Wrote this piece long time back. Thank You SP College!
I was standing outside my college waiting for a friend. While I was still debating whether to go inside and explore my hostel premises, I saw a familiar figure walking in my direction.
It was Rajani maushi! Draped in a nine-yard sari, carrying a wicker basket in hand and spectacles perched firmly on her nose, Rajani maushi did not seem to have recognised me.
I rushed forward saying “Rajani maushi, Rajani maushi, olakhla ka?” (Did you recognise me Rajani maushi?)
She peered closely and said, “Kon radki ka?Kay kartes, kuthe astes?” (Is it you cry baby? What are you doing these days?)
When I first came to Pune in Std XI, I had to stay in a college hostel. I was painfully shy, homesick and not a very confident teenager then. Rajani maushi was the cleaning woman of the hostel. Along with cleaning of the rooms, she also took charge of the girls, reporting to the Rector if any one of us fell sick and ensuring that we participated in all the hostel activities.
I was reluctant to participate in the games or dance competition, preferring to switch off the lights and watching the fun from my room. But Rajani maushi did not let me do that for long, She used to drag me from my room, ridiculed me by calling radki and forced me to join other girls.
When that did not work, she took me aside and said, “Your parents stay just three hours away. There are girls from Patna, but do they cry? No. They are having fun and studying hard. You are just being miserable.”
Her words did not change me overnight. But then I slowly started reaching out to other girls and sharing my loneliness with them. In fact, when I became the matron in my final year, responsible for all the newcomers, Rajani maushi used to tell them about the cry baby I was.
Now, when I recall those days, I realise how much Rajani maushi has shaped the person I am today. I am still shy, diffident, preferring to stay in the background, but don’t wallow in self-pity. I also try and be patient with other girls who are staying away from their families for the first time.