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The following piece seeks to understand the superimposition of dominant ideological narratives on cultural events. It does not, in any way attempt to disrespect the cultural/religious beliefs of individuals.  

Delhi University has often been described as an educational space for multiculturalism and diversity, where students from all over India intermingle and share their cultures with one another. Very often, students bring to the university campus, festivals and celebrations from different corners of the country which helps them create a sense of community far from home. It is an act of claiming a space, far from one’s homeland that initiates intercultural interaction and contributes to the richness of the campus spaces.

However, is the culturally diverse space that many of us would like the university to be, a utopian imagination? Cultural expression is often monopolised by dominant majoritarian communities that can afford to be more visible and vocal. How do we distinguish free cultural expression from ideological imposition? Furthermore, what happens when politically motivated ideologies are superimposed on cultural festivals?

On 22nd June, the Delhi Odia Students’ Association (DOSA) in collaboration with the Iskcon Student Centre organised the Jagannath Rath Yatra in the North Campus of Delhi University. It goes without saying that the Rath Yatra is a festival that is extremely close to the hearts of the devotees of Lord Jagannath. People from different socio-economic backgrounds come to join the procession, hoping to get a glimpse of the deity. People are often seen crying, overwhelmed to see the lord.

But can an event that is often hailed for its inclusive quality, retain its cultural ideals and innocence when it becomes so visibly saffronised? It is true that perhaps every cultural or religious festival is influenced by certain belief systems, but when the belief system is aligned with an ideology which translates into an aggressively asserted political agenda, it becomes potentially dangerous.

The political alignment of the procession organised in the campus was not simply reflected in symbols, but was also verbalised on certain occasions. The event began with an open and unapologetic assertion- ‘Bharat ka dharam, Sanatan dharam’, (The religion of India is Hinduism) and ended with Jai Shree Ram chants. The procession, adorned by huge saffron flags, traced the campus with hundreds of people joining in. The devotees danced and sang along; the sentimental and cultural essence of the procession could be felt. At the same time, the markers of it being a politically aligned procession were hard to ignore.

One could obviously argue that Jai Shri Ram chants in a Jagannath yatra is not arbitrary because Ram and Jagannath are essentially different avatars of Lord Vishnu. In today’s India however, Jai Shri Ram is an immensely politicized slogan – one that is rooted in majoritarian beliefs of Hindutva. To say that it is an innocent appeal to lord Ram is to disregard the persecution faced by thousands of people from minority communities, against whom the slogan has been weaponised.

Before the commencement of the yatra, an elaborate speech was given which emphasised upon values of devotion, servitude and gratitude. The cultural belief system of a Brahmanical conception of Hinduism was presented as the moral standards of India. While science, modernism and ‘western’ values received censure, the ‘Indian’ way of life was pedestalised. It must be noted that the Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri has no custom of preaching. Everybody joins the event as a devotee and no authority figure is given the centre stage. Representatives from the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – a right wing student organisation affiliated with the Hindu nationalist RSS – were formally present in the event.

The Rath Yatra was provided immense police protection. It is entirely valid to ensure police deployment in cultural festivals to ensure orderly execution of the same. However, the sincerity with which police protection is provided to events that exude right wing sentiments is entirely absent when students get attacked by mobs on campus. When a mob of men, gate-crashed the college fest at Indraprastha College for Women, raised misogynistic slogans and Jai Shri Ram chants and harassed women, the police did little to ensure their safety. The police has acted either as passive observers or violent upholders of law in situations like these.

When a religious event is distorted and appropriated to further a political ideology, the cultural and emotional essence of the festival is hurt and disrespected. Although the devotees attending the rath yatra did not express concern regarding the nature of the yatra, the ideological undertones were felt without doubt.

The Jagannath Yatra is very close to our hearts. Devotees wish to remain connected with the lord Jagannath and seek his blessings. It is an expression of unadulterated and innocent devotion. It is not supposed to be used to further any ideological agenda” – Aditi Routray, a student at LSR

 

Featured image credits – Tulip for DU Beat

Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/04/04/the-invasion-of-ipcw-a-students-account/

Tulip Banerjee

[email protected]

The hustle culture at DU is never-ending. Just when you feel you can take a breather, the competition season arrives—the politics, the implications, and, most importantly, the cut-throat rivalry. Just winning a prize is not enough anymore. The hierarchies add a different dimension to an already competitive environment. Read on to find out a first-year student’s account and reflections on the competition season at DU.

Congratulations! You just cracked the Common University Entrance Exam (CUET), surpassing lakhs of students to get admission at Delhi University (DU). You have just started to dip your toes into the hustle culture that perpetuates every fiber of this prestigious university. In a fit of enthusiasm and a promise of progress, you inevitably fall into the maze of toxic society culture. You feel absolutely desolate and frustrated, but at least the fest season is approaching. In a fit of hope, you drag yourself through the tedious internal and semester examinations. You are on the brink of exhaustion, but at least now you rightfully deserve to celebrate during the fest season. However, something surprises you. You overhear murmured whispers among students discussing the competitions they will be participating in during college fests. Welcome to the plight of college students.

What are these Competitions?

By competitions, we are essentially referring to the events conducted by specific departments and societies during their annual fest. Competitions are an opportunity for departments and societies to interact with students from other colleges, leading to a lively spirit of collaboration. Among the most popular are case study competitions, slam poetry competitions, debate competitions, and quizzes. Participants are expected to register through Unstop and pass through the preliminary rounds before being shortlisted for further rounds. The hefty prizes as well as the CV boost incentivize the participants to compete with hundreds of other contestants scattered across the University.

This competition culture is a very integral part of the cultural intricacies that dominate DU. The close affiliation of colleges and their interconnected functioning play an essential role in organising competitions in such capacities. This allows students to easily navigate, network, build connections across various colleges, and participate. The number of colleges and the vast number of events that are conducted provide a plethora of opportunities for students to find a competition suitable for their niche interests.

“Immediately after our academic symposium, the craze to participate in competitions has shot up. It’s like everybody is on Unstop looking for case competitions suddenly. It feels like apart from academics, one must excel at this too” – Manvi Goel, a first-year student lamented.

The Politics of Competitions

Similar to most things in life, there is a fraction of luck involved in the process of participating in these competitions. It all begins with finding the right partner. Usually, most competitions require participation in teams of two to four, and so the hunt for the right partner begins. Working with the right partner greatly increases the morale of the student, and with the right efforts, their teamwork can drive them to great heights. Specifically, in the context of competitions, your rapport with your partner plays an important role, and your complementary attitudes will reflect heavily during the presentation of your competition.

“Mostly in competitions, the rounds that come up are extremely on the stop. If you have a good rapport with your partner, you will be able to explain things better, and your partner will be able to understand it well and translate it into better content for the presentation or explain it while answering during Q&A rounds. In case you are not comfortable with your team members, you will not be able to deliver to your 100% potential. Having that rapport gives you the encouragement that whatever may be the consequence, we did our best and we learned so much, and it then develops into a really nice friendship.” – Dhaani Sood, a first-year student discussed.

However, finding the right partner is a tumultuous task. This is certainly where the element of luck comes into play. Usually, students choose to partner with their friends because a background of understanding has already been established. However, when your friend circle is inclined towards different interests, reaching out to try and build a network outside of your friend circle can cause a great deal of stress.

“The process of finding the correct team is often rough and takes time. If there’s anything I have learned in the journey of finding a cohesive team, it’s that teamwork is the bedrock of success in any competition. I have had experiences where the lack of team coordination was the major reason for our underperformance. A team works better when each member takes accountability for the task assigned to them rather than burdening an individual with the entire work. One should remember that the sum is always greater than the parts” – Ananya Pandey, a first-year student

A lot of dirty politics come into play while enrolling in competitions through Unstop. Usually, the first round of elimination is conducted through an online quiz via UnStop. Often, students can be seen enrolling themselves through several fake emails to participate in the quiz and get an understanding of all the questions and answers. Later, they enrol through their official email address and answer all the questions promptly. This gives them an edge in the following rounds, where the participants with the least time are only allowed to proceed. Such malpractices are often hard to detect in an online and unsupervised space. Although some organisers may severely restrict the time limits, such unethical practises are unavoidable in the race for the first position.

Nowadays, just securing a prize has become the bare minimum. A certain hierarchy exists along with the nature of competition. Case study competitions are usually considered the most prestigious competitions to secure a prize in, specifically those surrounding the topics of entrepreneurship and finance. The obsession with securing a prize in such competitions is hugely fueled due to the immense benefits they add during the recruitment process for internships and companies. Although the amount of effort required for the preparation of case studies is immensely more demanding than other competitions, it often creates a demoralising spirit among participants who are not inclined towards such interests. An additional layer is added when the prestigious factor of colleges is added. Students specifically choose to compete in the so-called Tier-1 colleges across the University due to the spark it adds to their CVs.

So is it worth it?

In some sense, you can’t escape the demands that accompany the very being of a college student. Competition is a fundamental requisite of the environment you are exposed to. It can be very discouraging, but at the same time, when you succeed, it provides you with a boost of confidence. The solution always comes down to your priorities and passions. You cannot compete with everyone for everything, so choose the battles that will genuinely challenge you.

Read also: Toxic Culture of DU Societies: Seniors with Junior Mindsets

Featured Image Credits: BM Law College

Sri Sidhvi Dindi
[email protected] 

From time to time, we come across talented and awe-inspiring individuals who deserve their stories to be told. So here is to 21 such amazing individuals who have achieved great feats in their lives before even tasting the 21st year of their life.


Ankita Singh Gujjar

Ankita is a 2022 graduate of Lady Shri Ram College for Women. She was selected for the Harvard US- India Conference 2021 and has been a research intern at the Asian Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs, Foreign Policy Research Centre, and Centre for Land Warfare Studies. She is also serving as the council president of WICCI India France Council and has published multiple papers.

 

Vikramaditya Kumar Taneja, Founder of DU Connect and Blue-Leaves Community

Vikramaditya is an economics student at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College and is the founder of DU Connect and Blue-Leaves Community— platforms that aim to help out students. He has also interned at NITI Aayog, Nykaa, and Ernst & Young, and has been recognised by the CSO at Ogilvy for his contribution and by IIM Shillong for the acceptance of 2+ papers in International journals.

 

Paridhi Puri, Diana Award Winner

Paridhi Puri, who recently graduated from Jesus and Mary College, has been awarded the Student of the Year award, TIMES NIE (2017-18); World Enterprising Student award (2018); and the Diana award (2021). She has also interned with AVPN, Invest India, Central Square Foundation, and UNICEF India (National representative at G20 World Summit 2018). 

 

Naman Khanna, Magician and Mind Reader

Naman Khanna is a Political Science Honours Student from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. A winner of the Idol Hunt India 2020, he has been invited to perform by SpideyHypnosis twice. He has also collaborated with YouTubers such as Karan Singh Magic, Gamerfleet, The Jhumroo Tal Entertainer, Payal Gaming, etc., and has performed in numerous colleges and events.

 

Uttkarsh Sachdeva, Co-founder of eduPaper

Uttkarsh Sachdeva is a 2022 graduated B.Sc. Honours student from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, who is also the co-founder of eduPaper. In addition, he has also interned with various names such as Invest India, NITI Aayog, India Today Group, Concord Collective, and Ernst & Young.

 

Himanshu K

Himanshu is an EY scholarship winner (2021-22). He also received a 100% scholarship to attend Sakura High School Program in Japan in 2018. In addition, he was a winner at the International Robotronics Competition (IRC) held at Singapore University of Technology and Design in 2017 and qualified for IRC in 2016 and 2018 as well.

 

Ishita Arora, Founder of HOPE

Ishita Arora is pursuing B.Com (Hons.) in Hindu College and is the founder of HOPE, a mental health project which aims to make help more accessible. She is also a founding member of Paalan Foundation and the Entrepreneurship Student Council, and has authored the book ‘The Unspoken: A Romance Novella’.

 

Sanya Gupta, Aspiring Journalist

An aspiring journalist looking to explore and experiment with the different shades of the media industry, Sanya is a final-year student studying Journalism at Kamla Nehru College. Sanya has interned with industry big-guns including Times Now, Outlook India and is a staunch believer in journalism for a cause.

 

Soniyal Bajaj

Soniyal is a final year undergraduate political science honours student at SGTB Khalsa College. A true-blue believer in empathy-backed courage leading to revolutionary changes, Soniyal has contributed significantly in different capacities to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Project and has been a leading voice in the mission to better healthcare. 

 

Palak Verma

Palak is a student of English at Kalindi College and a content creator and writer for formidable organisations like POPxo and LinkedIn. Palak has worked extensively with Social Media and Content Management throughout her time in college. She is also The Community Services Director of the Rotaract Club of D-town.

 

Samya Verma

An international diplomacy and foreign affairs enthusiast, Samya is a student of History at Hindu College. With prominent institutions like Harvard and Kootneeti to her name, she has been an active writer on Asia’s relations with the world at various forums. Samya’s interests include women’s history and international relations.

 

Lubna Malhotra

Lubna is an Economics Hons. graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. With a 31000-strong profile on LinkedIn and internship experience at BW Business World and Meesho to her name, Lubna’s primary interests lie in product, finance, and marketing. She was also one of the founding members of Aghaaz, NSS LSR.

 

Abhinav Sardesai

A third-year student studying Commerce at Hindu College, Abhinav’s experience on the global stage includes working closely with a UN-constituted team for a Lebanese client. He describes himself as a passionate finance and consulting enthusiast with a penchant for problem-solving in the economics and corporate sector.

 

Surbhi Siwach, Intern at Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI

Surbhi is a recent graduate of DU with a degree in Economics and Commerce. Currently completing her time as a research intern at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Surbhi is better known for her workshops on Canva and for helping students find their footing in the world of startups and entrepreneurship. 

 

Ridhima Singh

Ridhima Singh, an LSR alumnus, co-wrote India’s first comic book on child rights. She has worked extensively in the field of social work through co-founding ImpactEd, a social leadership academy focused on enabling student changemakers,  and UN Youth Action Hub India, which became the largest hub across 36 nations. They will be joining McKinsey and Company this year as a business analyst. 

 

Aastha Mohapatra, First Opera Singer of Odisha

Aastha Mohapatra , alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, is the first opera singer from Odisha. They have devoted their life to the art form by performing and winning  over 50 accolades in the field of opera. Their journey has been covered by reputed media channels like Odisha TV and Geo TV. 

 

Priyanshi Chawrasiya, Content Creator

Priyanshi Chawrasiya is student of Gargi college. They are a content creator who use their platform to spread awareness about health and fitness. They have also worked with Media Monks as a chef and hand model on set for creating recipes for Cadbury. 

 

Siddhi Joshi

Siddhi is currently the President of Global Youth Miranda House and is representing India in the Global Village on The Move Program by Lehigh University in collaboration with the US DOS and the American Council. An alumnus of the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, she is a cultural exchange and social-impact activist. She has won the Dr. Kamala Prasad Pathak Memorial National Fellowship for Peace and Learning 2022 and Best Speaker and All-Rounder Award at the Global Peace Youth Summit. A certified tutor under the Global Competency Certificate by AFS India and Global Peace Institute, UK, she is an active social worker and conducts sessions for school students along with heading developmental projects. An award-winning poet and writer, her works have been featured in The Remnant Archive, Headcanon Magazine, The Pinnacle Palette, and others.

 

Shanya Das, Director of Writers Community Freelancers Private Limited

Shanya Das is a Gargi student who owns a company as a director named Writers Community Freelancers Private Limited, an indian freelance marketplace that supports freelancers to get freelance work opportunities. They are passionate about writing and have worked with many news sites as well. 

 

Laqshay Gupta and Harivansh Gahlot, Founders of Baywise

Laqshay Gupta and Harivansh Gahlot are students from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies who have founded together a revolutionary startup called Baywise, an ed-tech startup created with the aim of providing students with the professional skills and advice they need to have successful careers. Baywise had featured on the social media handles of Bloombuzz, garnering a reach of 15000+. 

Muskan Sabharwal and Kanika Chauhan, Started Social Alliance for Impact Research (SAIR)

Muskan Sabharwal and Kanika Chauhan are students from the College of Vocational Studies and Dyal Singh College respectively. Together, they have started the outstanding project of Social Alliance for Impact Research (SAIR), which aims to give every undergraduate student exposure in research and consulting irrespective of their course and college. SAIR continues to grow and build its community of pan-Indian students.

 

 

DU Beat would like to congratulate everyone who made it to the list. For the ones who didn’t, this list is not exhaustive. You are a star as well.

It’s tempting to fall into unhealthy habits, but a balanced lifestyle is the key to a vibrant college life.

One enters college with an abundance of excitement, hope, and the most fun of them all, freedom. While this freedom provides opportunities for growth, it also brings with it a sense of carelessness. When you’re no longer answerable to Mom, you let loose. In most college students, this leads to the rise of some unhealthy habits. Being able to stay in bed and Zomato all the time may seem like a dream come true at first, but it inevitably invites problems.

However, that is not the only factor that could lead to the development of an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s also easy to feel so drowned in assignments, society work, or internships that there’s no room left for exercise or any hobbies for that matter. After a hectic college day, there is nothing more inviting than your bed. With an episode of your current binge and some pizza on the side. This becomes a routine that’s hard to break out of.

“The appeal of the taste of fast food is not the only thing that has kept me in the habit of ordering in almost every night. It’s also very convenient to not have to prep or cook meals. It feels like a quick fix after a long day.” -Vansh, a second-year student

Moreover, “broke college student” is a famous phrase for a reason. When short on budget, cooking the same instant ramen pack a few different ways to get through the week is appealing. Thus, many factors contribute to the rise of unhealthy eating habits among college students. Another major problem is that of little to no exercise. It’s difficult to make time for a routine. The norm of going late to bed and having to wake up early for morning classes keeps one in the cycle of feeling tired throughout the day. Pulling all-nighters consistently and then drinking tons of coffee to survive, skipping meals, and not exercising are therefore common elements of a college student’s lifestyle. The allure of it all is heavy. But this lifestyle is unfortunately not sustainable. How do we beat it?

It’s important to start at the fundamental level and correct your basics. Build your day around a healthy sleep schedule, eat at the right time, and start incorporating at least some exercise throughout the week. As cliché as this might sound, your elders are correct. Doing this will significantly improve your quality of life and help you focus better on your goals. You don’t need some rigid instruction table to help you achieve all of this. Start slow and be soft with yourself. It’s also okay to maintain some flexibility. You do not need to cut Netflix or McDonald’s out of your life (duh, how could we ever?). Just practice moderation with it.

“After college hours, it feels unsafe for me to travel to and from a gym in the city. So, I’ve made it a point to wake up a little extra early in the mornings to do yoga. This way I get some exercise done every single day.” -Gauri, a second-year student at KNC.

While waking up early is definitely not the best suit for many of us, here are some things that you can do to start living a better and healthier life. When you get hunger pangs at odd hours, have fruits for snacks instead of reaching for a packet of chips. They’re yummy and healthy, plus super convenient to grab. Replace your caffeinated beverages with better alternatives that also serve as a refresher, such as milkshakes. When you do need to order in, pick healthier options as opposed to fast foods. For exercise, try to include movement in the little day-to-day tasks. Walk around on your study break instead of sitting in bed. Take the stairs instead of elevators wherever possible (the metro station maybe?). Discover a safe road/park near you and go for the occasional walk while on the phone with family or friends.

There are innumerable little ways you could create a better lifestyle for yourself. Making conscious choices regarding nutrition and exercise will take care of you both physically and mentally, improving academic performance and overall quality of life. Pave the way for a balanced and fulfilling college experience that sets you up for success in the long run. Cheers to doing better!

Featured Image Source: Pinterest

Read also: Health and Wellness Guide for Busy College Students

Arshiya Pathania

[email protected]

Brace yourselves for a mocktickle upon the grief that has swallowed our dreams and continues to haunt us- reopening of colleges. Read ahead to know what mocktickle actually means. 


As reopening feels like a distant dream, the only thing left for us to do is feel hopeless. But for how long? This was supposed to be a phase, a time period that was supposed to end but has become an ever going dream, nightmare perhaps.

Apart from being sad and angry on a regular basis, this time and age of learning demands tons of things to be learnt but are we in any position to learn when our dreams have been made into torn papers that can never be in their original shape. Thus to lighten your hearts we present a mocktickle (yes I came up with that word, getting it registered soon, say hi to the Tharoor in me!) – an article to tickle you while mocking the situation we live in.

  • Visualise, Imagine, Dream

The perfect way to kill time until reopening is to stalk all your seniors and gaze at their fest photos. Try imagining yourself in their place and derive pleasure from this dreamy scrolling of Instagram. If you are a part of any society or aspire to be one, provoke the stalker inside you and search the entire history of your society. Watch every youtube playlist, every performance, every Facebook post that ever existed about them. (This actually gets you brownie points during auditions just don’t overspeak)

  • Learn, Learn and Do it!

Learn those skills that your parents have been shouting for at the top of their voices for two years now. Just in case if reopening actually ever happens how will you survive it? The hopelessness won’t cook your meals nor will the excitement clean your clothes. (There are actually tons of tricks that can come in handy if you are an outstation student so listen to what your parents say closely)

  • Have a Tissue for this Point!

Let’s accept how lucky are those who have already got the chance to stay in Delhi. To push yourself further towards being a Nihilist watch those photos clicked in front of red walls. Cry over those group photos of societies who are practising while leaving outstation students and understand the depth of sadness.

  • Be Social

It’s about time that you finally take out some time to get to know your classmates. The best way to do this is to scroll over the DPs in WhatsApp groups to actually know your classmates. (If you can make an effort to socialise, even a small birthday wish or a ‘good luck’ before exams can bring smiles.)

  • Thoda Dukh Thoda Productive

In spite of all the hardships we are going through owing to Covid, we can’t deny that this is one of the most crucial times of our life. Owing to the availability of time and resources one can easily manage 2-3 commitments together. If you can gather the courage to actually work in these gloomy times we salute you! And if you are the brave one who chose to prioritise their mental health over running in a rat race, then we bow to you for that is equally productive.

 

Read Also: An Ode to My Exhaustion: Letting Go & Letting Loose

Featured Image Credits: Grindfiti

 

Kashish Shivani

[email protected] 

Read the words of our Editor-in-Chief for one last time, before she graduates, as she complains about her stolen sixth semester.

I remember last year, around this time, I was preparing for the farewell ceremony for my seniors at DU Beat- my phone would blow up with some 250 random messages on WhatsApp, endless calls discussing the venue, theme, gifts, and what not. At that time, I didn’t actually understand what the final semester meant to my seniors because I was too engrossed thinking about how life and work would be without them being around. But I also had the settling feeling that I would know when time comes.

Cut to 2020, the last semester of my college life as an undergraduate student, sitting at home, writing this article, and thinking about where my last semester went. I think of the stuff I would have been doing with my college friends and my team at this wonderful organisation.

However, I have always believed ‘expect the unexpected’ and I think that this is the only thing that is keeping me sane in such uncertain times. As kids, most of us might have experienced an unsettling feeling when somebody would snatch out a lollipop from our mouth. This is exactly what happened to our final semester.

Having said this, I would not talk only about the sad situation we are in. As a graduating student, a host of memories flash in front of me right now- the day I got admitted to the University of Delhi(DU), the day I met my college best friend, and the day I joined this organisation.

The three years of my college life have been the most challenging, yet the best years of my life. From being a student coming out of the protected cocoon of school life to graduating college with confidence and an identity, this is what these three years have made me. As college students, we are stuck with assignments, internals, submissions, deadlines, placements, societies, and endless preoccupations.

The nationwide lockdown gave me enough time to introspect and surprisingly, all that mattered to me during this difficult time were the people. I realised that my college life was not only defined by a degree or my friends, but also the security guard of my college who would wish ‘Good morning bacchon’ every morning, the canteen staff who would talk about their families, and the housekeeping staff of the college who would smile and wish me luck before every exam.

I wish I could get to relive all this one last time because I didn’t know that the chai I had on 6th March in my college canteen was the last cup I would have with my college friends while Ravi bhaiya (college canteen staff) talked about his Holi plans. You know something impacts you a great deal when you are unable to write about it without being cheesy and clichéd. It’s a faux-pas I’m willing to indulge in for the sake of honesty.

As much as I have talked about the final year students, I would also like to talk about the juniors. They are also the ones who hope to give their seniors the most memorable days of their college life. The end semester is also a reminder that they have become older, and are now themselves seniors. It’s a nostalgic time for the third-year students but what we often forget is how overwhelming it is for the juniors as well.

Dear Delhi University, the batch of 2020 will miss their last fest season, internals, college parties, night stays, bunks, submissions, and the last lectures and yes, they will miss you too- a place which gave them friendships, lessons, and lots of memories.

Feature Image Source: Anoushka Sharma for DU Beat

Anoushka Sharma

[email protected]

Societies have been touted as the best way to engage in extra curricular activities while studying in Delhi University (DU). There are times however when they fail to meet the expectations we have and make us ask whether its time to leave.

The first thing that many of us in first year are told after we get into DU is that our lives will revolve around whichever college society/ies that we choose. “ classroom se zyada society mai seekhega tu ( You will learn more in your society than in the classroom.) , “tujhe tera crowd society mai milega (You will find like-minded people in your society.)” While these monikers might stand true for the right society for an individual, it is not universally true.

What one should keep first and foremost with all endeavors including societies is the affect that it is has on our mental health. Societies and the extra work load they bring can have a negative impact even if we are surrounded by wonderful people in the society. Paridhi, a first year student from Jesus and Mary College, says “ I was not in a good place mental health wise, and I didn’t think I could commit to the work in a way I would’ve liked to, that resulted in me learning more too. With something like Poetry too, despite the society being full of amazing, empathetic women; it felt like a burden to keep afloat with everything that was going on.”

In the current political scenario, if you are one of those who believe that now is the time to stand up and raise your voice for what India stands for, a college society can be a roadblock in your way and a source of frustration. Lots of societies choose to be ‘apolitical’ o down right apathetic to the situation in the country. With your societies refusing to take stands and/or prioritising practice or work before dissenting, It is a very valid reason to leave your society. Apoliticism, of all things, is ironically one of the things followed in many societies that function around expressing your opinions. All this, amongst major national political crisis.

Another reason one would join a society is for professional growth, and this dilemma between professional growth and fun is the reason why many of us end up in academic societies as well as cultural societies. But managing many societies at a time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which at times forces one to leave a society. Theoretically, one should go for professional growth but cultural societies get an upper hand because of the family like feeling that one gets owing to hours and hours of practice, hundreds of cultural fests to compete in and the liberal way in which they function.

But not all societies are a family, a fresher to the society may find it difficult to socialise with their seniors, thus getting the sense of lonesome even after spending most of your day with their society. This feeling of alienation could also be the reason you want to leave your society.

Amidst all these fun and partying that these societies offer, they also come with a pinch of salt in the form of toxicity arising from the “circuits” that each society has in the University. Every weekend there is a new competition, a new tournament, with the same people in the circuit one would see the same people quite often! While many of us would want to be friends with different people within the circuit, there is also this competitiveness owing to everyone’s desire to win the cash prizes that leads to this toxicity. Sadly, this is the ugly truth of societies that make it unbearable for someone who is not much dedicated to the art.

Whatever be your passion, there is a society for that, but at the same time, if you feel like a particular society would not help you to pursue your dreams, it is okay for you to leave it and make a trail of your own, for one can take the road less traveled.

Feature Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Akshat Arora

[email protected]

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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In the age of instant gratification, longterm commitments can sometimes seem burdensome. Presenting to you, an insight into the weird contrast of being ‘friends with benefits’.

Friends with Benefits, in simple terms, is being friends with the added benefit of a sexual relationship, sans the feelings. In theory, it seems like the perfect idea: you are sleeping with someone you trust and like enough, who has mutual respect for you, but there’s never the added baggage of emotions and commitment. However, contrary to the simplicity it promises, it is a relationship that requires utmost care while being dealt with. Friends with Benefits (FwB) is an interesting dynamic, for it falls between romantic attraction and sexual attraction. There are people you could be romantically compatible with, and there are people you could be sexually compatible with; while there are people who you might have the hots for, they don’t need to be the same people you visualize a happily ever after with. In those cases, if you and they are interested in being around each other sexually, having a chilled out (but a well discussed and thought out) friends with benefits relationship can do wonders.

Like all healthy relationships, the key to a healthy FwB relationship is understanding and communication. For a friends with benefits arrangement to work, you have to know each other and understand what feelings the emotional and sexual dynamic evokes in you. It is also important to communicate about what each person expects and where each is, as the relationship evolves. A third-year student, shared, “Given the difference between sexual and romantic attraction, along with the fact that some people are better as friends, I think a friends with benefits arrangement is ideal. Labeling relationships always leads to unnecessary expectations, which friendship is free from. I find that it is quite liberating in that way. The only thing that one should always keep in mind is that it stays consensual and that there is complete clarity on the terms of the agreement”. But, before getting into one, it is very important to check if you’re both on the same page: that you’re neither looking to commit to the person nor do you want them to commit to you. This helps to avoid misread signals and hurt down the line. It is also important to both remember and remind that this relationship would not develop into anything more intimate.

The romanticisation of friends with benefits in popular culture does not help either. While all FwB might begin with communication and understanding of the equation between the two partners, it is also very likely that one of them might develop feelings down the road. Stringing along the other person, and being the one strung along, are both unhealthy mentally and emotionally. And among all of it is the greatest fear of them all: losing your friendship over this new dynamic.

“FwB is all fun and games until one of them catches feelings and if you’re anywhere like me, you are doomed. I have had my fair share of encounters but a sense of companionship and the possibility of something more always loomed largely. To each its own, but I have gone from liking to majorly disliking friends with benefits solely because I have zero control over myself,” said Anandi, a first-year student. While a friends with benefits relationship is not the most convenient dynamic to initiate, apt precautions on both the partners sides with a truck full of communication and understanding can sustain the relationship. Regardless of the relationship dynamics, being sexually involved with someone is a churning pot of emotions: emotions build, as does trust, intimacy, connection, and familiarity. If there is room to work through challenges to maintain the friendship, even at the expense of the benefits, then you are in a successful FwB relationship.

Feature Image Credits:

Satviki Sanjay

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How does college life hold up to the expectations of freshers?

 

I remember how I walked into my college the first day- dressed dandy, eyes glimmering with hope and my tote bag heavy, with things enough to last a zombie attack. The college itself was brimming enthusiasm and anticipation- the kind of anticipation only 18-year-old kids finally going to college can muster.

For some, college life is a new beginning. For others, it’s a chance to finally delve into what they love. Regardless, I wasn’t the only excited 18-year-old there. A romantic by heart, I was expecting my own Pitch Perfect-esque adventures.  Coming to college felt like that Miley Cyrus song, the one where she hops off with a dream and a cardigan.

The first week of college felt great, but I knew it was too good to be true. The rose glasses soon came off. What I expected were breezy days where I could dress up to my heart and come and leave whenever I wanted, finally doing something I truly was interested in. What I soon found out was that technically college was all that, except with an asterisk that said Terms and Conditions apply in the fine print.

While I already had low expectations, the first thing that college changed was my study habits. Education took a backseat on this ride. Travelling for an hour for just one class became a chore and education for me started revolving around attendance, assignment submissions, internals, and externals. Like every other fresher, I got involved in college societies.

The biggest surprise that came was how the hype around societies failed to meet the expectations. The entire buzz around societies, auditions, and inductions mellowed down as soon as it dawned on us that societies, too, weren’t all games. The first week was filled with overenthusiastic students like me eager to be a part of every society possible. Fast forward to two months later, and half of us had already left or were regretting what we joined.

The desire to join a society, though, felt like a part of my bigger desire to fit in. To find a place. To finally figure out what it was that I was meant to do. It was easy to get lost in a space where everyone is just as talented, especially when I was still on my path to self-discovery and enlightenment.

The one thing that college did get right is the diversity and variety. That any given point of time, there was something happening for someone. Interested in student politics? There’s a protest in the Arts Faculty. A film critic? The film society is hosting a screening. Into drama? There’s a street play at the metro station. And this gave me, and every other fresher out there, a chance to try out new things.

College life showed me how it is easy to get caught up in this whirlpool. Easy to get lost in the eye of all this newfound freedom. Easy to forget who I was amidst assignments, projects, new friends, and ‘getting a life’. What they said was that college was about going out of my comfort box, meeting new people and discovering myself. What they didn’t tell me was how college was also five continuous classes a day, piling coursework and sometimes biting off more than I could chew.

But what I’m learning is that college comes with so many firsts. But it also seems like a place that makes things last and I’m just taking my time on my ride!

 

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

 

Satviki Sanjay

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Why is it that in this gloomy, fast-paced world we don’t put in a little extra effort to make others smile more often? On World Kindness Day, this year let us try a bit harder to turn a few frowns upside down!

As children we’ve all been told on countless occasions to be kind to those around you. It sounds like such a simple and obvious idea and well, it really is! But somewhere down the road the whole concept seems to have gotten lost in its journey. We tend to forget how easy it is to be kind. Kindness is a gift which everyone can afford. So why is it that we don’t share it more often with people around us?

The single, smallest and the most random act of kindness can make a person smile. Given that we live in such a dismal and cynical society, we all can use a little cheering up. Little acts such as greeting the cab driver a good morning with a happy face can bring joy to a person in ways one never thinks. Who knows your day will turn out beautiful just by saying kind words? It’s almost saddening to see how nobody greets each other anymore.

Our lives these days are very busy. It’s as if we barely have time for ourselves, let alone others. We are so occupied in our own businesses that we ignore the others’. We fail to ensure whether those around us are doing well or not; did they smile today or not? Just a “How are you?” after a “Hey” can make a person feel special and acknowledged.  The words of Dalai Lama ring all the more true now when he said, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace,”

Being kind is like giving hope to someone who feels alone. We don’t realise how our words and actions impact those around us. Nobody knows what the other is going through. We casually crack jokes that often can be derogatory but are yet supposed to be “funny”. Thus, always think twice or thrice or maybe even a hundred times before being rude to someone.

It’s the best time to be nice to people around you. Kindness can be expressed in the most mundane actions, for instance, smiling at someone, offering to open the door, letting them know they look nice or maybe just making them laugh.

On asking around I received different views by others as to what they feel is an act of kindness, most people associate kindness as an act which makes them smile. This includes gestures right from sharing music, reminding your friends to ‘stay hydrated’, a random hug, marking your friend’s proxy or just recommending a good book!

What act of kindness did you do today? Did you make someone smile?

 

Feature Image Credits: Navya Jindal for DU Beat

Aditi Gutgutia

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