Hello friends. Here is the fourth offering in ‘The Little Girl’ series, for children. Illustration by my nine-year-old daughter, Sarah.


The little girl was sorting through the clothes in her bag. She was taking longer than usual.

“Hurry up, little one,” her aunt called out. “We are going to get late for hospital.”

The little girl wanted to stay a while longer, fishing around in her suitcase. Not that she hadn’t found the right set of clothes to wear to the hospital, but she was just trying to buy some time.

Last evening her mother had been rushed to the hospital. You see, she was going to get a baby sister or brother for the little girl. It had been so quick that mother had forgotten to help the little girl remove her woollen high neck sweater before she left!

The little girl hated wearing high necks. But her mother always insisted on making her wear one, especially in winters because they kept her warm. Mother was always so worried about the little girl catching a cold. The latter agreed but only on the condition that mother would help her wear and remove the oppressing garment every single time. But yesterday…mother had forgotten her promise. She had been in a hurry to get the baby.

“Not right now, little one,” mother had said. “I’m worried. You will be fine with your aunt.”

And so, the little girl had been left at her aunt’s mercy.

“Aren’t you done as yet?” said aunt, walking in. “Looks like it’s going to snow. Let us quickly get a bath and get moving.”

Aunt held the little girl by the hand, pulling her towards the bathroom. Just then, the door of the house flung open and in walked her uncle.

“Congratulations my girl! You got a little sister!”

“Where is she? Where’s mother?” the little girl tried to look behind her uncle with hopeful eyes.

“Oh, they can’t be home so soon,” the uncle said, shattering her obvious hope of mother helping with the high neck.

“Look at her,” uncle said to the aunt. “She is in great hurry to meet her sister.”

The little girl only smiled, thinking of the baby. Would she know her big sister, who would no longer be a little girl now? She looked out of the window. Snow flakes were already dancing outside, some of them swirling around just like the cream mother often put in her tomato soup. She had first seen snow in a picture book. It had looked like candy floss that would melt in her mouth. She had so wanted to see it in real right then, but mother had asked her to wait until winters came visiting. She had waited patiently.

And it had snowed. White, cold and beautiful to look at. She wasn’t allowed to go out and play and the high necks had walked in along with the snow. Would her mother make high necks for her baby sister as well? She thought so. Maybe she had already made her wear one. But the baby was lucky. Mother was there to help her with the suffocating sweater. While she… she was missing her mother here.

She looked at her uncle who was sipping a cup of tea. She was glad he had come at the right time and had helped postpone the bathing.

“It’s snowing outside. Will we be able to go and see the baby?” she asked her aunt.

“Oh, yes! We will.”

“Mother doesn’t let me go out in the cold,” she said, surprised at herself for being so particular about what mother always said. On other days she would cry until mother relented and took her out for a while.

“But she is eagerly waiting for you today. And your sister looks just like the snow itself..a soft ball of cotton,” her uncle chipped in.

The little girl was happy. Snowfall, mother and her sister- she would be seeing them all. It was going to be her lucky day. But she would have to take a bath before that. She rushed to her aunt in the kitchen.

“Aunt, am I going for a bath now?” she asked from the door itself.

“In a while darling. I am first going to prepare some tea and snacks for everyone at the hospital.”

“Mother is very careful about taking off my high neck, aunt. Sometimes it gets stuck around my nose and I can’t breathe. It looks like someone is trying to smother me.”

“Don’t worry. She taught your aunt how to do it just the other day,” said uncle walking in. He looked at her as he poured tea into the thermos from a huge jug.

“She did?” the little girl looked at her aunt. She wanted to be sure.

“Of course,” smiled the aunt. “Now if you will go and play while your uncle and I wind up here. Or else, the meeting time will be up and we will have to return from the hospital gate itself.”

This, the little girl did not want. So, she quickly went back to her room to look out of the window. It was just a little white and only a few flakes fell from the sky now. She was happy it wouldn’t be so cold. Mother wouldn’t have to worry about her moving out.

But she didn’t know when mother had taught aunt how to take the sweater off. Yesterday? But yesterday was so chaotic and mother hadn’t been well. And on the other days, the little girl had always been by mother’s side. Could it have been after she had slept, or while she was playing? Watching TV? Even if mother had taught her, she couldn’t be certain aunt had practiced enough.

“Little one,” the little girl turned around to see her aunt standing right behind her. So, the dreaded time had arrived. She would hold her breath until it was done. That way it would be better.

“We are getting late. So, I’ve decided to give you a bath once we are back. Wash your face and let me make your hair.”

The little girl was delighted. She happily pulled out the brown coat from the cupboard and wore her mittens and cap.

“And listen,” said the aunt before walking out, “why don’t you carry a change. Maybe we can ask your mother to take the high neck off for you!”


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Read the other stories in the series below,

The Butterfly Fluttered its Wings

Welcome to the New School

The Plan

68 thoughts on “HIGH NECK IN WINTERS”

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  3. The story has innumerable innocent childhood emotions that you have expressed beautifully. The illustrations is beautiful. Simple and sweet stories like this absolutely infuse warm emotions that take us back in time and also allow one to reflect upon the present situation where time is such a constraint, where emotions like these are often neglected by parents and device-attracted children.

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  5. Jayshree Bhagat

    That high neck word itself makes me feel uncomfortable. Glad we are in Mumbai, so nit much into it

  6. Oh I don’t remember this in my childhood but surely I can so relate it with my son. He is always so conscious of pulling out t-shirt or sweater for that matter.

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  8. Such a cute story of the little girl and the high neck. Her feelings are preciously understandable & love how you’ve spun such a beautiful short story here.

  9. Even till date as an adult I don’t wear high necks! They are a troublesome piece of clothing. And, I could feel her excitement and the confusion of meeting her new sister.

  10. I got the feel that the little girl was feeling just a wee bit left out with her mother away at the hospital and the arrival of the new sister.
    You have a sweet way of telling the tale feomma child’s point of view.
    Your little girl’s drawings are beautiful too.

  11. Really beautifully written story :). Can only imagine the emotions going through the child’s mind longing to see her mother and her new born sister :D.

  12. Vartika Mehrotra Gakhar

    This series always bring a huge smile on my face. Such a beautifully woven story, love the though process of the little girl you have shared so vividly – when did mom teach her Aunt 🙂 how cute! Waiting for the next one 🙂

  13. Beautiful story. This reminds me of my childhood when I had issues with my hair. Only Amma could properly make my hair. Once she went to a family wedding while I was at home due to my school tests going. In her absence I went to my aunt who although made my hair, however they were loose and I hated it. I soon got my hair chopped then.

  14. That is such a beautiful story! And so well articulated. The littlr girl and her mother. What a pair..and now they’ll be three. Lovr it.

  15. How utterly sweet Sonia! I see a similar sentiment in my son’s behaviour- that insecurity and need of having his mummy around to everything a particular way, and you have captured that intangible feeling so well!

  16. I loved the story, the child’s anticipation and innocence were portrayed well. You took me down memory lane when as a kid I read such stories and loved them. Your daughter has done a good job of being an illustrator, talented mother &daughter duo

  17. Such a sweet little story that captures emotions. Well, it was difficult for me to handle high necks but yes Winters are yes yes.

  18. Such a sweet story of anticipation and happiness of an innocent little girl waiting to meet her mother and baby sister. The emotions are captured so well.

  19. oh i despised those high necks. Actually i couldn’t handle anything that touched my neck be it chokers, ties, topmost shirt button, etc. Nice write up!

  20. Such a lovely story, loved how you captured the emotions & innocence of the little girl. Even the aunt understood that the girl was not feeling comfortable & she handled that situation well.

  21. What a delightful idea to pair your prose with your daughter’s illustrations! I loved how the girl is so particular about the high neck and wants to be sure that her aunt has practiced it enough number of times. So cute! She’s going to be a very responsible older sister 🙂

  22. How beautiful this was, this little innocent girl has my heart. To be honest, I too am not a fan of high necks 🙂 looking forward to the next post

  23. I seriously felt a little chilled when I started reading the part where there was snow all around. Overall I am so excited to Know what happens next.

  24. Oh, the musings of the little girl are so cute and innocent. I love the way these incidents unfold leaving a warm smile throughout, and a crisp chuckle in the end.
    And how beautifully you connect the elements in each story. Lovely Sonia!

  25. Oh dear! Even I hate those high neck sweaters as well. This was a very soft post Sonia. I felt little नमी around me while reading the post. Loved it.

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