Valentine’s Day Blues
February 14, 2011 § 3 Comments
This story was written when I was a final year student at MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur. It featured in JAM Magazine in 2006, and also in Patrika’s Indore edition last year.
On the break of dawn, that day, it was a little warmer than usual – spring was in the air. Double checked the card and roses as I got ready for college. Donned my new blue jeans and freshly ironed white shirt, things were looking perfect. With a I-am-cool-but-a-gentleman-too look I left for college on my recently polished bike. I’ll do it today, I thought.
14th Feb at my engineering college is just like any other day. The same classes, the same local kids playing cricket on our ground, and the same ambience. Probably, some students are better dressed than on regular days. But I was too conscious of my own attire to notice that. One thing that caught my attention, though. Where were the girls? The female attendance was low – less than half the usual… and very few local girls. She wasn’t there either. The Rs. 30 I spent on the card went down the drain. It had been so difficult to gather courage for today, and, now, the opportunity was lost.
Being too much of an optimist, I hoped some girl would offer me a card instead. The roses could still be used. 2 pm. College off. Roses unused. I told my tale of woe to Sundeep, a close friend. While I am from Jaipur, Sundeep is a localite and understands the local equations much better. He’s also the typical cool, practical, I-can-get-the-job-done type dude. “It’s a small town, where people aren’t that open minded. You are a fool if you expected cards to be exchanged out in the open.” He added, “I know about 3 couples from our college who exchanged ‘pleasantries’ today – 2 of them at Swagat juice shop.” I sat wide-eyed as he told the details.
“Khair apne ko kya”, he said at the end, as he usually does after ripping apart someone’s private life. So we decided to don our we-don’t-care-about-girls attitude and chilled out. Had lunch and watched a movie at his place. Later we went to CCD, the only place that’s ‘happening’ in town, and on this day, was full of young couples. We were just wondering where to sit when there were noises outside.
“Lets get outta here,” Sundeep pulled me before I could understand anything. About 20 men on motorcycles vandalised the shop. They caught hold of girls and rubbed black colour on their faces. One held a girl’s choti and cut a part of it. That’s all we saw from outside before we left. We read more about the incident in the papers next day.
My mood was completely off. I reached home by 10.30 pm, ready for a re-read of ‘Love Story’. Suddenly, a tune that sounded melodious filled the air. My cell was ringing. It was her… The day ended well, after all.
About the pic: Taken from snow covered barren vineyards at Oestrich Winkel. A remarkable movement from green to white with the season’s change.