Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Separation Anxiety

My niece has recently joined Satyabhama Engineering College and my parents accompanied her mother to the college for the first day/orientation. Their description of the environment at the college surprised me no end. I’m not sure how many of the other colleges follow the same rules but I for one am glad I’m not enrolled there. The rules make it sound like a college in one of those dictatorial, futuristic societies we see in sci-fi movies.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided at allotted times (a separate fee is collected for this ofcourse). No private vehicles are allowed and everyone HAS to take the college bus to and from the college.

But never mind all that. The biggie is that the college completely forbids interaction between boys and girls. They are seated separately in the classroom and even the canteen has separate ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ sections. The staff members too are apparently not exempt since even the staff section of the cafeteria has separate male and female sections. Any boy and girl seen interacting on campus will be suspended.

That lack of boy-girl interaction pretty much takes away the #1 reason college life was fun. The pranks, the teasings, the gossip, the kadalai… college life would’ve been way more boring without all that. Not to forget the last-minute tips given by the studious gals before an exam that has many a time proved to be a lifesaver!

College administrator Jeppiar in his speech justified the above separation of the sexes by saying that students come to college to study and not have fun. And his promise to the parents of the girls in his college: “Unga ponnungala inga eppadi sekkuringalo, appadiye thirumba varuvaanga”(I’m sure I’ve heard that line in a Tamil film!).

Would this kind of strictness make the students more studious? Or would it make them even more distracted as they try to figure out ways around the rules? History has proved that students are always creative enough to find a way around the most restrictive of rules. So would the strictness even work? Will Satyabhama be the first co-education (hmmm... its been so long since I’ve used that word!) college where an entire batch of students graduates with no love affairs among any of the students?!


At 1:00 AM, Blogger ioiio said...

The worrying thing is Parents support this. I know a few parents make their son study here as part of thiruthufying them.. There are a whole lotta colleges sprouting with similar notions and commandments..

Its the worst thing to happen to Colleges in India.. Thats y I still maintain that Crescent, SSN and SVCE are way better than Sathyabama or St Josephs or RMK or Velammal

At 1:04 AM, Blogger P.S. Suresh Kumar said...


I have been in Satyabhama for 2 months not as a student but we had our company training in that college. Worse is that all these rules was imposed on us also, who have nothing do with the college. Yes, it is a pretty pathetic environment. You know there are no trees inside the campus because Jeppiar thought boys and girls may talk hiding behind the trees. myopic is the word. Inspite of all these idiotic rules, parents are waiting to pay high amount as fees to get into this college.

At 2:35 AM, Blogger Blogpur said...

Talk about a dystopic future. If Huxley went to one extreme in "Brave New World", it seems this College is going the other extreme.

Absolute stupidity on part of the college admin as well as a great deal of futility. Telling boys and girls not to meet is like telling the south pole of a magnet not to find the north pole. If you've ever used iron filings, then you know whatever you try, the two will find a way to interact.

Even in the smallest of magnetic fields! (or should i say colleges!)

At 2:59 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

Add this,

If you are found talking with a Girl, then you have to do something called OFFICE DUTY i.e. Stand out near the gate of the college until you are let in.

Thank God, I was bad enough to make myself ineligible for admission in that College.

And BTW, the last minute stories about the units from studious girls did help a lot. Every exam, typically , we would go to a studious girl and say START MUSIC in Kavundamani Style.

At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This gives me idea for next post. Jeppiar and captain vachi :-D

At 4:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you are aware of the recent restrictions in Anna University Campus brought out by the University's VC.

No mobile phones within the campus, No dancing for filmi songs in college culturals, no jeans and other tight body hugging wear.

Read more in this week's issue of Aa.Vi.
Check out Praveen's blog about this (a SRM student himself) - http://pravunplugged.blogspot.com/2005/09/no-kya.html

At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a girl in my class (in Crescent) who got a transfer to my college from Sathyabhama as she couldn't take it anymore there. She was apparently made to stand out in the sun for hours for talking to a guy - really, what kind of idiotic treatment is that!

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Gosh! this is way too much! They need to move that college to the neighboring country!!!

This is actually bad because, that age is rebellious, we tend to do what we are not supposed to. It is unnatural!

I wonder if any human rights activists have heard of this? I am glad I had a healthier environment in college.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've heard about this...total BS...apart from the the sight-adichings and kadalai-varuthings, u also form some very meaningful relationships (romantic or otherwise) in that transitional period from adolescence to youth...some are mere infatuations, some are not, we make mistakes, say/do awkward things...all those are such "rich" experiences that I wouldnt want to be bereft of...to put a damper on that, defeats the purpose of college-life...any of the commenters here, from Satyabama?

At 7:05 AM, Blogger anantha said...

My sister studies there and has a lot of sad stories. One involves her coming out of the loo and walking to the water cooler with a friend (obvsly another gal) to find two guys already there drinking water. The two gals wait for their turn and Jeppiar's daughter and son in law pass by, see the quartet near the water cooler and lo, all of them get OD (Office Duty)! And the stupid thing is, they could not get inside their classes till the parents came to college to discuss the issue with the "authorities". I've seen "disciplinary measures" of this sort in my own college, but only in the hostel where we had roll call every night, no entry after 8:30 and prior written permission had to be sought for visits back home, be it regular (when it was vacation time) or irregular. In case of the irregular visit, there was every chance that your request would be denied! But then, we did subvert all those rules :)
But these ones seem off the chart!

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Kumari said...

Makes me feel so blessed to have studied in a place where the curfew for the girls was till 11pm and some hoodwinked even that :D

But then you must have left India long ago not to have known about 'Satyabhama'. One of the best advices i received after passing Class XII was NOT to ever apply for that college. And Jeppiar's English 'speeches' have left many stomachs wounded :)

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Chitra said...

Gosh! That is so medieval! I pity the students.

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really some heights. That remark by Jeppiyar was so rude and crude. This was the college where VasoolRaja MBBS was shot (never mind cheena thaana) and which awarded doctorate to Kamal, who is 'kaadhal mannan' !!! I thought it existed only in southern parts of TN, shocked to see it happening near Chennai. As you said, what will they do for their off-the-field activities? And you didnt mention about the dress code.. it seems no tshirt and jeans allowed for both sexes, no long hair for guys, etc.. Shame!!

At 8:03 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

I am glad that i didn't go to that jail of an institution. But, i have lots of friends and cousins who have studied both at Sathyabhama and St.Joseph's, but they accept their fate as soon as they enroll-in fact, one of cousin's parents forced her to go to that college and after the initial shock, the students seem to make the most out of what they have and have a fairly good time during those 4 years.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I would have thought parents would be more comfortable with in-campus interactions than outside of it. I mean what is the point of preventing boy/girl interactions in-campus if you can't do anything about it outside campus. My cousins (female twins) both scored more than 1100 in high school. Their entire family moved to Chennai from Virudunagar last month in order to support their studies in a college in Chennai (don't know which one). I hope that they are not going to Satyabama since I feel its high time my cousins start to learn to comfortably interact with the opposite sex. It will help them when travelling alone and in the work place.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Kaps said...

I'm sure such measures will only increase the craving for boys and girls to meet outside college. it is not going to work.

have been reading more of such discussions lately.....do read this one -


At 10:48 AM, Blogger bl@her said...

Another one... the Satyabama et al college buses have a front and a back door, front for gals and back for guys and there is a chain tied in between. This was 2 years ago, and I am sure the situation has not changed. On the other hand, it is highly possible that they might have designed a new bus with different compartments for the two sexes.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the.. if they wanna seperate the group, why not have seperate college for boys and seperate college for girls.. enna stupidness-da ithu???!!!

All this strictness is gonna bound to break and they'll find a way out, I know it... kekeke... and this day and age, this kinda thingie aint gonna work out.. no way!

If I went to college like that, I sure as hell wouldnt be missing it right now...!!!

The thing is that a college should leave you feeling like you wanna go back to it because you have all thse great memories there... (not just drooling at the boys and the fun), but also having teachers who were laid back and having classes that were fun and blah blah...


At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just started university in london, i am so greatful that universities like that do not exist here. I always thought that part of collage life was mixing with people and making friends which include girls. Anyway i think when you reach university you are old enough to judge what is right and what is wrong.

One more thing one one of your other boggles you was talking about the loss of innocence well i think that the view these adults look at with also causes us to loose that inocence.

Well i am far away from these rules and i am looking forward to making new friends and enjoyind collage life and maybe meeting someone special ;-)

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ioiio, thats true. my parents said that the parents enjoyed jeppiar's speech and were laughing and clapping throughout.

suresh, thats news to me. i guess the rule is "when in rome, do as the romans do"!!

venkat, physics analogy super. but u're right. being so strict will only increase the fascination for what is being banned. the ol' eve/apple example applies here :-)

rajesh, office duty??!! what does office have to do with standing near the gate?! logic puriyalappa!

mav, yeah. i think read about it in adi's blog.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blaji said...

"my parents said that the parents enjoyed jeppiar's speech and were laughing and clapping throughout."

Well, this Jeppiar must be a pretty charismatic dude. Otherwise, his college wouldn't have as much cooperation from staff and parents.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger jack said...

u actually havn't heard all the stories.I have heard many horror stories of sathyabhama.But still our guys enjoy there that is different.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Karthek said...

This is a mentally scared ex student from that hell of a place. The height of stupidity was when me and a friend had to do OD (office duty) for not having the shirt tucked completely in our pants on the way back home in the eve in the bus.

Role reversal takes place there as guys has to be aware of fellow classmates of opp sex and from his II year has to be sacred about his junior. A complaint from them will make life not worth living. I have seen a few guys in trouble for the entire 4 year.

I have seen the most no of ppl eloping to get married from this college most of them professors.

Until my first year 1996 things were not this bad, that’s when the son of Madras University VC got murdered in Chidambaram. Thins turned to hell from them. No one was ready to question there stupid rules. The worst aspect is that we have to be scared of the thugs they have as office attendants.

I have to stop here. Thank god for friends and some supportive professors we managed to move on after 4 dreadful year in college.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, konjam vitta looks like they'll bring back 'punishments' like standing on the bench and caning!

munimma, my sentiments exactly(naturally :-)

ram, nicely put. those experiences make us who we are as we grow.

anti, way off the chart! there seems to be a kind of paranoia in jeppiar's mind that resulted in dictatorial rules like these. and from your story it looks like he has enuf people to 'pottu koduthufy' if any of the students break the rules...

kumari, i left chennai about 10 yrs ago. i think i knew of satyabhama but defly not of these rules.
and his speech was supposed to be in real bad english. in fact my parents said that it should've taken real courage for him to stand in front of a huge crowd and speak for 2 hrs in broken english like that!

mitr, thats kinda what my niece said after a few days. we can adapt to any situation and make the best of it i guess...

gopi, i think the parents think that college is the place where the students r 'corrupted'. so if boys-girls interaction is prevented the whole day(since they step from the house into the college bus, go to college and step down from bus to their house) and the parents prevent their kids interacting with the opp. sex outside of college, their kids will not be 'corrupted'! yeah right!!

anu, chains huh? wow! looks like i wasnt too far off when i mentioned dictatorial!

At 1:24 PM, Blogger bl@her said...

Wow Karthek, that was quite a horror story... Glad I went further down the GST road to Crescent...

At 1:28 PM, Blogger tt_giant said...

hear ye!. I am a product of sathyabama (1997-2001 batch). The first thing I was told was that it would be a continuation of school. 100% true. I dare say that things were a bit liberal when I joined. But by the time I left and it became a deemed institution, medivieal times gave way to pre-historic era.

The worst thing is the utter disdain the management has for the staff. I have seen the director yell at the staff as if there is no tommorrow.

But conversations, interactions between boys and girls, stuff like that always happened in the background. Again, that was in the good ol' medevial times. I don't know about now.

The teaching was ok, facilities were first class. Adhu seri.. avalo panam kudukarome.. idhai kooda seyalaina?.

I agree that parents are supportive of Satbam. In fact, when I joined, on the first day, there was an inaugral function. The chairman of RMK engg. college had joined his son in Satbam and he (RMK chairman) was invited to speak. He said, "I myself want my son to study here, not in my college"!..

idheppadi irukku?.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, looks like you touched up a topic close to many of our hearts. Guess that's obvious from the number of college romance movies that come out every year.

I am from Crescent (by coincidence I came across the official Crescent website earlier today. Link for those interested). But I had a friend from Satyabama, who told me all these horror stories. Crescent, on the other hand, was a blast :-)

When one of my vayasukku vandha family friend was ready for engg college, his father asked me which one was best. I told him the truth (i.e. Crescent), and told him to avoid Satyabama. Told him guys couldn't talk to girls, there was no ragging, it was like a school etc etc. I thought I was building a case AGAINST. He heard me out, and said "Wow, sounds like a great place". I was taken aback. Should've told him Satyabama was the best party school. Can't remember for sure, but I think this friend did end up going to Satyabama. And he did end up dating one of his colleagues. So, sad story with happy ending :-)

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Ram C said...

Certain rules enforced may not yield the desired results. This one seem to be another one.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

merino, good question! atleast then its like out of sight(no pun intended!), out of mind. this way its pure torture. kinda like u can see but don't touch(well... in this cast talk!)

daas, good luck. college life offered some real nice memories for me. ensoy!

anon, charismatic or not. my parents said he sure was entertaining!

karthek, thats some scary stuff man! glad u got out OK :-)
i'm glad i went even further down the road than anu :-)

ttg, from others' accounts, sure looks like things r worse now!

prakash, true. i think anything about college life is close to our hearts since it brings back so many nice memories.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Arvind Srinivasan said...

Actually, i have heard many stories from SB guys about girls eloping with professors. But one was the tops. Where the teacher, bus driver'oda odi poitanga nu.

The joke that was doing rounds then was - why did they not getaway in a bus ?


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Phoenix said...

Lol that was funny....i wonder what will happen in Jeppiar's house... :)

By doing this they are noit making pasanage and ponnunge more studious but they are making a genthu (despo characters) out of them !!

Will somebody tell the guy who runs the college it is college and not pothu kazhipidam where such strict rules follow !!

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think these kids that go to these colleges should have the guts to tell their parents' off. Why should they put up with their parents freaking out about whether they are interacting with a person of the opposite sex. This is an issue of "trust" and "responsibility."

Once your kids reach 18, that's it. You must be ready to trust them readily. Whether they get involved with drugs, girls or anything else that could get them in trouble.. it's their problem and responsibility.

So, how long are these parents are going to spoonfeed the pazhaiya panchangam and expect their kids will not rebel?..

PARENTS: Listen to the radio, watch T.V. and movies, lyrics in film songs, and by chance, have you stayed up to watch the TV late night in Chennai?.. Your kids are watching..

I would seriously be worried about that than about them grooving with someone of the opposite sex. :-)

So, let's assume that your kids either watch TV or listen to the radio and end up going to a place at Sathyabama.. I am sure they will end up in the sun every morning. After all, everything around them is suggestive and provocative.. or have parents lost all grip with reality.. THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED HARMONES, folks!

Maybe, if we have a full blown "BOYS" epidemic amidst us, parents will slowly begin to realize that a super restrictive dictatorship is not going to get your perfect model citizens. Most of them will turn out bad mouthing their father like "Kadhir" in 7/G Rainbow Colony. (This example is only for illustrative purposes!).

By the way, if you are 18 and run behind a few skirts and jeans, what's the big deal?..

I'm just infuriated by what I have read here.. I can't stand hearing that Tamilians have regressed so much in thought, back in India.. God help them!..

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are 28 and don't look at girls, parents start worrying about 'character' of son.

If you are 18 and talking to girls, parents start worrying about 'character' of son.

But both 'worrying' is for different reasons.

It is sad that it has come down to this kind of regressive actions by authorities.

I just read this last wks Vikatan. The actions taken by Anna University is childish. I can understand some of the reasoning, and it's true that some youths use freedom irresponsibly, but dirty minds can't be shut of by authorities. It's the good kids that get punished. Too bad the girls are feeling most of the actions, as basic dressing is being questioned. Certainly, if a girl has to wear Sari, then boys should wear Vestis. But will they say that?


At 12:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

i still remember that in our house my sis had to wear a pavaadai and i had to wear a veshti. after my first year in it-bhu i came home for summer vacation and wore shorts. my mom said "akkam pakkaththula vayasu ponnunga irukkare edaththula, shorts ennada shorts ... idellam banaras'oda vachchukko !!". the next day, the girl from across the house (said "vayasu ponnu") who was going to BITS Pilani, came out wearing SHORTS (and they were definitely shorter than my shorts).


things havent changed much now as far as parents goes huh ?

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

arvind, wow nejamava?! thats so funny!

At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree...........
what a bad experience it was.
whata boring college life it was, i wasted 4 yrs

At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the worst college to study in, to build ones lifes

At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the worst college to study in, to build ones lifes

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a voice from the hellhole of Sathyabama..the reason for the entire existence of this shit pit is wholely based on the stupid decisions taken by the parents to send their children to this pre historic institution and not having a problem in paying enormous lump sums of money to tame their untamed children which ends up bringing out the monstrosity n sexual frustration to the brim.The strike that happened on march 1st 2006 brought about a lot of changes..but it is confined only to the 2005 batch..yea..cause we're the rebels!

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was from the 2001-2005 batch of Sathyabama. Did my Mecahnical Engineering there.

Yes, the rules were strict but nobody told me I could not bend them a little. I kinda met quite a few girls there and still keep in touch with them, take em out for dinner from time to time. We used to pass notes and talk online.

Coolest part was the time you had to keep your cell phones in your socks during class raids. Some even stuffed them into their underpants. Those were fun times getting around the authorities ( made me learn that rules could be bent if you knew how to do it correctly). I still use techniques I learnt in SB. Oh yes, and did I mention I never once got OD.

The food was amazing. I still have not tasted better. Was like going for a wedding every day for 4 years. Sambar rice on Fridays and Chicken Biryani on Saturdays was what I enjoyed the most....and man we used to go for lunch twice for the Ice creams.

Facilities were also great. We had really good labs when I was studying there, not sure how they are now. Also we had excellent teachers which is one of the things that Sathyabama is known for. For this alone I would recommend studying there ( I am the studius type). The placements are good too. Not sure which other college has such good placement opportunies.

I read someone who says it was a waste of 4 years, I don't regard it as such. Yes, the rules were strict but they could be bent, as long as you knew how to do it. Talking to girls knowing fully well you are breaking rules makes it all the more exciting. It all depends on point of opinion does'nt it?...and I learnt a lot.


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