Ahead of Valentine’s day, we look at why couples flock to parks and monuments in search of safe spaces in an oppressive society.

On the next page of this week’s Valentine’s Day special issue, you will find the weekly travel column – by yours truly – on Sunder Nursery. I won’t spoil that piece, but the reason we chose the sprawling park for an issue surrounding the theme of romance was because of its most prominent visitors: couples looking for safe spaces to share moments of love in a country where loving outside of wedlock is taboo.

This dislike of expressing love or affection is particularly curious when you look around at the things that make up desi culture. This is a country that’s known for its infamously romantic films with lines like, “Pyar soch samajh kar nahi kiya jata… bas ho jata hai” (”Love doesn’t happen by plan, it just happens”) and for songs with heart wrenching lyrics like, “Tujh mein rab dikhta hai” (“I see god in you”). Despite these dramatic and cheesy notions of love pervading our entertainment, being in a relationship in India is often no less than a game of high stakes.

For most students in college, inviting their significant other home is a hard proposition as well when living with family. Hotel rooms are often off-limits as well, due to financial constraints (and sometimes moral ones). That rules out almost any form of private safe spaces for young people to share moments of affection. This is exactly why parks and monuments such as Lodhi Gardens, Sunder Nursery, Humayun’s Tomb and more have become safe havens for young couples looking to catch a break from the rest of a deeply conservative country.

It is a socially acceptable convention in most liberal spaces around the world to indulge in public displays of affection that include holding hands, hugging, kissing and more – as a sign of affection. In India though, all of the above are taboo. Innocent acts of affection in the parks that are supposed to be safe havens for the young are still met with looks of disgust and in extreme cases, violent interventions on the behalf of prude strangers.

Online social spaces like Reddit are often full of such firsthand instances by young lovers looking to spend time together but facing harassment by strangers. Worse, there are instances of police officers using this atmosphere of oppression and fear surrounding young lovers to extort the youth for money. In a specific instance posted to the Reddit community r/tamilnadu last year, a police constable and a sub inspector tried to blackmail a couple for a ridiculous 10,000 rupees for a hug and a kiss. The couple later had to approach the collector of the district to apprehend the police officer behind this blackmailing. The officers were found to have been extorting couples for three years before finally being apprehended. The fact that the poster and his significant other had to appeal to government officials in the first place after losing 10,000 rupees is a big mark on the authorities. In addition, the young couple were also terrified of the prospect of having to testify against the police officer in court as this meant publicly disclosing their relationship to their families – another sign of the social stigma surrounding the idea of young people dating.

In the face of instances like these, it is no doubt that even the aforementioned “safe havens” aren’t truly safe. It creates a fear in the youth to even attempt to express any sort of affection – even if it’s simply holding hands with a significant other. This fear is after all exactly what this moral police attempts to create in an effort to control how consenting adults express love and affection between each other. There is no logical reason why sharing a kiss or a hug with someone you love should be more than just a simple gesture to show care. Often, the harassers cite preventing “western influences” as the reason behind their actions. It is interesting how expressing affection consensually is “western” and “bad” while Delhi is known as the “Rape capital” and India ranks as the 9th most dangerous country for women travellers.

Further, the case in Tamil Nadu involved a heterosexual couple. However, these parks are often also a safe haven for members of the LGBTQ community looking to find safe corners in the vast expanses of such parks. The general bigoted atmosphere throughout Indian society means that these quick, stolen moments of love and affection are often even more treasured. However, for members of the community, PDA is generally a much bigger risk due to the possibility of added persecution on the behalf of patriarchal bigots.

Looking out at the landscape of a country blitzing past population records while vehemently discouraging love and affection, one must wonder if in the end this story is not about love or hate but instead about control. This moral policing reeks of conservative, patriarchal ideals that still believe that a woman’s sexuality is to be controlled. It further seems to cling to hetero-normative sexist values where any form of affection is seen as dirty – especially if the consenting adults belong to the queer community. Because of course, being terrified of love and sex is how India became the most populated country in the world. What they do not seem to be able to comprehend is that humans are social animals and seek warmth as they run into each other’s arms. It is a shame that a country that claims to celebrate love is so terrible at providing its citizens the right to love.

This piece was first featured in our print newsletter. Look out for us the next time you’re on campus!

Read Also: DUB Travels: Silent Nights in Sunder Nursery

Siddharth Kumar

[email protected]

This June, remember to hold onto your anger and pain as you set out to celebrate your pride. Pride was, never a celebration alone to begin with. It was and will always, remain a fierce riot.

When I joined DU Beat, I was a lost correspondent with too many opinions on Netflix and zero knowledge about graphics ideation. But one thing I knew for sure was that I wished to write stories rooted in my immediate cultural experiences. Stories about people. Stories about students. Stories about queerness.

I never viewed queerness as something that was associated with a sexual identity but rather as something that served as a deviation from a set norm. Queering of narratives, discourses, readings and even something like non-linear documentation of time always interested me. As a marginal figure in my most immediate circles while growing up, I felt the need to understand and by extension empathise with anything that occupied a position of marginality around us.

Ever since I stepped foot into DU, I realised that there are hardly any places more queer than those afforded by educational spaces – where marginal social identities offset hundreds of students from the larger crowd of normal adherence. And such varsity spaces become intersectional convergence points for glorious bonhomie – and sometimes sites of extreme cruelty. Taking pride in visiblising intersectional identities in university spaces like ours are more often than not the share of a privileged few – their economic and social position allowing them affordances most are denied. The same identity that becomes the pride of a select few – comes at a cost for others. For most people of such social minority identities, making common knowledge of your lower caste identity comes at the cost of having your narrative being baited by upper caste saviours, your gender identity becomes a double edged sword in your path of progress and your sexuality a constant site of speculation and amusement for those around you.

But amidst the pride colours, pride watchlists and other glittery extravaganza is the overlooked loneliness of growing up queer. To survive a childhood of conflict with your truest point of self-identification, knowing that perhaps the biggest truth about you will always be held as a questioned truth by those around you and eventually coming to a city this big and finding yourself lost amidst a sea of unknown faces – each presenting to you hierarchies of power previously unknown to you. You are immediately swept into a whirlwind of heterosexual college romances, and your heart yearns for that singular same-sex romance that you only see in your annual token queer Netflix romantic comedy and before you know it you have set sail on the flood-prone waves of the hookup culture. Eventually your life is a string of making your way from one bed to another, from looking for ‘spots’ and asking for ‘places’.

But every year in June, corporations and allies around you urge you to forget this language of heartbreak and make you drown in their definition of a glitzy celebration of queerness. To all those queer souls lost this Pride month – to you I say, remember Pride began as a protest, a riot to be precise. Take the anger in your heart and hold onto it – for being queer comes at great pain of surviving a staunchly heterosexual society. To all the allies planning your next pride march, make sure to administer a consensual hug to the next queer you meet this month – queerness is a struggle with loneliness and for all your good intent some loneliness of the self that will take this community an entire life to overcome.

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]


This piece talks about the pressures of being with someone, that Valentine’s Day imposes and how to be kind to yourself during this time.

It is ‘that time of the year’ when couples are running to buy gifts, or planning something special to do. Restaurants and cafes, like Diggin, are decorated with cutesy hearts, danglers, polaroid pictures, sweet notes and balloons. Zomato, Swiggy and others will start offering themed one-plus-one discounts for couples. That one couple who has been together for almost a decade will post hashtag couple goals stories.

But it’s incorrect to reduce the idea of Valentine’s Day to just these things. Many of us are single, separated, divorced. Many of us have different choices and identity preferences. The ‘sadness’ attached to not being with someone is what we have been conditioned to feel. Valentine’s Day can often make us nostalgic for our previous relationship and remind us of our breakup. This one day is less dedicated to couples but, is more of a dread to those who are not with someone.

Differing from those who show pity, I will talk about breakups and how to not succumb to the nostalgia. Fluffy red pillows all over malls, almost as if these were red alerts, raising an alarming reaction about how you do not have someone to buy one for you. You do not really want someone to buy this for you, but, the pressure of not having someone.. feels incomplete. Feeling lonely, unloved, low and how you are missing out on something so important- your other half. The rom-coms flooding Netflix, during this time, will only remind you of how ‘everyone’ at this age has someone. Flashbacks of your sweet moments will return at random moments.

Moving on is hard and very often people use one of the two ways to do so. The first is full of unhealthy, temporarily satisfying and regressive ways. This includes calling or hooking up with your ex, sober or drunk. Entering several relationships successively to avoid feeling lonely. Making attempts to get back together with your ex, despite sufficient red flags asking you to walk the other way. The second is rare and slow, but healthy and helpful in the long run. It involves taking some time off to heal, accept, learn and grow. Due to the compulsions of being with
‘someone’, we make the mistake of viewing things with a biased lens.

Firstly, on how everyone in a relationship is necessarily happy. We only focus on what we see, and people only post the best, filtered, and happiest moments. The fights and struggles of being with someone are hidden behind. Secondly, the idea that the only way to feel loved, is to have a romantic partner should be challenged. Many forms of love exist, you’ll find some qualities in a friend, some in your parent or sibling. Thirdly, after someone is gone, there is a void that exists. But now you get to invest that time in things you want to do. Fourthly, you learn many things from the experience of any relationship. You see what your likes and expectations are, you do not depend on external sources of validation, you learn to spot the red flags and, you know what your worth is.

Lastly, you’ll learn to build your own support system. Your priority often centers around the person you’re in a relationship with. This comes at a cost, where you lose out on older connections. This is your chance to reconnect with those. But also, to spend that time with your friends and family.

But if not any of this, make this day about yourself. Maybe you have been working too hard lately, maybe you haven’t taken a holiday in a while, and maybe you have not stopped for a second to look back at your efforts and achievements. If not with someone else, you deserve one good day to yourself feel special. Once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of your intelligence, strength and efforts, and who better to do all these things than you and your loved ones?

In the end, one thing you should know is that it is okay to be single. Spend this day with someone special, just define your own idea of who is special. Reconnect with a school friend, go out with your parents, watch a movie alone, or even make dinner plans with a classmate. As Christina had said to Meredith, “you are the sun” and its time that you redefine aspects of your life according to your own terms. And to those who do, more strength to you.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Shivani Dadhwal
[email protected]

Since childhood, we were brought up with stories and fables of happy ending and, quotes saying,“And they lived happily ever after..,” or wait, hang on, did they?

For years the common narrative of marriages, being the sole purpose of a woman’s life has been fed and sold to us in the form of romance novels, movies, songs, soap-operas, etc. She must abide by it, even if things go extremely south, since it’s her duty to serve (courtesy: patriarchy of course!)

As per India Today, unsurprisingly, India has the lowest divorce rate, which go as low as being less than one percent, this in a country which has the highest domestic violence and depression rate. In India, one out of every three married women, face domestic abuse, and, yet we have so many happy successful marriages.

Are people really happy or have they forced themselves in wrong relationships just because of the stigma that comes attached with a divorce?

One such example is of Ross Geller from Friends, Ross Geller received  much flak for going through three divorces in the sitcom. Now, imagine, a Rosselin going through three divorces or a Roopa or a Rubiqa. Society seems to develop a very cold exterior when it comes to judging females with history of failed relationships. In this situation, either of the two things happen: Regressive society makes it tough for you to quit marriage, therefore, you find yourself in a spiral of silence or worse, you, yourself endorse the normalcy in a toxic relationship. So how does this normalcy get propagated? It’s a complex work of the culture that is structured around it.The structure includes, triggering Indian soap operas, which apart from popularising superstition also endorse patriarchy on their lavish sets of never ending television series. Just in case, if you think, it’s primitive thinking and the novel millennial mindset which detests Indian soap operas and, the western culture, is way beyond it, then again you might want to reconsider. Calling it quitsis not only stigmatised for marriages but similar patterns are observed in millennial dating as well.

Notion of women being a therapy centre for poorly raised men is very much part of a popular culture even today. After book series, (later turned into a movie) authored by Anna Todd gained handsome popularity because it sold good, chast, pious girl Tessa Young and bad boy Hardin Scott. In yet another famous book It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, readers were left agitated when the protagonist left her abusive husband Ryan for the good guy Atlas. Most readers shipped the toxic relationship that protagonist had with her husband, over the good one.

Prachi Khare, Journalism student, Kamala Nehru College, who is fanatic about American TV drama Grey’s Anatomy, when asked as to why she shipped the toxic relationship of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd said,”It’s so engaging to watch the vulnerability of characters trying to sustain their relationships.” She further added, “I understand it’s fictional but I find myself like an idiot correlating it with my own life.”

The dangers of such content is that it subconsciously reinforces the wrong relationships, thereby, making adults be in wrong relationships albeit the fact that generational timeline has progressed. Hate to play the devil’s advocate, but the media is based on the preference of people’s taste and, a reflection of the society. Perhaps, we can be more progressive about our choices for structuring an environment which permeates healthy relationships, and is accepting towards the ones, which have failed.

 Feature Image Credits: thedelhiwalla

Umaima Khanam

[email protected]

Dear Amma,

In my 19 years of life, I haven’t really had sexual feelings for anyone. I don’t even feel like being particularly romantic with anyone. Does this make me incapable of love?


Dear Macchi

First of all, what you’re feeling right now is perfectly normal and it definitely does not make you incapable of love. It isn’t necessary for you to be sexually or even romantically attracted towards anyone. I hope you’re acquainted with the concept of “Asexuality”. It is a sexual orientation which basically signifies a lack of sexual attraction towards others. Within this asexuality spectrum fall the “aromantics” or “aros”. An aro refers to any individual who experiences little or no romantic attraction.

Now that I have familiarised you to these sexual identities, let us come back to your problem. Not being able to feel sexually or romantically for another individual doesn’t mean you cannot love them at all. We all feel platonic and familial love for those who really matter to us, be it our friends or our family.

I understand, my little idli, that when you look around at people falling in love, it might appear all beautiful and delightful. You may feel afraid or worried that you may never experience that happiness and might just feel a little left out. But I want you to understand that romantic love isn’t everything. It is often considered that romantic love is a level following platonic love. But, I believe they’re just two different kinds of love that are equally powerful in their respective spectrums.

So instead of viewing romance as something better than platonic love, try perceiving the two as equal. Try channeling your energy, that one would put into a romantic relationship, towards your platonic relationships. Embrace your friendships, dear chutney, and love your friends with the power they deserve. Because at the end of the day, love is love, be it someone you have sex with or someone who had sex and came to you first to talk about it.

I will leave you with my final suggestion. Try to not box yourself under any one identity. Feel free to explore and do not shy away from new experiences. After all, life is short and love is for everyone!

Sex Amma

[email protected] 

It’s been 12 years since one of Bollywood’s biggest Rom-com took over our hearts with a beautiful chemistry after Jab we met was released in 2007

Imtiaz Ali has always managed to portray extraordinary stories about love, life and friendships that always have a heartfelt impact on us walking out of the theatre. Jab we met is one of those few Bollywood movies which had a Hollywood remake. A Hollywood movie called “leap year” was inspired by the Bollywood classic and also won several hearts. This story about two completely different people and their journey of finding love in each other in extreme circumstances sounds cliche but in this movie, there’s a lot of craziness and laughter with moments of self-realisation and tears.

Geet, a charming bubbly girl who has unrealistic dreams and doesn’t think much, makes stupid decisions and then endure them like they weren’t the consequences of her own actions, a character we can all relate to. She lives her life unapologetically and doesn’t seek anyone’s validation no matter what the outcome. When she comes across Aditya, a serious guy who always had everything planned out for him and had real pride in his thoughtful way of living. You’d think for a man who reckons so thoroughly about everything and is a lot more serious in life wouldn’t face any sort of setbacks and awful times. That’s when the movie teaches you that you could choose to live either way but life would surprise you in every aspect and you would have to face terrible times no matter what. There’s no winner or loser here. 

This movie has also taught us that no matter how hard you hit the rock bottom, tough times don’t last forever and things work out eventually. This might sound like a utopian thought but it’s just all about perspective. The movie took the common problems of the audience and gave a viewpoint for the way out. The hardships of heartbreak, rejection, being cheated on, issues with family, and career problems. How many times have we seen a future with someone and planned everything with that person and witnessed it turning out a lesson for life? It’s true that things don’t work out the way we always want them to. And it’s fine because there’s always a better side to it. It doesn’t always have to be with the person you’ve had a history with. Jab we met made me realise that it’s not about your first love, but the love of your life.

One’s never too grown-up or proud to try the most childish ways to get over things if it makes them feel better. If it makes you feel better to flush down a picture of a toxic ex, DO IT. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing in your life, it’s never too late to start over, go with it and turn things around. And you don’t always have to hate the people who are not in your life anymore, you can always learn from them and thank them and ace in life. 

Let’s not ignore the unrealistic romantic standards the movie has set for us. If the movie was a happy ending for Aditya and Geet, it was a disastrous end for Anshuman. But let’s face it, we have all been at both ends and after seeing the movie, I definitely do not want to be at the third end where I miss my train at Ratlam station and get lectured about how “Akeli ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai“.

Twelve years and no other story beats that combination of love, laughter and tears. Thank you for all the life lessons better than any Tedtalk.

Feature Image Credits: IMDB

Avni Dhawan

[email protected]

Being in love at many times leads to a big hole in your pocket. Eating at lavish restaurants and going for fancy dinner dates can only be done at the starting of the month when you’ve just got the pocket money, since by the end of the month we all tend to be broke. But ‘no money’ doesn’t mean ‘no date’. So to solve your problem, we’ve got a list of romantic and budget-friendly places to visit, and things to do with your sweetheart in north campus.

College memories stay with us for life, and so do the memories of college dates. A perfect date, however, doesn’t strictly mean candlelit dinner at a 5-star restaurant. A perfect date is anything that gives you such memories as you will cherish for life. After all, 20 years down the line you will not remember which restaurant you went to, but you will remember if you did anything special with your beloved. You will remember all your crazy dates. So spend your hard earned money on the most attractive luxuries later in life. And for now, enjoy the smaller joys of life with your partner.

Here is a  list that offers you a variety of options, which you can consider for a memorable and romantic date.

  1.    Crazy E-rickshaw experience

North campus and E-rickshaws go hand in hand. But have you ever thought that E- rickshaw rides can be romantic as well? Take an E-rickshaw to any place and be your weird selves on the ride. Or sit at the back of the motor rickshaw, crack jokes, laugh together, and hold on to each other’s hands tightly when you get scared of the vehicles coming in your direction.

  1.    Sudama ki Chai

North campus has various places to visit — from Kamla Nagar to Hudson Lane to Majnu ka Tila. One such place amongst these is Sudama Tea Stall located on the road between Kirorimal and Ramjas college. This place is perfect if you are on a stroll with your better-half and want to stop for some chai. Sudamaji has been serving tea for the last 24 years, and it remains open till midnight because it is visited by an enormous number of people. It is the best and the cheapest place for a nice session of chatting and laughing over steaming cups of tea.

  1.    A Romantic Bicycle Ride

Bicycle rides can never be boring. When you have nothing to do on a pleasant evening, then take your partner on a bicycle ride. You can lend bicycles from Vishwavidyalaya metro station at Rs 10 per hour, and go to Kamla Nagar for food-stall hopping; enjoying each other’s company and some good food. Visit random lanes, have ice-creams from the street vendors, and remember to enjoy yourselves.

  1.    A walk around the campus

The campus has a lot to offer and the best thing that two people can do is go on a walk hand in hand through the campus exploring different places like arts faculty, science faculty and the road near Kamla Nehru Ridge. You can go college hopping and click selfies in front of the colleges, exploring the various regions in the campus.

  1.    A Lazy Evening at the Ridge

If you and your partner are history geeks or heritage lovers – and are not afraid of monkeys – then going to the Ridge is a good idea. Exploring history together and getting cosy in the desolate place can be a fun experience. Also go there only if you are not afraid of the haunted stories that revolve around the khooni jheel. This date might turn out to be the most adventurous one!

  1.    What is better than college canteens?

Being a north campus student gives you the best experience of the campus life because of the proximity of all the colleges. Another perfect idea for a romantic, yet simple date is to go and visit the canteens of all the colleges and try some special dishes everywhere. You might remember what you ate where, and laugh about how you convinced the security guards to let you in, a few years down the line.

Suggestion: Do not miss out on D-School’s canteen.

  1.   A Walk through VC Lawns

The Vice Chancellor’s garden in North Campus is a great place to spend your evenings. Long walks in pretty lawns are always a perfect idea for two people who are in love, as this gives you some quality time with each other, away from the hustle-bustle of your lives. So the next time when you both feel that you do not have anything to do, then buy some snacks for yourself from the vendors there, and go for a walk hand in hand; striking some romantic conversations.

  1.    Shopping at Kamla Nagar

We all shop at high-end malls as a habit. To make your shopping experiences more memorable, take your date for shopping in the streets of Kamla Nagar market and enjoy bargaining with the shopkeepers there, who are easily annoyed and annoying, but always entertaining.


The campus also has a range of restaurants and pretty cafes that one can always go to. But the lunch dates at expensive cafes are never going to be like the conversations you strike while strolling through VC lawns. So go and create some crazy memories with your sweetheart that you will cherish for life.


Feature Image Credits: Tripoto


Priya Chauhan

[email protected]

Maintaining a budget is a hassle and we find ourselves frequently out of money. Also, all of us have friends to whom we constantly lend money which does not find its way back. So if you are in a relationship in such a scenario, you are possibly doomed. Unless, you know about these few places where you can go on a date, enjoy, and not be tensed about your bill.

1) Triveni Terrace Cafe
Situated near Mandi House, this place is truly beautiful. It is also really cheap and you will find yourself having a hearty meal without stressing about the bill. It is quiet, serene, and an ideal place to have your date. Since it is situated inside Triveni Kala Sangam, you will always find some mesmerizing art exhibition going on which might help you start a conversation and bury the awkwardness aside.

2) AMA Cafe
AMA Cafe at Majnu Ka Tila is the go-to place for all University of Delhi students. Known for its lip-smacking desserts, this might be the best place for an ideal date. You also need to have just around four hundred rupees to truly enjoy this place. I would recommend the tiramisu, banoffee pie, and the cheesecake.

3) Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge
This is on our list because the best conversation happens over a cup of tea. Besides, the idea of going on a coffee-date is so clichéd. If your date turns out to be a tea-lover, you might score extra points for picking out this place

4) Indian Coffee Home
Indian Coffee Home at Connaught Place is the best place to go on a date if you don’t have any money at all. This is the best thing about the place that it is really cheap. In mere two hundred rupees, you might be able to have a full meal to your heart’s content. I would recommend sitting outside near the trees to have an ideal setting for your date.

5) Big Yellow Door
The ambiance is cosy, comfortable, and the food is delicious. This might be the reason why this place is recommended by all college students. The Italian dishes served here are totally worth drooling for.
Image Credits: Sweet Love and Ginger

Anukriti Mishra
[email protected]