Monday, March 23, 2009


There was a time when I used to wonder why they call a 'mess' a mess (where the first instance of the word mess refers to a place to dine). Now after over three and a half years of mess experience, I can completely sympathize with the person who came up with that name! Here's a mess 'glossary' for the newbie.

Saadaa - Refers to the kind of breakfast eaten by people who have chosen to tread the path of abstinence from the pleasures of the palate.

Andaa - One of the most extensively used raw material for breakfasts in the mess; second only to potatoes. Comes in a multitude of forms. You can order omlettes, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs or bhurji. You also have a choice of adding red chilli, green chilli, turmeric powder, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes or coriander. Plus, there is an option for specifying the exact quantity of each of these ingredients except coriander which, as a rule, is used only in microscopic quantities. Finding the total number of possible recipes should serve as a good problem in combinatorics.

Double/Extra - For those with unusually large appetites (or those who skipped the previous meal) feel free to use the prefix 'double' or 'extra' to invoke the eat-more-pay-more rule of the mess. Fair enough.

Bhau - The generic 'foobar' type name for any mess-worker which you can safely use in case you don't know his real name.

Mutter paneer - The correct way to spell this dish is mutter paneer. It is pronounced in a similar manner with the word mutter spoken out loud and clear and the word paneer is whispered under the breath so as to be barely audible. The same rule applies to paalak paneer.

Potatoes - The most extensively used raw material for any mess recipe. According to one study, an average mess member eats at least four truckloads of potatoes during his four years of mess-membership.

Guest - An (unfortunate) outsider who accompanies a mess member for a meal.

Full-cut - Used to indicate your (fortunate) absence from the mess for a specified number of days in case you are going home. This can also be used as an escape strategy to get respite from mess food and eat outside for a few days. (Most mess member realize the futility of this strategy sooner or later, because eating out turns out even more boring, more expensive and time-consuming!)

Mess Bill - It is some sort of a fine which every mess member pays per month for not enjoying the mess food in the previous month.

Mess Balance - It is (almost) like the *121# service of the mess.
Tells you how much money is remaining in your mess account after deduction of the monthly bill.

Mess Installment - The money you have to pay to "recharge" your mess account. It is indicated on a special notice every 2 months and almost invariably becomes topic for heated discussion:
People having to pay lower mess installments carry a fiendish smirk for the next three days. People having to pay higher mess installments try to prove how they are being usurped inspite of eating so less.

...and finally, the most eagerly awaited...

Feast - Applicability of this term to a mess is highly debatable. It refers to a 'special' lunch served on Sunday afternoons. Includes (comparatively) large servings of a sweet dish like rabdi, gulaab jaamun or srikhand.


  1. looks like you really have no work to do in college!! good one though!!

  2. that's 100% on target yaar.......

  3. ROFL @ "Mess Bill"

    Honestly, I've had the food at the mess a couple of times as a guest, but I've never found the food particularly unpalatable. In fact, more often than not, I've enjoyed it.

  4. i agree with aditya...

    i came down as a guest on more than a couple of wasnt that bad..

    but nice post ye ANI.. :)