Valentine Karma!

Valentine’s Day is over. What a relief! Till Valentine’s Day all that I kept seeing was red everywhere. Now. Now. Don’t imagine red bloodshot eyes fuming with anger. Valentine season always brings with it red hearts, rising passions everywhere – in newspapers, on the net, on hoardings, on the radio!

“Nothing wrong in that” you might say.
“After all, red hearts remind one of the beautiful emotion that makes you float on clouds!”
True. But, too much of red-hot (sorry hearts) hovering above and around can make you dizzy. And that’s surely not healthy news for the heart!  Even Saint Valentine might have been flattered had he been alive today, to witness the frenzy his act of uniting lovers in holy matrimony has become. On the other hand, he might have also twisted and turned in his grave to see how commercialized the day named after him has become today. Be it the programmes that we all watch on television to the latest albums that appear in the market in honour of Valentine’s Day- everything seems to be possessed by the Valentine mania. Almost everything caters to the ‘business of expressing love’.

What started off as an act of kindness for forsaken lovers, has over the years transformed into a large scale industry with companies doing brisk business churning out cards that express mushy emotions for your loved one. Not stopping at that, there are innumerable gift shops catering to the sweet tooth of women selling attractively packed chocolate boxes and candies. Then, there are the perfumes, lingerie, heart-shaped balloons, teddy bears and of course red roses vying for equal attention! Not to leave behind the DVDS, skin lotions, wine, expensive jewellery and of course the parties that supposedly add to the charm of Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day today, in India, is no longer a revolution. If you do not want to be left out you better be part of this jumble-bumble of expressing love on one particular day. (As if to say other days are far too insignificant to drown in love!) So, who wants to be left behind! Aimlessly, Valentine’s Day is celebrated fanning the flames of love that convinces youngsters (even older people today) that love can be expressed only in the Valentine manner. No other way!  That’s the mantra for the mobile totting, SMS messaging generation of today. Sex today is not limited to committed relationships. Love today is not an undying emotion for one person. It is an urgent instinct to be satiated. No wonder Valentine’s Day comes as a blessing in disguise for the young impulsive western-lifestyle brainwashed youngsters. Why! Even China has jumped into the foray!

No wonder Roman Emperor Claudius had to adopt an entirely different mantra when faced with the ‘basic instinct’ of humans. Helpless before the carnal desires of his soldiers, the chap just went ahead and banned weddings! Attraction towards the opposite sex subsequently followed by the desire to make love is no modern discovery. It has been in existence from the time Adam and Eve began their journey of procreation. So, during the period of Claudius, when the ban was imposed, there emerged an angel in the form of the priest Saint Valentine who helped the soldiers in the Roman Emperor’s army by getting them married so that they could enjoy the fruits of love before they embarked on their battle duties.

The celebration of Valentine’s Day in the month of February has its roots I gather, in the age-old belief that this particular month was a time of mating for all sorts of creatures in the universe. Carnivals and festivals were conducted during this time attracting both men and women from afar. Very much like our weddings and festivals wherein boys and girls pick up opportunities to get to know each other and begin a possible relationship. History has it that during the period of Saint Valentine a festival used to be celebrated in honour of Juno the Roman goddess of women and marriage. A part of the custom that is said to have prevailed then was celebrating the God of Fertility with women gathered writing love letters and casting them in a large urn.  The letters would be picked up at random and the man picking up the name of a woman would woo her throughout the year!

‘From Your Valentine’ were the last words that Saint Valentine had written in his cell to the jailor’s blind daughter after having been jailed for infuriating Emperor Claudius for conducting marriages on the sly in spite of the ban laid on marriages. These words gained immense popularity after his death and are still being used by lovers the world over. Valentine’s Day has become such a popular phenomenon everywhere that many couples plan their engagements and weddings on Valentine’s Day. Adolescent school children are greatly excited by such events giving scant importance to the traditional festivals that we have in our own families, communities and country all because this day has gained a yuppie status.
“What is acceptable abroad has to be good na?” is the common refrain.
“It is a ‘cool’ way of expressing love,” you are told again.
Don’t get me wrong. I definitely do not belong to any fanatic Hindu organization forcing its views down the throat of democratic India. Nor am I part of groups that have recently made rules to catch hold of couples found in public places including ‘zoos’ and get them married! It’ s only that people celebrating this ‘special’ day never pause to wonder the insignificance of the celebration. I agree that anything that is good and harmless anywhere in the world can be acknowledged and accepted. That is fine. But, is there any need for the hype and hysteria that Valentine’s Day whips up? Can we not appreciate and incorporate this day (if it has become so indispensable!) into our lives with less drama and foolish behaviour? Can we not use this day to express our affection not just for lovers but also show our thoughts of consideration for all those who matter to us irrespective of age and sex? Our families, our friends -the list is endless. We gain good karma too in the process – mind you!

An afterthought: Do we really need a day to show that we love and care? Can we not do tiny actions of caring everyday instead of waiting for this one day in the year to express love and kindness?  Saint Valentine would have also wished it that way. I am sure.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Everyday!

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Valentine Karma!

  1. Dear Shail, a really thought provoking blog.Yes,today,Valentine’s Day has sadly become increasingly commercialized. TV and magazine ads depict models with perfect bodies and perfect teeth giving each other chocolates,jewelry and back-rubs. The message is loud and clear : “Your love is measured by what you buy.”

    We need to realize that ultimately,Valentine’s Day cards are thrown away, roses wilt and die, candy is eaten, but the feelings you have for the other person are the one thing that you won’t forget.I therefore suggest that if you wish, buy that card or those flowers, but keep in mind that this is not a maker or breaker of a relationships.Better still, show your partner / family members all the love and consideration in the remaining 364 days of the year.It will make a far greater impact than doing so only on one day ie 14th February.

    J S BROCA
    Retired Chief Manager
    Bank of India
    New Delhi

  2. Great piece Shail. Agree 100% with you here. Lets try and make everyday a valentine’s for the ones we love. That is if there is someone specia in our lives.

  3. J S Broca :
    Dear Shail, a really thought provoking blog.Yes,today,Valentine’s Day has sadly become increasingly commercialized. TV and magazine ads depict models with perfect bodies and perfect teeth giving each other chocolates,jewelry and back-rubs. The message is loud and clear : “Your love is measured by what you buy.”
    We need to realize that ultimately,Valentine’s Day cards are thrown away, roses wilt and die, candy is eaten, but the feelings you have for the other person are the one thing that you won’t forget.I therefore suggest that if you wish, buy that card or those flowers, but keep in mind that this is not a maker or breaker of a relationships.Better still, show your partner / family members all the love and consideration in the remaining 364 days of the year.It will make a far greater impact than doing so only on one day ie 14th February.
    J S BROCA

    Dear Jatinder,
    Nice to have your response first. Yes, Valentine’s Day is all hyped up. That’s why I did not want to post this write-up early on in the day. Although I am all for expressing love and affection for loved ones. But certainly not in the current trend of the superficial manner.

  4. Ashwathy :
    True…the commercialisation of this day… has turned it into a sham…rather than the spirit for which it was started!

    Hi Ashwathy,

    I agree. A sham indeed. And what a pity for such a lovely and beautiful emotion as love.

  5. budhaaah :
    Great piece Shail. Agree 100% with you here. Lets try and make everyday a valentine’s for the ones we love. That is if there is someone specia in our lives.

    Hi Budaaah,
    Someone, somewhere will always be there, be it in the family, outside the family, even a pleasant acquaintance. I believe that we cannot believe in a tomorrow that is a probability. So, spread love, share affection but don’t make it superficial.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Good thought provoking one Shail. This day is more of a marketing gimmick and the business done during this period is nearly Rs.12000 cr. I have seen even school students moving around beaches in our area without attending school. The media is adding to the hysteria with prominent coverage of this day. What to do?

  7. Very interesting blog. The Filipinos we used to sail with used Valentine’s Day to express their affection towards all: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and relatives.I guess they had the right idea and approach to this day.
    BTW V day should be renamed Villain-times day for all the over-hype and marketing strategies!

  8. I also acknowledge the thoughts you had poured down here, Shail.
    Pure commercialization, nothing else.
    One day is not enough to show anybody your love, be it to your family or friends..

  9. A.Hari :
    Good thought provoking one Shail. This day is more of a marketing gimmick and the business done during this period is nearly Rs.12000 cr. I have seen even school students moving around beaches in our area without attending school. The media is adding to the hysteria with prominent coverage of this day. What to do?

    Hi Hari.
    Thanks. Yes, although I am part of the media myself, I do agree that the media is the culprit in a big way in hyping up something which doesn’t need that much importance. A real pity. Really!

  10. Beyniaz Edulji :
    Very interesting blog. The Filipinos we used to sail with used Valentine’s Day to express their affection towards all: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and relatives.I guess they had the right idea and approach to this day.
    BTW V day should be renamed Villain-times day for all the over-hype and marketing strategies!

    Dear Beyni,
    I cannot but agree. Ha ha! Villain-times you say. Or maybe, Villi times as in Tamil for the Tamil vamps!
    The hype is unwarranted I agree…
    As if to say love would stay unexpressed if Valentine’s Day wasn’t there!

  11. Bhargavi :
    I also acknowledge the thoughts you had poured down here, Shail.
    Pure commercialization, nothing else.
    One day is not enough to show anybody your love, be it to your family or friends..

    Dear Bhargavi,

    Yes, one day is not enough to express your love but what to do in this age of fast moving emotions and life? At least because of this day, people are taking out time for their loved ones. At least, I would like to believe so.

  12. Your analysis is good and presentation is perfect. However,aAn after-effect is not in one’s control. Every body wants to take advantage of it – romantically, business-wise and whatever way it is possible. If it serves good, it is fine. Irrespective of any such day we do express our love and affection to people, though without presenting flowers, gifts etc.
    We can also think this way: some people get married in simple ceremonies, some in temples, some in Registrar’s office and still some in aeroplanes!

  13. Dear Sail, late in responding as usual. But this blog was a treat. Loved and endorsed every word writ. The hullabaloo over Valentine in India is perhaps the result of globalization. We enjoy the perks as well as the pains! Very thought provoking, informative and introspective blog!

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