follow us

Meera Bhawan- Home away from home

Aarti Kapur (Pilani, ‘68) visited the campus for her 50th Golden Jubilee Reunion during the month of February. In the article, she shares her experience of going down memory lane only to notice some very significant and unimaginable changes at the campus.

We had a Golden Jubilee Reunion at BITS Pilani in February 2023. Although we were only five girls in our batch of B.E. (Hons), we traversed the journey to becoming full-fledged electronics engineers and proud BITSians along the way. I was the sole representative of Meera Bhawan at the reunion, but it was wonderful meeting my batchmates, and once again being back in the peaceful environment of the campus. The Pilani campus envelops you completely in its serene and quiet old-world charm.

During the reunion, I had to visit Meera Bhawan where I had spent five years of my life. So, one night after dinner, we went for a drive around the campus and took a look at the hostel. It was midnight so I expected the gates to be locked and imagined the security won’t even allow me to enter at that time.

My thoughts went back to the time I had come as a sixteen-year-old, teary-eyed at the thought of being away from my family. We were given a set of rules that we had to follow, like signing the register given to the chowkidar at the gate, being in the hostel by 6 PM or 7 PM, going to the Connaught/ Volga accompanied by a senior etc.

When I was a student here and going for the weekly Sunday movie to the Auditorium, our superintendent would accompany us. After the movie got over, our hostel security guard would also arrive and make sure that we safely reach back to our hostel.

Because of curfew timings, we girls weren’t allowed to go for a midnight snack at the night canteen, which we missed when we were hungry. What used to happen was that our mess manager would leave us some leftovers at the mess counter, and we would pick them up and assuage our midnight hunger.

Student elections were a huge thing back in our days and the candidates were given special permission to canvass at Meera Bhawan. However, they were never allowed to enter inside the gates so they would give live performances outside the heavily guarded gate, vying for votes. It was a big thing for youngsters on both sides of the gate.

Needless to say, we never stepped outside the campus gate. Our lives were confined to walking the paths from Meera Bhawan to the Institute, and sometimes to the Connaught via Shiv Ganga. Occasional visits were also paid to the beautiful and serene Saraswati temple during exams.

Cut to February 2023, When I visited the hostel, the gates were wide open, girls were freely moving in and out. I was informed that the curfew was removed and the students were free to move in and out anytime they feel like.

The security guard allowed me to go inside. Seeing those walls, wings, and rooms was extremely nostalgic for me. It seemed like a mini campus with a new boundary wall. A large number of bicycles and two-wheelers were parked. A vending machine for snacks was installed, a huge double mess with veg. and non-veg. food was open, and a night canteen which is open till 2 AM.

Times have changed. BITS Pilani has changed. Meera Bhawan has changed. Seeing the Institute grow, expand and be open to reform is what makes BITS Pilani stand out from the rest of the major Institutes in the country.

Elvis Presley’s famous song says, ‘Home is where the heart is’. A piece of my heart will always be in Meera Bhawan, BITS Pilani for it helped me nurture and develop and believe in myself and my potential.