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3 years, 1 degree, 0 men

Every college is weighed down by its “reputation" and trying to escape the stereotypes becomes a defining part of our college life, reports Manika Dhama.
Hindustan Times | By Manika Dhama, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 10, 2008 03:09 PM IST

Every college in Delhi is weighed down by its “reputation”. You are in


college, therefore you are like


. You are in Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), so you are haughty and would not condescend to interact with others. I was in Miranda House, so obviously I would divorce my future husband within weeks of marriage.

Trying to escape the stereotypes became a defining part of our college life. But there were long-term consequences, too. There are many men — and their mommies — afraid of forging matrimonial alliances with women from certain colleges. Such girls are considered “fast”!

I have heard tales of parents who feared that their darling daughter, by taking admission in some uppity girls’ college, would become “unmarriageable” because she would not be able to “adjust” with her in-laws. One could understand their plight. After all, there are few things scarier than an opinionated girl.

A friend once wished for mixed-sex education so that we could see how men would react to certain lectures. The teacher did not find it exciting. Our classroom discussions often ended up being quite linear because there wasn’t a male outlook to add. Whether one would have benefited from these perspectives is not for me to say. But it would most certainly have been different from the experience one had.

But did we miss the boys? Let’s confess: the college sans men was no torture and since one could not handpick the boys one wanted as classmates, it was better to not have them around at all.

Besides, we girls had a rollicking time. During those three years, our “all women” experience was fun-filled. We were carefree, but also sensible. We never bunked classes. We never ate in the college canteen (the food was bad). But we overused our family cars. We showered more attention on “dramatics” than on academic studies. On more than one occasion, we were thrown out of a restaurant for being “too loud”.

Okay, we did bemoan the absence of men but didn’t miss them very much. True, they hovered in our conversations but they never took the centrestage in our life. Just as well, because making fun of them was a lot easier in their absence.

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