Today morning in The Times of India I read an article about a boy who has been arrested in Jaipur for illegally appearing as a proxy candidate in a medical examination in the army recruitment process, for another candidate. He was caught when the astute army recruiters noticed the discrepancies in his signature and the signature of the actual candidate. He had been offered 5000 rupees for the job, and he had readily accepted the same as he wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend in style. He had previously been depressed for not being able to afford gifts for his girlfriend. Now his affection for her has landed him in jail. What do you say to ‘Love’ like that?
What’s ironic is that this incident occurs in a country where certain right-wing activists have already forbidden all Indian couples from celebrating a West-inspired festival. Any couples found roaming in the streets, holding hands or exchanging gifts and roses shall be forcibly married!
Not that this has in anyway deterred lovers or marketeers, for you see:
Love triumphs all. And if not love then definitely cash.
Storefronts, window displays, spam emails, billboards, hoardings and TVCs are all busy advocating the message of love and busy arguing over which branded chocolate, which diamond cut, which neck tie and what oversized teddy best screams L.O.V.E.
Love is definitely in the air, and so is consumerism!
Valentine day offers galore – from candlelight dinners in posh restaurants, themed cakes (and its expensive, younger sister – cupcake), chocolate boxes, helicopter rides, diamond rings (or bracelets or pendants…girls aren’t really picky when it comes to diamonds), rose boquets and fluffy teddy bears – everything you need to give your date and your wallet a day they can never forget! Newspapers and magazines publish articles on what to wear to allure your date, the list of the most expensive and hence most romantic restaurants in the city and which coloured rose conveys what.
Which brings us to the question – Is this all that Love is supposed to be? While there is nothing wrong in organizing a special day for your special one why enter a rat race with the rest of the world for that? Your love for him or her should be what matters, not the carats of the diamond ring. Amidst the riff-raff of cosumerist and materialist gifts it takes a lot of effort to find love. How is it love if he spends more than he can afford to get you a gift on Valentine’s Day, but fights with you and hits you the rest of the year? Even if he is a sweet, caring boyfriend, will he not resent you for burning a hole in his pocket? How is it love if you let it happen?
There is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day, but it is important to remember what one is celebrating is not a Western festival rooted in consumerism and materialism but your love for each other. The dozen expensive roses shall wilt in a day. The box of chocolates shall be eaten and digested. The teddy bear shall lie in a corner, gathering dust and in the age of tiny apartments you shall curse it as a waste of space at least once. What shall remain is the sweet fragrance of cherished sweet moments spent together. And that’s what this is all about.
Once upon a time people were ready to die for their lover. The generation now is more pragmatic. They are ready to go to jail in their attempts to organize a special Valentine’s Day for their lover.