I was in the 7th standard. I stepped inside my school premises, located the queue of girls belonging to my section and hastened towards it, when one of my classmates stretched out her hand to shake mine and wished me “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Before I could comprehend what it was, I found the other classmates wishing the same to each other.
In a few hours, I came to know all about Valentine’s Day though I was not sure whether it was supposed to be celebrated between lovers or with anyone one may love including one’s parents. My classmates insisted it was the latter: studying in an all girls’ convent and being chaperoned by our parents at all other times ensured that we never had any boyfriends, but we too wanted to partake in this grand phenomena called Valentine’s Day.
For the next few years on Valentine’s Day, after returning from school I would unzip my bag, spread out the books and exercise copies on the central table, switch on the TV and click the remote to select MTV. Listening to romantic numbers by Boyzone, MLTR, No Mercy, Elton John, Backstreet Boys, Carpenters, Cardigan, Celine Dion, Shania Twain and many others, I would try to replicate the Life Science and Physical Science diagrams in the lab book for my homework, negotiate with numbers to solve Mathematical problems and wonder whether I would be asked out for a date on Valentine’s Day next year although that was impossible due to the above mentioned reasons.
In India, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Valentine’s Day, which I find absolutely unnecessary. To those who criticise it as an import of the West, I would like to ask whether they have shunned everything that had originated in the West. Don’t they attire themselves in Western clothes? Don’t they eat or drink anything that is not native to India? To those who frown upon it saying love is not just for one day, I would like to tell that yes, we love our partners everyday but due to the busy schedule, we might not get time to go out of our way to express it. So it’s nice to have some occasions when we do something special for the person who is sharing his/her life with us. So what’s wrong if one celebrates Valentine’s Day just like one marks other occasions like birthday, marriage anniversary and any other day of some personal happiness? I agree with those who say that Valentine’s Day has been introduced and popularized in India for commercial gains. But is that stopping anyone from taking it to a more meaningful level if one wants to? As for commerce, what’s wrong if one avails, as per one’s budget, the delights that shops and restaurants have to be offer? We all survive by selling something – whether it is knowledge, software or diamonds.
I can understand that this day might be painful for those who had just suffered a breakup/rejection/betrayal by their partner. I have been through such low phases too. I think the best way to deal with such a situation is to stay away from TV, radio and social networking sites and indulge oneself in an activity that it is devoid of even the slightest whiff of romance.
Coming back to myself, I will have to remain confined in my office cubicle for most part of the day. After that, I will definitely rustle up some delicacies for my husband – that will be special for us as I rarely cook on other weekdays.