Day of balloon sellers and copsChandigarh, February 14
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service
Where has all the love gone? All that could be seen on St. Valentine’s Day in Chandigarh today were khaki-clad policemen outside colleges and forlorn heart-shaped balloon vendors on roadsides.
Young hearts which should have been beating with love were either too bored with the same old thing or too scared of police lathis.
The Chandigarh police derived satisfaction from rounding up students from outside colleges this morning and later harassing car occupants taking rounds of Panjab University.
“Nowhere did students resort to action that would have given cause for police intervention. Can these guys be fair?” said Jaipreet, a student of the SGGS College, Sector 26.
According to a group of students standing outside the college, two boys were picked up while they were entering college. “They removed their helmets on nearing the college gates. Without provocation, policemen stopped them and took them to the police station. We have no idea why they did so,” they said, waiting for their friends to return.
The police seemed to be everywhere. At least 30 policemen were deployed at the SGGS College for Women, the Sacred Heart School and the St. John’s School.
The college had declared a holiday for today, but that did not deter the police. “We are sitting here since morning,” said the ASI outside the college.
The scene was similar outside the Government College for Girls and the Government College, Sector 11. “We are not bothered about the police. We are just waiting for our friends to arrive. Since we do not have vehicles, we will get into friends’ cars and go on the geri route,” said Harpreet, a student of the Government College, Sector 11.
“Today the geri is just for fun. We will go towards the girls’ college, after which we may go to the Rose Garden. It has nothing to do with girls,” he added.
Girlfriends and love seemed to be a big no-no at the university too. “Who has the time or the money to maintain a girlfriend? Girlfriends are a headache. I am happy without one,” said Naushad Ali, a university student.
Agreeing with him, Tarun said, “Girls do too much ‘nakhra’. The whole day is spent on trying to keep them happy. It is not worth it. Valentine’s Day is not the day one should propose. On Valentine’s Day, it seems fake. It is a day for those who are in love.”
Said Harry Sharan, an actor who had passed out of the university some years ago, “It is too filmy to propose on Valentine’s Day. Love is about feelings and not showing those off. If love has to be expressed, it can be done without saying a word. I do not believe in giving gifts and flowers as it raises expectations.”
“We are new to the college. This is our first year. We are excited, but there is nothing that seems to be happening here,” said Pooja, a student of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, who entered the university with friends.
The university’s Students Centre seemed to be the Mecca of lovers today. Bored with inaction, the police resorted to making mountains out of molehills.
“The police stopped a car full of youngsters. There was no loud music. They had stuck red heart-shaped balloons on top of the car. The cops struck the car with lathis and forced the occupants to remove the balloons. Why do they not show this much alacrity in catching thieves?” said Sajan, a visitor to the university.
While Valentine’s Day turned out to be a damp squib in the city, love seemed to have found a new place to come alive — Mohali and its periphery, which housed many private colleges and had enough student population to make its presence felt.
“We had a steady stream of girls and boys buying flowers. Roses are selling like hot cakes,” said Ram Jasbir, a roadside flower vendor in Mohali. He added that he sold bouquets in large numbers today.