This being the Valentine week, the sweet nothings have already started flooding social media, television and umm, Times of India. So while we gradually and painstakingly labour through Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Hug Day, Kiss Day and finally gear up for the grand finale of the extremely romantic Valentines Day, brace yourself for some mushy marketing, celebrity sound bites and Arnab Goswami. There is no love lost, but enough about his troubled relationship with Rahul Gandhi.
So while I don’t much care for this annual circus, I wouldn’t quite go the Shivsena way to register my disapproval of an occasion, which, in my opinion, smacks of hollow consumerism, exploited brilliantly by different industries. And while I am not in favour of either moral policing or vandalism, I would not stop short of subtle peaceful protests against this increasingly divisive social function, which makes most single people (90% of whom are male engineers) resort to pirated copies of Ragini MMS II as they meticulously plan a romantic evening at home with Sunny Leone.
I would repeatedly bombard women and men with pictures of Sharad Pawar and Mayawati respectively which would dilute the last vestiges of any romantic feelings that even the cheesiest of teenagers can have.
I would have a whole day replay of Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell in his last Test match against West Indies. Forget about celebrating Valentines Day, the entire nation would go on mourning, refusing to the leave the house.
I would telecast scary “What If?” shows on TV, with elements like “What if you were stuck in an elevator with Sonam Kapoor” or “What if you were in the front seat with Salman Khan driving a car?” or “What if you went for dinner with a Bengali?”, because, let’s face it, these are situations which can potentially scar you for life, leaving you as romantically challenged as an average IITian.
I would play non-stop music by Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift till you reach for something to puke in.
I would make “Rakhi ka Swamvyar” and “The Bachelorette” compulsory viewing during the Valentine week, till you start getting nightmares about being married to either Rakhi Sawant or Mallika Sherawat or both.
I would send a flurry of Alok Nath jokes to remind all Indians about their sanskaar.
And then again, I would release the Oscar-nominated movie Her as a special Valentines Day screening in India. Without getting into the details, it’s a slightly creepy story which glorifies the relationship of a lonely divorced middle-aged man (brilliantly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix) with an operating system (voiceover by Scarlett Johansson). While many of us would identify with it given that we spend the most amount of time with our laptops/computers/tablets, this movie takes it a step further, attributing emotions to a machine. As an idea that a piece of equipment can effectively replace a human being, it challenges the very core of the conventional romantic relationship and eliminates all the frivolities associated with it: flowers, chocolates, jewelry, gifts or money while solely focusing on emotional companionship only. I am not endorsing the man-machine relationship, but it does open up a whole new perspective of the fundamentals of love, stripping it of the facades of commercialism.
If romantic comedies perpetrated the notion that love is synonymous to candlelit dinners, exotic vacations, lavish surprise parties, mushy Facebook posts and long-stemmed red roses, try the less extravagant alternative of telling your loved one that they are beautiful when they are wearing pajamas and glasses, or that you are proud of them when they are reading The Economic Times and trying to explain to you the difference between bank rate and CRR or by eating the burnt rice they cooked simply because they made it.
While you don’t need a particular day to do any of this, let this Valentines Day be the beginning.
Let this Valentine Day be more about celebrating the small pleasures and less about the fleeting sensations.
Let this Valentine Day be just another day of appreciating your loved ones.
Let this Valentine Day be more about love and less about clichés...