It’s that time of the year when flower, chocolate and card shops start playing with your mind and emotions. It’s February Silly!! Also, now that we are increasingly living in a dual world of online and offline, where one overlaps the other quite harmoniously, Apps start enticing you with the umpteenth offers of cash-backs, discounts on purchases for  your loved ones- may be some heart shape box of dark, delectable chocolates, teddy bears for the young love and that ubiquitous Little Red Dress, symbolizing the Valentine’s Day spirit on your face- and hotels and restaurants make special arrangements to en-cash  ‘the day’. ‘Love’ becomes an earnest business. A simple day, which announced its grand arrival somewhere in the nineties, has since surreptitiously turned into a week-long affair starting with the Rose Day followed by Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Hug Day, Kiss Day and finishing with the grand Happy Valentine’s Day.

Now where does all that leave me?  Alright- let me blurt it out. I bow at the altar of enviousness as I see the youngsters making plans for the week. Where was all this freedom when I was younger (just trying to assert that I am still young, referring only to the ‘younger’ days! :D) I had heard the adage- Love may be blind but jealousy has 20-20 vision. May be that’s why I am experiencing all this exhilarating and animating happenings around, with much more clarity than I ever did. Should I feel guilty of this feeling! Well..Combine it with the saying ‘He who is not jealous is not in love’- this could purge me of the aforementioned thoughts, even though this feeling of love has long breezed past me.I am resentful as this new ‘liberated atmosphere’ around the V day is there, when I have got my head together, but my body is starting to fall apart.

It wasn’t long back (or was it so long back, I wonder) when a  guy in a Baraat giving extra attention to a girl made her heart  flutter, and  a short ‘love story’ would begin, with one extra Gulab Jamun served on the crush’s plate, only to end with an equal speed if not more, like the candy floss melting in the mouth, once the Baraat left. This book of short stories would add another chapter, written deftly only with the subtle glances, in high schools/colleges.

With no cell phones, FB or WhatsApp, Insta, Snap Chat etc, these stories turned into full-fledged novels only for a few indefatigable souls, who would cross the river of ‘non-communication’ through the bridges of Archie’s cards and may be a ‘cassette’ sneaked in the same envelop exchanged through a long route of friends’ friends’ friends . The songs were supposed to convey the feelings of the protagonists of the story.

 Most of them, however, could never gather the courage to tread the gallant path of ‘card exchange’ on Valentine’s Day or on any day. With ‘Simran ke Bauji’ being the role model for most of the fathers, 'Raj' and 'Simran' remained the silver screen characters only. ‘Simran ke Bauji’ ensured that these short love stories remained like the size of ‘challenge of writing 100 words stories’, you blink and it’s over! ‘Romance’ remained something which could be explored only in the matrimonial territory! In most of the cases these grounds proved to be quite unproductive vis-a vis romance! After few failed attempts, the die hard romantic out of the two, would give up and settle down to appreciate the other aspects of life and the life-partner!

Falling in the category where one settles down to appreciate the 'other aspects’ of life, with all the romance out of the window, I am in particular hostile towards this St. Valentine. What is ‘love’ anyway? Why this ‘kolaveri ’ around this simple thing? Isn’t it one of the many feelings like anger, sadness, euphoria etc! It is said that the love-struck couples have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates an intense rush of pleasure, essentially the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine.  Hello… And all this while I thought it’s about the heart! How naïve! Or Perhaps it is the case of sour grapes!

For the ones though, whose romance is as alive as a new born baby’s first cry, embrace it, celebrate it, for the simple reason that no reason is enough to count yourself blessed if you are in love. Happy valentine’s Week.. ! Naysayers, including me, can say whatever they want to. 

Copyright © Aradhana Mishra