The Filmy Room of Yesteryear

Rummaging through a stash of old photos, trying to find prints for a travel article I was writing, I was suddenly overwhelmed with nostalgia as I held in my hands pictures of my college dorm room.

I had been rather lucky in college for never having a roommate – some might disagree, but for one reason or another, not sharing a room has its advantages. As a result I pretty much lived in a luxurious – strictly by college standards – space for the four years I was enrolled.

What this also allowed me to do was “decorate” the room according to my own choice in addition to skipping the whole tie on the door routine.

My craze for movies didn’t just start suddenly. I don’t have a memorable story wherein I saw Star Wars for the first time in the theater and knew that movies were going to be a part of my life from that moment on. No. 

I cannot even pinpoint a day for when the transformation happened. It was gradual, over many years, which started with watching 80s Hindi Cinema – also considered by many as the worst decade ever in Bollywood – to appreciating Black and White Classics and Foreign Films. This “craze” though came into full form sometime during college, which is quite evident from the photographs posted here. 

The entire process of putting up everything which included rearranging the furniture, un-boxing and showcasing my small yet somewhat drool worthy film collection, finding space for the numerous posters and magazine clippings, and of course some space for my books, was a tedious task that took a considerable amount of time – usually from a week to anywhere around three weeks.

Visitors were not allowed in the room during this time, unless they planned on playing hop-scotch as the entire floor would be covered with posters and cuttings and many a times I too would avoid returning to the room, mid-way of the decorations, sacred of all the tasks that remained.

The magazine cutting were mainly from film magazines – primarily Empire and/or Total Film – and since posters were still big – are they even now? – I would collect as many as possible while on my trips to the UK. Some including those of Trainspotting, Basic Instinct, The X-Files, and The Usual Suspects would now be considered partially vintage as they are hard to find. Alas! I no longer have them.  

Once the room was ready, each year I would have a “room warming” party with a few friends which was in actuality a glorified Movie Night.

Considering we were in a small town of Germany – Schwaebisch Gumend – where English movies were hard to find, I would first walk to take a 45 minute one-way train to Stuttgart, then walk another 15 minutes to The English Shop – a tiny little shop that housed everything (Pot Noodles, Biscuits, Sweets, VHS Tapes…) English, hence the name – and rent a bunch of movies or sometimes episodes of Friends. The same trip would have to be done again within the next two days to return the films, and I can now safely say, after having successfully graduated, that that would often lead to me skipping a few classes – Sorry Dad.

I did in the end enjoy the entire process of setting up the room, however, the end of the year when everything had to be taken off, was what would eventually prove to be a pain in the you-know-where. 

Imagine how loathsome taking off BlueTac from the walls can be, and then multiply it by close to a 100, and maybe then you would get an idea of how I felt doing this when everyone else would be celebrating the end of an academic year.

It is safe to say that a lot of this was also done in a tipsy state, which eased a pain a little and would be a nice little surprise when I would wake up the next morning and realize how much, or how little, I had accomplished the previous night.  

 

Still, I never regretted setting up my room the way I did. It was a nice little place to mingle and just relax after a hard day of classes. Granted, most people might find it distracting to study in a room like this, but for some reason I did not – study, I did not study, of course it was distracting.

Now though, the tables have turned.

At home where there are a number of personalities living under the same roof, I can only dream about having a room like this. Moreover, I have to at times stop my kids from “damaging” the walls with stickers and art projects – pin-board to the rescue.

I have been generously “allowed” – after a lot of begging – to have a few (5-6) posters in my home theater, but eventually not being able to replace or rotate them often makes them a tad old – still have one from Star Wars Episode One … the Horror! I know – after a few years.

I guess I just need to defy the family rules and get some posters framed and hang them up like old times. Obviously, before I do that, I better make sure I go out and buy a nice comfortable couch to sleep on. 

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37 thoughts on “The Filmy Room of Yesteryear

  1. Your room reminds me of my college room! Do you know that there is a place in Crawford Market in Mumbai that sells old posters? Nice to see pics of an era when there wasn’t a digital camera!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting insight to your college days! I can say I was one of the lucky ones who had their own apartment and even though it wasn’t easy, I appreciated my freedom too much. I used to be a massive fan of posters as a teenager too and can vouch for them definitely being a thing ha! I mean, obviously because I was a fan. 😀

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  3. Ah, college years! I love that you still have photos of your dorm room — what amazing memories to hold on to! During my time in college, my roommates and I decided to paint (aka paint our hands and make hand prints of various colors all over our accent wall) to decorate on our own standards! And that’s pretty amazing that you had a room to yourself for four years! Lucky you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Woah – this looks like my own room from my childhood days too. I used to collect a lot of movie posters and posters of my favorite musical artists too! Then I would paste them onto every bare part of my wall. This post really incited that nostalgia, but it’s good to know I wasn’t the only one.

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  5. I can imagine the kind of nostalgia that would have hit you. For most of us, collage time is one of the most beautiful times of our life that never comes back. Create a beautiful collection out of the pictures and preserve them forever

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hear you on the Blu-Tac front. I spent years moving from share room, to share room, putting up posters of films and bands I liked, photos of families and friends and random postcards from around the world. Gave up on doing that a couple of years ago, as I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. Definitely no harm in framing some posters and putting them on your wall – they look nice and there’s no Blu-Tac involved!

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  7. Your post brought back memories of my own hostel room of many years ago. I too had my room plastered with posters of celebrities from across the world and in fact had developed this into some kind of a fine art. I will try and dig up some photos, now that you have awakened long lost memories.

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  8. If I had met you in college we would be best friends! I’ve never been a big fan of posters in my room (I suffer from a bit of OCD), but I absolutely LOVE movies and have spent way too much time watching way too many! I can appreciate movie posters though, certainly the rare ones! The ones I noticed in your pictures that excited me the most was Alien and The Usual Suspects.

    And I agree, living on your own is so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers and thanks and yeah always nice to have fellow cinephiles around to talk films. I regret giving away Usual Suspects and Trainspotting and Alein was off a magazine so not really an investment. Also the Friends one was quite unique.

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  9. I agree with you when you say not sharing your room with anyone has its own advantage. I am currently renting my own room in my work and I am just happy that I have my own place that mirrors my personality. Yours looked so cool!

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  10. Your old room reminds me to my uncle’s. He had a way smaller room than my mom’s. But his room was very interesting. He had a lot of posters on the wall. Music stuff on the floor and a guitar that always laid on his bed. 🙂 Also the posters of old movies. Maybe he has the same taste of movie just like you.

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  11. Wow, this seems to be a fantastic memory. Childhood was the best time to do these sort of things and get away with it without the obligatory nagging 😛 But this seems to be awesome, that our rooms are an extension of our personalities seems to fit very well in your case 🙂

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  12. I can very much relate to this post. My high school bedroom was similar. I don’t know why but I had decided to collect Calvin Klein advertisements from magazines. My walls were covered and I ended up deciding to throw them out when I went away to university. Wouldn’t you know, some of them are of course worth a bit a money!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a lovely room. I used to put up my favourite posters in our small 1BHK. The bedroom walls were allocated 2 posters by mom. I would get the biggest ones. Now that I think of it, it was ugly to dominate the small room with these bright shiny colourful posters. But at that time, I could only drool on them.

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  14. I think only the ceiling and the floor were ‘spared’ of the posters. Or were they? 😛

    Brought back memories of my own University hostel room, which I had to share with two others. But it was a large room and I had my corner which I decorated with a couple of art prints and old greeting cards, and couple of sketches that a friend had done.

    Great post, Raghav. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and yes the ceiling was spared but the floor had an extra mattress – Indian style, some rugs and then the usual college litter like bottles and ummm other stuff.

      I think college is one of those times when anyone who’s lived in a hostel/away from home splurges on wall decoration. It’s a way to identify oneself I guess.

      Like

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