In my Poona college, things were a little different. Completely random classmates thought it was perfectly acceptable to hug you, you, someone they know the name and maybe the subject combo of. It was weird. You’d be standing perfectly innocently, minding your own business, maybe bitching about the ridiculously short deadline on your assignment and wham! Some person you barely knew would come charging at you with a “Hi, sweetie!” and you’d be hugged for no fault of your own.
There was no provocation. There was no reason. Any reason was a good reason. “Hi!” hug. “Bye!” hug. “See you there!” hug. “Good morning!” hug. “Such a fucked class, no?” hug. “Oh god, it’s Tuesday!” hug. Magic Pants suffered particularly badly, marginally nice-looking boy that he is. There he’d be, checking out the notice board for class timings, rucksack in hand, when out of nowhere there would be a sudden woman on him. And before you get all jealous, boys, the woman in question wasn’t always pretty either.
And apparently this hugging disease wasn’t only prevalent in my college. Rook knew guys who were into it as well. True to the male form, they were called ‘chamdee’ – wormy little buggers out for a quick feel.
Which leads me to wonder, how bloody starved for affection are we? Because I see how guys might spring a spontaneous hug on a woman for less-than-honourable reasons. But women? Seriously? I get hugging best friends and, I don’t know, acquaintances you may have girl-crushes on. But I REFUSE to believe that that particular category can contain more than 40 girls. Or, given the circumstances, me.
My theory is that a lot of these people came from places where it wasn’t just taboo, but borderline illegal to touch a person of the opposite sex. So when they saw the affection extravaganza that is the one-armed hug, they thought, “Hmm, I need to get me one of those. Or a thousand!”
Whatever the reason was, it was a weird, weird time. And now that I think of it, a lot of the few people I genuinely cared about from that class, I’ve never hugged.
So, in honour of the blatant unfairness of it all, I have a small request to make of all of you.
Make all the friends you like and have a lot of fun, but for god’s sake – hug responsibly.