CET Men’s Hostel 1986-1989

The College of Engineering Trivandrum or CET was founded in 1939 by Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the then Maharaja of Travancore. The college website describes this event in a more dramatic manner—“On the 3rd of July, 1939, when war clouds were looming large over the skies of Europe and the entire world, the College of Engineering, Trivandrum formally came into existence.

From 1939 to 1961, the college was housed in the former office and bungalow of the Chief Engineer which currently is the Postmaster General’s (PMG) Office. The College was shifted to the present sprawling 45 hectares campus near Sreekaryam in 1960.

The men’s hostel at CET is a marvelous piece of architecture. Initially it was designed to accommodate 240 students. There are 4 blocks (A, B, C and D), each block has 3 floors and each floor has 20 rooms. In addition to this each floor has common rooms like the office, TV room, library, store, etc. The rooms which are 15’ x 15’ are quite spacious even for double occupancy. In the good old days, every inmate had a room. Many of our fortunate seniors partitioned their rooms so that they had separate sections for entertaining visitors, studying and sleeping. Unfortunately the one-person-one-room policy was changed a few years before our arrival. The demand for the rooms was very high with the number of students increasing as more and more courses were added. So the hostel authorities decided that for the first 4 semesters the 4 students will share a room; prefinal and final year students will have double rooms. Since I got admission only in my fifth semester, I got a double room.

The design of the hostel is very interesting. I have provided a sketch below. Click on it to view a larger and clearer image. I have spent more than 2 hours on the sketch, so better click on the thumbnail and admire my talent:-)

All the blocks have shutters to the outside at the bottom floor—both at the front and at the back (the circular shaped portions in the figure; this portion also house the bathrooms and toilets on each floor). The top floors of block A is connect to B and C to D. The middle floor of all the floors are connected. So if a person in the ground floor of the A block (popularly known as A bottom) has to go to D top he has two ways: A bottom – A middle – C middle – D middle and to D top or A bottom – A middle – B middle – D middle and to D top. Or he can take go out and take the road and get into D bottom and climb to D top.

At 10PM all the shutters except the front shutter of A bottom will be closed and will remain closed till 6AM. So all the inmates who return to the hostel after 10 can enter the hostel only through A bottom. We didn’t have any restrictions and were free to come and go as whenever we wanted. The hostel warden didn’t live in the hostel or anywhere near it. The resident tutors would close their doors after 10PM to prevent some drunken inmate entering the room and wreaking havoc. So we pretty much had the hostel to ourselves as there was not a single soul to spoil our freedom.

Getting one’s bearing in the hostel can be quite confusing for a person who is new. It usually takes a couple of weeks to become familiar with the layout and find one’s way around. During the ragging season, when the seniors ask the freshers to be present at their room at a specific time, they are more afraid of not finding their way and not reaching the room on time than the fear of getting ragged.

Once the hostel TV was stolen and the police inspector who came to investigate the case, after visiting the TV room and having taken a guided tour of the hostel, told the warden that it was an inside job. In his opinion, a person who is not familiar with the layout would not have managed to get out of the hostel after stealing the TV unless he jumped through the window with the TV!

Initially we were staying at the outer wing of B bottom. During our final year we moved to the outer wing of C top. C top is considered the super deluxe section of the hostel, basically because of the view and the breeze. You get a breathtaking and unobstructed view of the valley and there is good breeze 24 hours a day.

How we got the most sought after rooms of C top and other hostel stories in the next parts, so watch this space…


  1. silverine Said,

    August 11, 2005 @ 7:26 pm

    Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for your comments to the recent post. And I went through your website by following the link. Very well done and informative. and I am gonna come back to read the part about getting the most sought after rooms. The sketch looks awesome. and from your description the college seems like some US university except for the shutters downing at 10.That reminds me of a convent school for girls :) )

  2. Alexis Leon Said,

    August 11, 2005 @ 7:53 pm

    Hi Silverine,

    Thanks for the comments, but I think I should dispel the “convent school for girls” image that you have given to our hostel :-) . I said that the shutters of the 3 blocks out of 4 were down by 10PM. There weren’t any time restrictions for us. We all had to come in through A block after 10PM. This was mainly for security reasons as the hostel was at the farthest end of the campus. The civil department had constructed numerous low-cost buildings as part of their project which were used by the local people for all sorts of sporting activities from making illegal liquor to prostitution. So many a time things including bikes were stolen from the hostel. Only to prevent such incidents, the shutters of 3 blocks were closed at night and not to put any restricitions on the students. Convent school… hum, I think this will be the first convent school that had the inmates running a bar and growing ganga plants in their rooms 8-O . As I promised more of it in the coming posts…

  3. Jithu Said,

    August 12, 2005 @ 4:35 am

    re-living those good old days! bar and ganja in the hostel?? hey thts something new to me :-)

  4. Paappaan Said,

    October 10, 2005 @ 10:55 am

    Me -> A one-time occupant of C-312

  5. Unni Said,

    December 17, 2005 @ 9:43 am

    Hi Alexis

    Thankyou very much for the infomation.Iam a member of the hostel currently living in D-212.Its nice to hear about those old hostel days.It is the same here now also

  6. abdul Said,

    December 23, 2005 @ 2:43 am

    hey alexis.. nice post.. i am an inmate of D-Top of MH now.. an the MH still rules.. nice to see you relive the moments.. but i’ve been waiting last 2 months for ur next post… thats y this comment.. write fast buddy… u’ve got an eager crowd waiting to read it here!!

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