There was a woman who used to clean our hostel; a sweet lady who was really passionate about her job.
Whenever she came to clean the washroom, we were doomed. She would sweep and wash, scrub and mop the floor, and take an eternity to either come out or even let us in.
If we tried to enter while she was cleaning, she would first scowl. If the person entered, neglecting that grumpy face, she would shout out loud in Marathi; and if she found out that the concerned person doesn’t understand the language, immediately her tone of voice would come down (I have seen that some people in this city has this strange feeling of awe towards students from far off cities from outside Maharashtra. The farther it is, the greater awe it evokes). Politely she would tell the person not to step inside, since she’s cleaning. She was not bothered at all by the fact that the person concerned might wet her pants. She also overlooked the fact that the washroom would get mucky once she leaves.
She was also a concerned person. Sweetly she would ask you ‘didi, aap gussa to nehi ho gaye?‘ (sister, you’re not angry, are you?) How can you remain irritated after that!
Once I went to the washroom while she was cleaning the floor. Irritably she asked, “what do you want?” In my mind I answered, “to enjoy the weather, to see the blue sky…!” Probably my sarcasm reflected on my face, because she didn’t say anything except, ‘didi, aap gussa to nehi ho gaye?’
She used to scold us anytime, any place. Whenever her magic broom was sweeping and girls were stepping close by, a strange scowl used to be drawn on her hardened face. A sharp remark essentially followed on how clean she has to keep the building every single day. But one fine day, the girls in the hostel collected signatures of every hostelite to replace her with the former cleaning lady. I also eagerly signed.
After two days, that woman was nowhere to be seen. Now, the former person comes and goes silently. I haven’t even noticed her face. A tingly feeling of guilt overpowered relief. Due to our petty problems, a woman lost her job in this ever hungry world, and I lost contact with another amusing person.