Valentine’s used to be such a big thing for me (it still is in its own demented horrifying way).
When I was in school, back in Standard one, that was the first time I got introduced to Valentine’s Day. I remember having only RM 2 with me at that time for recess and our class teacher, a pain in the ass teacher by the name Mrs Rajaratnam told everyone in class, “Class!” she bellowed in her dramatic loud voice. “Do you all know what day it is?”
A few of the smarty pants replied, “Wednesday!”
Annoyed, she ignores them and continues, “Today is Valentine’s Day!” She takes a deep breath and continues, “Do you know what they do on this day?”
The class became quiet. We know something was up. It’s always the case when someone starts a sentence with “Do you know what..?” It’s their form of telling you politely to do whatever the heck they want you to do.
“People give flowers to the ones they love!” she says and takes a deep breath, as though to suck in all the love in the air.
All of us looked at each other, clearly confused.
“It’s a day we celebrate love! Love is in the air!” she says and starts flailing her arms to represent that love is in the air. Only difference was, her antics reminded us of the one time when there was a huge bee in the class. She did the same exact thing.
Observing no one paying attention, she seized the opportunity and said, “I want each of you to go to the canteen today and get me a rose or any flower.”
And that was it. That’s how I got introduced to the whole Valentine’s Day scam. Few years later, I realised that each teacher competed with each other on two occasions. Valentine’s Day and Teacher’s Day to see who gets the most number of gifts. I’ve even seen teachers showing off to each other, proudly showing off their gifts their stupid students gave. For a few teachers, they even took Mother’s Day seriously.
We rushed out of our classes to impress her. They were selling roses and all kinds of flowers that day in the canteen so seeing everyone else getting one for her, I decided to do the same. Because we all knew, if we didn’t get her what she wanted, we would be labelled and blacklisted. She had that bad habit. And I was already in her bad books thanks to all the nonsense I used to do back then in school.
A stalk of flower cost around RM 1. So I got two roses. I don’t know what made me get two but I decided to get two.
Back to class after recess, some students who had the resources bought bouquets of flowers for her, clearly trying to impress her and she was impress.
She walked to each one of us and asked for her “gifts” and each time she took it, she said in her pretentious tone, “Owhh Charan! Why thank you! That’s so sweet of you.” “Oh dear Thong! You shouldn’t have taken the trouble but that’s so sweet, thank you!”
When she approached my table, she stood before me and smiled at me. “So Sukhbir! What have you got your dear teacher for Valentine’s Day?”
I looked at her, unable to say anything.
Feeling annoyed, she asks me, “Well, you got me anything? I see you have two roses there under your desk.”
And that’s when I blurted out. “These are for my mum.”
Some students gasped. She was shell shocked. We both stared each other silently and then she breaks the silence, “Stand up on the chair..”
I stood on the chair for the rest of the period as the rest of the students eyed me sheepishly and some laughed.
But it was worth it. Coming back home from school, as I got into the old Datsun, I handed my mum the two stalks of roses. And I said, “Happy Bellentine Day. One from me and the other from Upi.”
My mum laughed and said, “Valentine’s Day!” We hugged and it was the most memorable Valentine’s ever, seeing the joy on my mum’s face.
And that’s how I got introduced to the whole Valentine’s Day scam and bullshit. And still never got out of it. Thanks Mrs Rajaratnam. I owe you one you old hag.