The School Uniform

by K Jambulingam



It was a summer afternoon in my village and the water level of the well I depended for irrigation and drinking almost had dried up. I came to know this when I switched on my motor. No water was coming up. I went down to the thirty feet well to see whether the fish I grew in it had sufficient water to survive. There was enough water for them and more and only I had to put another five feet pipe to get water to reach the motor. I stood in the well water and saw the level was about five feet up to my neck I came up and told the people to join another five feet pipe. But the workers told me that the motor would not take that much load to take water from so low level and push up ward and the water level would not raise and the motor would not work. But I was firm because my grandmother told me that the water level would never go dry and it was always giving water for the crops and the people who depended upon. Another five feet pipe was fixed and the water was pouring on the pipe line. I was changing my wet cloth. I wore a T shirt. At that time one of my servants came and told me that the agriculture assistant and the school headmaster were coming into my garden to see me I thought that agriculture assistant was my regular visitor and how the school headmaster was there to see me, I was wondering.

The headmaster was introduced to me and I told him that I was happy to welcome him. The agricultural assistant told me that the headmaster had come to invite me to preside over the Independence Day flag hoisting function. I did not know whether to accept his invitation or not. But the agriculture assistant insisted me to accept the invitation. I agreed. There was an unexpected rain the following day due to the depression in the Bay of Bengal.

I went to the school. I was welcomed by the headmaster and other teachers. The agriculture assistant joined me a little later. The flag hoisting was over and I delivered my speech and the gathering clapped intermittently. Then I was asked to distribute sweets to the students. I did. At that time I saw a few students were standing in a separate row. I asked whether they were special students not in school uniform. The headmaster did not give me any answer. Then I asked one of the students. He told me that he had only one uniform and he washed it the pervious night and it did not dry up due to rain.

I understood the problem. I asked the headmaster how many of the children did not have more than one uniform. He told me that there were about ten of them. I asked him how much each uniform would cost. He told me that each uniform would cost a hundred rupees without stitching charges. I gave one thousand rupees that was in my pocket then and told him that I would send the money for stitching charges later on. He thanked me and what he told me then was a shock to me.

"You need not pay for stitching charges because my wife Mary will stitch the uniforms for the students .She never charges for the uniform"

I really felt happy that there are people to help others and that is how we feel the humanity survives.


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