by Anantinee Mishra
Mia had always disliked her school uniform. If you ask her, she would always say that “a boring, dull and monochrome piece of clothing” is the most appropriate way to describe the plain white T-shirt and plaid skirt, the main constituents of every institution’s uniform.
But, all of that changed in her Friday’s scheduled Assembly class.
Ms. Courtney, their class teacher, had a twinkle in her eyes as she welcomed the students she loved as her own kids.
“Welcome! Today, I am going to show you guys a photograph of my school days, when I used to be a part of my school basketball team.”
Excited whispers spread like wildfire among the students. It looked like it was going to be an interesting afternoon.
But at the exact moment Ms. Courtney unveiled the photograph, the very same whispers of enthusiasm turned to that of immense surprise.
All the young girls were standing with their arms around each other in a celebratory group hug, wearing identical-looking beaming smiles.
But, Ms. Courtney appeared to be the only person standing in an expensive-looking track-gear, while the rest of her teammates stood in their regular team jerseys!
Before anybody could get a word out to ask the obvious, Ms. Courtney proceeded to explain.
“When I was a young girl, I used to loathe the uniform system. I used to get moody, and irritated whenever I was told that I was supposed to wear my ugly, blue jersey and skirt before a match. It took away my individuality, I used to complain.
“My Coach was a very smart man. He knew that the only way to open my eyes and make me see the importance of these uniforms, was to make sure that I miss them. Which is why, right before the last game of the season, he called me aside and told me I was exempted from wearing the standard uniform in the upcoming game.
“As you would have guessed, I was ecstatic! I was going to look phenomenal in an expensive track-gear, and would-be class apart!”
Ms. Courtney paused and sighed, and the plausible sadness in her eyes was visible to everyone.
“But, when I actually saw the photograph, I felt the exact opposite. I looked like a fish out of water! I went there to play a match, as a part of a team. As a representative my school. But I looked like an individual. I had finally got that separation and individuality I had always craved, but the taste of it wasn’t sweet at all.”
Ms. Courtney stopped here. She looked around at her students, all of whom were sitting in a sort of stunned silence. Her eyes caught Mia’s. The girl’s head was bowed, and her posture was ashen and ashamed.
Mia had, for the first time in her life, looked at uniforms in a different light. They marked unity; and sometimes, unity was so much more powerful than individuality.
About the Author:
Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra is a prodigy author, poet and TED speaker. She is twelve years old studying in std.8th at Apeejay School, Saket, New Delhi. She has published two books and many stories and articles in magazines and journals. At the age of ten, she published a 21,000 worded anthology of stories called ‘Treasure of Short Stories’. Last year her debut Novel ‘Manhattan to Munnar’ got released. Recently she has been conferred with a title ‘PRODIGY AUTHOR’ and an ‘HONORARY DIPLOMA’ by the Hon’ble Vice President of India Sh. M Venkaiah Naidu.