A Tale of Ashokan Elevators
Zoya Sayeda narrates the many interesting stories that occur on a daily basis in the elevators at Ashoka University
One might think that the mere 20-25 square feet of elevator space leaves little room to make significant memories. However, contrary to this belief, elevators, especially the ones at Ashoka, have time and again proven to be magical spaces leading to the creation of some very cherishable moments.
As if by some collective unspoken agreement, most students on campus have turned themselves into night owls. This has made them extremely prone to entering early morning lecture classrooms minutes after a hesitant professor has started teaching a class of two and a half people. However, it is not just the extremely worrying sleep schedules of the students that have caused this phenomenon; surprisingly, the residence hall lifts prove to be one of the major culprits.
The residence hall elevators never seem to be on time, especially when you are running late for an important class. It would not be a stretch to say that the first fearful thought that hijacks a student’s mind who has woken up late for their class in the morning is whether or not they will be able to catch the elevator on time. On top of that, one is more afraid of others in the same building getting late for class than they themselves getting late. The more people get late for classes, the more stops the elevator makes.
I, an experienced seventh-floor dweller of Residence Hall 4, can assure you that for every minute past class time, the lift makes a stop on an extra floor to let other panic-stricken students in. In such a situation, if the elevator, by any chance, stops on the first or the second floor, there is a collective disregard amongst the people in the lift for the people on these floors, who could’ve easily used the stairs to reach the ground floor, shamelessly entering such a high-tension almost warzone.
Another dilemma that one can never get over is whether to board an ascending lift or not when one wants to go down. While it is true that the lift would eventually descend and make a stop at your floor again, more often than not, you might be forced to indulge in a quick jostling bout to make space for yourself in the lift that comes down jam-packed with people from higher floors.
Entering an Ashokan elevator feels like entering into a new dimension. Despite the lack of literal vibrancy in most elevators, the creative posters about upcoming events, two strangers having a happy conversation, and the act of running unexpectedly into your friends in the elevator — all manage to lighten up the burdened minds of the students. In an elevator, so many emotions exist at once.
After a long day of classes, some people are boarding the lift to retire to their rooms, while some, after sleeping all day long, are descending down to take a breath of fresh air. Some have had a happy day, and some an unfortunate one. Some are already looking forward to the next day, while some are only wishing for a good night’s sleep. People may be physically present inside the lift, but mentally they are in places where their emotions have decided to carry them to. The Ashokan elevators, in short, are carnivals of sentiments.
There is no end to Ashokan elevator anecdotes. Lifts, in general, facilitate the creation of copious secrets. What happens in the time between the two floors, remains in the closed steel framework, unless of course, the official sitting behind the CCTV system is awake. These anecdotes add to one’s larger collection of college memories. The only two things that an Ashokan now wishes to have during their college journey, and by extension during their elevator rides, are a mirror and a background score to ensure that their journey is fulfilling.
(Zoya Sayeda is a second-year student of English and Media Studies at Ashoka University)