The lecture already started when Zoe reached. As she entered the class, the lecturer took her introduction and allowed her to sit after induction.
Zoe wore a yellow colour traditional salwar suit with floral dupatta (scarf) and was quite nervous. Already the girls had made their own groups and it was difficult for her to fit in.
After the class, the senior batch arrived, all the classmates stood up to show their regards. In India, ragging wasn’t banned then. They made strict dress codes, girls were asked to wear only salwar suits with one ponytail and boys had to be in formal attire for two months.
They called up Zoe to introduce herself in front of the class. Zoe was a charming girl with a childish nature. She loved to read and those days she was reading palmistry books, so soon she grabbed the attention of seniors and became popular. She made many new friends, all the girls wanted to be her friend. Though she was introvert during her school days, she opened up and started making close and good friends.
On the other hand, Rita was making her hostel life very difficult. She used to switch off the lights early and Zoe wasn’t allowed to talk or study. Sam was her only friend with whom she shared her daily life. They both used to talk for late nights, Zoe sat on the terrace for hours and hours under the sky looking at the stars.
Every day she used to cry for hours especially on Sunday’s as she missed her parents badly. She used to miss her lunch as she returned in the evening from college and kept on feeding herself with Maggi or Ramens. Rita never went to college, and all she used to do was to sleep the whole day and express her dislike towards Zoe.
One day, Zoe made some eggs for her evening snack, it was late evening when Rita entered and started screaming on her for cooking eggs and complained to her that the room was stinking. She took out Zoe’s perfume and sprayed everywhere in the room and poured all in the washroom. Zoe was so upset, she cried all alone in the terrace and many girls did notice her.
The next evening, in the hostel senior girls who noticed Zoe crying, called Rita and asked the reason. They said not to trouble the little girl as everyone was aware of Rita’s nature.
While Zoe being unaware of all was studying in the room,Rita banged the door and started shouting at Zoe.
Rita: I told you to speak to me directly if you’ve any problems. Why the hell you complained to other girls? You look innocent but you are not. You are disobedient.
She kept shouting and Zoe was trembling with fear. Finally, Zoe gathered some courage and said
Zoe: I didn’t say anything to anyone and I don’t know anybody here.
Rita: Don’t lie on my face, why the girls will come up to me if you haven’t said anything. Don’t cry in front of others and utter a word against me.
Zoe: You used my perfume and sprayed in the whole room. You don’t allow me to study and never accept my lunch from the staff. I starve every day, you make me wait outside when I get back. You misbehave with me every time and yet again you are yelling at me.
Zoe said all this after 2 months while she was shivering with fear and anger. Rita was shocked as she didn’t expect that the girl will start to get words. Zoe left the room immediately with her bottle to fill water. She was badly missing her mother and was silently crying, the hostel owner noticed her crying he was already aware as his family members and other girls noticed her crying and about Rita’s behaviour towards her. The next day, when Zoe returned from College the owner called her and made her comfortable so that she could share her problems. She finally narrated the whole incident to him. The owner assured her that she won’t face further problems or issues again.
Meanwhile, in college, Zoe made a new friend called Nile, she was from Gwalior. Nile was a very helpful and supportive girl. Zoe also became a part of a group of five friends who all were from the local town. They used to hang around, sit together and went to the same coaching class.
After a few days, the owner called Rita for discussion.
Owner: It has come up to my notice that Zoe is still not comfortable here. She has just left her family and you are old enough to help her out. What are your issues with her? I heard you screaming at her a few days back and you never take her lunch. Every day she comes and finds her stale food lying in the hall.
Rita: She cooked eggs in my room and I didn’t like it. If she cries, it’s not my problem. I don’t beat her even I don’t talk to her.
Owner: This is my hostel and anyone can cook food according to their own choices. I have not barred anyone, to eat non-vegetarian food. Earlier I warned you to be a good roommate else to vacate this hostel. Leave the room in 2 days, find a roommate for yourself or take a single room.
Rita returned to her room and didn’t utter a single word to Zoe. She was waiting for her reaction. The bell ringed and Zoe went outside to speak to Sam.
What will be Rita’s next reaction towards Zoe? Sam and Zoe will remain just friends or love are about to blossom…!!?!
Keep thinking till upcoming part…