Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Madhouse: True Stories of the Inmates of Hostel 4, IIT Bombay

As soon as someone mentions IIT, it conjures  respect and awe but also at the same time we  imagine a non-interesting, studious and serious life. What many don’t know is the whackiest, weirdest fun is had in the hostels of IIT.  The life at IIT Hostel always intrigued me, since I am married to an IITan. Anyone who is married or has dated an IITan would agree that it is almost like a secret brotherhood, the stories and the fun or things that they have done in those years remain strictly between them. It is almost sacred and not for public sharing. One knows a wild time was had, weird nick names shared, whacky things done but it is never discussed with families.

Madhouse: True Stories of the Inmates of Hostel 4, IIT Bombay is a book that will give the reader an insight of what goes around these hostels. It is a compilation of all the ex-students of IIT Bombay who lived in Hostel 4. Starting from their ragging days to their graduation ex students have recalled memorable incidents of their life in hostel.  The compilation is specifically of IIT Powai, Hostel 4 passouts but the episodes will give the reader a fair insight into the life at IIT.  Happy stories, funny stories, laugh out loud stories the book has it all. Most of the stories though are from the students of 80s.

Reading the book made me realize why these men bond just so much, how friendships are made forever, why such elaborate efforts for a reunion are made whenever even a single friend comes visiting from abroad.  The shared experiences, the shared jokes, the shared past every time they meet come alive. Even as an outsider you can’t help but notice the bond of friendship, trust they share. 

The book, as one reads it, one can figure out the tremendous effort that would have gone into getting stories from all the ex-students, considering most of them lead busy lives in different corners of the world. 

Excellent initiative but honestly a book that would be enjoyed strictly by people who have lived in that hostel.

About the Editors:

Urmilla Deshpande lived in Bombay in the 1980s, when most of this book took place, and has close connections with IITans herself. This is her first book as editor. Urmilla now lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Her published work includes A Pack of Lies and Kashmir Blues. She is now working on Slither: Carnal Prose by Urmilla Deshpande. It is a collection of short fiction, and will be available in 2011.

Bakul Desai is a Hyderabad-based businessman who graduated from IIT, Bombay in 1982. He is currently on the Board of Directors of IIT Bombay Alumni Association. He lives in Hyderabad with his wife, daughter and his colourful memories of his days in IIT where he lived for five years in a black-and-white era.


  1. we have extensive feedback that non IITans too have loved this book.

  2. That's good to know!As a non IITan I enjoyed reading it too...Congratulations!

  3. It's really great to spend holiday vacation with this such kind of accommodation.
    Hostels Sao Paulo

  4. We Provide Paying Guest Accommodation, Deluxe Rooms, Executive men's hostels, , Hyderabad. We have an LED Television Facility, Hi-Speed Wi-Fi Internet Facility, Laundry Facility, Camera Facility, Separate Lockers Facility, Car Parking Facility, Hot Water Facility, Purified Drinking Water Facility, 24hrs - Water Supply Facility, Security - 24hrs Facility, Air Condition Facility.