Valentine's fever!! Seriously.
It's every where. Markets. Restaurants. Malls. Colleges. Radio. Television. The Earth. The Waters. The Air!!!
It amazes me. Just everything about it and more so, the euphoria and madness around it. Come on, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the idea of being in love, with oneself and others! It sure is one of the most fantastic purpose to living.
But the focus on just one day to celebrate it; and that too with almost everyone vying for your attention, selling anything and everything in the name of Valentine's Day!!!
The other day, I crossed an Archie's store and saw this really huge teddy bear holding a heart shaped cushion that said 'Happy Valentine's Day'. It left me wondering - Who gifts such things??? Then there were offers all around the market in the name of the big day - Gift your valentine a free holiday or a free dress (after you buy one for yourself) or a free gym membership. I mean every one wants to give some else's valentine something for free! Now that gets interesting.
At my boarding, this day didn't mean much to any of us. Okay, so we were in the age when every thing and day and feeling was not all that commercialized. We had a three-months long winter vacation (Dec-Feb) and Valentine's day fell during that time. I think that made us obviously oblivious about this day.
It was during the last few years in school (a day school in my hometown) when the Valentine fever caught on. One of the things you will never miss to see at girls' schools is the traffic at the time of girls leaving for home. More than parents and guardians, there are boys from adjoining schools racing, lingering around or simply pining for the attention of their love interest(s).
As school captains, we conducted impromptu schoolbag raids a couple days before the D-days (read Friendship and Valentine's days). Wicked...weren't we ;)!!! And the kinds of gifts, cards and letters we found never failed to surprise/shock us! Then, while going home, a red rose (one too many) would fall in/on our conveyance (an auto rickshaw or car) and that happened with almost every girl in high school.
If you were observant enough, you could also see couples exchanging love notes/gifts, all away from the prying eyes of seniors, classmates, teachers and parents. The skills they displayed were awesome. I mean you just cannot catch them!!!
There was this one note from a love-lorn boy that accidentally (okay, I'm lying) fell in my hands and it was written in blood!!! The kinds of inspirations you get from Bollywood!!! The girl it was meant for started crying when she read it while I had a serious question - How do you ascertain it IS the guy's blood??? (I mean it could be from the mutton/chicken his Mom cooked the previous night. For how else will you explain blood that wrote like ink?! What an anti-romantic I am or a sadist maybe!!! Uh-oh, that's okay :)
And of course, there were (still are!!) these protesters (Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal apparently) who would not spare any couple they found together on these days. Didn't matter if the couple was married or actually brother and sister. They would bash up the boy, abuse the girl, make them do sit-ups and God knows what else!!! All in the name of our culture and how westernization is ruining it! Never mind that they wore Levis and Rayban and drunk only 'foreign' brands!!!
Then Delhi, where Valentine's Day has been nothing more than over-crowded markets, malls and restaurants. Last year, my siblings were visiting me and on the 14th, we happened to be shopping (all because it was a Sunday). My younger sister clutched my brother's hand and said, smiling sweetly - You are my Valentine. My 19 something brother shook her hand away saying he is so very single and doesn't want to send a wrong message to his prospective Valentine(s)!!! I looked around in the busy and very crowded market to see if there was a probability of this kind of prospect there. My brother is surely not one to lose hope!
Before you think me to be an anti-social person, let me tell you, I too have always gone with the flow.
Thankfully, I never gifted or received stuff toys. There was this period (and I call it period as it went on for a few years) when the doorbell would ring and someone would leave a bunch of roses at the doorstep. I could never find out who it was.
Then there was this incident when a guy threw a rose at me while I was riding pillion with my father on his scooter. The rose hit my dad on his eye and my dad stopped and scolded the poor boy left, right and center!
On another occasion, I tried to set up a date for a close friend and her guy. Every thing was planned out by me in complete detail - the roses, the gifts et all; only to find out that the couple broke off! The advance payment never returned to me :(
Ohh and yes!! I have also spent a couple Valentine's days while in college hanging around near the ghats (riverbanks of Ganga or Yamuna). Not that we wanted to, but it was all to help a friend meet her guy on the D-day! (We did the same on their respective birthdays and other "important" days.)
Now, this day brings in a lot more nostalgia. Hanging out with friends, deciding/buying gifts or helping someone prepare a proposal speech, feeding all sorts of lies to friends' parents (to help them meet their date!).... the list can go on.
With school and college a thing of the past, the excitement of these days does fade away. For me, I know I will have a 12-hour eye-to-eye date with the computer monitor in office this Valentine's day. I am still helping friends get nice gifts for their partners (I can be a great gift consultant, a friend said today).
While I spend my day in office, I hope we get to celebrate such days all year through. And why only partners, this time surprise yourself and gift yourself that new shirt or jewelery you've been eying. You can even get a bunch of roses delivered to your parents or better still take them out for dinner. You can even take your grand father/ grand mother to a park and spend some time chatting with them.
Whatever you may/will do for people you love, don't wait for this one day to express it. Celebrate each day with them. Life is very short and love, most precious!
Happy Valentine's Day, Blogdosts!