The Good, The Bad and The Ugly — Lee Van Cleef Episodes
With every passing year and every new batch there continued to be episodes of “introduction” which would be borderline or cross the limits, as they say. But it never used to happen in the college premises, the seniors were careful of that. And whenever reports of these would filter back to the college it would have changed in its intensity depending on who was narrating it. The faculty and management would try their best to combat it on multiple fronts.
The suspects would be brought in and advised or threatened depending on the severity, with suspension and expulsions. Later, undertakings would be taken and filed in the student records. Then these undertaking would be made mandatory during the admission process putting the onus on the victims too to report if he/she was subject to it. And when the ratings of the college started depending on the general reputation, anti-ragging boards and sensitization sessions became the norm. But as with every rule that was brought in, the seniors would come up with counter measures. It ceased in the college and shifted to hostels, then from hostels it would move to off campus apartments or resort to selecting victims from other streams in exchange so that no one could be implicated.
These were the Lee Van Cleef Episodes
Once I reached college I was informed that one of the students is in the adjoining hospital and since the principal had not arrived, I went to attend to him. I found him sitting in front of the Psych OPD waiting for the doctor. I got alarmed and pried the details from him. He told me that he had a severe headache and needed medical advice. On further prodding he informed me that he was awake the whole night trying to blow out a tube-light on the seniors’ instructions. Now if it was for a short while it could have been fun but to subject him to an overnight exercise?
There were other stories of students being asked to strip and dance and of them being used as a personal valet to run all errands at home, washing and ironing clothes and other menial labour. There were other stories of financial support to all the seniors needs which required stating falsehoods home to get more money. I remember standing by one guy who was asking his grandmother to send him 10000 rupees for completing his project work requiring printing and binding which would not have cost him beyond 2500 or 3000 for the entire lot.
On a surprise visit, I have found animal shaped trash cans and road signs apart from tools and equipment from the college which would be brought back. The auditorium plastic chairs have also be found in bulk in some homes as the roof of the building was very large and one could literally walk from one street to another on them.
On another visit to the hostel room, I found a strange face in a room allotted to a student. On enquiring, I was told the original occupant had sub-let the room to this occupant and used the deposit amount to stay in an accommodation of his choice.
The girl’s hostel was just a wall away from the boy’s and there was a hole made and covered up with a sheet so that passage was easy. The nursing hostel would be adjacent to the boy’s toilet and many a date has been set up through the grilled windows.
And there were fights, milder ones in college that could be controlled to an extent but bigger ones outside. The rivals could be from with the batch, between different years, between different disciplines, different colleges or with locals. The presence of a Police Outpost within campus was probably an indication of the severity of the events.
The more unpalatable ones are known only to walls and the perpetrators and probably would not see the light of day.
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