NP Makes Sister Sagacious & Street-Smart :
Chapter – 19 (NP makes Sis Sagacious & Street- Smart
My Sis got employed when she was 52 and well neigh out of touch with education in the truest sense. I never thought very highly of her so far as Wisdom Intelligence are concerned. I heard Arunda, my bro-in-law appreciating her practical wisdom only once in my life when Sis had said, so Arunda said, something to the prospective in-laws of their daughter about having raised their daughter as befitting a girl of a middle-class family. Sis showed a glimpse of her intelligence again once she got through the Interview for the post of a Matron at NP ( North Point).
Once she was confirmed of the job offer, Sis, decided to inform Arunda about her intention of moving out of their flat at Sithi in North Calcutta. The fact was things between them was souring on the home front. When you realize at some point in your life that your world has been topsy-turvy, when you realize that you have left the best days of your marital life behind, when you come to accept the bitter truth that things won’t be the same again, you start taking a more realistic view of the happenings around you in particular, and of the world in general.
Sis informed Arunda about her desire and decision to move out of Sinthi. My bro-in-law must have sensed the prudence behind it all, so when Sis asked him to accompany her to NP, Rajarhat, Arunda was willing to reach her there. In fact, I came to know later from Sis that initially Arunda was quite impressed with the infrastructure and facilities of the school. But the real reason behind Sis asking Arunda to accompany her to NP was to keep a clean slate so far her character was concerned.If Arunda reached her there himself, no one could point a finger at Sis. So, the crux of the matter is – on a week day, accompanied by Arunda, Sis left her home at Sithi to start working there as a Matron.
NP, Rajarhat is a very picturesque place. I have been there a number of times and often admired it from afar. The three-storied, secluded Girl’s hostel is at the far corner. Each storey will normally have some 12-16 wards and Sis was initially asked to take care of the 2nd floor consisting of boarders from II to V. When on a day, a child called Tirthankar got admitted, Sis had this feeling of impending doom.
Tirthankar or Tirtha was an only child. His parents, like many others of our generation with the same ailment, got married out of love. His father was from a very rich background while his mother was middle-class. Like it is being common these days, love was the first thing that evaporated from the couple’s life soon after the birth of Tirtha. The decided to part their ways. Tirtha was taken by his mom. The right over the possession was challenged in a court of love. The verdict was given in favour of the more economically advantaged father. All that Tirtha’s mom could do was to meet her son once in a while. A few months after the verdict in his favour, Tirtha’s father brought him to NP. As he was a second-grader, his wellbeing somehow fell on my Sis.
That night, after a hectic day’s work, Sis had retired to her room in the dorm on the second floor, having made sure all the wards under her charge and care, were safely tucked under the quilt. It was almost midnight. Sis was sound asleep when she heard this clanking sound. A soft sleeper, she was out of bed instantaneously. She was out of her room in a flash. In the dorm, there were those 16 boys asleep in their beds, eight on either side of the room, or so she thought, nodding to herself in the dim light of the he room. She made sure that both the doors of the room were latched from inside. Then she went from one bed to the next. She was in for a surprise when she came straight to Tirtha’s bed. It was empty. That Sis got the shock of her life at that time, would be an understatement. All the other boys were asleep but Tirtha was not in bed! He couldn’t have gone out with the doors latched from inside. Where was he? If anything happened to any of her wards, Sis wouldn’t be spared. Panicky, she called the maid, Reena masi. Checked the room once more before turning on the lights. Then along with Reena Masi, Sis started seiving the cots once more, one by one. This time inch by inch, more thoroughly. Above each bed there was a cupboard fixated on the wall. Standing in between two of those cupboards, was Tirtha, trying to cover up his masculinity holding his pants upfront! The subsequent queries led to the knowledge that Tirtha was tiring of the disciplined hostel life and wanted to run away. He got out of his bed stealthily in the middle of the night, tried pushing himself out the grilled window, but couldn’t squeeze him out of the window as his pants came in the way. He had just taken it off to hurl himself out the second floor window, when he found the light in Miss’s room coming to life and thought it best to hide in between the cupboards. Sis decided not to push the matter any further that night and asking Reena Masi to sleep in the dorm, Sis went back to her room again.
Next day, a detailed talk with Tirtha, made Sis realize the frustration, boredom, monotony of Tirtha’s lonely life. She spent hours talking to him, trying to make him realize the grave mistake he was going to commit on the previous night. Hurling himself out the second floor room, would have made Tirtha a cripple for the rest of his life. As she picked the boy up to show him what lay beyond the window and pointed to the ground below, as luck would have it, both of them were greeted by the sight of a slithering snake in the grass (snakes, including some really vicious, poisonous ones are quite common in that area). Tirtha is said to have been so frightened by the snake that he couldn’t stop quaking even a few days after his attempt at escapade. This particular experience along with a host of others were to change Sis for life, and change her for the better.
She has always enjoyed interacting with people. But she learned to treat them as humans of flesh and blood, with feelings and emotions, pains and pleasures, only after her stay of six years as a Senior Matron at North Point.
To be continued…(In the next, Yash Raj Finally Meets His Match)