Tiny Love Stories
Our third installment of the quest to find pockets of love within our community
February 15, 2022
This Valentines’ Day, read the third installment of the New York Times-inspired “Tiny Love Stories” of six members of the MVHS community below.
Spotify and siblings
You are the reason,
The reason I sing.
I just want to thank you for giving me life, yes,
I just want to thank you for all your advice.
Soft synths and the chirping instrumental music accompanying Daniel Caesar’s voice float out of senior Sahil Goel’s laptop and into the room of sophomore Vidhi Goel, his little sister, as he listens to the song “Freudian.” Each time Sahil goes into Vidhi’s room to play Hip-Hop or Vidhi goes into Sahil’s room to play R&B, he feels the quiet yet strong love that is shared between them. No matter what has happened in the day, the music-filled solace that Sahil and Vidhi offer each other is a constant reminder that they’re always there for each other. They don’t need to acknowledge it — they feel the connection simply being in each other’s presence and listening to each other’s music.
Sahil hasn’t always been close with Vidhi — as they grew through the years, their focus on themselves and school, rather than spending time with each other, had caused a sort of divide between them. But now that Sahil’s a senior in his second semester, with the stress of school significantly alleviated and the prospect of leaving for college not so far on the horizon anymore, he’s wanted to spend more time with Vidhi. Recently, he’s been making more trips to her room, and she’s been making more trips to his, always with music filtering out behind the door.
“We don’t really talk, but we’re just hanging out,” Sahil said. “It’s something that we hadn’t done before that’s making our relationship a lot better now. I think that’s the best kind of love I’ve experienced with her.”
Junior Angelina Wang’s heart had no business thumping this quickly in the middle of her acrobatics class. She couldn’t figure out whether the sweat on her palms was from the actual choreography or the boy in front of her. It seemed absurd to her, really, that she was expected to concentrate on anything when she was positively enraptured by the star of the class.
He was one of her friend’s older brothers — two years her senior. But to fifth grade Wang, age was just a number, and no amount of sensibility could prevent her heart from being captured by her first crush’s ability to perform impressive stunts.
One day, Wang decided to swallow her pride and say something to him. Her teacher instructed her class to find a partner, and Wang knew it was her time to seize the moment. She marched over to him and stuttered out a request to be his partner. He agreed with a grunt, looking somewhat taken aback. The next hour defined perhaps what was Wang’s most awkward acrobatics class.
“I think he probably knew,” Wang said. “I told a lot of people, so he totally did — though I really hope he didn’t. But it was a fun first crush, honestly. We were both on the competition team [at dance], and it gave me something to look forward to.”
Made with love
The sharp beeps of the oven and enticing aroma of sugar, butter, flour and chocolate chips drifted from the kitchen into freshman Davina Huang’s bedroom, where she sat dismally after receiving a bad test grade. Her seventh grade self put a lot of value into the grades she received, and as she tried to swallow the lump in her throat and wipe the quiet tears that streamed down her cheeks while she did her homework, she couldn’t help but feel dejected at herself for being a “failure.”
When Huang arrived home from school, she didn’t need to tell her mother what would make her feel better — her mother already knew. Her mom, an avid cook who usually strayed away from baking, knew that the one thing that could alleviate Huang’s gloomy state were the soft chocolate chip cookies with extra sugar that her mother only made on special occasions, just for her.
As the small spheres of extra-sugary dough slowly rose in the oven, Huang’s mouth watered as she smelled the cookies — not only would they be tasty, but Huang knew they were made with love, which made it all the more important to her. When the soft chocolatey cookies were done and Huang could finally eat them, her feelings soared despite the unhappy day she’d had.
“It’s very special and very different [when my mother bakes],” Huang said. “I felt very lucky, and I really liked [the cookies]. They made me feel warmer when I ate them.”
A quiet love
Despite the fact that freshman Palakdeep Bassan had accidentally thrown a piano on her little brother three years ago, each time he goes into the kitchen to get Goldfish, he’s sure to ask her if she wants some. He knows how much she loves the salty snack. Even though she says he’s “a little demon” most of the time, it’s these little gestures that Bassan thinks are “the sweetest thing.”
Bassan and her brother are only a year apart, and she believes this has fostered a unique kind of love between them. Just like her brother knows about her affinity for Goldfish, it was Bassan who bought him a set of Legos recently — his most coveted possession by far. She knows that he enjoys spending time alone and noticed that he’d developed a hobby for building small contraptions.
For Bassan, though, the most meaningful part of their relationship is when they defend each other to their parents. Though they know that getting caught up in the crossfire of a scolding match is essentially an invitation to get yelled at as well, Bassan and her brother don’t think twice before getting in the middle of things for each other.
“I don’t really talk to him about things in my life,” Bassan said. “Our relationship is defined a lot more by these small moments of closeness. It’s that quiet kind of love.”
The first greeting sophomore Ruchir Banerjee receives each time he steps foot through his front door is from Trixie. She’s easily the most amicable family member — whenever Banerjee needs to clear his head, she’s always game for a quick stroll or to play around with a ball. Her boundless energy makes it impossible for Banerjee to feel melancholy around her. And to top it off, of his three brothers, it’s his room Trixie makes her way into each night. It’s how he knows that he’s her favorite.
Banerjee had wanted a dog as long as he could remember, but it was only a year ago that his parents agreed to get a labradoodle, Trixie, after conceding that Banerjee was “responsible” enough to take on the task.
Banerjee and his family chose Trixie from a breeder, an exciting process that he recalls fondly. For him, choosing Trixie was love at first sight.
“I really do feel like she loves me too,” Banerjee said. “She’s always with me. She’s always so excited to see me. And she’s my dog, you know?”
A special place
When English teacher Melissa Clark visited Disneyland with her then-boyfriend of three years, all she could think about was how much she was craving a corndog from the Little Red Wagon corn dog cart. Her stomach rumbled at the notion of eating, especially as the scent of soft dough wafted through the air towards her. The voices of those around her faded into background noise as her vision narrowed into the bright red cart and the checkered wrapper of the corn dogs.
At the time, her hunger prevented her from realizing her boyfriend, Brendan, was acting strange — he was unusually nervous and quiet, but if you ever ask him, he had been perfectly calm and composed. Disneyland had always been an important place to Clark, but Brendan had never visited, so when he asked to take a picture in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle, Clark was slightly annoyed at the thought that her corn dogs would have to wait. Despite her “hangriness,” however, she reluctantly agreed to pose with the nervous Brendan.
After a few photos with the group, Clark’s best friend suddenly engaged her in conversation while Brendan disappeared from her sight. When she turned around, Brendan was on one knee, looking up at her with love in his eyes and a ring in his hand. A quick flash came from the camera of the Disneyland photographer, and Clark immediately thought it was some kind of elaborate joke — she wasn’t living with Brendan at the time, and although she loved him and they had talked about the future, they had never talked about getting married.
The cheers of the Disneyland park tourists around her brought her back to reality, and as she glanced up and saw her best friend — who had helped plan the details of the proposal — “crying her eyes out,” she realized the gravity of the situation.
“Oh this is real real,” Clark remembers thinking. “This is actually happening right now. This man really wants to marry me.”
After the initial shock wore off, and one enthusiastic “Yes!” later, Clark felt herself getting emotional at the “amazing moment” Brendan had managed to create. Having visited Disneyland with her family since she was very young, she felt grateful that her boyfriend had proposed in such a special place to her despite the fact that it was a completely new environment to him. She had never wanted a public proposal before, but she “absolutely loved” the moment, surrounded by her favorite people, in one of the places she loved the most.
“It was just a really special moment for us, and I think we’ll always have Disneyland as that special place every time we go now,” Clark said. “I do go there often, I think I have three Disney trips planned. And now that he proposed to me there, I feel like I can go there all the time. It’s just our special place.”
After Clark answered yes and the cheers faded, her hunger cut through the dreamy haze that the proposal had put everyone in, and she ended the perfect moment with a soft, hand-dipped corn dog.
From the authors to the authors: our own tiny love stories
To Anushka De, from Riya Ravuri
As I write this, there’s a sunflower in my hand and Skittles on my desk — two small gifts that you’ve gotten to uplift me, a tiny gesture that made my day. But I’ve grown not to expect anything less from you.
I would have never imagined that the energetic friend-of-a-friend who I met four years ago would turn into one of the people I trust the most, someone I would miss when you don’t come to school, someone who amazes me every day with your intelligence and humor and outfits and eyeliner — and your humility, because sometimes you don’t understand how much you deserve and the incredible amount you’ve achieved and will continue to achieve. But the thing that defines you the most is your compassion, which anyone who talks to you even for a few minutes is able to recognize.
Thank you for never failing to make me laugh, or being there for me when I’m having a bad day. Thank you for dropping little gifts off at my house, skipping 7th period so we can sit in your car and laughing maniacally at jokes that nobody but us understands, complimenting my outfits, going on drives with me to cafes, buying us rings that are now a staple in our outfit — the tiny ways you show love don’t go unnoticed.
It’s fitting that this Tiny Love Story is dedicated to Tiny Anushka De, who (despite her size) has a heart bigger than anyone I’ve ever met … I love you.
To Riya Ravuri, from Anushka De
The best way to tell you all that you are to me is to tell you what you’ve taught me.
In freshman year, you showed me the courage it takes to make new friends. Here you were, this new girl from a new school, with a smile that had almost as much power to make everyone fall in love with you as your irresistible charm. You were always so confident, and seemed to me you never cared what people thought: in the wild jungle of high school social circles, you refused to stay confined. Your endless kindness and uncanny knack for reading people perfectly convinced me from when we were 14 years old that if aliens ever dropped out of the sky, Riya Ravuri wold be the one to befriend them.
In sophomore year, you showed me the resilience it takes keep the old friends. I’ve never met anyone that has stayed so close to so many of the friends they left when they switched schools. You’re the girl who knows to check in, to ask about the hardships that everyone else forgets about and to swipe up on stories with a quip that’s funnier than the post itself. If it’s your fearlessness that attracts people to you, it’s your endless empathy and effort into your relationships that keeps them around.
But the one lesson that I’ve never stopped learning, from the first time we went on that drive to Sue’s Cafe in junior year to the hour I spent next to you today, is grace. You never let anyone see how hard you work, and yet I’ve never seen you do anything that’s less than exceptional. You’re always there for everyone else — your perfect balance of sympathy and advice the antidote to every malady. But the greatest manifestation of your grace is the way you endlessly put above others above yourself. You fearlessly shoulder other’s burdens but never allow anyone to see your own.
Riya, you have taught me more about what it means to be a good friend more than anyone else I’ve ever known. You have this incredible aura around you — maybe it’s your hilarious quips, our stupid inside jokes, or the way that you can relate to literally anyone — and I don’t think you see it enough. I hope you know that you could never be a burden, that we see the grace with which you handle yourself and are that we are waiting to pay it back in spades.
Four years later, I’m still convinced that aliens do drop out of the sky, you’ll be the one to befriend them. But rest assured — whether that happens tomorrow or 40 years from now — I’ll be the girl by your side when you do…I love YOU.