Ragging - My #metoo moment years back



This is my story in the world of ragging and how it destroyed my confidence, social interaction for the years to come. Don’t compare it with the ragging of engineering colleges. This is 2007, more than 11 years back, the time when anti-ragging was unheard of. I was pursuing my MBA. The starting 2 days were quite good, nice interaction between students, seniors. I was a hostelier. All things ended on the 3rd day when before the program officially ended, we were dictated the basic details of seniors which were supposed to be mugged up in double quick time. I had issues with mugging up details of 100+ seniors which included both locals and hosteliers. There were camps- locals and hosteilers. So called anti-ragging management was pure shit. For safety security guards were placed for the starting 7 to 10 days outside our hostels(not much use) to save us from ragging- codenamed PDP . I won’t say it was purely healthy PDP, not by my reckoning.

The man in charge of overseeing that we were not ragged, Mr S infront of us used to be like he’s the biggest well-wisher but otherwise he used to send a seniors to take the PDP. I remember calling him up, all frightened various times at 10 or 11 in the night asking for help and he used to be, “okay okay I am sending help don’t worry” and instead he used to telephone the seniors standing outside to be relentless. The only unspoken rule of PDP was that you can’t physically harm a junior and that was the only saving grace otherwise every imaginable thing in those times was done. Memorising database, some weird crappy songs, dance steps and a lot of things. The horror used to start after 10 in the night and continue till early morning. I had gone into a shell of my own, walking past people on the streets wondering who might turn out to be a senior and god knows what. The camp system meant that hosteliers were not meant to interact with the locals much, this was the rule from the hostels side and I was the most hated for seniors because in spite of being a hostel wallah I was equally at ease with the locals and somewhat more interactive with them as we had been knowing each other since even before our session had started (all thanks to social media then).

I was looked upon by my seniors primarily due to this fact, also because I used to find ways to face my seniors as less as possible for PDP. Sometimes it used to be that the horrors of last night used to be very visible on my face the next morning in my college and I could do nothing about it. I used to be in college for as long as possible but dreaded going back to the hostel, it was a long night to pass. At the peak of the trauma, my mother had to come for three weeks to stay at my relatives place so that after my classes got over I could rush back to my relatives place and enjoy a at least a night’s sleep. My hostel mates (7 living with me), biggest support system and my biggest help during those days. They used to make sure that I was out of the gaze of the seniors whenever they came. I so badly wanted to enjoy my hostel life but just couldn’t because the initial 3 to 4 months had shattered me beyond belief and it never recovered for the next 7 years. I can’t talk to my classmate just because he’s a local, if I used to speak with someone in the class, some hostel wala chamcha used to complain about the same to any senior and he used to pull me up for this. This happened with me many times and I had to make sure to watch what was I speaking because anything could be quoted out of context to any of my senior for some brownie points and I would be taking hell.

Things improved a bit only after my seniors left. I had started interacting my batch mates only after an year . Its not that all seniors were bad, I got in touch with some of the best seniors and super seniors that I’m still in touch with and respect them from the bottom of my heart (these include both from local and hostels). Whenever the seniors used to come after having passed out I used to give the same respect to everyone but some of them won’t talk to me and I was okay with that.

Forbidden to talk to our classmates on social media then (males and females included), now 9 years down the line I have a much bigger social media and blogger presence than anyone could have imagined then. This might seem like very trivial when you compare it to engineering colleges but at that time for me it was straight from hell with no help in sight. Had it not been my relatives, my hostel mates, my batch mates then, I would have surely attempted suicide.

I want to say to Mr S whom was supposed to be a trusted man, he was surely not and my seniors - some of you surely did not earn my respect then and even after so many years also won’t.

Ragging - My #metoo moment years back Ragging - My #metoo moment years back Reviewed by Shwetabh Mathur on 8:32:00 PM Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. This is heartbreaking to say the least. I have heard similar stories from boys who resided at the Presidency College Boys hostel in Kolkata

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  2. I feel you Shewtabh, and you know I, too suffered during the first sem, which in a way affected my emotional well being. I was a social boycott for the initial few months of college. This ragging dubbed as PDP was totally unnecessary and uncalled for. Every years fresher’s were subjected to this in human suffering and when they became seniors, they would do the same. In a way this ragging/PDP dehumanized them! We can go on to say that “oh but no one touched you” “Or it makes you a tough guy” or “It helps in bonding well” These are all lame excuses. Crux of the matter is what happened was very crude, I had never heard so many abuses in my entire life that I got to hear during those times. I on my part did not give ragging/PDP and next year did not participated in it. Though, I remained friends with most of the guys and was part of all the other nuisance, did not went hostel hunting for ragging.

    I still hear from some of the folks from our time, how they prided in it and they missed it and the newer lot was not following the tradition. Damn it man.

    Cheers.
    Stay Blessed.

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