Monday, January 23, 2017

Clean socks

The past few years through winter in Mumbai, I’ve taken to wearing socks. Yes, what little we have of the cold in winter, is enough for us to make the most of some of our sweaters, scarves and other woolen garments!

This morning I remembered my weekend ritual of washing my canvas shoes and socks, when I was at school. It had to be done, or else, we would be shamed before the school for our muddy, dirty shoes and socks in Assembly.

We also had half an hour of parade for all the classes together. So the socks and shoes had to be clean also on Wednesdays for it. I would keep one pair clean for Wednesday. But lazy me faced many a Wednesday when I would wake up in panic, and remember I did not have a clean pair of socks or shoes. While the chalk from class came in handy for painting the shoes just before the parade, one couldn’t always fool the teachers with dirty socks. 

We had fantastic teachers at this school. Once, two or three of them, dressed in the school uniform, showed us all how badly we marched in the school parade! As most of us rolled in laughter, a little guiltily and a little embarrassed, they coolly enacted some of the girls who marched really badly. Needless to say, it had a strong effect on us and we marched most perfectly after that… for that day.

I remember wearing the canvas shoes and socks through school. Even the smell of my feet when I removed them on arriving home, especially after having played football, basketball or simply, after the school marching exercise. When I joined college, like thousands of others, I was glad there was no uniform and no wearing shoes every day. 

Later as a journalist, again, I did not have a uniform, or needed to wear formals at work. No one really cares if one wears shoes or doesn’t. But wearing socks thanks to the winter, brought back these memories. Of course, I am not so lazy now and do wash them much more regularly! But there’s a warm feeling that envelopes me when I look at my socks and remember the time from school, the day the teachers marched, and even the stinky feet.

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