Aftermath of 16th Block Thefts – Reactions

The last exam of the end semester brings in joy and a little bit of sorrow – joy for heading back home and sorrow for missing out on college life and Manipal itself. However, things were different for about 10 students of the 16th block who returned from the last end semester exam, bubbling with the excitement of going home. As fate would have it, what awaited them was broken room locks and ransacked cupboards; iPods, laptops and electronic gadgets were stolen whilst the students were at the exam. The hostel wardens did all they could to investigate the case, and every room in the hostel was searched thoroughly. Everyone leaving the hostel was frisked, and their luggage was checked too. Non-residents of the block were forced to enter their complete details along with ID proof at the lobby. All students were asked to enter their laptop serial numbers before leaving. Everything was done to tighten the security.

However, the thieves had probably anticipated such retaliation, and would have been discerning and discreet enough in getting the stolen items out of the hostel before any action could be taken. The college has done everything within its control to enforce security and to find the culprits, even if it has been futile till now. It is disheartening how such a tragedy had to occur on the eve of departure,
and these security enforcements were just an attempt to restore some hope for the victims.

As students, defying authority has always been our watchword. Yet, there are many times when cooperating with procedures is for the greater good. When there is a set of protocol to be followed, the least we can do is to be a little courteous about it.

I was at the 16th block lobby on Saturday evening waiting for my baggage to be checked by the group of MSFM security guards, caretakers and night canteen guy. A ruffled student barges in and tries to go up the stairs. The caretaker doesn’t recognise him and asks him where he is from. As soon as he replies saying 15th block, he is asked to fill in the guest book. The irritable youngster retorts rudely questioning the authority and arguing that he was a student of the college. The caretaker grumbles about the 10 stolen laptops and shouts at him. So finally the student comes to the entrance to write his details. When he is denied entry without ID proof, he again goes into a fury and begins slandering the guard with “b*****d”. Hearing this, the caretaker intervenes and questions his abusive behaviour, and threatens to inform the block warden. Sadly, this isn’t just the first time a student has behaved so crudely and crass with authority.

My luggage was then searched while I watched. I humbly requested the security to be a little careful with my bag as I had struggled a lot to stuff all my clothes into it. He smilingly obliged, and after some time told me I was free to go. Without cross-questioning, I wrote down my laptop serial number and thanked the caretakers for all their efforts throughout. The night canteen guy then asks me if I wanted one last veg puff. I follow him and he gives me one and asks me when my bus was. He then wishes me a happy journey with the most genuine and honest smile I have seen (at least more genuine than the smile girls give you). It was a heart-warming moment and I munched the puff with content after thanking him.

I am not trying to label myself as a little Miss Goodshoes type. However, a little bit of tactfulness and courteousness goes a long way. There isn’t always way a need to flaunt our egos and crib about every other atom, especially to people below us. In fact, goodwill is always reciprocated in kind. There really is no point in coming to a renowned university and behaving like cavemen. It also goes a long way in keeping everything locked in your room.

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