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.
To us, it meant gossip. Loads of it.
Who got the maximum number of proposals from boys?
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.
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.
I still receive my roses and box of chocolates every Valentine’s Day. The sender is still elusive. I’m still searching.
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.