Friday, September 27, 2013

Uniform Trouble

The school uniform was introduced in India by the British. I never cease to thank them for that. As a mother I realize that I might have spent a fortune on branded clothes for my kids, but I found them most dashing in their white uniform.

Growing up in Dehradun, a city famous for its schools, I got to see beautiful uniforms. The most chic I found, belonged to Welham Girls' School. White lower (salwar) and white kurta with blue bug shaped dots and a thinly folded dupatta. IMA (Indian Military Academy) also gave the locals, the pleasure of gazing admiringly at the young recruits in their uniforms, even at the places like restaurants and bazaars.

I wore blue, green and white uniforms during my different schools and college. I loved to wear my uniform and even iron it, which used to be a salwar kurta or a tunic. When I joined teaching, things began to change. My first boss was a Russian. He introduced a multi coloured scarf, representing different Houses. Though it saved them from the burden of wearing a tie, I found it unnecessary. Many newly opened schools experimented with a light coloured shirt and dark coloured lower, i.e., shorts, pants or skirts. All the schools came up with lovely combinations.

  Wondering about the school uniforms in the rural India long back, I asked my 75 year old father about his uniform in school. Uniform for them meant  just a white cap or Gandhi topi. The moment he used to see the sun rays hitting a particular rock he used to grab his topi and rush to school which was located by the river Mandakini, a tributary of the Ganges. After standard five he came to Dehradun.  He wore his first uniform, khaki shorts and white shirt, in a school run by Jansangh. Most of his classmates were refugees from Pakistan, their differences vanishing under the garb of the uniform.

My house at the IIT Kanpur Campus, is surrounded by different schools, a kindergarten, a primary school and a KV. I meet many of my ex-students while going and coming back from the school where I teach now. One day I ran into a KV student whom I had taught in DPS. She was not very eager to meet me and was trying to hide behind another girl. Since she happened to be the daughter of one of my colleagues also, I stopped to ask her how she felt about her new school and why was she so shy. She wished me with a grin. As we came closer, I observed her uniform. It was a pair of trousers and a full sleeves knee length kurta with Nehru collar. She also wore a waist coat, at 2 in the afternoon, on a humid July day.  Later her mother told me that how much she disliked her uniform. Senior boys also wore a big blue and red check with red collars and some more designing with red. Wonder how the KV students in the hotter places are coping up with this change.

KV has changed the uniform as a part of a ‘facelift’ to celebrate its fifty years. The ministry of textiles and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) have designed the uniform. I have yet to meet someone who liked the uniform. The good old navy blue and white is missed by everyone.



Anonymous said...

blue n white is all time best.

Anonymous said...

Your writings are superb! Send them to a magazine. They are as good as the writings in Sunday magazines if not better. And yours are not pretentious either.

Ekta said...

Loved my pinafore dress till class 7th. We moved to Doon then, uniform was white shirt & grey skirt. I loved the blazers in the winters. I love having school uniforms too....I am seeing here in the US how much kids want to dress up n show off at schools with no uniforms.

Also, the new KV uniform pics u posted get a thumbs down from me too.

Manish Chauhan said...

A typical Vandana-trade-marked write-up effortlessly taking up readers to a wonderful trip of nostalgia, as usual ! Thank you :-) I just wish if you could write more frequently.

As far as uniforms are concerned, I can never be more thankful to Lord Baden Powel - the founder of Scout Movement. I too loved uniforms, and fancied myself more in those majestic Khakis and red scarves. I always loved this quote of his - "The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country."

Apart from that, blazers never failed to raise to the occasion giving even an ordinary looking and limbed person a fantastical persona. Girls always look pretty, and boys dapper in a neat and natty uniform.

vandy said...

Hi Ekta,Blazer,luv it too :)
Our kids also want uniforms here.

Now there is a trend of branded uniforms, school shoes n socks. So,here also is a scope for showing off :)

vandy said...

Anon 2 (Indu) and Manish,
It's great to hv motivating frens like u. Thanks.

So it was Baden Powell, who introduced uniforms for kid?

Blazer are the dress code for teachers also.They blend so well with Indian outfits.

Kv has replaced blazers with jackets :(

Manish Chauhan said...

No just the Scout Uniform.

R. Ramesh said...

good post u doing? happy Dasara:)

vandy said...

@R Ramesh
Hi Thanks.Dusshera ws great.

R. Ramesh said...

hello r u? sorry I could not be in touch for gearing up for am important, happy family event in feb..dear blog friends like you are always in my mind..thanks for all the encouragement:)

vandy said...

@Ramesh, fine Saar :)
Family in India? Enjoy and we will wait for ur lil humorous posts.

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