Sunday, April 20, 2008
The Rite Of Initiation
All specific communities have distinct initiation rites – difficult and seemingly pointless. The purpose is always to raise the investment in being a member of that group and hence to refrain the novice from quitting.“I suffered so much to get here. How can I quit now?” This is the formulaic thought that must be produced in the novice if the initiatory rites have been successful. Like all academic hostels, MICA had a tradition of ragging (which I hear was broken in 2006). Besides initiation into the cult and ‘breaking the ice’, and even more important than them is mass sadism. Those placed in the senior batch can let go of their suppressed sadism on the hapless juniors. Somebody kicked their ass when they were neophytes. And they want to pass on the pain.Dress codes, assignments, porn- plays, engineer’s (or should I say truck driver’s) song- PGP ragging had all the ingredients. Those were also the days when the sky kissed the earth through monsoon rains. We kept on bearing, rebelling from, getting bored with and ignoring the ragging and the rain depending on our proclivities and whims. I had only one expectation from ragging which couldn’t be fulfilled. I wanted to be ragged by a beautiful senior girl. But that was not to be. The senior batch had hardly one reasonably beautiful damsel and she never ragged me (or anybody else as far as I remember). I never did those weird assignments and was individually ragged by a stupid senior whose voice was womanish and behavior clumsy. However the ragging did have its effect of making MICA unbearable.It ended in a week or so. On the last night, entire PGP-1 was transformed into transvestites with the men wearing lipsticks and dupattas. It reached its nadir and then dunking and friendly hugs signaled the end of the absurdity.