Water, Water Everywhere…

Yesterday, my doctor was telling me about how important antibiotics were to India. “If there were no antibiotics,” he said, “India’s population would be half of what it is.”

Later, I mused to the partner that I’d rather have enjoyed that. “Men are weaker when it comes to disease,” I said, “so obviously the men would be bumped off first. I’d then be living in an India with half a billion women and me. What fun!”

Well, on a much smaller scale, a young man named Mohammad Usman is having just that kind of fun. The Boston Globe reports:

To many women, he is simply “the boy.” They know who he is, even if they do not know his name. They know his story, even if they have never spoken to him.
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In the small, all-female world of Wellesley College, Mohammad Usman is famous in this way. He is literally a man among women – about 2,300 women. Usman, 19, is the only man attending Wellesley College this fall.


But do not get the wrong idea here: Wellesley College, known for educating such top female minds as presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, is not allowing men to become full-time students like many other local women’s colleges. Usman, who grew up in Bronx, N.Y., has come to Wellesley on a semester-long exchange program, and he maintains his motives for wanting to be here are pure.

This reminds me of my own college days. After my tenth standard, I went to Fergusson College in Pune to do my junior college, and opted for arts. On my first day there, I founds myself in a class of 105 girls and 14 other boys. You might imagine I would revel in such surroundings, but I had just emerged from a boys school, and was painfully shy. I had no idea how to behave around other people, leave alone girls. (I wouldn’t even look at my chica classmates, I was so awed and terrified.)

Much to my retrospective regret, I knew no economics then, or how I was perfectly positioned to exploit the scarcity of boys that the girls had to contend with. Wisdom, sadly, comes when one is too old to make use of it.

(Link via email from Aditya Kuber.)