My Indian Valentine

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, which, in the way it is celebrated in the West, makes single people feel like they shouldn’t be taking up space on the planet, and even those in relationships cringe with the burden of forced, commercialized rituals. Like a Hallmark holiday gone rogue, 14 February bulges everywhere with stuffed, heart-shaped pillows, teddy bears with that needy “hug me” plea, and an overindulgence of badly made chocolates. It’s enough to start resenting the very concept of love.

This year, I’m in a small Indian town, and it’s making me reconsider my antipathy towards the day. In true Indian fashion, Valentine’s Day has gotten coopted and remoulded in a way that suits us. Valentine’s Day here is not just, or even, about couples. It’s about family and friends. Dawn has barely cracked on this day, and I’ve been wished “Happy Valentine’s!” by my cousin while my homemaker neighbour has sent through a whatsapp greeting. The greeting, poignantly, educates me that love is not just the romantic, lustful version but the more ordinary type as well:

It’s love
When a little girl puts her energy to give
Dad a head
Massage…

…it’s love,
When ur friend holds ur hand tightly on a
Slippery
Road…

…it’s love,
When your brother messages you and
Asks did you reach home on time…

…luv is actually a name of “care”
Enjoy this Valentine with your family

Pretty neat. In a world that is going haywire with individual obsession and where people are forgetting they are part of a wider truth, this may be a timely redefinition. Valentine’s Day, to remind you that you are loved.

I can get on board with that.

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About Archana

I'm Indian and Canadian, and many other countries in between. I read comics every morning and believe the world could do with slowing down.
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