This is from the time, when I was a graduate student at University of South Florida. We rented a 4 bedroom house, that was party central on Saturday nights but also was geek gallery on weekdays.

A roommate’s girlfriend had brought a hamster and that guy was our unofficial fifth roommate. Initially, he was very active, running on his wheel inside his cage. He used to interact when you stood next to his cage..after about 2 months, he kind of blended in the environment and was like “whatever”, most of the time. My roommate Steve, fed him some Paneer (Cottage Cheese)  to ensure he interacts.. He came close to the cage, took his piece of cheese to the corner of the cage and ate it. Next thing he did was, run on his wheel.. Maybe it was the guilt that made him want to burn it off.. It was funny.. We started giving him a tiny bit every now n then and he became a fromage’ connoisseur. But he also started putting on some weight.

A few months passed.. We became busy with our respective course work, research, thesis activities. Spring break arrived.  We decide to chill out, have fun and party for the week, since we all were about to graduate. Plans were made, booze was bought and the house suddenly became a noisy place.

One of my roommates, let’s name him Andy.. He is a big guy with about 50 excess pounds, geeky glasses. He is usually very quiet, calm and composed. He is a very good engineer and today works on a cutting edge project with Boeing Corporation.On Friday before the break, his advisor called him in his office and gave him a ton of work to finish before school The incentive was that he would get to go for a conference in São Paulo, Brazil.

Andy wasn’t very happy. Sure, São Paulo, is great in spring but he would have missed out on the fun on what would be our last spring break together..we all were home, drinking and chilling out.

He came home, fuming and cussing.. There was a silence as the normally calm Andy appeared unhinged. He vented out all his frustration on the poor hamster.”You stay home all day long.. Do nothing, eat our cheese and get fat.. You good for nothing, goofball..one of these days, you will explode from all that fat that you’ve been putting on”..

Pete ( my other roommate) quipped in ” you didn’t explode, did you”.. Andy was stunned.. Stopped dead in his tracks.. We all burst out laughing, including Andy.. He cooled off.. And a relatively civil conversation ensued.



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