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Do we need Valentine’s Day and all those other Days to remind us to be loving, affectionate, human? Feb 14, 2012

I have no opinion about Valentine’s Day and am terribly amused at the brouhaha around it every year. When we were young, at the age when romance was always in the air, V-Day was no big deal except for a few guy vaguely carrying some cards and flowers around for a special someone.

In SPA (alma mater, School of Planning and Architecture), we thought of V-Day as a distinctly DU (Delhi University) affair and therefore we looked down on it with disdain and sniggered at newspaper reports and stories that filtered through via siblings and friends who went to regular university. One year, I think it was 2nd year (when our batch saw the most number of romances), we went around college shouting out “Valentino Baba Ki Jai” in the manner of a crowd praising a Hindu God-man, with garlands etc. The slogan was doubly funny because one of our classmates was called Valentino (many of us would remember him as Valte).

Aside: Many decriers of Valentine’s Day claim it wasn’t about romantic love. Apparently, that’s not true. Originally a mere feast to early Christian martyrs, Valentine’s Day has been about romantic love since the 15th Century, traditionally celebrated by giving personalized, hand written poems and notes to your beloved. In recent times, these have been commercialized by the greeting card industry and then the Internet e-card and gift industry! I remember family members reading out Valentine notes to each other in Louisa May Alcott’s quaint book ‘The Little Women’ and that may have contributed to my personal notion of associating V-Day with familial and filial bonds and friendship in general!

In the years since, as the hype around this day has grown, Rahul and me have an unspoken understanding that we aren’t going to jostle with the young ones to catch a movie or candlelight dinner on V-Day. We celebrate it in our own low-key way, some years, when we happen to be in the same city and sometimes not at all. After all, any day is good for romance, isn’t it?

I, like many others, question this new trend of having designated days to celebrate everything—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Daughter’s Day, Womens’ Day, days to step up the fight against specific diseases, Doctor’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Science Day, etc. The last two, commemorating S Radhakrishnan and CV Raman, I at least know the origins of; the rest, I haven’t a clue where they came from! Why do we need a day to remember to be nice to mom, buy a gift for dad, give an extra kiss to your daughter, make a card for your teacher, thank God for being healthy? Is it really a conspiracy started by the greeting card companies of the world to make a quick buck? Or is it a sign of deteriorating relationships in the modern world, where we really do need reminders to carry out ordinary gestures of kindness and love. That is a horrifying thought indeed!

Honestly, I don’t actually know anyone who keeps track of and does anything about any of these days (except V-Day perhaps, which now officially un-ignorable!). Only the media endlessly publishes articles reminding us about these occasions and even telling us what various celebs (usually persona non-grata for most of us) do for these occasions! And since I don’t believe a word of what the celebs say to the press (we don’t even know if they actually did say it!), I can safely assume that the media only prints this stuff to fill space, people don’t really need a Mother’s Day to love their mother, and all’s well with the world!

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