Ragging and its consequences are in the news again after the death of a 19 yr old medical student recently. Debates and discussions are going on the issue of prevention of ragging and enforcement of laws. My post, however, is not on that topic. My post is on the fond memories of ragging I have from my B.E. days and the effect it had on us.
On the first night in hostel, we had the huge task of memorizing all our hostel seniors’ names and hometowns and our introduction in Hindi. Thank god I had pretty good memorizing power and I was in Electrical Engineering branch which was easily translated into “Vidyut Abhiyantriki”. We pitied the girls of CSE or Electronics.I also chose Philately as my hobby to avoid any further questions and it was one of the cleverest decisions of my life 😀 [ You can check out samples of my stamp collection here] Only one 4th yr senior was smart enough to think of a question to ask me regarding Philately. She asked me what was the image on Rs 1 stamp and I answered correctly. She let me go 🙂
Have you ever had a letter delivered to you by the postman which didn’t have the adequate postage stamp on it? Have you ever paid the bearing charge (fine) for such a letter and said expletives in your mind for the careless sender? Many of us may have encountered such incidents. In most cases we blame the sender instead of suspecting the postal services. But a recent incident led me to strongly believe that there is a huge postage fine (bairang) scam going on in Indian Postal Services.
In our childhood we develop few hobbies that we stop pursuing as we grow older either due to disinterest or lack of time. Sometimes they even do not find place in our to-do list or back of our minds. Recently while reading a novel I was reminded of my hobby of Philately. Well it can’t be called much of a “hobby” as defined by Wikipedia. My Didi and later on me (who inherited the album when she got busy with studies) just collected for fun and on basis of country or design or theme. Our maternal uncle had gifted this stamp album to Didi and it is the reason behind this hobby. We collected stamps from envelopes in the traditional way, but mostly we bought packets either mixed or of some particular theme (Thanks Dad for spoiling us!!) During ragging in college, we had to introduce ourselves by giving name,place,branch and hobbies. I used to say Philately as hobby. Used to save me from dancing or singing!! I post a tribute in the memory of my oldest and life saver hobby.
It had pages dedicated to countries in alphabetical order with some information about them at the top…but some like Bangladesh were missing so I had to make entry for them. When there was no more space under India, we converted the less known and stamps unavailable countries’ pages to India.
Then there were thematic pages in the album both empty (for us to write) and specified.
I miss the hobby but of course it was fun only when done with Didi. Once in childhood I was showing my album to a family friend’s son who nicked two stamps while I left the room awhile but soon I counted (Trust me to trust no one!) I caught him and threatened to tell his mom (who was a strict lady). He surrendered the booty. 😀 😀