Orange Nights

“To laughter that can awake the dead.”

Afternoons seem unbearably long these days. As I proceeded to fill today’s with cajoling the living room bookshelf out of its antique torpor buried in a cosy quilt of dust, I chanced upon an equally antique, long-forgotten copy of The Second Sex . Mites have devoured the ‘w’ and both the ‘d’s, nibbling on a few ‘t’s and the ‘n’. The 1988 you beyond that faded scrawl on the first blank page is still remarkably clearly visible.

Or so I felt.

It was our third show of “Orange Nights” in the HDCM auditorium. When you met me backstage I was sipping a cup of hastily made tea – every cell in my body craving energy as my heart brimmed with the exhilaration of having delivered another successful show to the campus community.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever told you how thoroughly you bored me that evening with your hackneyed suggestions of how I should stop studying Statistics and become a professional scriptwriter or stage actress instead – until you pulled out that book, wrapped in matt-finished handmade brown paper with lyrical scribbles all over for garnish.

Since then I’ve lead my life as away as I could from this exquisite bunch of dangerous thoughts which you – in hindsight so ironically – planted in my heart. Never looking back, never regretting anything.

I ran into it though – a year and three months ago, to be precise.

I was somewhere in between half-real delirious dreams and consciousness as I lay in that alien white berth with metal railings reeking of delicately preserved hygiene. My jangled senses racked with bits and pieces of the world around me – whiff of disinfectants, the prick of needles, Sonu’s bawls, hushed whispers in known, unknown, half-known voices, “suicide”, “jumped off”, “crazy”, “God’s miracle” … and in the middle of all this were the unspectacled lanky ruffle-haired you of that faraway night – smiling at me holding a small oblong package wrapped in brown paper.

But poor Sonu had not seen that night – our first night. When my innocent little baby came sobbing to me, showing me those messages from your mobile you’d exchanged with that lady over the last two years, he hardly knew how selfishly I loved you.  

“I’m sorry Mona,” you’d pleaded. “You changed.”

“I’d fallen in love with a talented independent free-thinking unique woman. An embodiment of life whose laughter could awake the dead. Not a mentally middle-aged quintessential housewife who can’t think beyond her husband’s lunch and her son’s impending Board exams.”

Somewhere I’d got it all wrong.

I wanted to be the perfect wife for you. I’d loved you with my everything. I wanted you to think I was the best decision of your life.

Remember how you used to marvel at my stoic refusal to complain about your mum’s never-ending rant against me and my “uncouth” family, day after weary day?

“My love for you is not ordinary.  I vow not to force you to choose between the two most beloved people of your life,” the ideal wife had explained to you. Do you think the “independent free-thinking” me would’ve survived those days with her love for you intact?

I was a star performer in my company – as long as the family needed the money more than the time, before the priorities reversed and I didn’t bat an eyelid before kissing the job market goodbye. What do you think the “talented, unique” me would have done, Arnab?

As you spent your evenings slogging your way to becoming one of the most respected sales leaders of the industry, I put more of my focus into Sonu’s deadlines than I’ve ever put into my own.

No, I’m not the “independent free-thinking unique embodiment of life” anymore, Arnab, I’m the ordinary quintessential eternal foundation of life. I’ve made a sacrifice countless women all across history and geographies have made so that you could see this day.

So that my son could see this day.

The perfect mother and wife in me never bothered about the exquisite imperfect real woman that she’d so carefully put to sleep so long back.

Until she became a useless burden to you.

Until she greeted death face-to-face and came back.

Until today.

No, I have neither shame nor regret to have given my everything to the people I love.

What I do regret though is the fact that in the process I’ve forgotten to be myself, love myself, celebrate myself.

Almost. :)

No I don’t consider my life over.

I’m 45 years young. The adult years that lie ahead of me are as many in number as the ones that lie behind – only wiser and richer in experience.

You and Sonu remain as focal to my existence today as you were yesterday. Only one more character has been promoted from the sidelines to the lead in this final act – myself.

Let me once again remind you of what you’d told me that extraordinary night – I had it in me to be a writer. You know what? I’ve decided to take that seriously – twenty-six long years after you said it.  

What you’re reading is my first attempt at proving it.

Happy Anniversary.

An entry to the Indusladies 4th Annual International Women’s Day Blog Contest 2013.

How to Convince your Parents for a Love Marriage – 6 Steps

If you’ve been following Love in India’s romantic messages for a while, you’d know that we’ve already talked about inter-caste marriages and inter-religion marriages. Another of the most common questions I get asked by readers is “I have a girlfriend/boyfriend. How can I convince my parents of a love marriage?” I thought I’ll put my thought together on that today.

How to convince your parents of a love marriagePhoto by midgetmanofsteel

#1. Convince your parents of your love marriage by making them meet him/her: The first step to convincing your parents of a love marriage is making them meet your girlfriend/boyfriend. Don’t even go into any discussions with them before making them meet your special someone. The purpose of this meeting is to establish to your parents what a perfect husband/wife he/she will make for you. Coach your girlfriend/boyfriend accordingly before this meeting (Disclaimer: I’m not talking about putting up a fake face to your parents. I’m only emphasizing that they need to put their best feet forward when they meet them).

At the end of the day your parents want your happiness. If you can use this meeting to impress upon them that he/she is a perfect match for you it’ll be easy for you to convince them of a love marriage with him/her.

#2. Convince your parents of your love marriage by creating a mutual relationship: An even better thing to do however, is to introduce your girl/guy to your parents as a friend of yours, at least a year before you plan to marry. Help them know each other and familiarize with each other. Later when you bring up the question of marriage with your parents, you’re talking about someone they know very well. Hence convincing your parents of a love marriage with the person they know so well and for so long would be much easier.

#3. Convince your parents of your love marriage by giving them a reality check: Nothing is as convincing as reality. In order to convince your parents of your love marriage, give them real life examples of happy and successful “love marriages”. Don’t forget to also throw in a few examples of people you know whose marriages were arranged and have turned out to be unhappy. ;) Cite these isntances, stating how being in a relationship with someone for some time before marriage is essential to judging mutual compatibility and consequently, to creating a better chance for having a happy life together. Which brings me to the most crucial point…

#4. Convince your parents of your love marriage on the basis of compatibility: Explain to your parents the importance of mutual compatibility and understanding in a marriage, which essentially needs to be gauged (to the extent possible) before taking the final decision. Compatibility goes much beyond castes, horoscopes, food habits, family background and financial capability. It depends on personality types, beliefs, likes and dislikes, attitude towards the relationship etc. And these things can never be even gauged without spending at least a year or two in an active relationship with each other (which you hopefully have, with your significant other). And no, the modern arranged marriage which involves fixing the date of the marriage first and spending a year dating each other next doesn’t count. This is based on the obvious fact that the time a couple spends together in a relationship before marriage is meant to aid the decision of whether to get married or not. If that decision has already been taken, any amount of pretend-dating doesn’t count.

#5. Convince your parents of your love marriage citing crucial mutual emotional needs: Different people have different emotional needs from their partners. It takes some time to gauge whether a person’s emotional needs are going to be satisfied by another person. In an arranged marriage context, there’s no way of knowing this, since the degree of emotional closeness that is required before someone can find out whether the other satisfies their needs or not, is impossible to attain before such a marriage. You need to make them see this in order to convince your parents of your love marriage.

A friend of mine was a free-thinking romantic ball of fire before marriage. She happened to have her marriage arranged to a financially well-established, dependable but rather practical and unromantic guy six years her senior. Soon after the marriage it became apparent that if he were chalk, she would be cheese. No wonder she totally changed as a person, shut herself up emotionally and is living in a mental prison ever since. Do your parents want that for you? I’m sure not.

#6. Convince your parents of your inter-caste love marriage:  Of course, in some Indian families the hardest of marriages to earn a parental thumbs-up on is an inter-caste marriage. Along with all the usual challenges of convincing your parents of a love marriage to the girl/guy of your choice, this once comes with its own set of hurdles – like age old traditions, strong stereotypes held by many people, and above all, your parents’ fear of social ostracism should they allow you to marry someone from a different caste (particularly, a so-called “lower” one).

It’s not easy, to say the least.

Here are some tips and strategies thousands have benefited from, which you can also use to cope with the situation: 5 Tips to Handle Intercaste Relationships.

But what if your parents are stubborn and just won’t give in to your tricks and strategies? Here’s what: Help! My Parents Are Not Agreeing to My Marriage!

Have you ever tried to convince your parents of your love marriage to your boyfriend/girlfriend? What was the experience like? I’m eagerly waiting to read about your experiences in the comments section.


Kissing Goodbye to Freedom: The Moral Police and Public Display of Affection in India

It was a moment of solemn beauty.

The sea a hundred bawling shades of grey. The moon and black chasing each other across the fickle sky. The sporadic drizzles pecking the mutinous waves down below.

I was speechless. Just thankful that it’ s all happening. I don’t know when it was –but I guess right after I’d pecked him lightly on the cheek – when my reverie was shattered by the distinct sound of throat-clearing behind us.

There he was –short, dark and carrying a colossal round paunch and an even more colossal smile of conceit – the omnipresent (OK with the exception of where he’s needed) Indian policeman.

He had apparently known it all along – what we were up to. He’d been keeping a “close watch on us” ever since we parked the car, you see.

“The people who live on this road are the most important people of Mumbai,” he warned. “ I’m entrusted with making sure no one disturbs their peace of mind. And you, sir, are doing just that with your obscene acts. So I’ll have to fine you. Rs. 4000.” And with that he pretended to pull out some papers.

“But we don’t have so much cash on us. Will Rs. 500 do???” My multiple brained academic star of a husband blurted out.


I’d later shared this story with a friendly taxiwala and this is what he’d got to say, “One bakhra like you per day, and the b***ard’s achieved nirvana. You should never have even offered more than Rs. 50.”

Welcome to the world of haggling over bribes. But I digress…

Public display of affection India

You know who I’m talking about – you’re all familiar with him – the fatherly neighbourhood policeman who always has an eye out for youngsters running a risk of going astray. That well-meaning gentleman who always shows up at the right time and place to teach you the price of a lesson or two on the right way to behave in this country.

What makes him so powerful? So omniscient?

Welcome to the scar on the face Section 294 of the IPC of 1860, which deals with obscenity laws in this country, and is generally used by policemen for earning those few extra bucks for their hard work of harassing innocent young couples. Here’s how it goes.

Whoever, to the annoyance of others,

(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

Now that’s what I call the death-knell of individual freedom. And that’s because of those three little highlighted words in there.

What is ‘annoyance’? In the maddening motley of noodle straps and noodle-nourished necrophilia, spaghetti and spirituality, premarital abstinence and preposterous abuse that is India, how do we define what is ‘obscene’?

The spine-chilling aspect of this Section however, is the ‘others’. If ‘annoyance’ of some unqualified group of ‘others’ could be the legal basis for determining the degree of criminal offense committed, we could just as well blissfully repeal our legal code altogether and defer all legal decisions to “the majority”.

To take an example – I’m sure a great majority of Indians would consider love marriages “annoying”, if the sheer proportion of Indian marriages that are arranged is anything to go by. Does that mean a “love marriage” is a crime as per the IPC?

We’ve all (I hope) heard of those magnificent things called “individual rights”. The legal code stipulates what falls within and outside of these rights. If the majority finds the exercising of any of these rights offensive, I should think it’s their business to learn to deal with it.

Our law however leaves “obscenity” and “annoyance” to extortion. Did I say extortion? I meant interpretation. Unfortunately for the common man the only significance of that tiny room for interpretation is the brilliant scope of extortion and harassment created within it by some resourceful government servants (read police-people).

As a totally irrelevant and insignificant aside, I’d like to mention that we were already married when the Worli sea face incident occurred.

Repeat – We were already married when the Worli sea face incident occurred.

“But why do you think telling that to the police person would’ve made any difference? He accused us of performing obscene acts in the public, and whether we’re married or not has got nothing to do with it – isn’t that so?” My poor guy enquired innocently.

“Oh that’s only inside your logical little brain dear. This is India. Marriage is the ultimate license for any act of affection between a man and a woman – obscene or otherwise.” I sighed.  

Apparently my instincts had not lied.

It is inconceivable how … the expression of love by a young married couple, in the manner indicated in the FIR, would attract the offence of obscenity and trigger the coercive process of the law.

That’s what Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court had to say in his judgement, dismissing obscenity charges brought on by an FIR filed against a married couple caught kissing in public, in 2009. Incidentally, the police overlooked to name any “annoyed” complainants in this FIR.

Married? Unmarried? Legal? Illegal? Seen? Obscene? The jury is still out on the question of legitimacy of Public Display of Affection (PDA) in its varying degrees and contexts. But here’s something that’s certain – as long as the laws remain antiquated and unclear, and the police remain free of a stipulated code of permissible conduct while dealing with possible offenders at the scene, harassment and extortion of young innocent couples by the force responsible for upholding the law, are here to stay. 

The 5 Main Challenges of an Inter-Religious Marriage and How to Overcome Them

About two years back I’d written a post on intercaste couples. Recently someone asked me whether there are any challenges specific to inter religious couples apart from the ones already discussed there. Let’s look at that in today’s post.

inter religious marriagePhoto by Sephiroty Fiesta

What’s religion?

Unlike a caste, a religion is a way of life. A religion has far deeper and broader effects on how you lead your life, how you think, how you perceive others etc., than castes. The challenges of inter-religious couples are therefore a lot more complex, running a lot deeper. After some research and analysis, I could finally boil down the often not so easy to define range of possible challenges of inter-religious couples to these fundamental five.

  1. Lack of support from friends and family: According to sociologist Lynette Clemetson, the relative lack support that inter-cultural couples might receive from friends and family in the initial period of their relationship, can give rise to trust issues between them later which makes the relationship difficult (Clemetson, 2000). The same is applicable to inter-religious couples also. I’d suggest you take time to understand each other fully, gain confidence in your commitment and only then introduce each other to your families, so as to earn more of their support.
  2. Challenges understanding each other: As you know, a religion is a way of life. For example, I’m a Hindu – I’m used to seeing idols worshipped every day in my home. If you’re a Christian this might come across as blasphemous to you. Religion shapes everything from lifestyle (consider the strict vegetarianism practised by Jains), to philosophy of life (think Muslims having their own legal code). Two people coming from two different religious backgrounds, thus, need to make extra efforts to understand each other. Fun activities like picking up a children’s book on the history of each other’s religions, or participating in religious holidays can be powerful first steps in the lifelong journey of overcoming such barriers.
  3. Patience and acceptance: There are always moments in an inter-religious marriage when differences in beliefs are probably really irresolvable. Such situations are inevitable. It’s not always easy to think outside the box you’ve lived in since birth. Being conscious of such a possibility and having the patience to accept differences and yet love each other for who they are is crucial for success of the relationship.
  4. inter religious marriagePhoto by Marriage Bureau

  5. Children: The most challenging aspect of inter-religious marriages is probably handing down beliefs systems and life philosophies to children. However all religions have the same values and spiritual aims at their core. It’s the practices and traditions which differ. You need to inculcate this basic understanding in your children early on and help them see each of your religions as just one more way to spiritual enlightenment. If you as an inter-religious couple can do it right, your children have the potential to grow up as more aware, more conscious people than children of same-religion marriages. The inter-religious family will also help them develop a truly open outlook of the world and treat human beings as human beings, irrespective of their caste, creed, race and religion.
  6. Parents: Some of you might think this should’ve been my first point, but I’ve deliberately moved it to the last. On the basis of my own experience I believe that in terms of gravity, outside challenges to a relationship can never even compare to the challenges any couple faces between them, to make their own relationship work. So far as your parents are concerned, you’ll convince them. Here are a lot of strategies to get that in line: Convincing Parents for Intercaste Relationship.

Are you in an inter-religious relationship? Do you know someone who is? What’s your experience of the joys and pitfalls of such a relationship? Make use of the comments section to let others know. 

“Does He Like Me?” Heed These 7 Signs

She’s reached her limits. After the deadly dose of ten excruciating helpings, her nerves just won’t take any more of it.

Any more of my Valentine’s Day posts, that is.

She – the mingleness-aspiring single – has threatened to break up with Love in India, if we continue to ignore her existence in the way we have (she alleges) over the last ten Valentine’s Day posts (or two weeks).  

Does he like mePhoto by Staydazzled

With that gun pointed at my head, I’ve quickly decided to tackle the question she keeps asking me but I didn’t get a chance to answer as apparently I was “too busy chatting up the Valentines”. The question is:

“Does he like me?”

Without risking any more of her patience, I’ll jump right into the answer.

  1. Talks to you without any reason: Does he keep pinging/texting you but it always seems to be “for no particular reason”? Most guys feel a little shy and nervous around the girl they like. This makes them beat about the bush when they’re talking to her. If a guy seems to really like talking to you, but it’s never “about” anything, watch out.
  2. Gets nervous around you: Next time you’re around him, ask yourself – “Does he like me?” and look for the answer in his body language. Have you noticed how he behaves? That shifty look and blushy smile? Those longing eyes which won’t stop staring at you if it seemed you were not looking?  Shy attraction, coupled with an inability to be open and relaxed usually means he might have something going for you.
  3. Concerned for you: He shows a lot of concern at the slightest sign of any trouble for you.

    “You didn’t come to college today. Are you alright??”

    “What? You lost your notebook? I’ll keep mine photocopied and give it to you first thing tomorrow.”

  4. If he’s one who doesn’t hesitate to involve himself in your troubles just to help you out – he definitely has a thing for you.

  5. Tries to find out if you have a boyfriend: He likes you, so he’s shy around you, so he won’t ask you anything directly. But watch out for questions like:

    “What do you like doing on weekends?”

    “Oh you watched that movie in the theatre? Did you go with your friends?”

    “What are your future plans?”

    While innocent on the surface, the translation of these might read a bit like this:

    “Do you have a boyfriend who you hang out with in the weekends?”

    “Do you have a boyfriend who you go to movies with?”

    “Do you have a boyfriend who you’re planning a future with??? L L”

    Look no further and ask no more, “Does he like me?”

  6. Asks you how to get a girl: Once he’s started to lose is shyness a bit, he tells you that he’s looking for a girl. He describes the attributes of his ideal girl, which – needless to say – match perfectly with yours’. He even asks you if you know someone who would fit his bill.

    If a guy is telling you to find you a girl for him who’s just like you, rest assured – he’s fallen for you.

  7. All his interests seem to match yours: Whenever you mention some interest of yours, he usually echoes.

    “Oh Tom Hanks is my favourite actor too.”

    “What a coincidence! Before you mentioned it I would never think someone from our generation could be as mad about ghazals as I am!”

    Does he like mePhoto by chicago red cross

    If it seems all his interests are miraculously aligned to you, he’s probably quite into you.

  8. If you flirt with others…: There’s this guy you’re really good friends with. You often hang out with him. But whenever you mention him to Mr. Mystery, he falls silent for a moment and then changes the topic. If you’re wondering why, here’s the answer: He’s jealous. Now do you really need to ask again – “Does he like me??” ;)

Okay, Miss. Mingle-minded single? Does that make sense? Would you come back and tell me if they worked? The comments section’s all open for you.

I’ll go try to calm my nerves now. The break-up threat was really a scare.


Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 7 – The Tajmahal of My Love

Here’s #7 – the final one in Love in India special series of DIY Valentine’s Day Cards, which are exquisite, original and all take less than 10 minutes to make. I call today’s card “The Tajmahal of My Love.” You’ll find out why.

Things you’ll need: 

1. Heart-shaped post-its of two different colours. (alternatively, ordinary post-its of two different colours)

2. Scissors.

3. A pencil. 

4. Glue

5. Coloured pens (Optional, for decoration) 

Valentine’s Day card 7 step 1: Take 2 sets of 3 heart-shaped post-its each (of two different colours). Or make heart-shaped post-its from ordinary post-its as shown in Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 2.

Valentine’s Day card 7 step 2: Take one of the sets and draw the tail of a smaller heart (inside the boundaries of the heart-shaped paper). It’s not necessary to draw the entire heart. Now cut along the line so that each of the 3 post-its in this set have a slit in the shape of the tail of a heart.

Valentine’s Day card 7 step 3: Fit one post-it from the other set into each of the slits (don’t attach with glue). Then mark out two points on the joint spine, equidistant from the two ends. Then draw two lines parallel to the two shoulders, through this point. Repeat this for each of the three pairs.

Valentine’s Day card 7 step 4: Write your favourite love quote on each heart. They should remain below the lines you’ve drawn. In the hearts with the slits, they should also remain within the (imaginary) smaller heart whose tail lies along the slit. Like this:

Valentines Day Card 7 step 5: Make eight strips of coloured paper (you can cut these out from other similar post-its). These would serve as the pillars of my Tajmahal.

Valentines Day Card 7 step 6: Make little folds on both the ends of each strip and put glue on them.

Valentines Day Card 7 step 7: Now get to work building your Tajmahal, attaching the floors (the heart-shaped panels) with your pillars. Each heart will have two pillars attached to it, and only in the portion above the shoulder-lines you drew on each of them. This will ensure that the pillar don’t interfere with the quotes. Make sure all the quote-ed sides face the same side in both the sets.

Valentines Day Card 7 step 8: Let me see how dextrous you are with your fingers as you now fit the un-slit hearts into the slit-ed ones. J This is how it will look from the top when your Tajmahal is done. Note how there’s no hint of the quotes when you look at your Tajmahal from the top. More about that later.

Top View:

Bottom View:

Valentines Day Card 7 step 9: Present your sweetheart with your Tajmahal and tell them, “Go on. Blow up the palace of my love.” All your feelings will be tumbling out in the form of your quotes when they blow it up.

Like that? No? Let me know in any case by leaving a comment. :)

Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 6 – My Heart Beats for You

Here’s #6 – the last but one DIY Card in Love in India special series of hand-made Valentine’s Day Cards, which is always the best gift you could ever give your sweetheart.
Like all of my DIY projects, this one shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time.
“My Heart Beats for You”– that’s what your sweetheart will say when they receive this very special gift from you.

Things you’ll need: 

1. Heart-shaped post-its of two different colours. (alternatively, ordinary post-its of two different colours)

2. Scissors.

3. A pencil. 

4. Glue

5. Coloured pens (Optional, for decoration) 

Valentine’s Day card 6 step 1: Take four heart-shaped post-its ( I leave the colour selection to you – they can be of same or different colours, or a combination of sets of two…go nuts ;)). You can also mheart-shaped post-its from ordinary post-its as shown in Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 2.

Valentine’s Day card 6 step 2: Fill them up with your favourite love quotes.

Valentine’s Day card 6 step 3: Make 6 strips of coloured paper from post-its. These will serve as the muscles and arteries which hold your heart together. ;)

Valentine’s Day card 6 step 4: Make little folds on both the ends of each strip and put glue on them.

Valentines Day Card 6 step 5: Now string your heart together, attaching the valves (which are nothing but your love, I mean the heart-shaped post-its with your quotes on them) with the arteries (the strips). You’ll first choose a base heart, and then stick the six strips (here onwards called pillars) in such a way that you can attach three other hearts to it – one on each side – to eventually create a 3D heart.
So here are two pillars stuck on to the two rounded peaks near the head of the base heart. In addition there are two pairs of parallel pillars on each of the sides of the base heart.

Here’s what it looks like:

Valentines Day Card 6 step 6: And then … yes you’ve guessed it right – put glue on the fronts of each of the pillars and stick on a heart on each pair. Like this:

Here’s your final beating heart.

Valentines Day Card 6 step 7: You must be wondering why I have left out the folded ends of the pillar strips. They’re there, so that if you want, you can put glue on them and stick your beating heart on to a greeting card as a decoration. Like this:

Hey! Don’t judge me by the artistic expressions manifested by the greeting card. It’s just a sample. ;)

My Valentine’s Day 3: “I Give You Time Till Valentine’s Day Midnight to Come Back”, Anwesha’s Open Letter

Oh Yes. Valentine’s Day.

I’ll never forget our first.

Here I was at home, getting my morning fix of local news, when this huge bouquet arrived. You should thank your stars that it was me and not my mom who opened the door.

There was no note, no name. I have to admit I felt secretly happy, even though I was already in a relationship with you at the time.

But that was not all – a CD collection of my favourite singer, along with a note arrived around mid-day. It was an invitation to a candle lit dinner, complete with directions.

In the hierarchy of forbidden pleasures, few can match that of a woman in a committed relationship receiving non-boyfriend non-husband attention. I decided to go ahead. ;)

If there’s anything called a trauma of exhilaration, I got a taste of it that day.

I reached the restaurant and there you were! Wearing the shirt I gave you last birthday and my favourite smile, it was my prince, who’d planned an elaborate Valentine’s Day for his princess – complete with all the surprises a girl could ask for and then some!

It’s real that we’re not together anymore, is it? I don’t even know what went wrong. I have tried my best. I know I’m always there and I’ll keep every promise I made you, even if we never see each other again. Whatever you do, please – please be happy.

Maybe…just… remember me sometimes. Maybe when you’re asleep, sometimes dream of what could’ve been, if we’d tried.

I know I can handle the challenges you were afraid of. And if you know me or my love at all, you know that too.

You remember those pretty verses I used to write for you which always made you laugh? Here’s one I wrote last night.

Dono ankhon mein ashq liya karte hain
Hum apni neend mein tera naam kiya karte hain
Jab bhi palkein jhapke tumhari,
Samajh lena hum tumhe dil se yaad kiya karte hain…..

Outgrowing my feelings for you is hard to do it seems. ;)

On this Valentine’s Day I want you to know that I’ll be waiting…till  11:59: 59 PM today. If you ever loved me, show me now. But if you don’t, I’ll understand. I’ll understand that it was my mistake – I was living in a reality of make-believe. That all that happened over the all those months were mere figments of my imagination – even your love. That’ll make it easier for me to close this chapter forever. 

Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 5 – Chains of Love

Here’s #5 in Love in India special series of DIY Valentine’s Day Cards. Their speciality is that while they’re all exquisite (which you’ll get in many DIY sites around the web), they’re also original and most importantly – each take less than 10 minutes to make (which you’ll not get anywhere else ;)). Today’s is called “Chains of Love”. Here’s the final version. 

Things you’ll need: 

1. Heart-shaped post-its of two different colours. (alternatively, ordinary post-its of two different colours)

2. Scissors.

3. A pencil. 

4. Glue

5. Coloured pens (Optional, for decoration) 

Valentine’s Day card 5 step 1: Choose heart shaped post-its of two different colours. Or make heart-shaped post-its from ordinary post-its as shown in Valentine’s Day Card Workshop 2.Take 4 of each. Each set of 4 post-its is used for making one chain link. So we’re choosing 8 post-its for making a basic 2 link chain. If you want to make a longer, more gorgeous chain, you can choose any number of post-its as long as it’s a multiple of four. 

Valentine’s Day card 5 step 2: Make 8 equally sized coloured strips of paper. These would serve as the links in the chains of hearts.

Valentine’s Day card 5 step 3: Put glue on the two ends of each strip and use them to connect two heart-shapes each. You now have the basic units of the two chain links.

Valentine’s Day card 5 step 4: Decorate each chain link with your favourite quote on each post-it.

Valentines Day Card 5 step 5: Complete the first chain link by connecting the first post-it with the 4th, with the help of a connecting strip.

Valentines Day Card 5 step 6: Complete the next chain link through the first. You now have a complete chain of love.

Valentines Day Card 5 step 7: Fold up the entire thing. It will make it look like a clumsy compilation of quotes to the person receiving your gift. I’m sure you can imagine their surprise when they open it up and see your gorgeous chain of love.

Valentines Day Card 5 step 8: Alternatively you can create the two links separately and use them as love bands to be worn around the wrist.

Like that? No? Let me know in any case by leaving a comment. :)

My Valentine’s Day 2: “The Mysterious Event Which Occurred One Valentine’s Day…”

Hi friends. I’m Anuradha Mallick. You wouldn’t have heard of Mogra – the little town about an hour and a half away from Kolkata where I grew up – or my school, Dr. B.C. Roy High School. It’s here that I first heard about Valentine’s Day – or “Vegetable Day” as it was known among the kids back then.

My Valentine's DayPhoto by Anuradha Mallik

To us, it meant gossip. Loads of it.

Who got the maximum number of proposals from boys?

Who accepted?

Who rejected?

Who got the most candy?


Ah the days of childhood.

I had to leave them behind though (don’t we all?), and went on to earn my B. Tech. (still battling its final throes), along with pursuing my dreams of becoming a photographer.

My Valentine's DayPhoto by Anuradha Mallik

I was in my 2nd year when it happened.

It was 14th Feb. I was about to go out for a jog, when I discovered it just by the door.

A box full of chocolates, and a bunch of exquisite red roses. No note. No sign.

No guys, I don’t have a photo of those mysterious objects. The world was not so click-o-manic back then. At least ours wasn’t. But I digress…

Expectedly, it was a shock. I can’t deny that sudden flutter in my stomach and that hot feeling on my cheeks. I strived to tell myself that it may not be for me, but I knew it was. A rush of confused feelings flooded my system. Happiness. Panick. Dizziness. Excitement.

Unfortunately my first surprise Valentine’s Day gifts had to end up in the wild bushes behind our home. Bringing them in would’ve raised eyebrows. And I didn’t want to be asked pointed questions about my non-existent boyfriend.

The next year my anonymous admirer surprised me with his intimate knowledge of my taste of chocolates – I got a bar of Bourneville and one of Crackle that year, which I’d acquired a taste for only shortly before.

Another year my niece discovered my present, went wild with juvenile curiosity and got me into trouble by somehow managing to involve my parents. It was hilarious.

In hindsight.

I still receive my roses and box of chocolates every Valentine’s Day. The sender is still elusive. I’m still searching.

My Valentine's DayPhoto by Anuradha Mallik

Note: Anuradha is one of the first and most ardent fans of Love in India. She’s also one of the few budding photographer friends whose photos I love. Do check out her page Anuradha Mallick photography for a taste of her talents.