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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008

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[Memory Lane]

Campus Tales

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 song.

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 Medical Faculty.

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.

“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 diabetes.

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 thing.


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 themselves.”

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 home.”

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.

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