Valentine’s Day, as they say, 'the day of love' is difficult to ignore in Delhi. Marketed perfectly to alter our emotions, the entire streets are covered in red. I have no disdain against any kind of love or this day. Yet, it has truly never brought butterflies to my stomach. Nevertheless, as the city wakes up on February 14 today, I want to share my memories of the day- these do not include romantic love, but a friendship that is perhaps much more memorable.
This is the story of 7 girls who lived in a strict hostel-like pg in the North Campus, studied at Delhi University and loved to eat.
Undergrad courses at the North Campus are the most sought after in the country, not just for their education but for the intellectual exposure it provides to most students. As a student of Miranda House, a professor said in the first year, “You will change at the end of these three years for the better.” Ma’am could not have been more right. These colleges became the institutions where we were first introduced to the ideas of feminism, individuality, embracing one’s personality, complimenting others, and breaking stereotypes that must be broken.
Thus, we decided that Valentine’s Day would be more than romantic love- it would be a celebration of ourselves and our friendship. ( I think the inherent reason behind this profound awakening was that we just wanted to party). So, single or committed, the night had to be dedicated to this occasion. (There was a debate whether to not include the committed ones. Anyway, you become weak when it comes to friends). Woke as we were, special outfits were mandatory. I was the one who went completely overboard to fashion a dress with all the shawls I had. We wore large earrings and dark kajal.
Moreover, what is a celebration without food? Money was collected, and a cake was brought in from bakeries from Malkaganj near Kamla Nagar. The other hostel delicacy- Maggi had to be there. Mind you, we did not have it the way most people do. It was cooked in 3 batches and the party went on till the morning.
This little celebration became more awaited than any DU fest. What did we do in it? Sat in circles, took pictures, danced like mad, shared heartfelt conversations and cut the cake. Many of our parties resulted in a happy tear finding its way out of the eye, and meaningful hugs. Innate talents of singing, dancing and acting came out on these nights. And 24*7 store became the go to restaurant as the clock struck 5.
It has been some years, Valentine’s Day as the world celebrates it is still uncharted territory. Yet, looking back at those years, I feel and I know that love has many forms, many colours. That it does not always come with Cupid’s arrows. Sometimes, it just arrives with friends becoming family, and some midnight Maggi.
Dedicated to a bunch whom I love fiercely and pray for their happiness always.