Like most mornings, the dorm parents who are on morning duty wake up at around 6:30 a.m. They get ready and head to the lounge.
Some students who have morning practice have already started leaving for school, whereas the others are still sound asleep. To every single one of the students the dorm parents see leaving, they say, “Have a good day!”
As soon as the clock strikes seven, the dorm parents wake everyone up so they can get ready on time and leave for school. “It’s seven o’clock, wake up girls,” they say and then ask the bhaiyajis to ring the morning bell.
After that, they remind people to take their medication and do their dhobi. They go around making sure that everyone is up and about. “It’s eight o’clock guys, time for you to leave the dorms. Don’t be late.”
After making sure everyone has left, they head to the rooms to check if the students have done their everyday tasks like making their beds and sweeping.
Finally, after two long hours, they get done with their morning shift. But they still have to make sure that everything is okay and there is nothing wrong with the bathrooms, kitchens, or anything at all.
“We take care of all the maintenance that needs to be taken care of,” said Ms. Priya Rollins, a Midlands dorm parent. And that’s not it. They have to attend their weekly dorm meetings to talk about the general needs of the students and make sure that everything is going smoothly in dorms.
Then, they head back to their apartments and to their daily chores. They clean, make lunch, and of course, spend time with their families and pets. “This is also the time when we catch up on sleep,” said Ms. Prarthana Singh, another Midlands dorm parent.
Before they even know it, the students start pouring back into dorms.
“How was your day?” they cheerfully ask, only to receive whiny responses. They sit there talking to students and listening to their complaints. Among other things, they ask students about school, homework, time management, stress etc. They also give students their parcels and sit in their lounges and talk to them.
As soon as it’s seven o’clock, they announce, “It’s time for check-in, guys.” They head to their grades’ respective lounges for check-in. After they make sure that everyone is where they’re supposed to be, they make the daily announcements.
Once study hall starts at 7:15, they go around and check if everyone is studying or not. They try to make sure that everyone is quiet, which is impossible on most days. “Please stay in your rooms,” “please don’t disturb others,” “make sure you’re done with all your homework” are some of the many things they say to the students.
As soon as study hall is over, they hang around and see if any students need them. They go to the students’ rooms to talk and hang out with them. Again, they ask students if everything is okay, and try to “connect with them.”
Depending on what grade they’re supervising at the time, they conduct sounds out and lights out. They make sure all the gadgets are in and that everyone is in their respective rooms. They stick around for as long as needed to make sure everyone is asleep.
“I usually go to sleep by 1,” said Ms. Prarthana.
Even with all the responsibilities that come with being a dorm parent, they still “love” their jobs, they wake up every single day and do a brilliant job of taking care of every single one of us without ever complaining.
According to Ms. Prarthana, a dorm parent does “exactly what a parent does and sometimes, a little bit more than a parent.”
Ms. Priya also said, “Being a dorm parent is like having a big family,” a family where your own child is not the only one you have to look after. For the most part, dorm parents love their jobs and all the responsibilities that come with it.
Photos by Janvi Poddar
Edited by Aarti Malhotra