Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Backpacks and Braids

Walking home from school today, it was hard not to notice all the giggling girls and smiling boys, all dressed in school uniforms. For girls, the standard issue was a salwar outfit (typically light checkered top and plain pants), and a dupatta (scarf) matching the pants. Hair was shiny and tightly braided, accentuated by bright ribbons - different colors which likely denote grade level. For boys, short sleeved shirts (also light checkered) and solid pants were the uniform. Plain backpacks, "Hello Kitty," Dora, and other cartoon characters were common. Some carried empty lunch containers in plastic mesh baskets. For the local students, June marks the beginning of the new school year. The months of April and May were their summer vacation, avoiding school during the two hottest months of the year - logical, seeing that most schools do not have air conditioning. So as the American International School kids prepare to finish their school year, the local kids are starting theirs. complete with the high academic expectations and rigors so typical of the Indian education system.

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