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A slice from the pages of a warden’s diary – 1

After a late night of tackling girls missing at the hostel, the harsh door bell of the warden rings to wake me up at 6:00 AM. The pleasantries and the prayers of the morning are left behind in the mattress, blanket, pillow and bed sheets as I rush for the door. A well dressed, well groomed final year student at the door demanded permission to go to the hospital for a scan. She insisted that the appointment with the doctor could not be ignored and there would be problem if not permitted. All the right kind of thoughts and virtues that had been inculcated through the night to deal with the perennial issues of the students got pushed down the drain. The reaction was spontaneous and heated: “why didn’t you come in the evening? Why no letter requesting permission for a visit to the doctor early in the morning at 6:00”? Like a piercing arrow came the reply “You don’t deny outing for hospitals?” A single syllable answer “go” was the only thing I could do to save me from the morning blues,  closed the door and looked around for positive thinking recalling all the positive WhatsApp posts and posters that are read day in and out. I throw myself to the small challenges of daily chores to clear the dirty thought of perennial student problems. The bed is made, a warm cup of water with honey goes down the husky throat. A visit to the toilet….. O’ dear the door bell rings again. Three times consecutively even before I manage to reach the door again to see the same face. An application is promptly handed with the phrase “sign please”. “Bhaiya gate se jane nahin de rahe hain without permission letter.” At least the gate keeper is scared after the night blast and is following orders . Well when people have a salaried job they are bound to follow orders. The care taker will be held responsible if any girl goes out without a warden’s written permission accompanying her.  Self talk, early morning resolutions failed to stay calm. Unlike the self that the warden is she is transformed into hot burning coal and shouts back” how many of you have decided to disturb in the morning by ringing my bell constantly…………………..blah blah blah……sign……blah blah blah…….sign……blah blah….blah sign. All the anger vented into that one signature. Sitting with a cup of coffee and talking to family members over the phone recomposed the self. Finished cooking lunch and started to dressing up for the office………..comes a phone call………a first year student wanting some time to talk. She was bluntly told the hostel office timings. By this time the warden started wondering whether wardenship and its perennial issues had made her a completely different person. Again the bell rings. A brigade stands at the door. Mess Members of the republic day asking for money for additional eatables on that day which has not been provided by the caretaker because of financial crunch. Evaded them by telling them to come in the evening in spite of their requests to deal with the problem there and then as the next day itself was republic day. But what could one do. At the end of the day one also had to perform the primary duty of the faculty of an institute. The warden now grabbed her laptop, bag and keys and rushed for the door. Locking the gate I was again attacked by a housekeeping staff who always borrowed money from me. The housekeeping staff was also sharply told that I was late and could not hear to any more problems. The wild blooms, the sun rays, the chirping birds couldn’t soothe my owes. At the back of the mind the thoughts lingered that all whom I had avoided will be there to meet me at the doorsteps in the evening. And there awaited the herculean task of explaining the difference between “appointment with a doctor and doctor visit on emergency”.  As I entered the institute to take my 9 am class, deeply desired that sister BK and Sri Sri Sri, Sadguru, and Swamy ‘X’ spend at least one year as a warden in the girls hostel and then move into the world to spread their wisdom.

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