“Oh Mama, I want to wear a colour dress”
“You cannot wear colour dress to school dear, only uniform. It is pressed and kept on the bed. Go wear”
“Please Mama, just for today….!”
“No, Isha, you cannot. Get ready fast!”
Though disappointed, Isha settled for the uniform. She knew, there was no other choice!
She wondered, why everyday this boring ash coloured stripes, monotonous tie, shabby skirt! Everywhere you look, it is the same boring colours….no variety, no colours! She wanted the school to be colourful!
She decided to ask her class teacher. She almost forgot what she prepared to ask once she saw the teacher! She only remembered the scary stories about the teacher. But ‘colourful school’ forced her to go anyways! She loved colours so much!
“Hi Isha, good afternoon. Have you had your lunch?”
Both the teacher and Isha were perplexed.
“Ok, Isha, don’t worry…go ahead”
Finally Isha decided and grabbed the courage from staircase rail:
“Ma’am, can I wear a colour dress? At least one day in a week?”
She finished in a jiffy!!!
Isha was looking at her muddy school shoe!
“We do not want kids to come in clothes based on their wealth!! That will make the school colourful, but, more disappointments in kids and also unwanted competition and comparison. That is one key reason for uniforms in schools….”
Teacher started the ‘class’!
“…Your family is rich and you can come in fancy clothes. But how about Annie, who is from a very poor family? Such kids will feel sad when they see rich kids coming in expensive colourful dresses. We don’t want to hurt them. So everyone should come in the uniform!” Teacher was emphatic!
“….so the uniform is free? we paid 2000/- rupees for my uniform…..then…how…” Isha kept her thoughts to herself!
She was walking back to her classroom….
“colour…..colour….!!” She got shocked.. The school is becoming colourful!
Wow….Red, Yellow….!!! The school is becoming colourful!!
Isha ran to Annie in the corridor!!
“Hey Annie…how come you are in a colour dress??? You are really lucky to wear a colour dress!!! Though it is a cheaper quality, they are colourful….!!! How did your mom allow you to wear it? You know, we are supposed to wear the uniform everyday……”
Isha could not hide her excitement, rather ecstasy…so she continued..
“…you are really looking colourful and bright Annie….you are lucky!! But, how did you manage!!!”
“Isha, I am changing my school..” Annie’s voice was very soft and husky.
“Why?” Isha became more anxious…!
“She is moving to the school near to our home.” Annie’s Mom was with her.
Though Isha had more questions, the class teacher intervened!
“See Ms Rose, Annie is very good in academics. That does not mean that you can shift her without paying the school fee for this year!”
“Tea…cher….please…please help us. We are unable to manage the fee, books, uniform, shoes and all…with just my daily earning….If her papa was there….” Annie’s mom was not crying, but her eyes were filled….
“Even if I tell them, there is no use. School has its own rule! If you can pay the last term fee, you can complete this year and go.”
Teacher was providing some practical possibilities very intelligently!
Annie’s Mom could not talk much. Now she was crying!
Isha could not understand much. But, she realized that Annie and Mom are not really happy!
“You can talk with office staff and let me know. I will try to help!” Finally the teacher found an escape route!
Annie and Mom came back from the office very quickly.
“No, tea..cher..No. They are not willing..! They don’t allow us to go or to write exams, without paying the full fee!! She will lose one full academic year teacher…please….” Annie’s Mom was helpless!
“If the office says a big no…I cannot do much…”
Teacher managed very well.
Annie and Mom were disappointed and started going back…
“Annie….” Isha called her.
Annie turned back.
Isha looked at her red shirt and yellow skirt. It was bright and colourful.
Isha was very excited to know and she finally asked!
“In the new school, can you wear colourful dresses?”
“Yes, everyday…” Annie smiled.
Annie slowly walked away with her Mom…
Isha’s mind was full of a colourful school….