Monday, February 13, 2006

Smells Like Love, Or Something Like That

Somehow Valentine's Day never fails in rekindling my first love. Taken for granted, forgotten, abused, false-promises made, V-Day is a time for old flames and as I write I am getting those same old feelings. It has happened since I was in the 9th standard, and now I'm happy to see that 14th Feb has the same effect on this working professional. No matter how hard I try forgetting, this time of the year I can't help but WRITE. And St. Valentine's Day has served two purposes for years now. First bring us, me and writing, back together, no matter how far we might have moved and how estranged the relationship has become. Secondly I call it the maturity-meter, comparing the previous years or the one's before with the latest ones always throw up the changes in the way of thinking that crop up from one V-Day to another.

Sad part is that every year, including this one, I want to start the article with a major change, by believing in the efficacy of the day, but it seems I haven't succeeded in convincing myself one bit about it one bit. Anyway 07,08 and years after that will also have middle of February and maybe one day I will be enlightened about the importance of the day.

Valentine's Day means one thing for a majority of the people and hundreds of other things for the remaining minority. For me its a celebration of commercialism, branding and marketing. Feb 14 was no different for the average Indian from Feb 13 or Feb 15 (unless it happens it be his/her b'day) till the merchant of love, Yash Chopra used his favourite salesman, Shahrukh Khan in a movie called Dil To Pagal Hai in late 1997. Watching the movie in a gangtok theatre, the 14 year-old me was clueless about this 'heart balloon day'. In fact in those boring 'days' Independence Day and Republic Day were the only notable one's besides one's birthday. So now the nation of close to a billion came to know that there is this one day when you are supposed to love and express your love. Hadn't one 'semi-naked fakir' (Ref: Winston Churchill) taught us the same thing about a century ago? Ofcourse not, he wanted too much. He wanted all year long, no balloons, no cards and no one-upmanship in love either. Besides he went way over the top by asking for peace. Please bapuji, give us a break.

Compare an over-demanding, cranky, fashion 'un'conscious old man with the perfectly suited top-level executives of Multi-Nationals and even better looking actors and actresses. Whom would you believe? Ofocurse the latter. They are the one's who will lead you on in every aspect of life, including love.

And all along you thought that missing someone, holding hands, a kiss, a hug was love? How simplistic you tend to make love. Don't you see that these are things we all can do and do everyday. Love is no easy game, said the executives. We pricked up our ears. And they said

"So listen, you can love as much as you want all year, but the amount of love you show on the fourteenth day of February is what is the real thing. Do you really think that any self-respecting lover can let someone else go away with all the glory? Love is eternal, love is divine, love is about giving selflessly......"

Someone nervously said, "but sir, do I need to show my love on this particular day and is buying gifts necessary?"

The corporate head honchos glared at him. "So you are getting mercenary thoughts even when we are discussing an issue like Love??"

He meekly surrendered.

So since then it has been decided that on the 14th day of February, every year we shall celebrate our love for all things commercial and this day also marks the beginning of the emotion of love entering the market and working according to the laws of demand and supply and demonstration effect and other irrefutable laws of economics.

Thanks to all of you who helped in giving us this free commodity in a brand new product form, repackaged and redesigned, Come lets celebrate the commercialisation of Love.
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