On a weekend trip to a college campus in south western Tamilnadu, I was shocked to learn about some gender discrimination being practiced in the name of 'Protection'. Being located at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats, far away from civilisation, all students are hostelers. Having been a hosteler myself during my college days, I was curious to learn what hostel experiences were like in recent times. So I asked a group of girls about it.
To begin with they were shy and hesitant. Said the facilities were superb and they loved being in hostel. 'So when is curfew?' - That opened the pandora's box.
Let me explain the meaning of the term 'curfew' in the context of this post. Back when I was in undergrad, there was a 'curfew time' for hostelers. This meant that you could roam around the college campus till 11pm. At the stroke of eleven, a bell would be rung signaling that you had to return to your room from whatever corner of the campus you were in. If you didn't return, you ran the risk of being locked out of your hostel. Being locked out was not really such a bad proposition, if you didn't count the mosquitoes and Lord Clive's ghost. But that's another story.
Cut to present day...these poor girls had to return to their hostels at 6PM! And there they had to remain till the next day.
'But what about dinner? Don't you have to go to the dining hall?'
'Our dining hall is inside the hostel'
'But what about the boys? Do they have curfew?'
'No' said the girls sadly. 'The boys have no curfew. They can roam about as they feel like'
This was too bad! Prohibiting the movement of girls around campus after 6PM! What if they wanted to go to the library? What if they wanted to surf the net? What if they simply wanted to hang out with their friends? Yes, their guy friends! Separate dining halls? It was outrageous.
When I was doing my masters, we looked forward to mealtimes when we could eat, laugh and hang out with ALL our friends. Privacy and protection was limited to the hostels. Which basically meant that you could not go beyond the reception areas of the men's or ladies hostels. A rule we respected and everybody was happy.
Poor kids. I felt bad for them. I thought GenNext was so cool and in charge of their lives. Perhaps we had a better deal after all.
And you know the unkindest cut of all? The guys got wi-fi access whereas the girls didnt!!
- Welcome!Blogging is a form of self expression for me. I find it a wonderful, democratic space. So often in life, our articulation and expression are controlled by environment-like relationships or work place. Here, it is only about me and what I want to say. I write about anything: books, movies, issues, rants...anything which strikes a chord in me or makes me think. Life's lighter moments, highs and lows, causes, opinions. Anything. I follow no structure. It is all about self expression - a form of empowerment if you like.
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