Aedes Aegypti has been nominated for the fashion police medal of excellence, 2010. And the Taliban and the Sri Ram Sene must have been close to the top of the list of those who nominated this tiny creature for the honour.
The award would be bestowed upon the mosquito for its exemplary feat in forcing the hip and happening crowd of the most fashion-savvy colleges of Delhi University to shun clothes that allowed generous shows of skin.
While you can read the preceeding sentences as frivolous speech, the serious fact is that the vector that carries dengue has become a terror in colleges across DU, especially those on south campus. The shorts-clad crowd is suddenly swarming with girls dressed in full-lengths. The ganjis, off-shoulders, cropped pants and corduroy shorts have been temporarily replaced by cotton pants, kurtis, jeans and full sleeve tops.
"I normally wear shorts to college as it's quite hot and humid, but since the dengue scare has spread I dress up in full length pants and covered sleeves," said Gurneet, a second year B. Com (Hons) student at LSR college.
"It is rather sad and disturbing to compromise on the shorts and skirts for this menace. It is has taken the Monsoon charm away from us, but we have to put up with it. Exams are near and dengue is the worst thing to happen to any student. So I am avoiding my favourite shorts for a while now," said a disappointed Supriya Arora, first year BA (Programme) student at Jesus and Mary College.
College officials have also noticed the trend. "Students have taken precautionary measures against dengue. One would not see too many bare shoulders and legs around the campus these days," said an official, requesting anonymity.
After a 19-year-old second year student of LSR died of the vector-borne disease, the college got the premises fumigated and a cleanliness drive has also been launched.
"Though the college authorities don't seem too bothered, there is a scare among students. Many of my friends and I have planned to avoid wearing shorts to college," says Jaya L Moirangthem, a first year student of Life Science at Maitreyi College.
20 Number of challans issued by MCD dengue control team to colleges in Delhi University.
PROSECUTIONS THEN AND NOW
As dengue tightens its grip over the national capital, schools are slightly relaxing their strict rules regarding uniforms for students. With the city reporting over 1300 dengue cases and four deaths due to the vector-borne disease, schools are eager to ensure that children do not suffer from mosquito bites. Several private schools in the city have issued circulars asking children to wear full-sleeve shirts and trousers while the MCD has also said that students in institutions run by it should cover themselves fully.
"We have asked the students to wear full-sleeves. But we should also keep in mind that most of the children who come to our schools are from economically weaker section. So they should be allowed to wear any dress which helps them to protect themselves from mosquito bites," Leader of MCD House Subhash Arya said. "The school has issued circular asking children to wear full-sleeves. Some parents are sending them in winter uniform (which is full-sleeve but not woollen) though we prefer the use of mosquito-repellent cream," said the mother of a student of Banyan Tree School.
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