I don't exactly remember when Valentine's Day became a craze in India. Think it was around my late teens. It became a rage all of a sudden. All the pent up love from hormone rush was pouring all round us and there were us – a bewildered bunch, who spectacled this display of amour pretty much the same way cows look at moving traffic (in our country), with a bit of anticipation. Is there a secret admirer? Will I get flowers too? All of it remained a big secret as nobody ever… let's say manned up.
Then I graduated to college and first V – day there became quite a memory. Early morning the Indira block, entrance of our hostel looked like a huge flower shop and then there was a huge life size teddy bear waiting for some lucky girl. There was an explosion of romance in kinds. For us first years mostly coming from conservative families, with little or no exposure to this level of consumerism, it looked nothing less than wonderland. And, there were the excited girls who had come down to receive the flowers. Different tones and decibels of “aaawww”s rang everywhere around. There was jumping and hugging and few tears of joy too. Plans of evening followed — what am I going to wear? How I will do my hair? Which class I will bunk to get makeup done? And so on…
That year we singles formed our 'Lonely hearts' club'. We also planned the night out. First year was fun, as almost whole batch of girls and boys were there. So we did what we always did…. just goofed around. Subsequent years the Lonely hearts club just kept getting lonelier, as many of our patrons found company, our lot dwindled. We kept up with our dining out tradition. Our conversations became confused and thick with emotion. First, how lucky we were to have each other. Second, the couples- latest, cutest,unlikeliest, weirdest, etc… After sometime came resolutions. How we would turn a new leaf, or do a makeover and not land up here again… ever. Then came realization how happy we were being single — no drama, no fights, so much more time to focus on self and our hobbies.And, another round of how lucky we were to have each other… and hope nothing ever comes in between! (please God don't let me be the last one standing)
Phew! It was a relief to cross that date off from calendar.
In my final year, the unexpected happened. I had met my husband (now) just a couple of months before valentines day. He lived in another city, and honestly I didn't think anything serious would happen. I had long stopped going to the hostel entrance to check for flowers. My day passed like any other and I was told around tea time that a bunch of flowers waited at the entrance with my name on it. I brushed it off as prank….but went to check nevertheless. Yes I found the bunch of by-now wilted flower lying with the ones rejected (sent by undesired candidates). By then i was so conditioned to not getting flowers that i couldn't accept the fact. So I spewed venom on the remaining loyalists of lonely hearts club for playing me. It was only later at night when my husband called that I got to know it came from him (I had a hunch). That was my first and last time of getting flowers. I remained permanent member of Lonely Hearts' club, as we went for our traditional dinner out for the last time, before parted onto our different ways.
Indeed Lonely hearts' club holds a very special place. Every year since, on valentines day, I remember this special group with special fondness.
After I found my so-far-permanent valentine, my husband refused to become victim of this “farce ” created to “promote consumerism. “He is not ready to pay more for flowers on valentines day. Don't take me wrong, he isn't a miser…. rather he is quite a spender. But, this is against his rationality and principle. So, I still get flowers but with slight deviation from regular!
And,here is a glimpse of how we do it…