A Valentine Special
Cupid Strikes Again
February, the month of romance; a month awaited by those in love and those ‘en route’ to it. Every February 14, around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.
But sadly, flowers, greetings cards, roses, poems was all; for the gorgeous girls. I had been deprived of this pleasure all through the 20 years of my life, so far. I was the spectacled, brown, skinny, sophomore. Almost the most insignificant of the lot.
I may have appeared to be engrossed in my books all through the day. Nobody bothered to peep in my heart; that only saw Raghuveer Singh.
Raghu was the most handsome, extrovert boy of the class. Why alone me? He had the endless list of female admirers. Sania Garewal, the local MLA’s daughter, Nandini Chauhan, hottie of the college, Shreya Trehan the aspiring model all were in awe of the man I couldn’t even call mine.
The only consolation was that the definite oldest and most ardent fan of his was me Priyadarshini Verma. I had known him for fifteen years now. Eversince, his parents shifted in our neighbourhood; I have eaten, drunk and breathed his name. From the silly girlie gaping at his window to sitting behind him feeling the air that enwrapped him; my attraction had only grown stronger by each passing day.
What was worse was that he was the cleverest boy of the class. He didn’t even give me the attention, that I chanced to get from those seeking my notes or help for what I was best at ….Studies. Oh! I stand corrected; I was the second best. While Raghu had maintained his first position right from school to college. I had nothing to offer neither brains nor looks to this larger than life guy, I so was awestruck by.
Well in this humdrum of life and college nobody seemed to have time to what Priyadarshini Verma thought or felt. What’s worse was it was the first of Feb and the darn craziness in the name of Valentines had set in. Some girls were preparing for the red dress they were to wear at the Valentine party.
Urghh Red! And Valentine’s I needed a break! “What is silly thingy of Valentine’s? It’s so bloody irritating, the world seems to come to a standstill.” I blurted, it was ofcourse my grudge against Raghu’s ignorance towards me and what I felt for him all this while.
“Gang warfare ruled the streets of Chicago during the late 1920s, as chief gangster Al Capone sought to consolidate control by eliminating his rivals in the illegal trades of bootlegging, gambling and prostitution. This rash of gang violence reached its bloody climax in a garage on the city's North Side on February 14, 1929, when seven men associated with the Irish gangster George "Bugs" Moran, one of Capone's longtime enemies, were shot to death by several men dressed as policemen. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, as it was known, was never officially linked to Capone, but he was generally considered to have been responsible for the murders.” Informed Nick the new exchange student from Chicago University of the U S.A.Raghu surprisingly gave me an ear, and added.”
As per one of the stories associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day is that this is the day when St. Valentine died in his jail confinement , around the third century. Before his death St. Valentine had wrote a letter to a girl whom he loved very much. He ended up his letter with his last wordings that is "From Your Valentine" along with his signature. After his death considering him a true lover, lover all over the world have adopted this expression as a way of expressing their deep love to their loved ones.
Today, all over the world use these wordings on cards and also on gift cards. This means that you are relating your deep love for your girlfriend or boyfriend for that matter, with the historical love of St. Valentines for his girl. “
Awwwww sighed the idiotic girls. Whether it was the effect of his astonishing good-looks or the husky voice or the so-romantic comment that did the tricks; I must admit my heart fluttered too. I was not the types to be included as one among the many.
“It’s definitely a massacre for me, Nick. It’s just a figment for the good-for-nothings finding an excuse to flirt around,” I said, not a wee bit convinced myself. More a case of “Bandar kya jane adrak ka swad” for me.
While Sania piped in from thin air and continued the argument. “Bullshit, this day has been celebrated for the immortal celebration of Love. It’s day is also considered as the day of love and young couples globally celebrate this day with a great passion by coming up with different ideas to celebrations of the day.”
“This desperado wouldn’t know a word of the “L” of Literature that she’s opted for in college. “L” is all of love for her, where she seems to have a phd for,” I grunted to myself.
A date was fixed between Raghu and Sania and I saw the love of my life, leave with her. It just couldn’t have been worse.
Nick came and sat down beside me. Nick, I mean Nicholas Lellaham had just joined our university as part of the three-month exchange programme that executed between the Chicago and Delhi University.
He seemed to be a loner just like myself. It was the first time, we got chatting. And I for a change saw something beyond books and wasteful letching at Raghu. In course of our conversation, Nick turned out to be quite interesting. I began enjoying his funny talks in his queer accent. He heard everything I had to say very patiently. For a change somebody had made me feel important.
We spent the entire day and a few more. The bonding felt good. Apart from the feel good factor and loneliness that we both wanted to kill; there was definitely something different, something special. I went back home gayer than before.
I heard Raghu’s bike honking at his house-gate several times.
Probably his mom had slept soundly. I saw the time it was 2o’clock. Suprisingly, I was not thinking of him until I realized that it was Sania that kept him busy for so long. My love-interest of fifteen years was lost to Sania Garewal and that surely felt a crunch somewhere deep down. Raghuveer had never noticed me or my feelings for him. Perhaps, he would never notice. My feelings were sure to die and unheard death.
Next day, I woke up late and left for college late, “shucks I have surely missed the wretched bus.” A bike and stopped next to me. It was none other than the hear-throb of my childhood, Mr. Raghuveer Singh. And what comes next? He asks me for a lift to college! The ride I could give up the world for. Just when I was about to take the ride of a life-time I saw the blonde new friend of mine, Nick.
“Nick, what the hell are you doing here?” I cried.
“Oh! You live here Priya?” he was definitely pretending. A guy in Mukherjee Nagar in no way had Defence colony on his route.
“What are you doing here,” I repeated.
“Are you coming or not? I have a class in forty-five minutes,” said Raghu totally irritated, god knows why?
“Since when has Raghuveer Singh the carefree dude, become interested in classes? What’s the plan of action like?” I teased him.
“For your information Madame I had 90% attendance last year, this year it will be nothing less.” He wasn’t lying, apart from the masti, he made it a point to keep the studies intact. A rare combination for a guy of today’s time.
“Well in that case you leave, I’ll come with Nick.” Raghu left without a word. I had missed the chance of a lifetime once again.
Nick and I left towards the stop for the local bus. “Hey! How about taking me for ‘dilli darshan’ sometime?” Nick asked, while I sillyly chuckled at his hindi version in his very American accent.
“Hmmm, so somebody wants to go round the city? Look Nick why don’t you try somebody more interesting, I’m quite a bore. As it is I am an out and out Delhite, born and brought up here; so Dilli Darshan is not new for me,” I clarified. Deep within I was unconfident of giving sole-company to a guy, or anybody for that matter.
“That’s the problem, I don’t know anybody here,” stamped his feet, Nick said in the most innocent tone. No guy on mother earth had given me so much attention. Infact I was a person who knew the taste of neglect way better than most.
“Would you like to come now? Or some other time would be good?” I offered. There were ethics imbibed deep within in me, Atithi devo bhava, remember.
“Now,” Nick said. We were off for ‘dilli darshan’ as Nick put it. We were now off in a cab hired by my dollar paying firangi friend.
We began from the farthest end. Qutub Minar, to Humayun’s tomb, Mughal Gardens to the Redfort and finally the Akshardham Temple. It was Delhi being revisited through the spectacles of a foreign tourist. Nick was enthusiastically learning about the structures and cultural heritage of India. Every now and then he would pipe up with questions of minutest details.
Secretly I would google it up, to shame my country of any wrong information to be carried forward by a foreigner to his native land. Infact, it was too much for my pride. Nick seemed to be convinced. I felt different today. Learning and discovery the rich-heritage of our country, shamefully I had never been so responsible about this in my earlier visits. It was more to take visitors around to kill time. Never once to learn and discover. Infact, I was culprit to littering many a times which I found particularly disturbing this turn.
“Nick I better get going? Mom is sure to be worried,” I finally remembered there were people back at home, who had never seen me late.
“Oh, ok but how about eating something I am hungry as hell,” he said at the nick of time when I was getting off the cab.
“Holy Cow! I am so sorry Nick, I should have realized its evening and you haven’t eaten a thing. Come home I’ll make you something.” And Nick was in B block, house number 24 is the residence of retired army officer Brig. Sanjay Verma, my late granddad.
Moment I entered Ma had a list of queries, she had very conveniently assumed I was with Raghu. It’s not her fault , Raghu was the only friend I had until today.
I introduced half-American and half-Jewish Nicholas Lellaham to my folks. Mom looked at him as the prospective groom for me, she wasn’t at all happy I could read between the lines of her expressions. Dad was congenial, owed to his serviceman background.
Amidst, the grilling poor Nicholas was undergoing. I made him grilled chicken sandwiches and hot cappuccino. He had them happily, also not minding the questions he was bombarded with left, right and centre. After an hour or so, he bade good-bye.
My cousins had a big question mark to our relationship status. “What I barely know him,” I stated before any assumptions began in their devious minds.
The coming few days were uneventful, classes were on in full swing, as the exams were likely to finish well in time, owed to the coming Lok-Sabha elections.
On the 13th Nick asked me to attend the party as his partner. “Off your rockers, I don’t attend parties Nick, please take somebody else.”
“Only if I knew anybody, save you.”
Yes, Nick was new and being received too well by our class-mates who were too engrossed in themselves. “Ok, fine I’ll come,” Nick had managed to get the emotional black-mailing working.
I told mom about the party. She sounded more excited than me. “Mom, you are supposed to be sceptical; your girl is going out for a late not party. Aren’t you paranoid?” On the contrary she was happy that I was just as normal as my peers.
The party helped strike a chord Raghu found love with Sania and I with Nick.
Eversince this cross-cultural pairing of Nick and me survived the test of times. Valentines has found it’s importance in both our hearts. And when I looked for somebody to live with I found somebody I can’t live without. Fifteen years go by and I enjoy the privilege of being Mrs. Nicholas Lellaham for the past twelve years, and together we are proud parents to Zor Lellham. Each day becomes more special than the one that past. Regretting none, living each.
The Peacock Writers
We are a small group of writers who have banded together with one purpose in mind - to collate children's stories & poems to donate to children's charities.
Thanks to our wonderful team led by Paula Shene & Gwen D'Young & our contributing authors, we manage to publish two books each year. No two series are the same as each have their own common theme. Each one is available to but as Kindle edition, plain text or illustrated version.
I truly believe the following books will make a lovely present for children this Christmas:
A Whimsical Holiday
Snowflakes on My Lashes
Crossing The Bar
Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
A Poem of Rabindranath
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail
vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales,
and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in
joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine.
Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
ALICE MUNRO, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER 2013
ALICE MUNRO, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER 2013
Alice Ann Laidlaw
Born : 10 July 1931,ontario,CANADA
A Time To Learn
World has lost its moral compass
It has grown immune to suffering
Rents of Cries mean no more nothing
As Cruel trample all over the Weak;
Live this Life and not just endure it
Winter is more'n a prelude to Summer
We're dealt the same hand out here
How we play makes us a winner;
Let no one steal your smile ever
Let no tear dare wash it ever
No look ever betray your emotions
Stand firm, let all know your mettle;
Good things do happen to bad people
Why Bad things happen to Good People
We all will soon find out for sure
We have to wait it out for the moment;
We are the most cursed generation
We lie awake when we must be sleeping
We talk when we must be silent
We eat when we must be fasting;
Must we die ignorant and helpless
Why not learn from Ducks in waters
they paddle amidst all kinds of dangers
They know it all comes with the territory.
Cruel spark – to ignite me so.
Hidden in her eye, waiting ‘til my need
Would no longer be ignored.
Why me? Why now?
I haven’t love left in me
Such as she deserves.
What trick is this – of flattery or isolation,
That lets me dare what
Shall Not Be
Yet, pictures in my head haven’t faded,
The scent of her body fills me still,
The taste of her lips calls me onward,
How do I say what may be
Better left unsaid?
I’m a fool for even thinking it –
“Leave well enough alone.”
My diet is so rigid
– But –
Potential Tastes So Sweet
Paula Shene (American writer) - Facebook
G.D. Steel (American writer) - Facebook/BookRix
Carol Wills (British writer) - Facebook (n.b. very poorly)
Lenora Rodgers (American writer) - Facebook/BookRix
Janice Abel (American writer) - Facebook/BookRix
Carolyn Tody (American writer) - Facebook