In India, a ‘date’ on February 14 – Valentine’s Day — is fast becoming a barometer of social standing amongst the young. Like other western concepts, it has spread to the metropolitan areas and its cult status is largely fuelled by the youngsters. Today it’s almost an insult not to receive a rose or an invitation to be someone’s Valentine. The talk amongst new generation is all about who will be whose ‘Valentine’, who is getting how many flowers and cards, which restaurants are offering discounts and the gifts that would be flaunted the next morning.

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For 19 years old Swati, who is clueless about the origins of Valentine’s Day, means roses, chocolates, cards, a movie followed by dancing and a candlelight dinner with her boy friend. With an increasing population of teenagers, expressions of love are getting bigger by the day. At the same time, saying ‘I love you’ is no longer considered the exclusive preserve of an adolescence young boy or girl.

True meaning is twisted           

Nowadays the true meaning of Valentine’s Day has been appallingly exploited. A card saying ‘Be my Valentine’ is used an excuse to date anyone who fits your definition of attractive. A new date on each Valentine’s Day has become the new motto and expensive gifts a trademark. As such the card and gift industry is booming. Hotels and restaurants offering alluring nights for couples at an unaffordable price are increasing. Valentine’s Day, today, has become a symbol of flirtatiousness and the promotion of display. The tricks to charm a man have developed; the meaning of true love has perished. This day suffers the mockery of the word love, the very foundation of Valentine’s Day.

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Commercialisation of love

Valentine’s Day, a festival that was almost unknown in India two decades ago, has over the years emerged as one of the most controversial. Although Valentine is still a relatively new concept for many middle-class Indian families and perceived as a Western concept, but is fast becoming the fantasy of young Indians. The media has played a big role in promoting the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Newspapers are full of ads for restaurants and discotheques offering couple incentives and contests, TV channels air endless ‘Valentine Day Specials’ and music companies churn out the ‘mush melodies’.  You will see love in all malls and hypermarkets with big discounts and freebies being offered to couples. There are contests on radio, TV and the print to determine whose love is the strongest. All major brands and companies want to cash in on this day. Theatres, where the crowd generally flocks, offer discount schemes to attract couples.

Thanks to a commercialised urban culture, Valentine’s Day is now even more popular than traditional Indian festivals. Red roses, mushy greeting cards and chocolates are the external manifestations of love today. Is V-day more of a marketing gimmick to woo the youth?

It’s that time of the year when florists drastically increases their prices, heart-shaped boxes of candy dominate grocery stores, and pink heart shaped greeting cards line the aisles. While it still has the importance of showing affection, Valentine’s Day has become dominated by commercialism, destroying some of its meaning.

To the economy and commercialism, this is one of the days in the year when good profits can be made, and the shops will be bursting at the seams with all kinds of candies, trinkets, boxed chocolates, heart shaped items and a wide array of serious, and humorous, Valentines cards. The flower trade will boom, and the sales of the rose on this day will soar. Love might make the world go round but it is increasingly clear that lovers are sending profit margins straight up on Valentine’s Day.

Don’t restrict yourself

Should the expression of love be confined only to a single day? Or should love be celebrated every day. What is Valentine’s Day teaching our children? Can we buy someone’s love with a 100-rupee card or a bouquet of roses or a glitzy pendant? Love actually involves parents who love you, good friends who are there for you or siblings who admire you. February 14 should be the day you show all of them love.

We have become so busy that we need a ‘Day’ to celebrate each of our relationships.

It is a day dedicated to expression of love; a day when they would want to show their beloved how much they care. But do we need special days to greet our loved ones? Love should be expressed through action, not words. But few people think that more often than not, we take our loved ones for granted. So, a special day makes them feel happy.

It would be wrong to say that gifts have absolutely no impact on love. It may strengthen and broaden the fine thread that knit two tender hearts. Exchange of gifts is known to man since the days of Adam and Eve during the pre-earth days. But such exchange requires no appointed day!

Celebrate and Express

We all need love to live for, to smile and to cherish the moments for a lifetime. We actually love everything without paying much attention in our everyday lives. But when it comes to expressing it becomes slightly difficult to express our liking to someone special. We live in a typical conservative society where still we find it difficult to express our feelings in words and often forget that a little acknowledgment of love will do miraculously in the life of our loved ones, especially when we don’t have the time to interact and share even the small happenings of day-to-day life.

Valentine day is one such occasion to celebrate the feeling of love, to express oneself and to acknowledge to the world that you have someone worthy and beautiful to love for and to be loved by someone who is worthy. Valentine Day is just not the endorsement of some foreign culture as despite thought, it’s the day that gives us some beautiful moments to cherish beautiful relations, lovely memories for the future and immunity from the bondages of the world, because all that is in love.

Caught in this chaotic world, let’s make love a tool to bring smiles and peace. Let flowers do the wonder, let music enhance the atmosphere, let love notes make you smile, lets express love for a day because there are more than pains everywhere.

Categories: Features