NIT Past and Present
The Day I played a Tough Cop to Some Students…
Memories raise their head from all sorts of things and this time it was a piece of paper that triggered a very memorable incident. In fact it was while cleaning my cupboard, a small paper stumbled down. It had on it names of some students and the date and time. If I tell you the time you would be surprised as how come I had put such a time on that paper. The paper had recorded 2-30 a.m. on it! The paper had some names on it and when I started reading them; all those names transformed into the faces of young boys! The boys some of whom are doing so well in their personal and professional life today but that day they might have written their names with a trembling heart!
It so happened that I got a call from the Hostel one day that a group of students were sitting on the road and singing songs. Now there is nothing wrong with this except that it was 2 a.m.! “Call the security, ‘ i said in a normal manner. “Or call the Chief Warden” I added. On a second thought I realized that it was my job. But how could I walk to the Hostel at this time of the night. I watched outside, it was moonlit night. I walked to the small verandah and could hear faint sound of the singing voice. I decided to walk to the hostel, all alone!
I must have looked like a ghost to the young group as they might not have imagined in their wildest dreams that someone, especially a woman, would walk alone to the hostel. What I saw surprised me. This small group was perching safely on the road and singing in a melodious voice some song. One of the boys had a guitar in hanging from his shoulder and was producing perfect tunes.
A look at me and all of them stopped. They stood up at once. “What’s going on?” I asked in a gruff voice putting on a tough demeanour. “Ma’am, we are leaving in a day or two and are visiting all the places on the campus to have them etched in our memory’ a brave one volunteered. It was the time of departure and farewells at the college and everyone had become sentimental but then it doesn’t make all kind of liberties excusable!
I played tough, acted like a strict cop at that time. “Give me your names, I’ll see to it that you get punished for it.” I said in mock angry tone. I could not let the mask of tough exterior off as these boys would have to learn some lesson. They were afraid. I could see it. “leave this place immediately and meet me in my office tomorrow” I told them stiffly.
They all walked away sheepishly. I came back home where my kids, noticing my absence, had got up. “You are a spoilsport” said all of them in unison. “What was the issue if they were singing songs like that?” they reprimanded me. Even I was feeling bad but I had to teach them that there exists a very thin line between freedom and duties and this must not be crossed.
I took the paper from them and put that in a drawer of my table. I could never even think of doing any harm to the boys who were on the verge of joining a new life. I just wanted them to know that life outside the gate of the college would be tough where no one would ever forgive them for such a thing. I wanted them to grow from boyhood to manhood and go to the wild cruel world that awaited them.
The piece of paper on which they had noted the names with a trembling heart was the only reminder of my escapades of a day when I had played a tough cop.