By Aditya Mani:
Ever since I started off with my college life, I have deviated from the behavioural pattern that was predicted about 3 years ago. This deviation was unexpected, albeit not surprising. The amount of exposure I got here was staggering, to say the least. I started looking at life from a different angle; I did things that I might not have been proud of 3 years ago. But that doesn’t mean I am not happy. I am very happy. I wish this phase never ends.
Alright, enough! I’ll come straight to the point. In this celestial world of eternal happiness and wonder, I have come across various art forms that I have imbibed into my psyche and character. Among them, I think the one that razzles and dazzles the most is the art of getting treated in the canteen.
It is very interesting. The crux of it is to enter the canteen without money, accost an acquaintance and persuade him/her to pay for your meal. As simple as it may sound, there are various parameters that need to be accounted for.
The first lesson is to work with time. Both, the time of the year and the time of the day are important, albeit to an untrained eye, time would seem inconsequential. That is exactly where all the rookies and the wannabes fall flat on their faces. You see, this is one important reason for the treaters to turn down pleas. The opportune seasons for striking are the periods leading up to a vacation, the days during and just after a big event and the most obvious — placement season. I shall now proceed to explain my theory.
People in such colleges are happiest when they are going home. This may be because of many reasons —Â end of exams, the prospect of eating homemade food etc. Also, at the end of every even semester all the final year students start becoming extremely generous and start joining the treat-the-junior frenzy. Remember, the happier the person is, the more probability there is of him treating you.
After big events or festivals in the college, there is usually a lull in the extracurricular and curricular front that lasts for a maximum of 3 days. This is one of the best periods to start hunting for prey. A relieved and distressed mind will jump at the opportunities and treat you, especially if you claim to have worked your behind off for the event.
It is worth mentioning that there are a few occasions when none should be approached for a treat. This is because, if the treater gets peeved at you, he might not treat you even the next time. Never, ever approach somebody for such favours during either the examination period or during a event. Stress, tension and disappointment are mortal enemies of the art form in discussion. It is needless to add that birthdays and achievement periods are the easiest in which to fleece.
As far as the time of the day is concerned, it depends on instinct and skill rather than bookish theory. This ‘time’Â is not based on the readings of a chronometer but based grossly on the handiwork of Lady Luck. On working days, the canteen is frequented during free lectures, but mostly after classes. There are also the times when potential treaters show up with certain lady friends. Need I say more? When opportunity bangs on your door, you comply. Some seasoned campaigners prefer lonely, unsuspecting prey as they are able to get the maximum out of such opportunities. Also, there are the people who reap benefits of their hardwork over the day and cash it in at the end of the day. But never forget, if you play your cards properly, it is possible to eat outside the mess throughout the day, without spending a single penny.
The next parameter is also very important. It is directly inspired from the phrase, ‘hunting in pairs’. It is very necessary to have with you, an accomplice who shares the same views as you. Not only will he/she assist you in the extraction, but also act as the ideal foil for all your strategies or modus operandi. There are a few eligibility criteria for the selection of your brothers-in-arms. Firstly, he/she should not possess even the slightest trace of shame or self respect. It is the single biggest enemy that can stop you and foil your plans.Â Secondly, he/she should not be more popular than you in your social circle, or your co-conspirator will end up riding your popularity wave. And lastly, he/she should have a sound presence of mind to bail you out of sticky situations, for eg: – when you are being reprimanded for having asked too many treats.
And there you have it. You’ve just been imparted wisdom; wisdom that will last for a life time and wisdom that will always pay dividends. This wisdom can also be extended to suit needs other than those concerning food. Fending off people is an ancient human attribute and now, you are better equipped to face the world in this regard. A word of caution though —Â with great power comes great responsibility, and hence, never misuse this power bestowed upon you.Â Remember that freeloading is an offence in most states and that it is injurious to human psyche and mentality. Go young grasshopper. Go young grasshopper go. Go and jump into the ocean of ‘free’dom.