Wikipedia says that Valentine’s Day was first introduced in India around 1992 due to channels like MTV. Perhaps! My wife and I, fossils that we now seem to be, started celebrating this day around 1986. It used to be a special day for us when we would reiterate our love for each other and exchange cards and go out for dinner. We stopped doing this around 10-15 years ago, not because our love ran out, but because the rampant commercialization completely took the sheen off.
Two years ago, on 14th February, I found myself spending the night at the Kolkata Hyatt. I went down alone for dinner to the Italian restaurant and to my horror the entire restaurant had been laid out for couples, with a special Valentine Day’s menu with little hearts on the table and heart-like ribbons on the chairs…I almost turned around but they found me a table a little further back, away from the kootchi-cooing couples and then thankfully removed all the “Valentine’s Day” stuff at my request. A little later a raucous Punjabi family of 10 landed up and took over 5 of those tables and for the first time in a long time, I was thankful to have loud diners next to me.
Anyway, this piece is about something else.
This year for the first time, I received Valentine’s Day greetings from people, both men and women, who are not my wife.
I have not replied. I don’t know how to. To me, Valentine’s Day is a day when you romance your girl-friend or wife. It is a day when you greet that one special person (or more, if you are Casanova and can handle so many) and make him/her feel more important than the rest of the world. If you send a general Happy Valentine’s Day greeting to a bunch of friends or as happens these days, multiple WhatsApp groups, it would mean that you think everyone in that group to be “special”. Which is not a bad idea in itself, but somehow I don’t think that is what Valentine’s Day is all about.
The people who wished me are good friends. I am sure some of them will read this. If you are reading this, please don’t get upset or mad at me. I am just trying to explain why I didn’t wish you back.
For me, Valentine’s Day is a special day. A day on which I would wish only that one special person in my life who I am in love with. It also means that I would not send a general Valentine’s Day greeting to a WhatsApp group or post on Facebook or tweet or reply to those greetings as well.
Some things are meant to remain private and personal. For me, a Valentine’s Day greeting is one of them!!!