Anuki is on leave for a few days and life is excruciatingly dull
without her. It’s even more difficult to write the column without her
wits and sense of humour. But life goes on and I decided to dedicate
this week’s Memory Lane to campus tales. Don’t worry I won’t bore you
with stuff that you already know.
Campus life is amazing. Straight out of school it becomes an oasis
for freedom seekers. Away from the rules and regulations of schools and
home, personalities flourish and new, but strong bonds are formed.
The ragging season is probably the most interesting of the few years
one has to spend at the university. Seniors ask you to do various
things, sometimes sing a song, dance or make a speech. It may seem like
torture at the time, but later these turn in to lifelong memories.
A friend of mine confessed that she suffered from an incessant cold
and sore throat because the senior guys always wanted her to sing a
I know another person who couldn’t wear earrings and always had to
wear karapincha (curry leaves) twigs, in order to prevent the closing of
the piercing of her ears. When a senior guy asked her what they were she
had replied Karabu neti (Clove). The guy had scolded her for not knowing
the difference between curry leaves and cloves and sent her to ask other
seniors for ‘clove’.
Some others are forced to drink t ea out of clips of pens, which
would obviously take hours. Some are asked to turn on a fan or flip on a
switch by blowing on it and when the seniors ask you to switch it off
you have to have enough common sense to switch off the switch by blowing
on it again and turn off the fan by inhaling with the mouth and dragging
in as much air as possible.
This is a true story related by a person who actually went to this
very campus, the name of which I’d rather not give out. Anyway there was
a certain famous chemistry lecturer, who was also the Dean of the
He always comes to the university with his dog. One day he was
conducting a lecture, leaning on the table. This particular lecture was
on testing urine samples. He produced a test tube and held it high for
all students to see. It had a yellow liquid in it, presumably his dog’s
“Urine tests are not very difficult to conduct.” He said, and put one
finger into the tube and licked it. Then he gave the test tube to a
student sitting in the front row. The student had no choice but to
follow suit! Only after the front row had finished the demonstration did
every one realize that the lecturer had licked a different finger from
the one he had poked in the test tube!
But it’s not only the lecturers who can get the better of people. On
another day the same lecturer was conducting a lecture on diabetes. He
asked what happens to the body’s sugar level when a person gets
Now any idiot would know the answer to this question. Even a grade
five kid would probably give you the right answer. But there was a guy
in this class, who had flunked quite a number of times before he could
get to the stage where he was now.
To his tough luck the lecturer pointed at this very guy. Any way this
guy didn’t know whether the sugar level of a person who get diabetes
increases or decreases so he ate up the first few syllables of the word
and said ‘it ....creases’, so nobody could say whether he meant to say
‘increase’ or ‘decrease’. The lecturer kept on asking the same question
and this guy kept on saying ‘it .....creases’.
Well that’s how life at campus is. But this was just a glimpse and
you’d have to go to a Sri Lankan university to experience the real
The economics of dating
Boy meets girl. Chemistry sizzles. Biology kicks in. Economics take a
back seat. Or does it? Does the boy do a quick mental math and arrive at
a cost summary for the next date? Or in this day of equality of the
sexes, do the boy and girl divide the sum total in equal proportions
lest the other takes offense? We decided to take a reality check of
modern day dating etiquette.
In a role-play that is timeless, guys still ask girls out and not the
other way round. Having established this, we asked the all important
question, “Who’s paying?”
According to Suraj K, 19 years, “I get pocket money every month and I
have to manage my mobile phone bills, fuel for my bike, eating out,
movies, discs, and pub hopping. Man! Girlfriends are seriously
expensive. Luckily my girlfriend and I go Dutch all the time.”
Revelling in the new non-conformist dating traditions, Shaju, 17
years says, “Most girls don’t eat. So we don’t really go to restaurants.
We go dancing and we mostly pay for ourselves and the girls pay for
Nicola, a student of Mass communications, takes a dim view of guys
who she refers to as ‘50-50’, “I’m willing to pay my share but I don’t
like it if I’m expected to pay. And let’s face it; the guy wants to go
out with me, right? So... shouldn’t he be footing the bill?”
Priyanka, 16 years and not yet out of school says most girls prefer
to go Dutch. Upasana 19 years old and a fashion designing graduate
describes a typical date, “Hmmm... let me see... Thushar picks me up,
takes me for dinner, and then to the disc, and then he drops me back
So who picks up the tab? “Oh he has a credit card...,” she nods
wisely like it is self explanatory. Suraj K adds that, “girls are
usually prepared to pay but they wait to see if the guys will do it.”
Sometimes girls need some prompting and one of the most popular
techniques used is called ‘the back hand paralysis’, where the hand
reaching for the wallet from the back pocket of tight jeans gets suck in
that position for the longest moment thus creating an opportunity for
the girl to offer.
We renamed it “The Helping Hand”! Teens seem to manage the dating
equation with a confidence that is not misplaced.