A few days back, I was having a conversation with a couple of my friends about the phase of so called ‘love’ in our school life. And how things have evolved since then. I personally feel that I am growing old when we talk about ‘our good old days’. But nevertheless, incidents and memories of things like that are so amusing that I feel those are definitely worth sharing.
Being a girl, I have always known the female version of puppy love in school. Back then, boys did not reveal their side of story nor we, girls, bothered. We were too amused to care by all the attention we got. After all these years, it is enlightening to know their side of the story.
I will just give a general account of incidents that usually happened during my school days. Let’s take a random girl G and a random boy B. The backdrop is high school (Std. V to XII) in the late nineties.
Girls’ Side of the Story:
It all started with teasing by friends. If the news flashed that B fell for G, her friends start teasing G immediately. After that G finds B following her or looking at her wherever she goes. Missed calls and blanks start coming at her home’s land-line phone (Yes, that was the age of landlines). If G likes B, she enjoys the teasing and blushes. But if she doesn’t she would get angry. Some of her friends and B’s friends play the messengers, passing on gifts and verbal or written messages. There are others who play the role of adviser. The teasing and advice becomes so extreme that the G starts actually thinking that she too has fallen for B! And often G and some of her friends would find that they have received love letters with similar content and language. Some Gs just enjoy the attention and take it no further. Some enjoy the gifts along with the attention of B or Bs. And a very few took it further and actually start a relationship. Valentine’s day meant gifts. And if she didn’t like the guy, Rakshabandhan eve was available to turn him into a brother!
Boys’ Side of the Story:
B starts finding G cute or beautiful. Every way of hers felt dreamlike and likeable. He starts scribbling ‘G+B’ on the classroom desks, trees in the school compound and anywhere possible. B tells about his feelings to a friend or friends. His friends do the job of letting the news getting to G. G moves around in the school with her group of friends and so does he. So the entire boy group starts following the girl group in the school. Boys usually worked in a team in this. B and his team would plan and make strategies as to how to ‘patao’ G, which of G’s friends could be made a messenger. One guy would be the letter writer while another with beautiful handwriting would be the final copywriter. A friend of mine even told stories of how chicken blood was used to write letter so that G would think that the B had used his own blood! What gift is to be gifted, what is to be said and the next course of action, all ideas were pooled in by every team member. Valentine’s day was awaited while Rakshabandhan was dreaded. Some Bs even skipped school on the eve of Rakshabandhan.
After G and B becomes ‘G+B’:
G has fallen for B too and message had been conveyed. Good wishes and cheers on both sides. But the news should not reach the teachers or any other school authorities. If it reaches, first school punishment and then guardians would be notified, which meant spanking and beating. Codes were made for making calls. Two or three (or with a combination of half ring) at G’s place meant, it is B calling and she needs to wait by the phone. If the telephone’s keypad is locked, then tricks to unlock it were formulated including duplicate keys. Dates were planned weeks ahead– where to meet and at what time to meet. G was often accompanied by a friend and so B had to save money harder. Apart from that, stealing a few moments in a empty classroom or hallway here and there was all that they could have.
Mostly the incidents were a result of having a crush or infatuation. But looking back now, I feel that the emotions of all of it played a major role in our growing up (I have taken the liberty to call it ‘our’ instead of ‘my’ here). Several Gs and Bs who were not a couple then are married today. While many couples have gone separate ways and few are married couples now. And there are others who are still drowned in the gloom of unrequited love. Whatever choices we made then or the emotions we went through are a part of us today. It was nothing but the innocent first step of our future relationships.
As a result of social evolution, school love affairs are common news today and all for wrong reasons. One student killing another or oneself because of a love triangle or unrequited love, couples committing suicide because of family opposition, students caught in school in compromising positions and objectionable MMS clippings being circulated. Apart from the gruesome side, I also know parents who are cool about their children’s relationships and consider it healthy.They have accepted such relationships as a part of their child’s growing up and this attitude is actually something to be appreciated.
Nonetheless, I personally feel that school love stories have lost their charm and innocence over the years. The magic of a glance or a smile has disappeared. Our pangs of puppy love and its course of action have become ancient as have our school days.