So Valentine’s Day is finally over. Thank god.
There are multiple reasons why I don’t believe in this day. One of them being, I grew up.
Let me take you back 16 years, I was a teenager, in love with the man who is now my husband. Let’s call him Mr. H.
In those days, the newspapers used to advertise and ask readers to write in their love message and they would give away some prize. I wrote to the newspaper and my ad was printed and I did win some voucher at some restaurant whose name I can’t recollect. Since we were broke, that was my gift to him. My love was written out in black and white for the world to see, not a care in the world I had. Except maybe it was anonymous, so my parents never knew. Then we decided not to use the coupons but to hang out at our regular joint for Chinese food.
I got all dressed up in pants, if I recollect it right, and a jacket that fitted well. Now, we were teenagers so we didn’t know about booking tables or reservations and the likes. So we reached our favorite restaurant Chung Fa at Breach candy, and we thought that we being regulars, we could easily get a place. We waited for something like an hour or more. As a teenager, I had deadlines so I had to be home by 9 but it being Valentine’s Day I had negotiated with my parents a deadline of 10. We got a seat at 9.15 even though we arrived at 8.00. So there I was fuming not at Mr. H, but at the restaurant manager who was also astonished with the crowd that had turned up. Everywhere I looked while waiting, were red roses, red cards and red dresses. From there started my hatred towards wearing red on Valentine’s Day. We finally get a seat and Mr. H was also nervous as he had not expected the evening to go downhill even further. We ordered the usual and the soup took another 30 minutes to arrive. That meant that i had 15 mins to get home. Mr. H was hungry but he understood my dilemma and we parceled the food and I was able to reach home just in time. My mother always used to stay awake till I reached home so I know she must have been tired as she had to go to work the next day and was probably waiting to hit the sack. I felt guilty about making her wait and thus started my hatred for Valentine’s Day.
Thereafter, every Valentine I made it a point, while I was at work, to wear black to protest. For me this became any other day. Then the internet happened and all the mushy quotes and the Valentine messages were all over everyone’s wall. The once written poem in black and white was splashed across timelines and pages. I sometimes miss that part about Valentine, waiting for the newspaper to read how innovative each message could get. The anticipation of winning and the joy on the face of your Valentine as he read it, all lost in the click of a mouse.
Valentine’s Day today has become the most commercialized festival, if one can call it a festival. Advertising with slogans such as “Show her you care with diamonds”; “Seal your love with a strong bond- Platinum rings”; “Make her fall in love with you again” actually show that the occasion is just about shoving jewelry down a woman’s throat will keep her satisfied. If only it were true.
Love is really a chemical reaction in the brain. Love is all around u. When you are born, then the love of your mother is the first love you experience, followed by that of your father. If you have siblings, then you have the love-hate kind of relationship. Then when you move on in life, relationships come and go then you dedicate your life to loving one person and focusing all your energy on them. But Valentine’s Day only recognizes the love of the last kind instead of the ones that gave you life.
I always believed in one thing about love – a parent’s love for their child is unconditional. All other kinds of love generally have a condition and have to be sealed by law and by religion. If you have been blessed with parental love, then remember to appreciate them instead on the next Valentine’s Day. You never know, they may not have many more Valentine’s Days left.
15th February 2014.