Valentine’s Day – the Desi way

February 14th and it’s time to celebrate Valentine’s day. Every year close to the occasion, or maybe much earlier, boys and girls mostly in the teens and newly married couples eagerly await the occasion to express their romantic feelings or how much they love, to the opposite half. In modern times the fever has caught on to people of any age and you can find couples exchanging from hugs with sweet nothings to expensive gifts almost akin to a festival.

There are several stories linked to the event but maybe the most popular one goes somewhat like this. Saint Valentine of Rome used to perform weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and also conducting for Christians who were persecuted by the Roman emperors. Legend has it that he healed the daughter of his jailor, Asterius, when he was imprisoned and before he was executed wrote to her and signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. Maybe it caught on from that time as a silent romantic act. Today, it is observed in several churches as St.Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day as a mark of respect for this saint of kindly deeds.

Others have it that the romantic angle got introduced somewhere in the eighteenth century when poets of the Middle Ages in England wrote poems about love and romance and suitors thought it as suitable occasion to present flowers and confectionery with the heart as a symbol. It has stuck on till this day in all parts of the world for those inclined, to exchange romantic feelings, greeting cards and all sorts of expensive gifts and presents to celebrate St.Valentine’s Day and make it memorable.

Here are certain modern day tidbits and statistics, concerning Valentine’s Day.

– Roses and Chocolates in satin and heart shaped boxes in the second part of the twentieth century gave way to more costly items like jewelry, especially diamond ones.

– Greeting cards sent total up to a billion each year just for this occasion, with recipients other than husband or wife being mostly children and teachers.

– Internet has spawned in this decade digital creations of Valentine’s Day messages that could be printed or sent as e-mail or love coupons. The US foremost in this cultural celebration of this day alone has e-valentines to the tune of 20 million plus.

India is one among the foremost countries in Asia that includes China, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, to imbibe this pop-culture from the US. Celebrated in different ways, young boys and girls wish each other and accompany each other for the whole day at frequented haunts for the young. The newly married could visit restaurants and make it to the movies while the slightly older or the more reserved types could restrict themselves to celebrations at home or at mutual types at their homes.

Though entering in the late eighties the idea of celebrating as a festival caught on more towards the turn of the millennium. Enjoyed by young boys and girls in urban areas mostly the cosmos and big cities, taking it as an excuse to give vocal expression to their feelings unabashedly, certain unsavory incidents have also occurred as a result of unwanted display of physical overtures on the part of unrestrained youngsters throwing caution to the winds.

Certain political parties have treated this as a foreign invasion on Indian culture and moral sensibilities and there have been ridiculous postures of ‘moral policing’ without coming out with what actually affected them, through physical violence and other atrocities inflicted on those found ‘crossing the limit’. (God alone knows what that limit is.).

Today with a lot of media and information barrage, Valentine’s Day has come to be a regular celebration of sorts.

It is romance for the youngsters, revenue boost for service providers, customer influx for public eating places and malls, added sales for shopping venues, action time for the ‘Moral Brigade’ and ‘a big headache’ for the law enforcing agencies.

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