“Dude, you got into IIT! You know, there are no girls there? At all!” The IIT’s are so ridiculously notorious for their deplorable sex ratio that Uncyclopedia mentions that the ratio here is better depicted in terms of parts-per-million. Jokes aside though, the scenario here seems fit to be studied by sociologists in order to determine how life-changing an experience in a college with barely any females could be. Or should it matter as much?
“University is supposed to be a place where you make connections -meet people you like, appreciate those you find inspiring, agree with a few, disagree with a few - Why does a skewed sex ratio matter so much? Why look at it as an advantage, disadvantage or an excuse? Your gymkhana positions don’t decide the course of your life, your college sweethearts don’t. For a peer group as strong as Kgp – 1000 diverse, vibrant, intelligent people, utilize those years to get to know as many people, girls or boys. Kgp’s social life is misinterpreted and undervalued. Look at it for what it really is -your very own Social Network”, says Pallavi Jayannavar, batch of 2011.
But it’s not an ideal world out here, and the ratio does end up affecting our everyday lives to an extent we’d rather not admit.
When we first stepped inside the hallowed portals of IIT Kharagpur, we were naïve, as most of you were. Luckily for us, we had the senior girls looking over our shoulders, just as some senior boys were waiting for the new batch of girls. So our seniors thought it wise to give us a double dose of ‘Stay away from boys in Kgp’ funda. In hindsight, it was a little excessive. It gave us an idea that all guys in Kgp were jerks, that we were extremely sought after beings, and anytime a guy came talked to us, it was because he had a little crush on us. At the back of our minds, we had already put ourselves up on a pedestal. Even though we heeded their warnings very seriously initially, it didn’t take us long to realize most of the boys we talked to seemed like normal people.
However, some of you did not disappoint us. Every Spring Fest brings with it a folder titled “First year girls” or the like on DC. Even before that, we were subjected to a constant ogle fest, being photographed in class ever so often, and every day brought with it a new batch of lame-ass texts and Facebook friend requests from people we had never met. Obviously not all boys behave in this crazy, devoid-of-female-contact way, but the few who do make a very bad name for all the guys.
4 out of 5 guys here think life is handed over to the girls on a silver platter. Indeed, sometimes everyone knowing you can be a good thing. It might be better that yours is a face recognized rather than one of those nameless people in class. You usually have an active social life, and most boys would want to get to know you. Fewer girls in KGP are single (44% vs 76%), they have been asked out much more often (73% vs 22%), and they have been rejected less often (14% vs 32%).
But, sometimes, the constant attention gets a little too much to handle. 67% of the boys say they have harbored resentments towards girls, but that’s not the worst of it. Even in a campus that is as safe as it can be, half the girls feel they have been misbehaved with. Most of us feel stifled by those eyes on us all the time, breathing down our necks, judging us on every step along the way.
“I was never the kind of person who would go by the vox populi. But when one thousand people around you say the same thing you begin to wonder if the problem is really, with you. Except the one thousand people were KGPians and the world is bigger than that 2000 acre campus.”, says Niharika Sravan, batch of 2011.
30% girls say they can’t dress in the way they’d like to and 40% feel they are judged against a higher moral standard. And it’s not just in their heads. When we asked the boys, they admitted that they’d judge girls on the way they dress (69%), on being in multiple relationships on campus (58%), PDA (51%), smoking or drinking (46%) and even on hanging out late at night (31%) in a place where there are practically no time constraints.
We’d like to imagine a world where the girls and boys here were mature enough to have common time slots for swimming instead of early morning slots for the girls only. We would like to go out wearing shorts and skirts without people doubling back to check us out. We’d like to do without the judgmental looks if we ever decide to try a new thing. For a while, we do care about these things, but we get so tired of toeing the line that we decide that the world around us can go to hell, and we will lead our lives exactly the way we want to. Thus, in exchange of a fuller social circle, you get used to living with a lot of disapproval, usually for taking advantage of the “poor boys”. I’m not saying we are completely blameless. Usually we are well aware of what we are doing. At times, we can be utterly devoid of any conscionable feelings and tag you along just for the fun of it. We have been guilty of leading guys on, of not treating them with enough respect, of thinking too highly of ourselves, and at times, of being supremely mean and calculative. But like someone once said, “When life gives you lemons, ask for salt and tequila!”
Understandably, being a part of the minority population gives girls in an IIT a lot of attention. Sometimes we like to revel in it, sometimes we like to take advantage of it. Eventually, we learn to deal with it, maybe even utilize it to our benefit, and get by the 4-5 years of college life just fine. It is an experience we’d never get to have anywhere else for sure. Do we wish it were different? For some part, yes, but then, we’re girls in an IIT, and we’d not trade that for anything in the world.