‘Tis the time for cupids, arrows and some broken hearts! As February tiptoed gradually under the hustle of vaccination and several other delusional events that are happening in our country, it also marked the start of the 7-day ritual that ends with Valentine’s Day. As one finds meaning and falls in and out of love, Valentine’s day binds us all together in strong pursuit of sharing the love. While this idea makes a lot of sense or no sense at all now, it took a different stance when we were in our school. Let us take you on a cringe trip to your high school days.
What started as a commemoration of St. Valentine has now evolved through history as a 7-day wait of hope and desire. Valentine’s day celebration starts on the 7th of February and ends on the 14th. The Millennial era assigned specialities to each day of this week and called it Valentine’s week.
The rose day marks the start of valentines week where lovers gift their loved ones roses, the red one being popular. It is followed by proposal day, chocolate day etc., finally ending with the big day.
“It was a difficult task to get those roses safely to my love. I would sneak them in my bag from the sight of the teachers and my classmates. Giving those roses without withering them and without being caught by my parents or teachers always gave me a sense of adventure,” says anonymous.
The sudden price hike of roses on that day made some of us petty thieves stealing roses from our neighbours’ garden. Nonetheless, the memories are still fresh just like the rose petals.
Believe it or not, valentines week is a strong commercial tool to increase consumerism. Most of us have fallen prey to it in our school days (we can hear you saying ‘we still do’ ). How did we get the money to buy these gifts? The answer to that question would unleash a whole different story of smuggling and interesting lies.
While some of us developed a well brilliant plot to convince our parents to get that random instrument box, the rest of them broke open their piggy bank to gather money.
Voltin from Kochi says, “Every day I had to arrange money to buy specific gifts for each day. Since asking for money becomes obvious during the valentine week, I collect it two-three weeks before. There were days I would get money from my mummy to hang out with my friends. I would save that money without eating anything to get gifts. Having mummy’s debit card linked with my phone number was another added advantage.”
There are exceptional people who didn’t have to write a script for drama as they had super supportive parents. Staying single feels comfortable as one didn’t have to go through these things we do for love!
School as that devilish villain
After all these well-planned dramas and plotted lies, here comes the ‘Cruella’ in our fairy tale, the school system. As we prepare for Valentine’s Day in school, the staff would hold a secret staffroom meeting where plans to break potential couples were discussed. It starts with having separate seating arrangements for girls and boys. Some schools even have student spies in every class to smuggle information to the teachers. We are pretty sure most of the schools had bag checking that ‘coincided’ with Valentines week.
Vani from Thrissur states that “couples were made to sit separately by teachers. However, after all these strict surveillance, couples were able to pass letters and chits through our classmates who used to cover up for these popular love interests.”
The moment they get caught with teddy bears and roses in their bags, voila, the time for storytelling begins. Their super creative excuses and justifications are so anomalous and funny that they have a scope to be content creators in the future.
Gifts of all sorts
The final gift that you give to him/her is the most awaited one. In our adult life, it might have evolved into expensive ones but back then in school, it was more about the idea of gifting than the gift itself. Diary Milk (not sponsored) and roses being the most common ones back then.
Making cards, writing love letters with broken spelling and grammar, pouring all of that cringy emotions that you have stored up in your heart, going to the lady’s store for the first time to get her a pair of earrings, and other couple gifts are the highlights of Valentine’s day during our school days. These gifts sometimes even took bizarre forms too. Aiswarya states, “There was a friend of mine who slit his wrist (just a little), wiped it with a cloth and sent it in a fancy box to his crush to proclaim his love”. How Bizarre !!
Once the gift is decided, the next step was to send it across without getting caught.
“I would wait till evening to go to my tuition class and gift it to him. Getting them from the store, sneaking it in my school bag, passing through that strict bag check, exchanging the gift with zero expressions on the face to avoid looking suspicious was so much fun. It’s a skill, I would say, “ says anonymous.
“My classmate exchanged letters with his girlfriend by writing these on chits small enough to hide them in pens and stationaries,” reminisces an anonymous.
Valentines week must be a thing for already existing couples but for potential ones, it’s the D-Day. Expressing your feeling to someone takes a certain amount of bravery, and Valentine’s day spirit imparts that courage to many one-sided lovers. It’s a day when a lot of things happens.
The school head-boy proposing his loved one with roses and Dairy Milk, that introvert being pushed by their gang to express his/her love towards their crush, that popular girl/guy with her stack of Dairy Milks they received, that hopeless romantic staring at their crush hoping that they would come up to them to utter the sweet three words – all this happen under the surveillance of our parents and teachers.
The meeting places are yet another important part of Valentine’s Day. It ranges from common places like cafes, beaches and parks to ones like that nearby forest near your school, that trusted friend’s house, tuition centres and even near the cctv blind spots in your school, close to the bathroom.
Shahbaz recounts an interesting experience of his Valentines day meeting.
“When I was in 11th std my then-girlfriend and I got each other gifts and all. My classes usually started immediately after her school time, hence, we had to miss the first hour of class. Not to mention, my mom suspected that this exchange might happen. We used to meet near this Masjid during those times and my mom suspected that our exchange would happen there. Once we saw my mom coming towards our side, we bolted. Thanks to her slow speed, we were able to scoot off ! “
Rejection is yet another thing that is felt by many of us on that day . Though we find solace in A.R Rahman songs and movie dialogues that talks of ‘the one for you’, rejection is still a painful affair. For the hopeless romantics, it is the hopelessness that is blinding . Nonetheless, the next day, we continue with our schoolwork and exams with some of us still striving to impress that one person who rejected us and some finding crushes for the next Valentine’s day. With all its intricacies and fun, Valentine’s day during our school days did hit us differently. Thinking about it now, some of us go on a guilt trip for not being able to express our love, some of us cringe thinking of all the petty things we’ve done and rest of us, were unaffected because valentine’s day in school was totally non-existant being a loner.
Tring..tring .. tring ..
That wasn’t the school bell, guess its your boss calling. Now go and get your work from home done instead of reminiscing.
Happy valentine’s day in advance! Also don’t forget to drop a comment and share your Valentine’s day in school stories.