As you gear up to begin your stint at college life, one of the questions that most of you consider is what kind of food will you get at the institute? The following document should serve as some sort of introduction to the mess system prevalent in IIT-B - the goods, the bads and the alternatives.
Each hostel has its own mess (place where food is served and eaten). The timings of these messes can broadly be summarized as follows-
Breakfast (7.30-9.00 am)
Lunch (12 - 1.30 pm)
Tiffin (4.30-6.00 pm)
Dinner (7.30 - 9.00 pm)
The timings of the messes are not extremely strict but do not extend more than 10-15 minutes past the closing time.
The administrative work is handled by a mess manager with the hostel mess council which is the student body comprising of the Mess Councillor (Mess Co.) and Mess Secretaries (Mess Secys). A mess menu is decided upon by the hostel mess council and is generally put up on the notice boards and the hostel website (www.gymkhana.iitb.ac.in/~hostelx
, where x should be replaced by the hostel number).
The payment for the mess is done by maintaining a mess account for which an advance is charged with the hostel fees. The surplus (after calculating your mess bill) is refunded at the end of the semester to your bank account. Besides the standard meal rates, the mess bill comprises of any extra special food that you take or extra meals that you may buy for your friends or relatives. This bill is accounted in a register kept generally near the food serving area.
What is the special extra food mentioned in the above paragraph? For most food items like daal, sabzi, roti, chaawal etc., you are allowed to unlimited servings but for desserts and certain things served for tiffin, there may be a limit of one or two servings per person. It is for this that you need to account for as special extra food. You are not allowed to eat in another hostel mess unless you buy a coupon or your friend accounts for it.
Following is some general advice regarding mess food etc. -
1) Try and be aware of your on-going mess menu. It helps you not miss out on good meal days.
2) The mess council is the best medium for registering complaints. Do inform the Mess Co or the Mess Secy's of any sort of discrepancy or grievance. But also keep in mind that the menu being served is generally decided on a common liking basis and hence there may be times where you would have to adjust your likings. It is at times like these that the canteen (described later in a different section) or other hostel mess prove helpful.
3) Also be aware of the practical closing times of your mess and preferably of some other hostel mess too just in case you happen to miss out on your own mess.
4) There are certain special days, the Gala meals, in the semester when, as the name suggests there is some special meal in the mess. These meals may be serverd at the mess itself or outside. The extra amount for this Gala meal is deducted from the aforementioned deposit. It is obviously not advisable to miss out on these. Mess Rebate
: If you're going somewhere for about a week, it is a good idea to avail this. Most hostels allow students to temporarily join their mess if they are away for specific period of time to avoid being charged for those days. The minimum and maximum number of days varies from hostel to hostel - your hostel mess secy/co/manager will be able to give you the details.
[Credits to Naman Agarwal]