The Debate Competition
by Arjoyita Roy
(Durgapur, West Bengal, India)
I remember the first day of high school, walking into the classroom and seeing all the other kids in their uniforms. I felt so out of place in my regular clothes. I was self-conscious and embarrassed. I wished I could disappear into thin air in no time.
It didn't take long to realize that the school uniform was not complementary to my body type. I felt uncomfortable and constricted. It was a constant reminder of the social inequality that exists in society. I didn't want to be a part of that. It is the easiest of all ways to subconsciously implant a notion in young minds that everyone must take up the same road in life no matter how it makes you feel from deep within. The ones that do not conform to the norm are labelled as rebels and are often taunted and bullied.
So, I took a stand and participated in the debate that mocks the concept of school uniforms. It was a small act of rebellion, but it made me feel better. I was being true to myself, and that felt important.
Of course, it wasn't easy. I got teased and ridiculed by the other kids. They called me names and made fun of my choice of words and the thoughts I nurtured in my liberated mind. It was hard to ignore, but I succeeded anyway.
Eventually, things changed. The teasing stopped, and people started to accept me for who I was. And, as time went by they realized that individuality is something to be celebrated, not suppressed.*****