As Vidur begins a fresh academic year in Std 9 – it is that time of year when we have to get various things ready for the year – school uniforms, school books, school bags, geometry boxes, shoes etc. etc. etc.

Mom and I had such a fun time doing the “school reopening” shopping- the new books, new uniforms, new shoes… She would insist on new vests, underwear, shirts, handkerchiefs, socks – everything new. Whatever was used in the previous year, if in good condition and if it still fit, would become emergency stuff for the rainy season. Anything that did not fit and in good condition immediately got donated.

Reminds me of a really hilarious incident – this was the time when Vidur got admission into KV in Std I. He studied UKG and LKG in a different school to fill the time before Std.I. Here the kindergarten did not have uniforms. They could wear anything. So – Std I would be the first time he had to wear a uniform with black shoes. On games days, they have full whites – with white canvas shoes.

Very excited, and very enthusiastically, Mom and I took Vidur along – in the month of April – when the admission was confirmed and fees paid – and did our shopping. White shirts and navy blue shorts, check. White socks, check. School belt and badge, check. Black shoes and white canvas shoes, check. We bought white cloth, cut it into handkerchief sizes and hemmed the edges. Then I painted something that Vidur would enjoy looking at in each handkerchief’s corners. Why didn’t we simply buy a dozen ‘kerchiefs and be done with it? Well, we’ll never know, will we? *Grin*. Ok…back to school – since the admission was confirmed in the last week of April, there were barely a couple of days of school left to attend before they closed for summer vacation – which meant that Vidur would actually begin attending school, officially in Std I from June 26th – which was the day school reopened again.

So – we enjoyed the 50-odd days vacation. Gopu mama and Radha manni visited – and I remember covering all the books and labeling them when they were with us. It was fun – because we were recalling the days when I was Vidur’s age – full nostalgia trip. As reopening day approached, we were quite excited. Mom, being Mom, insisted on doing a test run of Vidur’s school uniforms and shoes because “he needed to get used to the shoes, especially”. So we did. And guess what? The shoes did not fit. Yessir. They – did – not – fit. Imagine!

Teeny weeny waves of panic set in. With barely a week left, we had to go do the shopping again. What to do with the brand new shoes? Ever full of initiative, Mom suggested we took them right back to the Bata near our house and ask if they would exchange them. I was a bit skeptical, because a/ we had bought the shoes almost two months ago and b/ we had bought them at a different Bata outlet. You know what creeps our stores can be when it comes to any kind of exchange, however legitimate it might be. Still, as Mom insisted, no harm trying. What’s the worst they could do? Say no? No problem. We could always donate them.

So off we went to Bata. And guess what? The guys asked for the bill, which we had with us, and told us to select the correct size. Sure enough, Mommy dearest looked at me and smirked. I naturally bowed to her higher wisdom. Nothing risked, nothing gained. Hehehe. We happily got the right sizes this time – and Mom made Vidur try his shoes on over a pair of socks for good measure.

But the three sets of school uniforms, which did not fit, were a different matter. Since we had got them bespoke, there was no way we could return or exchange them. What we did do, was donate them to the school on our wedding anniversary. Happy again.

After this saga, funnily enough, we found a store near our house where we got ready made school uniforms – shorts and shirt  – that fit Vidur perfectly until he came to the 7th std. From the 8th std, since he had to wear full pants, it was necessary to have him measured as he is now taller than the standard size. Yet, we managed to get his size at one of the regular school uniform stores. This year, however, the pants will have to be stitched as he is taller than last year.

Vidur – June 2003:

I also got my Honda Activa in June 2003.