It is indeed a tempting question. When I came across the question, I could not resist the temptation to write my experience. However, I’ll not be writing how it is like, but how it was like to be a girl when in ISM (’14 pass out- hoping as everyone in my batch is, to get an IIT degree :D).

Before that, let me share an experience from when I first came here. We (me and my father) first entered the campus from Dahiya gate (We thought that was the main gate then).  Five years ago, there was no NLHC or SAC- they were under construction. Unlike today, girls then did not go to that road often.  It was July and the road was dotted with rain water poodles. My father noticed the slums in the  campus, boys hostels is a row, only boys on the street including those smoking at RD. I could sense the concern on his face.

Will you be able to stay here?” he had asked.

“Of course father! I would stay even if I were the only girl here”

Though I tried to sound confident, but I was really hoping for at least a few girl batch mates (It might help the reader to relate if I mention that I am not much of a social person. I mostly stayed reserved in school and hardly talked to boys). When I finally went through counseling, I was grateful to find one girl in my class. She was to be my closest friend in class for the next four year.

So, coming again to the question- How it is like to be a girl here?

1. It felt lonely sometimes. In a mechanical engineering class of 100 students, we were only two girls. Other years had only one girl each. Thus, it was impossible for us  to give proxy attendance. First bench was always reserved for us. We rarely talked to the boys. Why? Because everyone behaves like kids in first  and second year. You genuinely ask for help or enquire about any extra class, you be ready to be teased every time yours or his name is called out during attendance.

2. Our CR was not a social kind of person either. In fact, he was so shy and afraid of being teased by his friends that he never informed us girls about change in schedule or any extra class.  That pissed me a lot!!

3. You as a girl are always expected to maintain impeccable notes. You give it to everyone, but be ready for criticism if something is off in them. And never, expect appreciation or even a ‘thank you’ in return.

4. If there is a function- fresher’s welcome, farewell, conference, opening or closing ceremony, be ready to be the dolls and present bouquet to chief guest. That was really irritating!

5. Return to hostel before 9pm. Agree that many girls today stay late even with the rule in place,  I personally never found this rule unfair. At Mumbai, I was comfortable coming home at 10 or even 11 after my coaching ended. but I believed that Dhanbad was certainly not suitable for a girl late at night. Although, it is unavoidable sometimes most of my friends know that I begin to become anxious when I am out beyond the closure timings.

6.  I have been judged a lot because of my insistence to return early to hostel. Especially when so many are out beyond 9pm. There are instances when you are out at a treat or in a party and everyone is having a great time. When you complain about it getting too late you are either considered rude or too conservative or just a geek.

7. When I was interested in taking part in competitions like in robotics or so, I din’t have an option of approaching guys seniors (I was too shy then). There were no girls into these things back then. I basically didn’t know whom to approach and how. (this point may not be true with every girl… this was just my case)

8. It is sometimes disheartening to think that I might have got something not because of what I deserved but because I am a girl. Scoring well in exams, getting placed might be because of my gender and not my ability. It is a depressing thought…

However, there are a lot many bright sides to being an ISM girl too…

1. You are not ragged as badly as boys. Professors are not as rough and rude with you.

2. Most of the times you are given special treatment. Like when you are participating in Srijan or so. At least the popular ones among us are always called.

3. When there is an event such as Basant, getting a rose from someone feels immensely flattering. If it were not for such a skewed ratio in favor of guys, I wonder if we would have been pampered so much.

4. If you are in good company- a club, society or group and are actively involved, it feels awesome to be treated as equals especially when you are the only girl in the group. Even though you are cut off from their mass ragging, or their hostel gossip or RD/ basketball court meetings, you are informed of every group related happenings. Since I had never experienced it before, I thoroughly enjoyed my third and fourth year because of such a club.

ISM Dhanbad were the best four years of my life. Being in mechanical engineering, I HAD to make friends with guys. This made me get over my shyness with opposite gender. I got to meet and know people with different personalities, different background, different states, different talents and different nature.
Pardon me if I couldn’t make the answer interesting enough. But this was just my perspective at things and I wanted to make sure I keep writing as it came.

POST CREDITS – URVASHI UPADHYAY

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The entire ISMDiaries Team comes together to create articles to be shared via the Team ISMDiaries handle. What you are reading is a culmination of efforts of several members of our team and no one in particular.

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