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by Rehana Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:47 am
Schools in Delhi have geared up to tackle the love-struck students this V-Day with extra security and strict checking

If you thought that the people dreading the oh-so-romantic Valentine's week will include those with broken hearts, the desperately single or the long distance lovers, then you have obviously not interacted with a Delhi school teacher before. These overly mushy traditions tend to stop mattering once a student starts college and the working life, but during school days, the chocolate exchanged under the table and the excitement of being someone's first Valentine is at its peak. And even as Archie and other Hollywood characters continue to inspire many teens in the city, Delhi schools are no Riverdale High. Most schools, some stricter than others, have staff meetings and policy decisions on how to deal with the V-week. We spoke to some such teachers who, each year, pray for Valentine's Day to fall on a Sunday.

Wishing for an off day
"Every year, we discuss how Valentine's Day should either be a national holiday or at least fall on a Sunday. The preceding days can still go unnoticed but on Valentine's Day, the principal and admin are on high alert mode. We know our students, but on this one day, every action is under deeper scrutiny by the teachers who may not know the students equally well. And honestly, the entire process of checking and questioning and meaningless excuses is so exhausting. This day always causes some trouble or the other," says a teacher at an East Delhi school.

Confiscated gifts, phone calls to parents
"The age group of students following Valentine's week keeps changing every year. As a school, we do not approve of gifting and Bollywood-created rituals. We have clear rules about such things and strict checking is done to ensure students don't break them. We still have to follow the drill to inform their parents about the confiscated gifts. These days parents know about the gifts so it becomes embarrassing for us but we still have to do our job," says a teacher at a Dwarka school.

Even after-school plans are a no-no!
"We are completely against such days and the students are made aware about the consequences of their actions beforehand. On the 14th and on specific days like Rose Day, there is surprise checking, starting from Class VI, for gifts, cards, etc. Students often have after school plans, which most parents are not aware of. So, if we find students carrying casual clothes along with them, we call their parents immediately to inform them. After-school plans are also a no-no if the parents are not aware," says a teacher at a Janak Puri school.

Special pre-valentine's day meetings, instructions
"Valentine's Day is the topic of discussion much before the actual Valentine week and special staff meetings are held to come up with a plan of action to keep everything under control. We have a special set of instructions to make sure that the students stay within their limits and no scene is created by leaving the students alone at any point of time. Teachers are instructed to make sure there are no empty classes or break periods without the presence of any staff member," shares a teacher at a school in Rajender Nagar.

(*Some names changed on request)

Student compromises
While the teaching community steps into moral guardian shoes, the students have their own jugaad ideas to get away with their V-Day plans. Here are some quirky ideas by love- struck kids to make their Valentine's Day plan a success.

Pataoing the prefect on duty: In our school, along with the teacher in charge, the sports captains and prefects also go around checking bags for gifts. The best idea is to pataao the senior who is checking your stuff either before hand or at that moment itself. Even if they take away the gift at that time, you can find them later and bribe them to return your gift.
- Ankur Tiwary*, a Class X student

Girlfriend impressed even if gift is confiscated: We have a V-Day checking every year. But school is the only time when I can meet my girl friend so I have no choice but to carry my present to school. My plan is to get her a normal gift, like chocolates etc and nothing too fancy. Whatever I buy will get confiscated so why bother with too much time and money? Since we're in the same class, she'll see that I got her gift and will crib at the authorities for taking it away.
- Karan Kalra*, a Class XI student

Give the gifts at the beginning of the day: My plan is to give my gift to my girlfriend right in the morning, before the assembly time. At least then I won't be held responsible during the checking because my bag will be empty by then. Actually, I don't want my girlfriend to get into trouble also so I bought a fancy box of chocolates which I have told her to eat within the day itself. That way, when the checking starts, the teachers will not find any gift at all.
- Manak Mehta*, a Class IX student


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