I grew up in Kerala, India without really knowing about Valentine’s day. In fact the only things being celebrated in the west that I was aware of was Christmas and New Year and Easter. None of the other days were known to me. You could call it my lack of reading. Now it looks like everything has a day for itself.
The first time I had any hint of such a thing as Valentine’s day was during college in 1989-1993. There was this event called Rose Day which was hosted by a few students in the college. The idea was that you can give a rose to anyone you like in the campus with a note of the feeling and they will deliver it to the person for a fee of 5 Rupees. I was part of the left bandwagon in campus and I was told this is not a nice thing to do. That was the left sentiment back then I guess.
The rationale was – what will all those people who do not get a rose feel. We should not accept this discrimination. It was also said these were the dark hands of capitalism and consumerism getting its strong hold on our world.
Some of my friends even said this will be a Juice day where you can buy someone a juice by paying. I supported the counter to rose day with all my heart and might. We cannot allow the rose day.. no way… I don’t know if anyone made any money. But if I remember at the end the two events clashed and ended in unsweet terms.
Fast Forward several years and I came to America and by then America had also come to India through TV and Internet and everyone was talking about Valentine’s day everywhere. I too started celebrating it. But every time I celebrate I am reminded of the time when I opposed the public acknowledgment of that celebration of love. Just to remind myself of my stupidity.
Today I even see myself in the eyes of those who are against Valentine’s day in India for a whole different set of reasons. This time culture instead of Capitalism and consumerism. They also drag the poor cow into the picture. The left on the other hand is on the side of Valentine’s day like they were always part of this celebration. I smile because I know how vehemently I opposed it during my days in college.
I have come to think that there were many people back then and now who do not like others having a good time together. Love makes them uncomfortable. It scares them. It is never about culture or capitalism or consumerism. It is just that some people just feel life is always serious and there should be no fun. That fun, love and all such expressions are a waste of time.
I want to write this because I think we all should realize how we have changed. I am sure some valentine’s day proponents of my college days might now be Gorakshaks promoting cow hug day and acting as saviors of culture who want Valentine’s day banned. We all change.
I am also writing this to remind me that many things we do in the present will change over time as our perceptions change. I have over time stopped celebrating Valentine’s day in its fullness because I felt it was too much expectation and ritualistic and borders on a burden. I think Love needs to be free…. it should just flow free to anyone and everyone…. Untied and unchained with no expectation from anyone…
Also some people only allow only the kind of love they can accept. No one is really free.. they just have an illusion. Including me. All we can do is keep making ourself uncomfortable with utmost honesty and transparency. Push ourselves to the limits of our comfort zones and accept how difficult and wrong we can be at times. Be humble thinking about that….
I will change again because that is one thing I cannot help not do. So Happy Valentine’s Day to you all !
Categories: Random Thoughts
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