It was nearing midnight when Chhaya Chordia completed her round of the hostels. She was the Director (Hostels) and resided on the campus of Amity University, Noida. Random visits were her way of feeling the pulse of the hostels. They gave her insights into the problems of the students. Sometimes she would come across pranksters or stumble upon cases of indiscipline. Then there were cases, which belonged to the grey zone––one would wonder whether or not to treat them as flouting of norms. In over a dozen years in the business, she had developed a knack of resolving the issues of the young adults.
Today was a day when she would use that knack.
The wardens and the assistant wardens had submitted their ‘All Correct’ reports. There was silence in the corridors. Most students had gone to sleep; some were studying and some others were netsurfing. Occasionally, a student would step out to fill a bottle of drinking water. Peace prevailed.
Chhaya stepped out of the hostel to return to her residence when she saw someone walking towards the hostel. He had a carry-bag in his hand. She hailed him.
“Who are you?”
“Ma’am, I am Amit Sharma (name changed). I am…”
“You are II Year B Tech Biotech student,” Chhaya cut him short. “You are supposed to be in your room. What are you doing here on the road at this unearthly hour?
“Ma’am, I fell asleep in the evening and couldn’t eat my dinner in the cafeteria. So I ordered food from the dhaba across the road. I have just collected the stuff from gate number 4A.”
“Didn’t the guard on duty stop you?”
“He wasn’t there. He had gone to the loo when I collected the food packet.”
“You are a II Year student. You are fully aware that outside food is not allowed on the campus. Why then did you order food from the dhaba? Don’t you know that consuming food obtained from these roadside vendors can lead to food poisoning?”
“I’m sorry Ma’am. I was very hungry and every outlet in the food-court was closed. I promise, it will not repeat”
“There is no reason that I can allow you to consume this food. Please throw it into that garbage bin. And don’t repeat it.”
Amit complied grudgingly.
“Which is your room?”
“Room number 2 LGF in Hostel-6.”
“Now go back to your room and see me in my office at 11:00 am tomorrow.”
“Good night, Ma’am.”
Amit walked back towards the hostel gate as Chhaya headed for her residence. On her way she called the attendant on duty. “Malati, come to my residence right away.”
Back at her residence, Chhaya took out some food from the refrigerator and heated it. She baked some chapatis. Then laying out the food on a tray, she told the attendant, “Malati, take this to room number 2 LGF of Boys’ Hostel-6. Amit Sharma is the name of the student.
At 11:00 a.m. next morning…
Amit walked into the Hostel Office and touched Chhaya’s feet, “Last night I had returned to my room much annoyed with you. I’m so sorry. We have always seen you as a strict disciplinarian. Never knew about this trait of yours.” A tear rolled down his cheek as he added, “You are a godmother.”