Haunted by valentine day

Valentine Day is not about expensive gifts or lovers alone. It is not just about what you say or even what you do. It is not about losing yourself in love it is also about finding yourself as much as loving yourself. Unfortunately the meaning of Valentine Day has now been reduced to flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, diamond rings, and all such commercial aspects. Long ago I wrote an article for Time of India on Valentine Day. Hope you enjoy reading the same.

My article in Times of India —http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/contributors/contributions/minakhee-mishra/Haunted-by-Valentines-Day/articleshow/11923495.cms

In Dubai, where sightseeing in summer means shopping at malls and visiting branded stores-Winter extravaganza starts with DSF(Dubai Shopping Festival) ,”to die for deals” and Global Village with stalls of more than 56 countries offering the best of culture and buys- the Valentine’s Day’s pressure gets just too hot to handle. Husbands start getting subtle hints about how beautiful that black Zara dress looked when “we” passed by the store window. A few of us have husbands blessed with that romantic sparkle which makes women…oopps girls go all dewy eyed. Case where the husbands plan on taking their wives for a romantic trip to say Paris or those who don’t spend that much but have the same if not a greater effect when they present a bunch of red roses and write out poems in praise of their Valentine. Well those are a rare breed (and unfortunately extremely endangered species) of husbands who should actually start making money from tutorial classes on “way to a woman’s heart”. Most of our husbands fall in the category of those afflicted with “practical syndrome”. What is the sense in spending any money and romantic time with a women they can romance or just about say “love you, dear” any day. With retailers embracing cupid for gigantic profits, and playing on the vulnerable minds of the fairer sex (and the starry-eyed new lovers), practically minded hubbies cave in to calls of business of love that goes in Valentine’s Day and thus ensure a peaceful environment at home. These are the ones who vouch for the fact that buying a Sworovski diamond ring is much less stressful than writing poetry. Little do they know women can be pleased with a sincere “I love you” too.

While I was at school the concept of Valentine’s Day (or the commercial aspect of it) was still a little new to India. It had not permeated the small towns in the scale and magnitude it has recently. While I was in the university (hostel), the atmosphere there made it impossible to remain immune to the effect of Valentine’s Day. Our small group (all girls) would reinvent the meaning of Valentine’s Day and gift each other some small tokens, whatever our frugal pocket money could buys. Valentine’s Day for us meant a day you share with people you love, feel happy with and that included friends and family. Some of us would go a step further and buy small gifts and cards for our parents and siblings as well. This would invariably herald a lecture from the father’s “What is this new thing?! What is the use of buying gifts I don’t have any use for and that too with my money! Now where do I keep this card?…I can’t even throw it away…You better not waste it like this and learn to value money….etc.” We would tease to death a few friends among us who got Valentine cards and gifts on that day.

Now married, our obvious choice for a Valentine consort is our husband. A few of us romantics decorate the house, have a candle light dinner or go out to catch a romantic movie. Many under the influence of (read unromantic husbands) life’s practicalities, take it as just another day. Not that this is a cardinal sin. After all we do go for week end outings and movies. What is the point of celebrating love for just one day? But, then if we apply this logic we would end up having no birthdays, no Republic Day, no Independence Day. Well, my point is if we can, there is no harm in taking out time for that important relationship. So this Valentine, with the kids at school (read zero distraction) and with husband dear traveling for an outstation tour later in the day, one of my friends went out for a rare breakfast morning with her husband. She had a beautiful time and didn’t mind that the morning light a bit too harsh to call it romantic or the fact that it was a vegetarian breakfast devoid of strawberry topped puddings or cake. It was actually a ‘Kachori’ and ‘Allo Puri’ breakfast at a fast food joint. Here’s wishing you all a happy and within budget Valentine.

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