Category Archives: Psychology


As for many people, 2016 was a terrible year for me. It started out in the most beautiful way. I was happy, content, and actually excited for what was going to come. It was supposed to be a game changer. It was supposed to be a year of laughter, love, and unbounded happiness. For the first quarter, it was.

I’d made some mistakes, but I wasn’t guilty. Until it all started going downhill around June. 

In an interview I’d given for an internship, I’d told them the one thing I was afraid of was getting burnt out if I took it. And I did. I had to leave it because I couldn’t cope with it and a million different things I took up when I was in my high phase of life.  I think that was my biggest mistake this year. To think a high would stay a high. To think that luck would be mine forever. To take everything for granted.

This was the year, I learnt that I was an entitled person, who was mean to people who didn’t deserve it. That I reacted badly, and crazily, and I have potential to hate myself deeply. And I didn’t realise who was toxic and who wasn’t. I realised I blamed people when the problems were entirely my own. This was the year I self-harmed in ways I never thought possible.

I want 2017 to be better. I know there are things that I can’t change. I know that my life is still in pits. I know that the roller coaster of my life might not see an upward sloap for a bit. But I’m not willing to let external circumstances have an effect on me. 

This was the year I actually thought about suicide. I thought only a few would miss me when I’m gone, and maybe they were better off with me gone. That it’s better to actually go away than live like this. I’ve never said this out to people, so if you’re reading this, now you know. 

I wish I don’t think like that in 2017. I wish for myself the love that I am capable of giving others. I wish for myself every bit of the love that I thought I didn’t deserve this past year. I wish for myself positivity and self love and lots and lots of beautiful poetry.

So here are a few of my New Year’s Resolutions. (I know you needn’t wait for new year’s for it, but still)

  1. Stay positive. 
  2. Do not take mental health for granted.
  3. Keep a happy memories journal every week.
  4. Email self things I should be grateful for
  5. Email a daily/weekly journal
  6. Tell people I love you more (only if I mean it)
  7. Do not self pity about things not in my control
  8. Send every author/person I admire an email.
  9. At least 50 blog posts this year (including poetry blog)

And I wish for all of you love, happiness, and beautiful words. Happy New Year! Let me know what you all hope and resolute this year.



I never imagined walking in through the same gates, past the same two men (who asked us a different question today than his usual), and through the same arches, the same overcrowded stairways, and towards the same photocopy-place we had for the past five years would feel so different. Their cold What work do you have instead of a strict, yet playful Put your ID around your neck seemed strangely wrong. The repainted arches, and the redone Multimedia Room made you feel like a lifetime had passed, when in reality it had been hardly four months.

Standing in the heat, waiting for the photocopy guy to listen to you, and then explaining the nuances (3 copies of 2 sheets, 4 copies of 1 sheet, and 5 of 4 sheets) and him laughing, felt like nothing had changed. I look out the window and see a girl, probably late for her classes, help a visually challenged person get to the Resource Centre at the other end of the campus like a thousand others before her. I see a group of friends, probably First Years, clicking pictures in the first quadrangle, just like every fresher in the history of the  college has done before them, and I see the various organizers of the college fest with dozens of colourful papers strutting around- the full load of stress, frustration, and nervous breakdowns not hitting them yet, like every batch before them.

There are so many things that have changed- I can never be seated in the first bench of the corner row of the Psych Lab and be slightly irritated if someone else occupied it; I can never go for the Seminars in Khandala, and sing along at the bonfire with the professors, and other classmates, juniors, and seniors; I can never sit in the foyer or the canteen and eat Special Maggi, or Paneer Kathi Roll, and gulp 3 cups of coffee in 5 hours because I slept for 45 minutes last night; I can never pull off eating a red velvet cake at 10.30 in the morning, or take a cab because there were only 5 minutes left for the lecture and it’ll take exactly 8 minutes to the campus and half to the staircase 3 to run up 3 floors; I can never miss a lecture for which I got up at 5.30 in the morning, by 3 minutes and decide to have a quiet breakfast by myself only to end up meeting a friend, and together decide to bunk yet another lecture just to bitch about an annoying classmate that we both hate. I can never enjoy the light breeze in the terrace classroom while studying Lord of the Flies or reading a sonnet or arguing about Foreign Direct Investment in Retail. I can never pretend to listen to a professor rant on about Environmental Psychology while listening to Singing in the Rain or Citizen Kane that the students in the class next to us are studying for Understanding Cinema. I can never write 10 pages of colour-coded notes in a 40 minute lecture with closed eyes because I was too sleepy to keep them open; or actually dream because I ended up dozing off while writing an important assignment. I can never sit in a corner with friends and taste every sandwich in the menu at 5 in the evening when we have yet another submission the next day. I can never call up another friend at 3 in the morning to ask her why on earth are we using this particular statistic and 15 minutes later ask her how to state the result APA style, but end up bitching about everything under the sun for a good 50 minutes. I can never crush on someone two years above me and join every club he’s a part of, or stand outside his class at the opposite end of the campus just to catch a glimpse of him. I can never wait in line for a professor to approve our hypothesis till 9 PM, to get home at 1 in the morning because all the public transport systems were blocked due to heavy rains.

No, I can never do these things- because things change, and people change, and priorities change. I know I’m only moving forward, but no matter how horrible some days in college felt, and no matter how much of a struggle it was to get to the end, and even if they told us that now we’re Alumni, I know Xavier’s will always be there to welcome us home.

The Psychology of Evil

On Zimbardo, Rape, and India’s Daughter

I remember having studied Zimbardo’s contribution to Psychology in my Social Psychology Class last year. But apart from how unethical his research was, I sparsely remembered much. But it wasn’t until now when I revisited his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and other works for a Seminar Paper, that I understood how very relevant him and his ideas still hold true.

A recent BBC documentary called India’s Daughter has been making waves in social media today. Many have been shocked at the things some of the people had said, how they justify the rape- how the girl derserved being raped. Many cannot believe the horrible crime that it turned out to be- not just mere rape (nothing about rape is mere), but murder!

While I do not want to go into details about the event, I do want to explore what went wrong.

Some of the rapists were on drugs and alcohol- which means they were clearly uninhibited and aggressive. Who prescribed drugs to them? Who sold it to them? They are also to be blamed.

The juvenile hadn’t been home for two years. His mother reported that his family had assumed he was dead. She also reported that they hadn’t eaten anything except tea for a couple of days. The erstwhile juvenile had run away, to survive. What happened to poverty reduction? What happened to provision of fulfilling basic needs to people? Why are his parents to be blamed?

Zimbardo aggressively opines that it is not just a few bad apples. It is the bad barrel. It is not the person- it is the combination of circumstances and the system. It is the system to be blamed, more than the rapists. The system which allows people to look for recreations in harming other people. The system which lets people go hungry, the system which fails to detect consumption of illegal drugs. The system which lets people to believe that they have the right to teach somebody a lesson. The system that tells men that women are inferior to them, that she needs protection against being plucked by a thorn. The system that tells men that they are right, they are superior, they are worth making sacrifices for. The system that tells the female that she is nothing without the man- a man who raped an innocent, and has been given a death sentence. The system which lets a man of power to say that the culture has no place for women.

When I condemn my male counterparts- or females- as being sexist, it was always for the little things. How they had tailored their aspirations and interests to fit in with the gender roles. Little did I know that the extent of sexism in our society was so pervasive and so intrinsically woven into our psyche, that there would be males who think that rape is justified if a woman gets out of her house with a male who is not her family on a date; or if she stands up for what she believes is true.

So when Zimbardo talks about ascribing symbols of power to a select few, it is true- the few who are randomly chosen into being a male, being born in a particular socioeconomic status, into a particular religion even. And when these few start with little acts of evil– stealing candy from their little sister, and aren’t stopped, they move on to bigger acts- catcalling, Eve Teasing, stealing. The documentary said that the accused had already picked fights, being in fight clubs, and assaulting other men. When they were not punished for it, they continued to bigger acts of evil.

Zimbardo talks about dehumanization and infrahumanization– looking at the other person as less than human, less than unique, as an object. This is obviously the case with women in the country. She’s collectively perceived as not being worth it, as if less than human- inferior. That perception is enough to commit acts of evil upon her, without feeling remorse.

He also talks about creating an ideology where the ends justify the means, which is apparent in the idea of ‘teaching her a lesson’. The means of raping her has been justified by the end of teaching her this lesson, which was very important to them. These evil ends are seen as acts of necessary evil. Related is the idea of obeying to a lawful authority, which propagates these ideas. I assume this is the culture, the religion to which the rapists identify- perhaps which dictates, “Women have no place in this culture”. This is further enhanced with socially important figures recognizing the act and propagating it- as many political leaders, important bureaucrats, and Godmen often are quoted as saying.

Where is it stemming from? The place culture stem from- the minds of a select few, the ones who give themselves the authority, the ones who have the dichotomous vision of good and bad- the ones who refuse to see the shades of grey. This evil stems from the men who ascribe themselves power, at least over the five women he encounters- his mother, his sister, his wife, his daughter, and by extension, the other women he encounters. It stems from the woman who refuses to voice her opinion, whose voice has been subdued by the others, who gave up her fight to prioritize for others. The evil stems from those who have been a silent spectator while evil occurs- in the movies, when the hero doesn’t take no for an answer and follows the heroine around, at home when our mothers give in when she’s fighting with our fathers about trivial things, on the road when a drunken man beats his wife and child. The evil stems from conformity. The evil stems from you and me.