I Couldn’t Leave Hostel Before 5AM, So I Had To Spend The Night At The Railway Station

We, the female students-hostellers of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Calicut, face moral policing every day. Our character is put to stake every day, and it is demanded that we prove it’s clean. Recently, I applied for a government job, for which a written test was scheduled in another city, Kozhikode (Calicut). The departure time of the train was at 6 AM. And for that, I would have had to leave from the hostel at 4:30 AM. Now, that was problematic.

Here, in our college, there are rules that exist only for girls which say that no female student can leave before 5 AM or after 9 PM. If they want to do so, they will have to fill out a form stating the reason as to why they want to leave at such odd timings; which address they’ll be going to once they leave the hostel; the date and time when they’ll return to the hostel and the like.

I’m an independent, grown-up and free-spirited girl, and I didn’t want to fill this form. But because of my desire of getting a government job, I filled that form with a heavy heart.

Early exit form for Ladies Hostel of NIT Calicut
Early exit form for the Girls’ Hostel of NIT Calicut: #PinjraTod.

After I submitted the form to the hostel authorities, I was asked to attach the copy of the train ticket as proof. What it actually meant was that they wanted a proof that I’ll not be roaming around with boys, doing any “non-sanskaari” things instead. The time when I asked for this leave of absence fell during the period of Dusshera vacations, which means that half of the hostel girls were going home. Despite it being holiday time, my warden needed my ticket as proof to allow me to go before 5 AM, and in my case at 4:30 AM.

But, I didn’t do it. I didn’t attach the copy of my ticket. Instead of leaving at 4:30 AM on the same day of the exam (October 5, 2019), I left the hostel prior to the day, in the evening. To board my train, I waited the whole night in the ladies waiting room at the Kozhikode (Calicut) railway station. And I boarded my train at 6 AM in the morning to take my exam. 

This moral policing of ‘just women’ happens in the name of safety. Admission in a college connotes growth of a student—mentally and socially. Instead of teaching responsibility by placing trust in students, they tame us and our sense of liberty through these repeated incidents of moral policing.

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