:

1. How long did it take you to write this book?

I began writing this book in 1996, as a column in the youth magazine, JAM for a couple of years. About ten years ago, I tried to revivie Hostelitis as a blog. A few months ago, I decided to publish it as a book. It took me six months to finish it, since this was a side venture while I was growing my startup.

2. What inspired you to write this story?

Originally, I wrote Hostelitis to share some of my hostel life experiences with other college students. At that time, I was amazed with the feedback from all over India, that it resonated with their own experience and they would share their stories in return.

2022 is the silver jubilee year of my graduation from engineering college where Hostelitis is set. I wanted to publish this story for my batch mates, as a memory of what we went through together. I thought Hostelitis would be meaningful just for those who were in college in the mid-nineties. It has been heartening to see that folks across age groups, including young students have enjoyed the story. 

3. How much of the story, would you say is inspired by true events?

Almost the entire story is based on true events. While the characters are fictional, the events are all real. I guess that is a reason for the appeal of Hostelitis is that we can all relate with what is happening in the lives of Manish, Swami, Thomas and Prema.

4. Did you ever think you’d grow up to be an author one day?

I have always loved writing. In fact, I wanted to pursue writing as a career but fate took me towards a different route. Even in my professional life, I have written a lot on management and leadership topics. Therefore, it was my expectation that if I wrote a book, it would be non-fiction. In that sense, everyone, including I are surprised that my first book is Hostelitis. 

5. What’s your favourite quote or scene from the book?

My favourite scene from the book is the part during ragging, how Swami gets slapped and Manish has to watch out for what happens to him. Ragging was an emotional experience for us during college, and I am happy with the way that has come out in the book.

My favourite quote is when Manish says, “Real life mein aisa hota hai, boss.” It is a sobering statement of pragmatism.   

6. Do you plan on writing more books in the future? That your readers should watch out for?

I am surely going to write my non-fiction books that are in the pipeline.
When it comes to fiction, I was not sure. However, several readers said that Hostelitis was too short and that they would like to know what happened to the characters later. Obviously, I know those stories of what happened in the later years of engineering hostel and then in MBA hostel. So, I might write a sequel or two.

7. How would you describe Srinivasa?

I am generally a quiet person, who loves to read and write. I like to listen and observe which has helped me collect countless stories. 
I enjoy travelling. Photography, which is a form of storytelling, is a recent hobby.

8. What are 3 of your favourite books?

I think I have a preference for favourite authors or characters, rather than just a book. So, Sherlock Holmes. Jeeves. Jack Reacher.  

9. An interesting story that you’d like to share from your hostel days?

Ah! You must read Hostelitis, it is filled with interesting stories from my hostel days.
So, here is one that was not in the book. 
A fun-fair was organized in our college and a few of us set up a pizza stall. In the days leading up to the event, we sold coupons for the pizzas. It was fortunate that we had already collected the money for the pizzas because they turned out so sad that nobody would have paid for them afterwards. Grudgingly, they all took their pizzas and even ate them, because a hostelite cannot obviously waste money!

10. How much would you say, your hostel life has had an impact on your life?

I must say, tremendously. I spent eight years – from the age of 16 to 24 in hostels. The experience made me highly self-reliant (and maybe, lonely) even as it taught me to share space & life events with others. I realised the value of small things that we often take for granted, and at the same time, I learnt to adjust to whatever circumstances I was dealt with. 

We wish Srinivasa all the very best for his future endeavors.