Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skirting the issue...

A school in Ipswich, UK has banned skirts for girls.  They now have to wear trousers.   

It clearly has been a war on short hemlines. Teachers were found with tape measures to check the length of the skirt. Recalcitrant students were often sent home, some were required to change into a school owned skirt, others were made to unhitch the skirt to roll down the hems.  Some even suspended. 

It is a matter of discussion of course whether strict uniform rules in educational institutions  improve the standard of education.  It may not, though teachers may have more time to concentrate on their subjects ( pun intended) rather than monitor the hemline.

I guess we grew up in a world without television.  And fashion fortunately did not play an important role in the growing years of our lives .  Our parents knew children grew fast.  And our school uniforms had to last for two academic years.  We were no exception.  The first day of school had all of us in uniforms that extended at least 3 inches below the knees.  And with long john socks one could barely see  skin!  Well into the second year, the hemline would show a decrease. It then led to opening  of hems to increase the length to what was thought decent enough.   The discolouration of the exposed cloth to the concealed hem  was obvious, but no one cared.  

In my class, one of the girls started a movement by wearing the belt at the hip.  And it caught on.  I have no idea what it did to our appearance, but sure enough, I joined the gang. The low waist movement of our times?  Anyway, our teachers turned a blind eye.

My  elder one went to a popular girls college run by nuns. They  found girls just out of schools, having got  rid of the school uniform, rather unmanageable. They came dressed like Britney Spears. Not all, but a few were enough to raise their hackles. The shalwar kameez rule was enforced   It was amusing to find a senior, fierce looking Sister standing at the gate, giving students a look over as they walked in.  We would find girls hurriedly donning a jacket over their sleeveless kurtas before they turned into the lane leading to the college.  Obviously the jacket would be off as soon as they left in the evening.

But there are others who seek  attention.  For instance, the Badminton World Federation wanted to ban shorts and introduce skirts for women players.  A  feeble attempt to glamorise the sport.  The idea was dropped almost as soon as it surfaced.  Some felt, if the men wanted to watch girls in skirts they would go elsewhere and not to a game of badminton.

 Probably a Maria Sharapova or Anna Kournikova in any sport can add glamour.  What tennis players wear or what they do not are hotly discussed.   And they make the most of it.  They don designer apparel with trendy jewellery.  Even with the dress code at Wimbledon, they  still make their  fashion statement. Perhaps, the reason why officials at Wimbledon have also wanted to look their best.  The  ball girls, linesmen, umpires have their outfits designed by Ralph Lauren their official outfitter since 2006. 

While less clothing can cause a controversy, you would think it makes sense to wear more? But in some countries apparently not.  Take the case of the purdah.  There is a ban on that too.......And  the debate continues ....  

Cartoon source 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not Just the Fine Print.....

It is not just the fine print I am having a problem with.  The big and the bold, is what I am unable to comprehend. 

We have a Tata Sky connection.  Remember the milkman ad with Aamir Khan?  Where he says the cow does not know the consumer has gone on a vacation.  So you pay for the milk even on the days you are not in town.  And then of course, the ad ends with the promise that Tata Sky gives you a subscription holiday .  You pay only for the days you use.  

The ad was telecast so many times.  It stuck in my mind and when I was indeed going on a vacation, I called up  customer service.  The guy  listened patiently and asked me the days I would be away.  He repeated the dates for me.  He had got it right.  I wanted to be extra sure. I asked him to reconfirm the dates the connection would be temporarily disconnected. He tells me the dates.  ‘But that is only 10 days, and I am going for three weeks’!.  He gave me an explanation.  I really did not understand. Neither did I have the time.

Oh well, I should have known, I must have been too busy watching Aamir Khan.  I must have missed something.  I just let it pass.  Till yesterday.  While I was back talking to customer service again. 

I had received an alert.  The annoying yellow envelope that pops up on the TV screen.  Subscription due.  But it also said – Receive a Rs 15/- bonus when you recharge on time.  Anyway, I thought why leave it to the last day, I might just forget, and so I got online and recharged the account. And immediately receive an SMS.  Account recharged. NO BONUS

The Rs 15/- was hardly an issue.  But the caps stating NO BONUS, was rankling.

It was night, and so I shot off a mail.  The call came early the next day.  Ma’am – you renewed last month on the 28th of June at 9.25 pm.  This month you renewed again on the 28th at 8.50 pm.  So I said, ‘Yes, 3 days before the due date!  Why no Bonus

It appears that the Bonus is applicable only once in 30 days and I had recharged half hour too early!! 
That was just too much for me to digest.  I must have sounded exasperated.  The girl on the line asked me to hold on so that she could speak to her superior.  She came back and said that the bonus would be credited to the account.

My daughter, to whom I narrated the story, said Good Show, Ma!   After all she has never ever seen me bargaining at the market. I  always end up paying more than the others, and here I was leaving no stone unturned to get that silly Bonus!                                                                                                                 

I reckon if big companies with celebrity endorsements want me to part with my money, they will have to work a little harder.  After all  *Conditions Apply.  
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