Did I mention we got a hostel matron in our third year? No? I see. I probably didn’t because her coming to live with us inside the hostel was one of those few disappointments we suffered during the four years of college.
She was a retired central govt. official. While she ought to spent the rest of her days resting and relaxing, our director somehow convinced her to take up the challenge to tame his wild girls. Now we didn’t know anything about her until we saw the sprawling checkered veranda being partitioned with plywood to make room for her sitting room. Yes, she was going to stay right there with us inside the hostel!
Amidst lots of resentments she came to claim her place as the matron of the ladies hostel. We watched as she moved her furniture and luggage. She was wider than she was tall. She wore a black sleeveless blouse showing her flabby arms off and a blue saree. In the afternoon she ordered a cup of tea from the canteen. In the evening she ordered a room service from the canteen! Later she fended off few girls who were talking to boys outside the gate. Even later she called an impromptu meeting in the hall and lectured about how the new discipline was going to be!
Now you don’t teach a bunch of girls over eighteen disciplines. By the end of it we’d had it. So it began. Our Matron Bhagao Andolan!
We started slowly. More often than not, after at least midnight, some or the other girl started to get scared of something they saw. Some complained they saw a snake in their room, while some others claimed of having seen someone sneaking in their room. And they didn’t seem to find anything else to do about it than to come to the matron. Because after all, she was the local guardian! She had herself let us know that!
As time passed, we went up a notch. Along with the night scares, we added cat fights. Everyday a pair or more girls visited her complaining about petty fights they were having about boyfriends to shoes. Sometimes she had to come up to the rooms to “stop” two girls from killing each other.
We staged scenes so that the cleaner found liquor bottles from her room.
And then when we thought we had her, we staged our finale – after all the lights went off in the teachers’ quarters and the boys’ hostels, we tiptoed and locked her door from outside, and switched the main off. And then a chaos broke.
Noise erupted from every nook and cranny of the huge u-shaped building. Everyone started calling her loudly complaining of something or the other. Some hammered her door calling desperately to help. Some made barking sound, some fighting sound, some quarrelling really loudly.
Following morning, the director called us and said that we should feel ashamed of ourselves for behaving so silly! But we didn’t care, really! We were young and we were naïve, selfish and bad!
The matron didn’t last long. We were so un-cooperative and hostile that she couldn’t survive. We were happy!
I had never really thought about it after that. But right now, while writing it, I realized that I don’t like at all how we were back then! We were a bunch of selfish arrogant people who were a real pain in others backsides.
I realize now that I would have liked to apologize to her if given a chance. But alas, I don’t even know where she is now. Or whether she is alive!
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