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27 Jun
2017
Editorial Team.
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Colleges In India Should Learn Something From This College In Kharagpur!

Blackouts are uncommon in Pune. Even if it happens, generators are in almost every society so the power comes back up all too soon.

Also, aren’t blackouts super irritating?

No Wifi! No fan! No Air-conditioner. No charging point. How will we manage?

I live in Rohan Mithila - an entirely ageist colony in Viman Nagar.

Bachelor's are looked down upon and there is rampant discrimination against students living in the society.

But, here is what happens during every blackout.

In the two-three minutes, when there is no electricity, a strange little phenomenon happens.

All the students venture out into their balconies.

An almost quiet society erupts into these murmurs and you’ll see these students just talk, laugh, shout and have animated conversations.

Some will still be hooked on their phones but they’ll be out.

This weird little phenomenon lasts only about two-three minutes.

And then power would come back up and everyone would go back inside.

For a lone spectator, these few minutes would be grand.

More so because everyone knows everyone in Rohan Mithila. Students would scream from one balcony to another.

Conversations would flow. Phones would be put away. People would sip on their coffees.

Instead of a Whatsapp message, a merry “Hi” would be thrown here and there.

It’s fascinating! And beautiful.

It’s real.

Enter IIT Kharagpur!

IIT’s have almost become infamous for suicides. Since the beginning of the year, Kharagpur has already witnessed three suicides.

It’s heartbreaking how suicides have become synonymous with IIT’s – One of the premier engineering colleges in the country.

The problem has long persisted and it’s great to see them finally address and acknowledge it.

Enter IIT Kharagpur.

They’ve come up with an almost weird little idea to combat loneliness and depression.

Deliberate blackouts.

Yes! You read that right.

Wardens of IIT Kharagpur hostel have been asked to initiate these blackouts occasionally to encourage students to come out of their rooms, engage and interact with other students.

According to this beautiful piece on First Post – This is an attempt to encourage students to leave their rooms, devices, and books and go out and talk to their friends.

Such an initiative is heart-warming.

More colleges around the country need to follow suit and take a few pointers.

I’ve said this before suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

A little gesture like this goes a long way in reaffirming that even though we are more connected than ever real conversations are still very very important.

It matters!

Will Other Colleges Take This Forward?

I know a lot of people I talk to every day believe that a tiny ripple isn’t going to make much of a difference.

But I refuse to believe that.

A ripple is nothing but a catalyst.

These minute gestures add up somewhere.

Just imagine a group of friends sitting somewhere in the open – with a guitar, talking, joining in, laughing and having a very real moment.

Someone somewhere quips in – “Did you hear about the Arjun Bhardwaj suicide?”

And they talk. One says something insensitive. One doesn’t. One listens. One goes on an epic monologue.

But they’ll talk.

They’ll realize that some of them think alike. Some don’t.

The filters stop mattering for a second.

They stop seeking validation for a second.

They have a real moment.

Such things might appear insignificant but they matter.

Other colleges need to follow suit and take up similar initiatives. But, we need to realize as soon as possible – Change starts with us.

We need to mobilize and initiate these things ourselves.

Before this year ends, I sure as hell am going to do something about this in my own college. I don’t know how, yet.

But I promised myself I will.

And I will.

And you need to, too.

It’s easy to assign blame.

It’s even easier to say it’s not my problem.

The Wall and Us commends IIT Kharagpur for taking mental health seriously.

Thank you! You’ve created a ripple.

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The Wall and Us Editorial Team.

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