Valentine’s Day


The day of love and romance can feel a little sad when you recently broke it off with your significant other. However hurtful that might be, this piece will remind you how fun it is not to have to share your favorite box of chocolates with anybody. 

If you’re flying solo this Valentine’s Day, without a partner in crime to share those heart-shaped chocolates with, fear not. While Cupid may have missed the mark this year, there’s still plenty of love to go around and the most important kind has always been self-love.

First let’s talk about the breakup. Yes, it stings like a bee, but don’t forget that you’re free as a bird now! So, kicking off this Valentine’s Day right would involve some serious self-care vibes. Treat yourself to a spa day, binge-watch your favorite guilty pleasure TV show, or go wild with a pizza night. Because why should couples have all the fun, right?

Instead of drowning your sorrows in a tub of ice cream (although, let’s be real, that does sound tempting), why not turn Valentine’s Day into a celebration of all things fabulous? Start by pampering yourself with an amazing outfit – who says you can’t dress to impress, just for yourself? Throw on your favorite clothes, strut your stuff, and show the world that you don’t need a date to slay.

If you find yourself craving a change of scenery, consider treating yourself to a solo adventure or a weekend getaway. Take a road trip to a vacation spot you’ve never explored, or hop on a train to a busy city. Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need to lift your spirits.

Channeling your inner artist and finding a creative outlet is also a part of the “best solo date ideas list”. Sign up for a painting class, try your hand at pottery, or dust off that old guitar and teach yourself some tunes. Getting lost in a creative pursuit can be incredibly therapeutic and empowering, allowing you to express yourself in new and unexpected ways. Plus, you’ll have a tangible reminder of your patience and resilience, long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone.

Feeling a little lonely? Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spread love in unexpected ways. Send a cheesy Valentine’s Day card to your bestie, surprise your mom with a bouquet of flowers, or treat yourself to a fancy dinner for one. After all, who needs a significant other when you’ve got an army of loved ones cheering you on?

And let’s not forget the most important part of surviving Valentine’s Day as a brand new singleton: laughter. Embrace the absurdity of the holiday by throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day bash for all your single friends. Deck out your house in black and red, serve up heart-shaped pizzas, and crank up your favorite tunes. Who needs romance when you’ve got good food, good friends, and a killer playlist?

So, here it is, your ultimate guide to surviving Valentine’s Day like a pro. Whether you’re happily single, recently uncoupled, or just looking for an excuse to party, remember this: love comes in many forms, and it’s all worth celebrating. Celebrate yourself, your friendships and the infinite possibilities that lie ahead in life. 

Read Also: Valentine’s Day Special: Top 5 Romantic Movies to binge on

Featured image credits: freepik

Lakshita Arora
[email protected]

Similar to what you must’ve studied about sound grade 8 physics; love too, doesn’t exist in a vacuum, especially not in India. It unfolds against a backdrop of societal expectations, parental pressures, and the relentless pursuit of individual dreams.

“Hai tujhe bhi ijaazat, kar le tu bhi mohabbat”, says the lyrics of a Hindi song from “Life in a… Metro”; this 2000s melody isn’t just an underrated gem but also a poetic attempt to encapsulate the silent yearning of hearts, entangled in the web of duty and desires.

Love in India is never a solitary endeavor but rather a communal affair, subject to the collective scrutiny and judgment of society at large. The interference in your love life can take various forms, ranging from subtle manipulation and coercion to overt control and restriction. With the Uttarakhand assembly passing the Uniform Civil Code Bill, it’s not very difficult to understand what we’re referring to. While on one hand, the Dhami government can now punish couples living together outside of marriage without official registration, it has also robbed couples of freedom and the choice to move in together as they explore their connection before marriage. 

Though such checks can be seen as a necessary evil by some, as revealed in one of our conversations; Shanmay Bokde, a student from IIT Delhi, appreciates the move and said, 

A well maintained record and data might help minimize crimes by reducing chances of deception. These regulations aren’t really restrictions, for they will help ‘legalize’ and subsequently destigmatize ‘live-in’ relationships in a society like ours where it is looked upon as a ‘prohibited practice’ of some sort.

A conversation with a final-year student from Ramjas College, offered another perspective as she contemplated over the implications that the law is likely to have. She remarked,

I think it is too early to say anything as of now. But I am sure personal freedom and privacy will go for a toss, considering how the state is interfering with individual autonomy by documenting everything.

From laws governing inter-faith marriages; that decide (or to say, give a well-framed guideline to explain) who can love whom and under what circumstances, to moral policing in public spaces on grounds of upholding traditional values and societal norms, the state wields considerable power in shaping the landscape of love in India. 

If this wasn’t enough, there’s also an annual spectacle of thrashing of couples on Valentine’s Day by Hindu right-wing groups. Under the guise of protecting cultural heritage and religious traditions, these groups seek to impose their worldview on others, resorting to violence and intimidation to enforce their vision of societal norms. While I am anxious about what this Valentine’s Day will make us witness, if you travel about 365 days back into the past, you will remember how in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, the members of the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal made couples tie rakhi to each other on 14  February; their only offense being – sitting in a park with people from opposite genders; without being neither spouses nor siblings, so for obvious reasons the only way left with Bajrang Dal members was to ask the women to tie rakhi to her “brother”.

Couples being subjected to harassment, and violence at the hands of right-wing groups is not new. This intolerance and intimidation took the form of coercion and control, when in 2019, in Hyderabad, a couple was forcibly married off by such activists in a public park, perpetuating fear and insecurity among couples in the name of “protection of cultural values”.

Mr. Brijesh Mohan Sharma, a working professional, shared that while couples should maintain some dignity while engaging in public displays of affection, this doesn’t give these extremist ideologies groups a ticket to moral policing. 

In a country where even platonic relationships with the opposite gender are viewed with suspicion and moral judgment, making romantic relations acceptable will require a lot of unlearning.

Khushi Garg, a student from Daulat Ram College shared her brief interaction with a middle aged relative, who upon realising that she studies in an all-girls college happily remarked, “Are waah! Yeh toh bohot achhi baat hai gudiya” and frowned upon “aaj-kal ke bachhe” having close friendships with individuals of different sexes.

In this kind of a complex tapestry of Indian society, the perceived dichotomy between love and career also becomes a significant hurdle in relationships. 

Vidhi Kanojia, a sophomore from Lady Shri Ram College For Women, shared the importance of prioritizing one’s career over the pursuit of “true love”. 

There’s no point in having a successful relationship when you’re struggling financially. Especially as a woman, one must ensure they have a settled career before looking out for love, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy love in its true essence. Kal kya khaana hain, how to sustain tomorrow, will be hovering over your brain today.

This challenge is multifaceted, influencing parental concerns and subsequently individuals’ expectations from one self, and the dynamics of modern relationships. The prospect of love is often overshadowed by the fear of disappointing their parents, leading many to suppress their desires and aspirations in the name of duty.

Bina Sah, a student from LSR, revealed,

 The age bracket between twenty to thirty is thought of as a delicate period where we children are in pursuit of our ambitions towards a successful career, coupled with the desire to have healthy relations, strong friendships and according to our parents indulging in anything other than ‘padhaai’ will lead to a compromise in a ‘secure future’.

Shedding light on the gendered perspective Bina shared, 

Especially for daughters, the pressure to uphold family honor and tradition weighs even heavy, because while the son being in a relationship might not be as big of a deal for the family but if the daughter engages in romantic pursuits, it is looked upon as a ‘crime’.

Amidst this chaos and conflict in values, desires and personal aspirations, it won’t be wrong to say that it is a privilege to love. 

Bina further shared, 

And to top this all, the age-old obsession of parents with religion and caste, and for all these reasons I have made my mind not to fall for someone to avoid trouble in my family.

Love in a country like ours, plagued by discord and division, is nothing less of a journey that requires courage, compassion, as the “samaj” tests your resilience, patience, and commitment.

So, while I don’t know what might have been the case with the protagonists of  the movie Shree 420 that made Manna Dey sing, “Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua, pyaar se phir kyu darta hain dil”, but these surely are one amongst the key issues with which today’s youth is confronted by, making them fear love. 

Kavya Vashisht
[email protected]

After the controversy following the “V-Day Puja”, Women and Gender cells from across the University have risen to support the struggle of students at Hindu College against the sexist tradition, by observing a protest at the College on 17th February 2020.

 On 17th February 2020, Hindu College observed a demonstration against the College’s annual ‘V-Day Puja’ , annually celebrated on the Valentine’s Day, and the unsuccessful executional ban over this year’s annual puja. Despite previous negotiations amongst the Student body and the Administration, deciding an unanimous ban over the event for this year, it was still observed by the Boys’ Hostel Union on 14th February 2020.

Students claim that ABVP’s  men were allegedly involved amongst the mob that ignored the administration’s denial of permission and continued to observe the tradition.  A demonstration was therefore observed against the incident at 1 pm outside the college. However, ABVP has denied all claims of involvement, and have called the rumours of their involvement as criminal defamation.

Ankitaa Biswas, President, ABVP Hindu College told DU Beat, “ABVP-Hindu College was not involved in any act of hooliganism that happened on 14 February,2020 during the V-tree function within the college premises. Neither ABVP, nor any ABVP activist partook in the impugned act of campus commotion. All allegations pertinent to ABVP’s involvement in a bevy of mischievous acts ranging from provocative poster-making to incendiary sloganeering are unsubstantiated and appear contrived to sully the organization’s good name and reputation. Such unfounded assertions constitute criminal defamation.”

She further added, “According to several eyewitnesses, the sequence of events on that fateful day stands in stark contrast to the ridiculous claims being made by ABVP’s ideological adversaries. Saboteurs belonging to SFI, AISA and Pinjratod trespassed into the Hindu College, misbehaved with the students, and made extensive efforts to vitiate the atmosphere of peace and harmony on the campus.”

The Administration of Hindu College has been in question regarding the ‘V-Day Puja’ for years, with people claiming the tradition to be discriminatory, patriarchal, Brahmanical, and a blatant display of toxic masculinity and sidebars for female dignity. After the condemnation of the tradition gaining momentum, the students were denied permission by the Administration to observe the Puja. Yet the puja was still observed on 14thFebruary, with no retaliation from the administration and allegations of ABVP hooligans’ involvement in the mob that disregarded the official orders.

“The misogynistic acts besides V-Tree and violence on women and protestors on Valentine’s Day inside the College premises. We condemn such misogynistic and violent acts, stand in solidarity with the victims and demand immediate disciplinary actions against the harassers and who violated the decision which was declared the Principal in the Students-Admin meeting. The incident that happened at Gargi College shook us all and compelled us to think are University Spaces really safe for women? Are University Spaces really inclusive? This sorts of mobs that often enter College and University spaces to wreak havoc that we also noticed in JNU. All of us have to fight against the mob constitutionally and peacefully,” All India Queer Association (AIQA) stated.

Various Women and Gender Cells from across the University have risen up to provide support and stand in solidarity with the women students of Hindu College, namely the Women Development Cell of Miranda House, Lady Sri Ram College, Sri Venkateswara College, as well as Gender Forum of Ramjas College, The Gender Studies Cell of St. Stephen’s College, IP Student’s Collective, and the Delhi School of Journalism.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Shreya Juyal

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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
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This Valentine’s Day, let’s take out a page from University’s history. The chapter is regarding Hindu College’s (in)famous Virgin Tree (V-tree).

For those who are untouched with the lore of the V-tree, it’s is a tree present near the Hindu College library which  has been the site of a hostel ceremony observed every Valentine’s Day. A pundit from the hostel is appointed to do a puja around the tree which has condoms hanging from it and the poster of a Bollywood diva as Damdami Mai (any female celebrity in trend, hypersexualised for this purpose).

With the women’s hostel set up in recent years, a Love-Guru is also chosen to be worshipped by the women students. Yes, this is surely problematic but over the years, many saw this as just a casual joke in their ‘sex-driven college days’. The critics of the practice found their voices lost in oblivion. But since the past few years (especially last year), there was a whole clamour of voices echoing all across Hindu College.

Last year, the Women’s Development Cell of the College tried to reach an agreement with the Boys’ Hostel, who seemed to be pretty adamant on their stance of preserving the ‘College tradition’. But later on, the situation seemed to be manipulated, twisted, and turned a lot by the students and media alike, as the organisation Pinjratod too got involved, crossing the College’s gates on the eve of 14th February. This seemed to have hurt the ego of a majority of boys from the hostel, and they decided to conduct the V-Day puja with more pomp and fervour now. A few critics and Pinjratod members tried to raise slogans around the tree but to no avail.

Delving on last year’s incidents anymore would deserve a report of its own, and you can brush up your history with the Virgin Tree in DU Beat’s website itself. Now coming back to the present day, the situation seems to be quite perplexing. Ground reports suggest that a conscious voice among the students who stand against the V-tree ceremony has increased. At the same time, the ‘tradition preservers’ are still adamant.

On the 7th of February, talks tried to take place at the College’s New Academic Block but the adamant ones didn’t even agree to sit down at the discussion. Most of them stood tall and shushed the critics, justifying that they just want this puja to happen for the sake of the College’s culture and are not misogynistic, unlike the ceremony which they so vehemently support.

The main points of critique around this V-day ceremony are that it adds to the narrow view of looking at a ‘desirable’ male or female. So, a person is desirable, only if he/she looks like a Hrithik Roshan or a Disha Patani? In their defence, the hostel feels that this ceremony should be taken as a fun activity and they tried to accommodate other sexualities too (through a tokenistic rainbow-coloured heart featured in a poster hanging from the tree last year). The very fact that a pundit is appointed and a Hindu-style puja takes place, bothers some. Hindu College has ‘Hindu’ in its name but is a secular space, with no benefits given to any one religion.

What will happen now on the 14th, that, only time will tell but there’s still some hope brewing among Hinduites. A source from the Girls’ Hostel told us that they are planning to run a campaign wherein, the critics can try and
simplify the entire matter and actually explain to people what is the V-tree and why they are opposing it. There
are also hushed-down talks happening for a possible alternative ceremony around the tree that would not offend any religion, caste, or gender.

An all-night protest on the event (not by Pinjratod) is also likely on the eve of Valentine’s. Whatever be the case, it’s evident that on Valentine’s Day, love might be in the air but with revolution…

Shaurya Singh Thapa
[email protected] 

In the age of instant gratification, longterm commitments can sometimes seem burdensome. Presenting to you, an insight into the weird contrast of being ‘friends with benefits’.

Friends with Benefits, in simple terms, is being friends with the added benefit of a sexual relationship, sans the feelings. In theory, it seems like the perfect idea: you are sleeping with someone you trust and like enough, who has mutual respect for you, but there’s never the added baggage of emotions and commitment. However, contrary to the simplicity it promises, it is a relationship that requires utmost care while being dealt with. Friends with Benefits (FwB) is an interesting dynamic, for it falls between romantic attraction and sexual attraction. There are people you could be romantically compatible with, and there are people you could be sexually compatible with; while there are people who you might have the hots for, they don’t need to be the same people you visualize a happily ever after with. In those cases, if you and they are interested in being around each other sexually, having a chilled out (but a well discussed and thought out) friends with benefits relationship can do wonders.

Like all healthy relationships, the key to a healthy FwB relationship is understanding and communication. For a friends with benefits arrangement to work, you have to know each other and understand what feelings the emotional and sexual dynamic evokes in you. It is also important to communicate about what each person expects and where each is, as the relationship evolves. A third-year student, shared, “Given the difference between sexual and romantic attraction, along with the fact that some people are better as friends, I think a friends with benefits arrangement is ideal. Labeling relationships always leads to unnecessary expectations, which friendship is free from. I find that it is quite liberating in that way. The only thing that one should always keep in mind is that it stays consensual and that there is complete clarity on the terms of the agreement”. But, before getting into one, it is very important to check if you’re both on the same page: that you’re neither looking to commit to the person nor do you want them to commit to you. This helps to avoid misread signals and hurt down the line. It is also important to both remember and remind that this relationship would not develop into anything more intimate.

The romanticisation of friends with benefits in popular culture does not help either. While all FwB might begin with communication and understanding of the equation between the two partners, it is also very likely that one of them might develop feelings down the road. Stringing along the other person, and being the one strung along, are both unhealthy mentally and emotionally. And among all of it is the greatest fear of them all: losing your friendship over this new dynamic.

“FwB is all fun and games until one of them catches feelings and if you’re anywhere like me, you are doomed. I have had my fair share of encounters but a sense of companionship and the possibility of something more always loomed largely. To each its own, but I have gone from liking to majorly disliking friends with benefits solely because I have zero control over myself,” said Anandi, a first-year student. While a friends with benefits relationship is not the most convenient dynamic to initiate, apt precautions on both the partners sides with a truck full of communication and understanding can sustain the relationship. Regardless of the relationship dynamics, being sexually involved with someone is a churning pot of emotions: emotions build, as does trust, intimacy, connection, and familiarity. If there is room to work through challenges to maintain the friendship, even at the expense of the benefits, then you are in a successful FwB relationship.

Feature Image Credits:

Satviki Sanjay

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If you are single and you know it, during that time of the year, clap your hands! You might as well want to give yourself a shout-out for refraining from commitment because no one else is going to.

Before you sulk and pride simultaneously over your relationship status, you would want to give a pat on your back for courageously having been through that one- most- cringe-worthy week of February. That one entire week which has a series of unproductive days, simply there, to give build-up, momentum and amplified expenses to Valentine’s Day. Your patience needs to be applauded, your endurance deserves a reward. But before you put Halsey on repeat here is an itinerary for you to consider:

1) Sleep through the day.

Your mattress always had your back and you can’t be treacherous to her, fall back and take that extra nap, not that it isn’t something you don’t do, on just about any other day as well, but the more you sleep the less you have to socialize. That’s an inverse relation you always ship!


2) Take a stroll of your room and while you are at it, please CLEAN IT.

You don’t have space, not only in your heart but also on that sofa and that chair and that bed and roundabout any other thing which can hold onto stuff. Clean and organize. You might discover things which will surprise you. Imagine surprising your own self, that’s some sport.


3) Feed yourself

Pamper yourself, don’t let hate and negativity bloom. Most of you do not acknowledge being single as that big of a deal on the surface, but deep down crave significant other. Count yourself lucky that you saved yourself from going broke from buying someone else’s gifts, instead spend your bucks on yourself and try not to go broke. It’s not cool. 


4) Netflix and chill for one

Your former partner may not be with you now but their Netflix password might be, so exploit that. If and when their memories start to flash by, let it. Don’t cumulate gloom inside rather release it through music, books, movies, whatever feels like it. (Movie recommendations: Queen, How to be single, Begin Again, Gone Girl, etc.)


5)Have a dose of self-affirmation

Now this will include you googling celebrities who are still single so that you feel good about yourself and imagine being in their squad. While you are it you may discover that there’s a Chinese Valentine’s Day which comes later in August so you have bought yourself some time to feel good about yourself, and then crawl back in the quilt to put Halsey on repeat, because you have the privilege.


Here’s a word of caution: You may or may not follow this, but just remember to shield yourself from excessive PDA and watch chick flicks at your own risk!

Let no one make you feel lame about yourself which is inclusive of your own conscience. Self-love is not secondary and definitely not a backup. You don’t have to fall back to it just because you can’t find it through other people. It should be a priority not just any form of ego defence mechanism.

Feature Image Credits: Pinterest

Umaima Khanam

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A gentle reminder that every import from the west carries with it complex implications for a society as diverse and traditional as ours.

Among other things, Delhi University (DU) students very often boast about the kind of diversity their respective colleges enjoy. In every section of every course, there will be those who attend classes and those who don’t. Keeping the simplistic distinction aside, a safe assumption would be that all of us have known people across religions, states, and economic and social classes. Hence, Valentine’s Day too is a messy affair in this diversity of possibilities and options.

In the Indian context, the warring ideas emerge as that of hyper-capitalism and traditionalism which ultimately result in a rather interesting scenario. The whole week leading up to the 14th of February becomes larger than life, as we’re bombarded with manufactured images and products that define love in the 21st century. The capitalists controlling us carefully create customised needs and, through the course of the week, manipulate us into believing that we needed those things in the first place. Friends who are in relationships are aware of this manipulation and yet feel compelled to take part in it.

Capitalism scheming functions in such efficient ways that the expenditure is almost always considered directly proportional to the amount of love. To extend this scheme of manipulation beyond their target market, marketers are now also dictating how single people should spend this day. Quotes expressing the importance of self-love are splashed across hoardings leading you to believe that your consumption will instantly solve all of your problems and you will live “singly-ever-after”.

This complete rejection of Valentine’s Day, owing to its hyper commercialization, is increasingly becoming a dominant perspective. As students are becoming increasingly aware of the pressures influencing their consumption habits, they are becoming more immune to its effect.  How many actually make the effort to exist outside of this system is unknown, but the realisation of the fact that it’s happening is growing. While this understanding is necessary in the long run, it also springs from a very specific group of people. For this group, the idea of Valentine’s Day itself is very ordinary. It’s in a way suggestive of their privilege, which allows them to go beyond the idea of V-day and focus more on a larger global trend.

However, this idea of freely expressing love is extraordinary and even exciting for some. When you look beyond Delhi and into smaller towns, more specifically smaller towns with saffron skies, Valentine’s Day becomes much more significant. These are places where young people are regularly morally policed and not given spaces to freely interact and behave like young people with will and desires. In suffocated environments like these, you can see why Valentine’s Day would stand out as special. It’s almost an invitation for rebellion. Despite their circumstances, to keep the spirit of the day alive, young people venture out to spend their time in public spaces. Claiming to save our country from western influences and adding communal flavor in the form of Love Jihad, extremist groups inflict violence year-after-year on these youngsters.

The real story of the commercialisation of this day can be traced back to the time when it reached the same small towns. Year-after-year, more coffee houses and shopping complexes were being decorated with heart-shaped balloons. The extremists couldn’t multiply faster than the capitalists and, in the end, they were outnumbered. There were too many balloons to burst and the religion of profit-making became more lucrative than the rage of vigilantism. This is not to suggest that capitalism will solve conservatism, but is just to lend to a more rounded idea of Valentine’s Day and the significance it holds in parallel India’s narrative.

Image Credits: Bustle

Pragati Thapa

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Loving in a culture where all love outside marriage is forbidden is taxing. Read our Editor’s take on it.

Love is the common language spoken across the world. Stories of love have existed in every society that ever told stories. When we remember how fundamental romantic attachment is to human beings, how common and natural, our society’s desire to stop people from loving, it seems toxic and selfish. Our parents don’t accept the fact that we could or would want to experience dating, companionship, or love. Most of us aren’t “allowed” to date, not that it means we don’t. We don’t tell our parents about our love life and significant others, caught in the fear that they may never approve. We don’t seek love advice from them, introduce them to our significant others, or share the details of our whereabouts with them with honesty. And if, by chance, our love strays from the hetero-normative narrative of love between a female and a male, the discomfort and fear of acceptance increases manifold.

For most Indian kids, love begins with lies. “I am going to meet Neha,” we say as we dash to the farthest end of our street for a sneaky ice- cream, and walk with someone who is certainly not Neha. These cloak and dagger games can be exciting initially but, as we grow up, we realise they are something far more sinister. Most families hold different beliefs regarding dating and love. Some might want their children to keep away from relationships “to keep them focused on academics” while others have far more rigid ideas about the same, like believing love and sexual experiences are reserved within the institution of marriage. It is in these households where young adults who are actively dating are, at best, at the risk of parental disapproval and, at worst, of losing their freedom, agency, as well as independence.  The punishment of love in India without parents’ approval can range from having one’s phone taken away, to being made to quit the pursuit of education and, in extreme cases, to honour killings as well. Our culture has intertwined love with marriage, with controlling ideas about monogamy, togetherness, and “purity”. The impact on women has been undeniably worse since the “punishment” for loving has been known to be far more unforgiving on them than on men.

We don’t grow up with the right ideals of love.  We live in a country where a common experience of all our peers is telling their first big lie to their parents with regard to someone they were dating. We couldn’t talk to our parents openly, or ask them questions about love, sex, relationships, boundaries, consent, and respect  because we could never anticipate if it would be met with disapproval or punishment. We hid under our blankets sneakily texting our 9th grade crush, or sneaked out for study sessions with our boyfriend/girlfriend, and came to college and talked to our parents about everything in detail, except the person we loved.

Love, in itself, is capable of inciting fear. We invest our time and energy into someone who could one day casually walk up to us, say that it isn’t working out, and walk away, leaving us to deal with the walls crumbling around. But aside from the natural insecurity, in families, cultures, and communities where love is taboo, people are more likely to confuse love with and abuse. After all, they were never taught the difference between the two.

The approval of our parents is important. Running home after a star in our notebooks, or winning a match, a debate, a rangoli competition, and hearing them say, “I am proud of you, beta” is immensely precious for many of us, and nothing really beats that, not when we were ten and not now as well. It is sad therefore, that our parents don’t say it enough, and sadder perhaps that the approval they reserve for academic and extracurricular achievements, isn’t extended to forming  beliefs systems which make us healthy, happy, fully-functioning human beings. Our parents will not tell us they are proud of us for breaking away from a toxic partner. Most of us would never have our parents sit down next to us, and comfort us with a cup of chai and a heart-to-heart conversation about heartbreak, like they did after every bad result, lost match, public failure.

I wish, like all the kahaaniyan (stories) our parents told to put us to sleep when we were children, the ones that taught us how to be brave, how to be kind, how to have compassion, also told us how to love, how to be respected and respectful in love, when to stay and when to leave, when to hold on and when to let go. Perhaps, we would have been kinder to ourselves and those we have loved, then. For Indian parents, who claim to do everything for the well-being of their children, do one more thing – give them the freedom to love, whomever they want and however they want.

Kinjal Pandey

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Thinking of going out for a cute, non-expensive date with your significant other (or maybe yourself!) this Valentine’s Day? We give you the best spots in North and South Campus for a memorable Valentine’s experience.

Here are spots in North Campus you mustn’t miss!

1) The Ridge: The Kamala Nehru Ridge has its own history of being a lover’s spot but be careful, don’t let the monkeys get you or the insects harm you! Bask in the winter sun for a peaceful getaway from the bustling North Campus.

2) Delhi School of Economics: The Delhi School of Economics (DSE) lawns are perfect for a mini photoshoot in the winters. DSE has many lawns (some less populated) which give you the perfect peace and quiet with your significant other. The tea from JP Tea Stall makes it worthwhile!

3) Kamla Nagar: Take a stroll through the bustling market and hunt for the cheapest outlet you can find. It can be a super fun thing to do with your partner while getting lost in the many narrow lanes of ‘K-Nags’.

4) Hudson Lane: Okay, we get it. It’s not exactly ‘non-expensive’ but take a walk through Hudson Lane before 11:00 AM, when the restaurants and cafes haven’t opened for business yet. Save up for Valentine’s day as many restaurants would have offers going and it’s the perfect way to feed the capitalist agenda.
5) Majnu Ka Tila: Roam around Mini-Tibet while devouring delicious dumplings or laphing this winter with your partner. It’s the perfect place to shop for cheap clothing, bags and more trendy stuff! Make sure you try the cafés and restaurants serving Tibetan, Nepali and even Korean food.

Discover these unexplored spots in South Delhi with your partner.

1. Siri Fort Ruins: In the heart of South Delhi lies the beautiful and isolated Siri Fort ruins. Pack a picnic basket, enjoy the Valentine’s Day afternoon in this brightly lit monument and make your day special. The nearest metro station to reach here is Green Park.

2. Deer Park: Cherish the breath-taking sunset at Deer Park in Hauz Khas Village. The freshness of nature and sight of the gorgeous lake will bring positivity and happiness in you.

3. Lodhi Garden: A lovely spot to escape from the hectic city. Come along with your partners to admire nature, tombs and a lake in this relaxing spot. You can spend hours strolling through the area and appreciating the flora.

4. Park behind Ansal Plaza: An empty, isolated yet beautiful space for you to meet and have a simple and peaceful date. Just behind Ansal Plaza, this seems like an old piece of land but is very well maintained with lovely seating arrangements under the shade of tall stunning trees.
5. DDA-Gulmohar Park: Extremely close to Green Park Metro Station, this well-maintained park is a perfect spot to bask in the sunshine, spend lazy afternoons with your significant other and enjoy watching rehearsals of various cultural societies who generally come out to practice in winters.

6. Sheikh Yusuf Qattal’s Tomb: An old monument with intricate jaalis, blue tiles and a 12-pillared structure, Sheikh Yusuf Qattal’s Tomb is a peaceful and beautiful unexplored date spot with minimal tourists. This Valentine’s Day, explore this hidden marvel with your loved ones and enjoy.
Image Credits- Pinterest

Sakshi Arora
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Jaishree Kumar
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