Ragging – both perspectives

When I was a freshie (that’s how seniors “lovingly” call the freshers), I told my parents that I was “confident” of going through ragging. Probably it was to keep them less worried. I wasn’t very comfortable, in reality.

Imagine, you enter an institute, a hostel, where you don’t know anyone. You’re yet to make new friends, your close friends may not be in the same hostel as you, your parents with whom you lived all through your life are no longer around to care for you. Basically, you are typically in a state of deprivation of emotional support.

I was not very comfortable for a full month when I entered IIT Madras. My seniors were nice people – but that’s not the impression they gave me – because even the mildest “bossing over” at a time when you are deprived of emotional support puts you in a state where you need emotional support all the more, but you don’t have it. So obviously, there’s the fear of getting ragged, and I did go through this throughout my first month at IIT. Even now, because of that mental impression, I am not very comfortable with most seniors who “ragged” me (but this strictly depends on the nature of the person. There are people who get along very well with the seniors who ragged them the most)

The second year was totally different. I had gotten used to hostel life by then, had a lot of friends, had learnt to live semi-independently, in the company and support of friends. We were having an interaction session with our new “freshies”. It was very mild – my friends were just cross-questioning them. Saying things like “Do you know what IMDB is? What? You don’t know, Ha! Ha! Ha!” (neither did I :P). This, from a senior’s perspective is absolutely harmless. If I applied my 2 ounces of logic, this is all trivial. It definitely isn’t something to be scared of or worried about. But that fresher who was asked this question actually cried! We didn’t realise that “damage” we were doing. At that time, fear + lack of emotional support totally crumples you down at the slightest! I was really surprised – what looked absolutely trivial to me, did not for the fresher. We later supported him and helped him recover and talked to him on friendly terms. But I learnt this one thing from that.

More than anything, it is the fear of ragging that is worse than the ragging itself! It is hard to understand the mental state of the fresher at that time. To the senior, it all looks like fun, as it did to all of us. It is obvious that in most cases, the senior is also a human, and would stop if the freshie were to say that things were going overboard – but what he doesn’t realise is that in the mental state of “devastation” that the freshie is in at that moment, he doesn’t have the guts to tell the senior to stop. He’s in a state of complete domination, and it is not at all an enjoyable experience.

Probably it helps to build a good group of friends, and probably know a few seniors who understand this phenomenon clearly before walking into the IITs. It is mostly the lack of moral support and the fear – logically speaking otherwise, there isn’t anything at all to ragging. I’d probably be bossing over my brother and talking to him in a more rude way than a senior would to a freshie, but my brother will not give a damn – because he has moral support.

Just a few thoughts that I gathered after some freshers talked to a couple of us about ragging.