I know most people are already sick of reading about Valentines day and the mush that surrounds it. But I met a friend a few days ago and was all ready to rant about what a stupid holiday it was and how it was made for all the marketing gimmicks and jewellery sellers as their national day when she showed me something. But I’ll get to that a little later. Let me tell you about this friend first. Her name is Chanda. She’s been married for 4 years and has been dating the man for at least a hundred. She’s had many admirers and plenty of opportunites. But when that Love struck her, she decided to go with the flow and be in love with the same man forever. Yes, it’s a corny story but it’s a true one. And unlike the rest of us jaded married couple community, she has never had one complaint about how she did not love her husband. She may have complained once or twice about not being able to eat some non veg at home but to her, even that didn’t really matter. That’s how trivial it was. It isn’t as if she’s a doormat. She’s a successful investment banker, a highly educated woman, an extemely independent soul who can live on her own and whip any man’s ass. She’s creative, beautiful and funny with a strong leaning towards many causes for the downtrodden. And she taught me a lesson in love.
It was a warm wintery day when we sat at Moshe’s and had many a coffee and rich chocolate cake when she showed me the gift she was giving her husband on Valentines Day. It was wrapped in newspaper.
“You’re going to give newspaper?” I asked stupidly.
“No silly, I’m going to wrap the present in hand made paper but let me show you what it is first.”
It was a big collage of all the memories the couple had together from the time they met with coasters from their favourite restaurants, to photos of their favourite destinations to brochures from their honeymoon and their wedding snaps. It was bright, colourful and a bit much for an anti-love person like me.
“Um..Aren’t you a bit old for this kinda thing?” I asked sceptically.
She smiled and said, “Old? Love can never be old.”
“Oh shut up,” I said rolling my eyes. “Now you’re talking philosophy crazy!”
She laughed and hit me lightly, “I’m serious! You know how we keep complaining that the romance has gone from our marriage? Well…why don’t WE do something about it?”
“But Valentine’s day? Honestly? Isn’t that a bit corny?” I asked reiterating the fact that most people felt it was just a gimmick anyway.
Chanda took a sip of her coffee and shrugged her shoulder and said, “Why not? Here’s a perfectly good day to be mushy, to fall in love, to express love, to show you care, and do what your heart feels.”
I was still unconvinced, “Why can’t it be on any other day? Like the rest of the 364 days in a year?”
She leaned across the table and said, “Well do you…do you show your expression of love every day?” She waited for a response and when I said nothing she continued, “Exactly! Neither do most of the `junta’. So why not seize an opportunity on one day? It’s just ONE day of the whole year.”
“Not really,” I came in with my logic, “There’s your birthday, your anniversary, Christmas, Diwali…”
She interrupted me and added, “Those days you spend with many more people to celebrate joy, happiness and a tradition. You don’t celebrate just love. Just LOVE!”
“Well what about the people who are single? What do they do on this love day” I asked sarcastically to this righteous woman who was giving me, (a married woman for twelve years) a lecture.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s no different for them. Don’t they have someone to love who might not be their spouse, fiance or boyfriend? They can show it to that person. Why does it need to be sexual or between partners? It’s a day about sharing loving memories and creating new ones.”
“What about men? How should they celebrate if they’re single?”
“Well darling,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “Statistics show that the most number of mothers day cards are sold on valentines day!”
Well there you have it. My friend’s theory on love. And today, I’m not expecting a collage or flowers or that diamond ring. Because maybe it’s not about expecting and getting. It’s about loving and giving. And I… with all my independence and scepticism can at least do a nice gesture and take my special someone out for a memorable meal and make my Valentine happy. And all those single people who are wondering what to do? Do something nice for that one special person whom you love…maybe land up at their place with a nice bottle of wine for a memorable evening together.
Happy Valentines Day