I try to be funny. Maybe I can manage it here, but I don’t know.
When is the right time to say something about what you believe in? What you think is right and wrong? And in my case, as small and insignificant as the wrong you see is, is there a right time or a wrong time?
I’m not trying to demonize anyone. There is zeitgeist for every time. The zeitgeist, the general consensus, what is agreed upon as the barometer to decide what is right and wrong, currently, is in favor of the practice we call ragging. And I don’t think anyone who does it is an asshole. Or deserves to be shamed, or anything of the sort.
As a person possibly engaging in some form of debate in order to reach a manner of consensus, I know I should perhaps bring down my point of view to something that is feasible to most people. I should probably say something like “I don’t have a problem with it, per se” or something along those lines. And if you look at it from one perspective, maybe I don’t. I don’t have a problem with seniors talking to juniors. Asking them about their opinions, explaining things like which teacher spits, and politely asking them if they would get you a glass of water. Even being rude. Rudeness is apparently a way of life in NALSAR, so no reason to be especially nice to new kids.
I have a problem with anybody having to do anything deferring to someone whom they have no reason to believe, deserves that respect. I can attest to the fact that the only reason I behaved ‘respectful’ to any seniors in my first year was because I was afraid of what they would do otherwise. Which was nothing. They couldn’t have done anything. I’m a girl, and as much as NALSAR resembles prison for some people, it’s not. If someone had made me believe that, I would have flipped off anyone who was being rude to me. It’s what I would do to any other stranger being rude to me.
If I could tell off priests for trying to tell me what to think (one of the better moments me and my sister shared before we could stand each other), I had nothing stopping me from telling off people that were being rude for no reason other than a misplaced sense of entitlement. And I really don’t like priests, but the ones I met obviously did more studying than even 4 years, in a field more boring than law, all the time presumably retaining their virginity and never jacking off. Why the fuck would I respect some punk ass bitch who thinks they know shit, now that they spent a few years in a protected walled city, working their ass off for something they’re probably not too sure of themselves? I would respect them because they’re human beings, sure. Because they have brains with neurons, through which the number of ways messages travel are more than stars in the universe, and I would respect them because they are nice people. I would have no reason to respect them if they were scaring me or making me do stupid things to amuse themselves.
Caveat – again, this is an argument against ragging. Not against the people who rag, no matter how close to home it hits most people. Ragging is not an atrocity, not the way it exists in NALSAR. It can be characterized as a weakness. One that a lot of people have, including me and even the first years. I think if I were to go around picking out only those people who do not rag to be the people I like and to be friends with, I would actually be asocial. And stupid.
And I hate having a fundamental disagreement with my friends, and not in the sense that I want to change their minds. I just hate that there is ever anything that brings on an awkward pause in an otherwise lovely conversation; and it happens to be because of something I brought up and something that is important to me.
With that, I come to more meta problems with me writing about this. My friends may be right in saying that sometimes/ most of the times I am too opinionated. And I don’t shut up about it. I agree, I shouldn’t comment as much in movie theatres. It is impairing other people’s right to enjoy it. Today was the first time S put it in that way, and I’m sorry I didn’t understand that without someone blatantly telling me about it. That is being callous with what other people like.
But I really cant see how far that argument extends to ragging. People who rag presumably like it, and enjoy it. But unlike watching a movie, they are enjoying at the expense of someone else. And unless it is someone laughing at a movie like Kya Kool Hai Hum (that is enjoying at the expense of my belief in humanity and at the expense of anyone who ever got raped), watching a movie is not at someone else’s expense.
And again, for a lot of people, it is not a big deal to be ragged. You expect it when you go to college. You expect that you may be treated like shit. That you would be asked to do things that you otherwise wouldn’t for complete strangers. It is the zeitgeist. It is what it is. And I am not a pioneer. I have no misconceptions about being the Frederick Douglas of Ragging.
But am I incorrect in thinking there is something wrong with a system that allows people to scare others and make them do things they otherwise wouldn’t? Lock them in cupboards and coolers? Hurt them and humiliate them?
Be as rude as you want. You are in control of what comes out of your mouth. Say whatever you want. But you should not have control over what anybody else does or doesn’t do with their body. You should have no say in that. How is that ok? How is that a manner in which a presumably decent society functions?
Maybe friendships start this way. But again, I have to ask, is that a healthy system to have? To have friendships that started off with one person being mean to the other? Sure, that may be how friendships start in KG, when the only way your child brain lets you interact with someone is by taking their water bottle and dousing them with the contents. But it definitely isn’t how I made friends in college, or how most people make friends in college. There is a reason psychologists have labeled it a form of Stockholm’s Syndrome.
And looking at this from the perspective of people who say I shouldn’t write this or say this or interfere when I think I should, I am genuinely perplexed. When is the time in my life when I should stop someone from doing something to another person that they don’t want? When should I tell off people on the street when they heckle women? When should I have an argument with a TC in a train about hassling a woman with a baby for not having a confirmed ticket when he was ok with a man in the next compartment not having one, simply because the latter ‘knew somebody’(One of those times that my dad set an example for me)?
Is 21 the right age? Will 22 be the right age? Do I have to do something other than have opposable thumbs and a working brain? Do I have to get better grades before I stop someone from ordering someone to do something for their amusement? Do I need to write a long blog post?
And maybe I should talk about it more. Be the wet blanket on people’s every day conversations when they’re not ragging or talking about it, bore them, and then watch them rag someone the next day. And please, please don’t tell me that it is simply my opinion that its wrong. Anyone who can remember being in first year and was made to do something even mildly humiliating cannot honestly say it felt ‘right.’ And if you don’t define ‘wrong’ as telling other people what to do (to wit – making them do jazz hands, pole dance, dry hump, stay in confined spaces, talk in toddler language, talk to a wall, basically anything that you would consider humiliating), or scaring them shitless, then I really want to know what your definition of wrong is.
What is the point from which I can become a responsible adult and stop something, or at the least openly say that I don’t agree with something? I apparently can’t do it now. And by extension I’m assuming I shouldn’t do it at the time when I ask someone to give me a job. And I definitely shouldn’t do it when I am working. So when is the right time?
I want to write. And I have realized I like my writing more when I’m honest. And the reason for that is because writing is on record. And I find that when I write something on the record that is honest, I am more proud of that than anything else. If for no other reason, (which would in my mind include common decency) than for what little self respect I have, is this not as good a time as any? Michael Moore said he regretted not saying anything when some ass authority at his high school graduation threw a student out for wearing the wrong tie.
Which is not to say I want to be Michael Moore. He’s a bit much. And I’m not saying I’m going to start a watch-dog group. Or go about policing people. That is a dumb idea if for no other reason than its lack of feasibility. I would however, like a better reason not to stop someone other than “everyone thinks its ok”. I have a problem with the fact that everyone thinks its ok. And if I haven’t explained why it’s a problem through this long, long post, then go ahead and ask me to explain further. I have infinite patience with this. But either give me a good reason why it is ok, one that negates what I have to say; or give me a better reason not to stop someone (even if in front of a junior) than “everyone thinks its ok”. Its not a passive act. Its active. And you are doing it to someone else. I think I have the right to say something, if not do something.
Again, I have to ask and tell the people closest to me – I can shut up around you. I will. Because despite my righteous indignation (and you know I say that sarcastically, right?) I care way too much about what you guys think than I should as an acclaimed asocial person. But I cant shut up in general, around others. Sue me, I have no batch loyalty for idiotic entitlement issues. Friend loyalty, yes; but not for an entire batch. I have no problems with people even screaming at juniors. To scream at people is something you cant take away from a person. But if I see something in my vicinity I don’t agree with, I will say something, more so if its from my batch, because really, I would have more say there. They are technically more my peers than anyone else. And I would genuinely like to know the politest way I can say what I want at that point of time.
ME: That wasn’t at all funny. If you’d been more hateful, it could have been funny, but noooo, you have to be nice and polite.
me: There is no point in screaming at people. And what do you mean more hateful. I wasn’t hateful. I made it very clear I wasn’t calling anyone an asshole. I was just saying the system that exists is shitty.
ME: And by extenion, everyone who takes part in it is….?
me: normal people. It is normal for people to behave per the times. It may not be ballsy, but its normal. It’s very likely I do something on a regular basis that is part of the zeitgeist that if i think about, I wouldn’t like much.
ME: This I would like to know. What does Miss PC do that she’s not proud of?
me: My instinctive reaction when i see blatant cleavage on a woman is that she should put the girls in a proper T-shirt. But I know that’s wrong because I have no right to shame someone else’s body. If man boobs can go about in public, there shouldn’t ideally be a problem with lady boobs. But I instinctively subscribe to the zeitgeist. And I think I recall a not too distant past when I found ragging stories from the Boys Hostel funny. And I might still find them funny. And so does everyone else. And I’m not proud of it.
ME: Fine, we’re not perfect. So what are you gonna do? Go about shouting at people in your batch when they do something dumb around you?
me: I don’t think so. Considering the fact that I really wont mind if most of them hate me, I think I would just point out that what they’re doing is stupid. If its someone I really dislike, I may add that they don’t really deserve much respect from toddlers, let alone first years.
ME: Really?! *Projecting Mr. Burns-ish anticipation*
me: No, I won’t do the last part. I would really like to know the nicest way to do this other than do nothing at all.
ME: So your stand on ragging is….?
me: *sigh* assuming I have the guts to follow through, I would say its wrong to people from my batch who are not my friends if and when they do it in front of me. And I may walk off in a huff/ run away before they can give me the evil eye or say something back to me….
me: *shrug* Maybe I’ll say something more if I’m particularly ballsalicious that day.
ME: And you say you’re not a pioneering revolutionary?
me: ………….. *shrug* Maybe I’ll be better some day.
ME: ………….. Yeah I hope so. I couldn’t live an entire lifetime with your pussy self.
P.S. – on a lighter note, here’s something cool I found on tumblr.
And the palettes of famous artists