Saturday, 19 April 2014

A notice board and few other thoughts

I was searching my name on that old notice board. It seems to be a difficult task to find one’s own name on this notice board. A cool breeze passed me to flutter a piece of paper pinned to the board. This paper has lost all but only one pin to support its precarious existence on the board. What will happen to that paper when it is finally uprooted from that board? Who will know that this paper once stayed on this board? Unknown numbers of paper has come, stayed and vanished from this board. Does anyone know exactly how many papers did this board host till now? Oh! Finally I found my name on a paper on another corner of the board. This paper is holding strongly to the board now. But what if I am not able to find this paper here on another day?

This notice board is full of pins. Some of them are so rusted while some are about to fall off the board. Most of them have changed their colours. Yes! There are fresh pins also. But all the pins have made their own marks on this board. Some marks seem to be so deep while a few others seems to be healing. Some of these pins may never leave the board. One day this notice board was so clear without any marks. Today it has become so difficult to see the board without pins. Now, it is not the board which carries the pins but it is the pins that carry the board. I wish if I could go back in time to see the old notice board when it was fresh without any marks. I wish if I could remove few pins which made deep marks on the board and still reject the requests to leave the board.

While walking back to my nest-my comfort zone-I saw bulldozers uprooting the trees and leveling the ground. Our old wonderful notice board is accepting pins after pins on its body every moment. Most of these pins make very deep wounds and stay long hurting it forever. Now the board is no more visible without the rusting pins and the clinging paper pieces. I wonder whether I am capable of removing those pins. I just wish if I could make no more deep marks on the notice board.

It was getting late. So I walked hurriedly trying to forget the notice board and the other thoughts.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Corridors know him better than anyone else living here


“What these guys are learning in a university? They don’t even know how to use the toilets (Sorry...Washroom!)”, I used to exclaim every morning, seeing the ugly state of gents’ toilets here, in J- hostel, University of Hyderabad. But in the evening when I come back, they look so clean. So, here is a man, who has not studied in a university, yet he knows how to keep the toilets clean.

Sreenivas, 53, lives in Gopanpalli, just outside the campus. Having come from a distant village, he settled in this city many years back. His daily chores start with cleaning the J hostel, and then he goes to K- hostel and L- hostel. The job is not as easy as one might imagine. All hostels have four floors with each floor more than 100 meters long. In addition, each floor has two separate clusters of toilets cum bathrooms. I have seen him cleaning the urinals with a small brush, without even wearing any gloves.

Sreenivas talked very freely without any hesitation, smiling quite often. When asked whether he is provided with gloves or shoes, he replied in negative. But he said that contract agency gives him phenol or other cleaning liquids on some days. He is not a permanent employee of the university. Working here as a contract labourer earns him a monthly wage of Rs 5000/-.His wife is also working as daily wager in a nearby apartment complex. She is earning around Rs 4000/- per month. In a city like Hyderabad, monthly income of Rs 9000/- is not enough to have a comfortable life, yet he sends his two daughters to school. I could see a ray of hope on his face when he uttered the word school.

While we were talking, a student from the next room called him to clean his room. Without asking any questions sreenivas walked towards that room. He removed his old rubber chappals outside and started cleaning that room, even though it is not a part of his duty. I stood there for a moment before walking back to my room. I was just wondering, why can’t our students even keep their own rooms clean? What great Thoughts are they learning in this university, while they don’t even care to flush the toilets after use? And the final question; to whom does this hostel, this building and these corridors belong? Sreenivas or Students...?