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. (Hostel fees are included in semester fees. Once you reach here and confirm your hostel, then you will have to pay semester mess advance which is 13K.)
[Credits to Naman Agarwal]
If you get bored with the mess food, or you missed it because of that Freshie Orientation, and you don't want to spend too much, canteens are the place to be. Also, if you are suddenly hungry in the middle of the night (and trust us, it happens a lot especially during exams), a trip to the canteen is inevitable. So here's what you might want to know about them:
All hostels have a canteen . The timings (as well as rates) for the canteens differ from one hostel to another but usually they are open for sometime in the afternoon (around lunch time) and in the night (dinner time onwards uptil 2 am in the morning). Canteens of hostel 5, 7 and 12-13 are up till about 4 am. The food quality varies from decent (to be modest
) to good and plentiful in variety. These range from Packed food items and junk food to wholesome meals like Chapatis with Veg / Non Veg curry, Paranthas, Chinese dishes etc. Milk shakes, cold drinks and beverages are also easily available. The cheap Nimbu Paani is a popular favourite refreshment. Payment is usually upfront in cash. However, most canteens also maintain credit accounts for residents of the same hostel. The more popular canteens are those of Hostels 2, 4, 8 and 12-13-14.
They're the essential places to meet people, discuss, engage in gossip and where debate on the most life-changing things takes place. You'll have more than a few memories attached, we assure it.
[Credits to Mayank Singhal and Arvind Singh]