As a 17 year-old I joined NITK Surathkal. I was very happy in getting admission to such a prestigious engineering college. But at the same time I was also worried about getting ragged. Then I thought that it was a part and parcel of college life. So I mentally prepared myself for the worst, while hoping for the best.
On the very first day I got a message from the second year students to come to their hostel. There was no question of disobeying their summons. I was nervous but then I thought "Chalo Jo Hoga Dekha Jaayega (let me face it come what may)" and put up a bold front and started walking towards their hostel. As I entered their hostel, I saw the students running away from me in all possible directions. I even saw one fellow rushing into the rest room and shutting himself up. I was wondering what was happening. It seems seeing my big built and the confident style of walking they thought I was a warden who was coming to catch them red-handed ragging the students. So the lesson here is - Appear confident outwardly even if inwardly you are feeling uneasy!
Now let me tell you about three specific instances when I got ragged by seniors. There is a common thread underlying these instances.
I was asked to climb on top of the almirah and jump down from there. I had never done such acrobatics in my life. I being fat and bulky was not at all confident of doing it. I made some half-hearted unsuccessful attempts and then pleaded with them, “Sir, I can’t do it. Please excuse me.” They gave me such a scolding that I was scared out of my wits. And that motivated me to immediately climb to the top and jump down successfully.
On another occasion I was asked to dance. I was feeling very shy and could only manage to do some hesitant steps. Seeing this the seniors yelled, "Hey Fatso! You better dance properly other wise....". At that moment something triggered off in me. I lost all my shyness and broke into what I called as elephant dance. Seeing this innovative dance that suited my bulk, everybody rolled with laughter and really enjoyed it.
In yet another incident I was shown a full-length poster of a stunningly beautiful young lady with a gorgeous figure and was asked “Suppose she walks into your room and you are all alone, what you will do?”. This question had been earlier asked to some other freshers also. One of them had said, “I will tell her to go out’, while another person had said, “I will go out”. When my turn came I gave a spontaneous reply "I will grab the opportunity!". They were really impressed by my quick and witty reply, said I was a smart alec and shook hands with me.
What is the common thread underlying these three incidents that I just talked about? Remember I was under pressure. The lesson here is - A right amount of pressure could bring out the hidden potential in you. You will be able to do things that you never realized that you were capable of.
But not everything was hunky dory. Towards the end of the ragging season, some seniors asked me to come over to their place. But I just ignored them. I had become overconfident and was sure they won’t do anything. My refusal hurt their ego. So they caught me and ragged me thoroughly. Though I was not harmed physically, by the time I was let-off I was really tired and drained out. So what is the takeaway here? Don’t become overconfident; you might get into trouble.
Ragging was a real learning experience for me. I learnt several lessons that were helpful to me in my career.
I learnt to be mentally prepared to face any difficulty, trouble or eventuality. If you are prepared for the worst, you will find that the things actually turn out to be better than what you had imagined.
I learnt that you have to appear confident even if you are not sure about something. This will help you in negotiations, sales presentations and if you are an entrepreneur impressing the venture capitalists. But I also learnt that one should avoid becoming overconfident.
I learnt that an optimum amount of stress brings out the best in you. If you set challenging goals for yourself you will be motivated to achieve them. Achieving such goals can boost your confidence. If you aim for stars, you will at least climb Mt. Everest!
Here I would like to make it very clear that I am totally against ragging which devastates the victim and causes death, suicide or mental imbalance. We were lucky in NITK, Surathkal. Our seniors could very well gauge the endurance limit of each fresher and they never exceeded that limit. So when I look back, I can say on the whole, ragging did benefit me.
Having heard me, what are your views on ragging? Remember that the bright sun has sunspots and the dark clouds have silver linings. Should we allow a lightweight ragging that can be a learning experience or should we rather throw out the baby with the bathwater by totally banning the practice of ragging?
[Date Delivered : April 4, 2009
- Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech's purpose.
- Make your body language smooth and natural
This speech gave me ample opportunity use body language to convey vividly the experience I was narrating. Here are the some of the portions in my speech where I effectively used the body language :
- "...put up a bold front and started walking towards their hostel. As I entered their hostel, I saw the students running away from me in all possible directions. I even saw one fellow rushing into the rest room and shutting himself up"
- "I made some half-hearted unsuccessful attempts and then pleaded with them..."
- "I lost all my shyness and broke into what I called as elephant dance"
- "...by the time I was let-off I was really tired and drained out."
- "I will grab the opportunity!".
- "If you aim for stars, you will at least climb Mt. Everest!"
- "..should we rather throw out the baby with the bathwater by totally banning the practice of ragging?"