Valentine’s Day, huh?
As I have grown, I have lost sense of this day. And not just Valentine’s day but any day. Women’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and of course, the Birthday. In fact, birthdays are something I never understood. What is so awesome about it? Why does people need to make me feel special? But that is just me. You can be different.
Although my rational mind believes it is right that people celebrate birthdays. It is the day one gets a kind of obituary while he is still alive. People writing good things about him. Celebrities are being tagged as #Legend on twitter. Sportsperson are #RoleModels. I am sure it will help anyone when he reads good things about himself. Maybe I will wait for the time when I am a legend and then I will understand the big deal about birthdays.
But this is not about all days. This is about a Valentine’s Day in a millennial’s life.
1998, 6th class. A 11 year old boy who has started noticing girls also. I mean, it happens, naturally without making extra any effort. And then out of the lot, you are looking at one of them too much. So much that your friends have started noticing, even the girl herself.
Everything has changed. You are awesome and yourself in front of everyone but your heart skips a beat when she appears. The school becomes boring when she is on leave. And your heart known no bounds when the teacher decides to make you sit with her as punishment.
(True Story- there was a girl in my class who was a punjabi and pretty good in English. Yours truly was a champion in Sanskrit. One day, sanskrit teacher jumbled up the students and that girl had to sit with me. And there was a mock test. I knew all the answers but I intentionally let her answer the questions before me. Her joy was boundless and I don’t think she ever doubted what I did. A punjabi kudi with excellent command in English in that age, thanks to her father being a senior army officer, had just outsmarted a kid who has topped Sanskrit exam every time.)
You see what I did there, right? Anyways, that was class 6th and Valentine’s Day was approaching. We learnt from the peers that it was the only day where one can approach a girl, get rejected and could still save his honour and walk with his head high. And the expenses was 5rs chocolate and a 10rs card.
So I spent 15 rs and went to this girl. She thankfully had a better understanding of these things and said no. And we all moved on- me, she and the life.
Then class 7th happened, then 8th, 9th and 10th. Same stories happened again- sometimes I was the guy; sometimes my friends. I don’t think I saw anyone actually, for the lack of right word, hooking up. Those were harmless attractions.
But there was an excitement. You give the girl card after school and you have to wait for an entire day for her answer.
Worse case- it is a holiday next day or she does not turn up.
Worst case- she turns up but reserves her judgement over your card like the famous Supreme Court judges.
I mean, come on lady. It is already February. Exams are due in a month. You better reply to the card so that we can finish these damn exams and start planning for the life in April and beyond. Only 1990s kids can understand this dilemma.
It is 2nd March. Exams start in a week. The girl has still not replied. You have no option but to start studying. And then the landline rings. Mother says it is for you. And a slight voice at the other end says Yes.
Yes to what? You forgot the question you asked her.
“Will you marry me?”- You must be kidding.
“Will you be my valentine?”- But it has passed.
“Do you love me?”- maine us tarah se tumko kabhi dekha nahi
“Do you like me?”- Of course, this was the question.
Now the phone is cut and you are still wondering what the hell just happened. Then you recollect everything. The chocolate and the card. And the question. And the answer you just heard.
You are already in dreamland. Sanskrit exam is the first exam, a week away. Because you are already awesome in this subject; you think you can afford to waste 4 days off 7 daydreaming. You can’t mess up Sanskrit. That is your baby.
Then it is the 5th day and the panic about the exam sets in. But you are not able to ring that “yes” out of your ears. It is there with you. Somehow, you finish the syllabus and go for exam.
And when the results come, you realise that the punjabi kudi with good command on English has outscored you in Sanskrit. You never doubted what she was doing. It all felt so real. But she knew all the time. And today, she has a smile on her face that does not look that cute like the one 3 weeks earlier. Although, the “yes” still has a nice feel to it.
Many years later, when you understand these things, you silently applaud and say to yourself
“What a master stroke. Well played, Madam. Very well played.”
Inspired by true events.