I stayed at the college hostel during my under graduation years in Coimbatore. We were housed four girls to a room. Cell phones were banned in our dorm, as the authorities thought that the girls perpetuated all sorts of mischief during the night by connecting with their friends in other the rooms and even outside our diggings.
But who followed rules? Most of us had a mobile and we used them in secret.
There was no plug point in any of the rooms to ‘re-charge’ the cell phones. We would give it to the day scholars to take it home with them and get them charged.
But a girl lodging with us was very smart. She knew a little bit of electrical engineering. Every night, she would unscrew the switchboard that held the light and fan switches. Then she would plug our cell phone chargers directly into the sockets behind the switches. Every night after our door was shut, the switchboard would hang open with our cell phones being re-charged. In the morning the board was screwed back in place.
I know it was a dangerous thing to do, but we were thrilled about outsmarting the authorities.
One Saturday night, our friend from the next quarters spent the night in our room. We talked through the night and it was almost 2 AM, when we fell asleep. Very early at dawn the next day, the other girl woke up and went back to her crib, without waking any of us to shut our door. Since it was a Sunday and there were no classes to attend to, we slept on, oblivious to the activities outside.
That day the Hostel Warden had heard that the Superintendent of all the colleges under our University was coming for an inspection of the hostels. Immediately she and a few other teachers staying in the teacher’s wing of the hostel, made a hasty round of the premises, trying to set right everything that seemed amiss.
As our door was open, they peeped in and got the shock of their lives. Four girls were lying askew on a blanket on the floor, deep in sleep. The switchboard was gaping open with four mobile chargers coiling out of it. A big screwdriver was a sitting witness to our expertise.
The Warden lost her temper and became hysterical. She screamed out our names and woke us up. We sat up rubbing our eyes and wondering what the commotion was all about. By then a lot of other girls had gathered outside and were peering into our digs, giggling.
The she-deviil did not give us permission to brush our teeth or changeout of our nighties. We four girls in wrinkled nighties waited with misgiving, in the office of the Principal, wondering what fate had in store for us.
But our fate-karma-kismet was good that day.
The Superintendent was just the opposite of the warden. She was a cool customer. I think she must have been naughty as a student too. We could see that she was dying to laugh on hearing our over blown story from the melo-dramtic warden but she controlled herself in case she offended the distraught woman.
But the Superior’s next words were sensational!
“What? Such big girls, and not allowed to use a mobile? What would they do in emergencies? Please lift that rule.”
This information spread like wild fire through out our hostel. We became immediate heroes after that day. Our friends and even our seniors took us out to hotels and plied us with food and said a big “Thank You.”
We were hailed as the girls “who tied the bell on the warden hell-cat.”
As told to talkalittled By: Binusha Fathima. Ramnad Written By Gulsum Basheer.