One bulb has hogged the limelight like no other. It has made national headlines on a regular basis, elbowing out the many scams and scandals.

With prices skyrocketing around us, Gen Y has found a fitting vent in the cyber world, courtesy the spate of internet jokes on onions doing the rounds for the last two months. Even Facebook statuses, twitter updates and wall posts have not been spared. They add ample insights on the impact of prices on the average college-goer.

There is a definite tightening of purse strings, agree students across campuses.

Price rise means lesser pocket money, which for many is directly proportional to lesser fun.

So, either it's less frequent hangouts or an exodus for less expensive joints. Eating out and entertainment expenses are cut down in favour of joggling fuel, transport and the indispensable mobile recharge. “Onion dosa has become such a rarity today,” chuckles Dhivya Daniel, a management student adding, “On a more serious note, increase in fuel prices means more spending in that quarter and being conscious of every ride.” Others like Jane Elizabeth, a mathematics graduate, have foregone bus rides in favour of walking short distances.

Whether they're living off pocket money from parents or meet their own expenses by moonlighting with part-time jobs and tuitions, students readily acknowledge the marked dent in savings.

As D. Akshaya, a postgraduate student says, “Earlier with Rs.100, I could afford lunch, transport and set aside some savings regularly. Now there is no question of saving.”

Those who have it worst are hostelers and students living on their own. For S. Ramya, another postgraduate student, it means lesser outings and less frequent eating out. “Even when mess food is passably palatable, we try and manage. Besides, haggling with auto drivers now has simply become a nightmare,” she rues.

Rice in prices has been reflected in a substantial increase in hostel fees and mess fees. S. Ronisha, a business management student says, “Money runs like water poured inside a pocket after my mess fees was increased by Rs.500. Many hostelers have even cut down on frequent trips home due to escalating expenses.”

Though they may find the present state of things unfavourable, but for many students, it has been a practical lesson in home economics and money management!

Keywords: Campus chat