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Mysterious Disappearances-1....continued...

by Nirupama Akella

Chapter 1 - Continued from Page 1

Morning dawned and the College was soon filled with the familiar sounds of work; preparations to open for use the next day -- the gardener mowing the lawns -- the workmen busily painting -- the cleaning ladies hard at work -- the premises were a beehive of activity. In her serene office the gaunt domineering figure of Sister Prudence sat behind her desk, looking at the hostel papers which had just been given to her by Matron for inspection. Matron sat across the desk, in a pale blue sari and grey hair tightly rolled back into a bun.

Matron nodded and sweated out further details, “The teachers will be arriving by afternoon. The mini bus will pick them up from the station.”

Sister again nodded, as Matron continued, “Some of the boarders will be coming in late this evening, with their parents -- let me see,” “They are your responsibility, Matron,” Sister said taking a sip of her strong black coffee.

Sister Prudence sighed thinking, “it was not easy to bring about changes, stiff harsh rules and regulations -- specially if Matron stubbornly refused to allow them and raised objections and expressed disapproval, but,” Sister ruefully admitted to herself, “she could not run the college and hostel without Matron. Matron was indispensable! Especially now with her Vice- Principal announcing her retirement plans, Matron was to be her successor.”

Aloud she asked, “So, is the hostel ready?”

“I have to go and check on the cleaning again and …put up the notices! The girls always have a party in the first week of the new term,” Matron noisily got to her feet and went out as Sister buzzed Nandita.

Matron left the building, crossed the lawn, smiled and greeted the gardener, on an impulse went across to the auditorium, crossing the lawn briskly. The workmen waved and called out in greeting as she passed them -- she did not see that supervisor boy today, which was strange as he was out with the men everyday. She approached the courts and saw that lines were being laid, final touches were being added to the nets -- she smiled in approval thinking, “and now she must get going and see to her own brood of cleaning ladies- what they were upto.”

...To be continued......

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