Love it or hate it, V Day exists, with different meanings.
As a working professional and mother of two young kids, I am on the clichéd treadmill of life. Caught in the whirl of school, office and home, romantic love is usually not even a blink on my radar. I go for movies with my husband because we think it will be an interesting movie, not because the outing has connotations of romance and dating. It’s the stage of life we are in. A neighbour of similar demographic was telling me how rarely they all manage to go out for dinner, as her younger child is still a baby.
“What about just you and your husband?”I asked. She laughed out loud. “A year ago my husband and I went out alone, but we spoke about household stuff through the evening, and discovered that there’s nothing to be said which you can’t say at home.”
The entire circus of diamond gifting, dinner reservations, Archies and Hallmark cards, doing something special with your partner.…to me, the love-romance-Valentine gig is something happening on another planet to another species.
But there was a time when it meant a whole lot. To me, and much of the 180 hormone-ridden students of our MBA batch. For those two years, on February 14th, spring was in the air and the thoughts of the young men and women turned to love and dinner dates. The sex ratio on an MBA campus being heavily skewed, the most modest of women knew that if they wanted male attention it would be available in this place, on this day. The plainest of men woke up on Feb 14th bolder and more confident in the knowledge that this was the best day to strike. The sheer atmosphere would tilt the odds in their favour and someone, maybe even the campus hottie, just might respond. The sombre red brick buildings of the revered campus could well have been a tropical jungle, where birds showed off their plumage and did a mating dance. Matters of grave import affecting the future of corporate India were set aside for a chance to participate in nature’s most primal game.
Back in the dorm the girls got into giggling fits reading aloud the notes that would have been passed to them in class. Some would be anonymous — a single red rose and a card left at the girl’s door, expressions of an anguished, confused love that dared not speak its name. Delicious hours were spent speculating whether the sender was the shortie from D5 or the D8 lungi wearer. In the mess we’d keep a close watch for any tell tale signs. Ah! D5 shortie turned his head just a bit towards us. What did I tell you!
And then it would be evening. The lucky ones had definite plans. The rest just helped the lucky ones dress up. I remember how two of us on our floor helped another friend wear a parrot green silk saree while the young man she was going out with, paced restlessly outside. He had borrowed a bike for the occasion and was all set to take her to an ethnic dining experience on the city’s outskirts. The shine in the silk matched the sparkle in her eyes; she giggled as we all stepped out, at once awkward and excited. Her beau took a look at her and said softly “Wow, it was worth the wait.” Then he dashed off to his dorm to change from jeans to something more worthy of her.
In a new life, I am now responsible for a business where V-Day is a revenue opportunity. I urge my team to sell more V-Day greetings. I think up stuff like giving free gifts for the big spenders. I read an ad about a V-day scheme and wonder how much money they will make through this. So, perhaps,
I was wrong. V-Day still means a lot to me. It’s just that the equations are different.
[The writer works in the corporate world]