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Was it Etawah or Utah?

While ragging can be excessive at times, for the smalltown freshers, the real cruelty comes from classmates more often than from seniors,informs Sonam Goyal and Kritika Kishore.
By Sonam Goyal and Kritika Kishore | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 24, 2008 12:34 PM IST

There are 'aliens' on the Delhi University campus. No, they have no horns on their head, or green scales on their bodies. They just come from towns like Shahjahanpur, Pithoragarh, Khatima or Pilibhit. And these new arrivals have a tough time, at least in the initial days. Anamika, a third-year student, comes from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. She remembers her "young" days in DU.

It started well, actually Somehow, Etawah was confused with Utah (in the US) and everyone in the college thought she was an NRI and gave her a lot of bhav. However, the moment it became clear that Etawah is a dusty town somewhere near Kanpur, all the muah-muah and calls of "sweetie pie" stopped.

Anirudh Agarwal from Indore did not even have his 15 minutes of fame. "When I entered the college, people wouldn't talk to me," says the final-year student (college not mentioned on request). "The way I dressed and spoke was not up to their Delhi standards," says a rueful Anirudh. And what are those Delhi standards?

Well, there are no Ten Commandments, but you must dress in branded clothes, speak angrezi or at least Hingrezi and hang around in cool cafes. Some smalltowners, with a strong survival instinct, quickly adapt themselves. Some don't. "I didn't change myself a bit," says Anirudh. "But there were chirkuts who tried and changed themselves according to the Delhi culture." Ruchita, who is in second year and hails from Jamshedpur, arrived a month after her first year session started.

By that time, the cliques had already formed. Ruchita tried bonding with the Delhi students but couldn't. "We never had common topics to discuss. Anyway, their lifestyle didn't appeal to me," she says. Geeti Sudha, clinical psychologist at Cosmos hospital, suggests, "Students from small towns should have a positive outlook. They should try to relax and adapt to the situation to become more comfortable."

While ragging can be excessive at times, for these smalltown freshers, the real cruelty comes from classmates more often than from seniors. Dilpreet, a secondyear student, has this story about her classmate who was from Ghaziabad, which is practically a part of Delhi. "Everyone would still comment on her hairstyle and on the fact that she did not wear a new dress to college every day of the month," says Dilpreet How does one plough through so much criticism?

Dr Kanika Khandelwal, psychology teacher at LSR, advises, "Just be yourself. Open up channels of communication and in no time they will accept you as you are."

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