by Nirupama Akella
Continued from the previous page.
“All students study the same chapter, the same notes, answer the same question….so what makes one student get top marks even when her facts are the same as that of the student who barely manages to make the passing grade?” words of wisdom flowed from the oldest most respected Head of the History Department, Sister Annah, “Priyansha has to improve her writing and presentation style!”
The other teachers listened with heads bowed and Sue Danely grinned to herself. In the corner, the music teachers were exchanging goblets of news with the French Language teachers. Matron finished her tea as the clock in the hall struck five. “It was time to go and receive the parents and guardians and see to the filling up of forms,” she thought and left the party to hurry down the steps through the bordered narrow pebbled path into the main building. Once there she studied the sheet of paper intently, Jyotsana Patel…guardian -- Ms Roshini Chadda…. -- they would be coming now and then later at around half past six, Malti Kundan and Lata Naidu would make an appearance. She methodically studied the list and took out introduction pink slips and room keys.
Jyotsana Patel stared out of the car window. She was seated in the front with her guardian at the wheel. It had been an interesting journey for Ms Chadda being an adventurous spirit was a somewhat racy and risky driver. And it had taken them nearly an hour to get out of the main city and head for the elegant suburban localities of Maple Block and the Mayfair College. In her pleated pink skirt, Jyotsana leant forward as the car lurched forward on the winding road. She had heard so much about the College that now she was actually excited and eager to see it. She hoped all the hype would live up to the real true image. The car turned around the corner at the top of the low down hill and, Jyotsana caught her first glimpse of the majestic awesome buildings. She drew in a satisfied, relieved sigh -- Mayfair College truly did look spectacular with white marble buildings, big statues, glass domed buildings and iron wrought gates -- just like some estate out of the Victorian era. Ms Chadda expertly swerved past the gates where many security guards stood attentive and alert, onto the wide gravel driveway and finally stopped in front of a marble tiled building with two spiral stairways from each end leading up to a landing where a lady in a pale brown sari stood waiting.
Jyotsana hopped out as one of the security guards helped sort out her luggage from the car boot. Jyotsana stood entranced -- the college did not look like an academic institution but a huge villa in the south of France -- the beautiful graceful statue of a nun in the middle of a lawn studded with red roses and yellow daffodils bobbing their heads in the gentle breeze. Somewhere she could see a dash of blue also -- and behind the towering building, she spied the forms of other buildings and could not help breaking into a big smile. She had a feeling that she would soon come to like this place a lot! But now, Ms Chadda was calling out her name and she nimbly scampered up the stairs behind her. At the top, they were met by the Matron, a stout lady with a pleasant grin and a knowing friendly manner.
Sue Danely shook hands and once introductions had been completed, led them to the reception, where Ms Chadda had to fill in a pink form and sign it as Jyotsana’s guardian. Then both followed Matron with the security guard bearing the luggage in tow, down a long narrow hall, silent and peaceful, out of doors onto a narrow path and then finally come to a shaded grey building joined to another grey building by a narrow vertical stairway. This was the Teachers Quarters, she was duly informed by Matron and then led inside into the first building- the hostel and handed a shiny silver key. Jyotsana stared at silver coated key pressed into the palm of her hand- it had the room number engraved upon it – 5. She was in room number 5. The security man had taken himself off after dumping the luggage by the hostel entrance and these -- a large suitcase and a bag were lugged upstairs by Ms Chadda, Jyotsana followed carrying her schoolbag listening to the friendly Matron. They reached the first floor, and Jyotsana opened the room and flung the door open.
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