It’s the day of love; all kinds of love. But primarily it is the day on which starry-eyed lovers, bored couples, newly married strangers and recently single men and women think of calling up their ex-s. Oh yes, they want to celebrate the most significant of all loves, the love that procreates: Romantic Love. Ex-s or current(s), you certainly must indulge in Excess!
I am reminded of one such excess from yore. When the 90s hangover still had not worn out. Compatibility was decided through FLAMES. Phrases like boyfriend-girlfriend were more a matter of shame than pride. In short, the Valentine’s Day bug was just beginning to infest the farms of love.
Internet all but existed. Heartbeats were exchanged through Hallmark and Archie’s. They still exist, but only just, I guess. The first hormonal rushes in school could not think of gifts other than a pen, heart-shaped stone-stickers that glowed in the dark and 5-rupee Dairy Milk. Well, 10-rupee Dairy Milk at the most.
The year was 2001. We had barely stepped into our teens. Love and other drugs had just about started making inroads. It was the perfect set-up for a V-day special!
K was the attention-seeking class-clown. P was the new girl with long braided hair and an infectious smile.
The joker immediately developed a crush on the braided smiling newbie. It was a first for him. Suddenly K had become rather quiet and demure. If ever, P addressed him directly, K froze. He was teased by his mates but he ignored.
Sometime later it was V-Day. K decided to ‘be the man’ finally. Armed with a card, a letter professing his love and a pen he went to P during the short break. The letter was penned by S, the precocious girl, mostly frowned upon; but on that day she was K’s accomplice.
P was composed when K approached. Not that she had no inkling of K’s becahara dil, but she feigned indifference. Everyone waited with bated breath. She tentatively took the gift, card and letter from him. K was more than happy. He had been ‘accepted’. The crowd dispersed abruptly, as the bell rang. Tiffin break was still two periods away.
Enter G, the not so fancied teacher’s ward. On this particular day he had bought a huge 60-ruppe Hallmark – that was a lot of money – so big that it wouldn’t fit inside his school bag. The card nestled inside a baby-pink envelope. G had taken it out several times. It had bright red roses on the front. There was a heart-shaped hole in the middle that blared out how much he loved ‘The One’. There were speculations galore but G kept mum. As the bell announced the big break, he scribbled ‘To P’ on top and ‘From G’ at the bottom. He also had those stickers and a chocolate. The guys cheered and P enjoyed all the attention.
A while later, she promptly returned the card and letter to K, but kept the pen! The girls jeered. K went out to the corridor. He was probably more confused than hurt.
Now that the gifts were exchanged, the victor decided, no one quite knew what the next step was. Someone went up to the class teacher and narrated the entire drama. With a sarcastic smile on her lips, Mrs. B came to the class and rounded up the concerned trio. G was slapped, P got a scolding that reduced her to tears and K, the teacher’s pet on most occasions, was asked ‘since when have you been in love, my dear boy’? To which he answered: Sorry Ma’m! Even S was reprimanded for her passive involvement.
K is a successful IT professional today. He’s got nothing clownish about him and has a steady girlfriend. G has been to almost all the countries you can think of. He’s with the merchant navy. As for P, I never heard from her after school. She’s probably a loving wife to some nice guy by now……….indulging in excess or thinking about her ex-s from school!