A few days, I got a message on Facebook from an old IIT friend – who as it turned out was one of my first raggers! As we were reliving old memories, the topic of discussion turned to ragging. I know that today ragging is seen as something of an evil, but in those days (1984, in my case), it was something that helped me open up in ways nothing else would have.

When I went to IIT, I was one of the typical “mama’s boys” having grown up in a sheltered environment. My first evening at the hostel ensured that life in IIT would be very different! It ended at 3 am, with me cooking Maggi Noodles for one of the seniors. That first day made it very clear that my reserved personality would do me no good, and possibly get me into more trouble. I had to open up in a way that I had not previously done. Being a topper made no difference – everyone was.

Ragging lasted about a month — every evening there was a new group of seniors to be entertained. That was how I made friends – not just with them, but also fellow freshies, as we shared our ragging stories. It made me much more outgoing than I could ever have become. For me, Ragging is something which helped the transformation from a boy to a man.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.