Dearly beloved Valentine’s Day, we can only sigh and bite our lip under the mask. As we lay you down to rest this year, we imagine you in a group hug with the ghosts of Valentine’s Days past, all the late February-14s till 2020. Unlike you, they were a 24-hour mad swirl of cotton candy, balloons, strawberry pastries and red candles. They died as they lived, drinking and dancing to soppy playlists.
But you – you did not even get to open your eyes. It was like the world went from February 13 to February 15 with not even a ‘Missing’ poster of you on a wall. Was that you flying across our calendars in a PPE suit all a blur? Your ancestors came with good PR. They were flamboyantly celebrated in print by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Hallmark card makers. But this year saw no rose day or kiss day – only a date that went AWOL.
The concept of perfect love teases us all; we want what Ken and Barbie have. As long as Deepika-Ranveer, Anushka-Virat and Priyanka-Nick stay together, so must we. Couples are easily recognisable in public, staring at the food or the phone. The married ones address each other as ‘What?’ in exasperated tones; the unmarried ones are twitchy, waiting for chemistry to end in biology. Two timers just focus on calling the right person by the right name.
Until now boys and girls world over spent the whole week quivering in anticipation, waiting for you to arrive so they could accuse each other of not loving enough, of never having loved at all, of loving someone else as texts on a spied phone tend to reveal. It was the day love got mathematically taken apart into how much and how long. Heart-shaped cakes, fluffy toys, diamond rings and keys to new cars changed hands – which not only improved the optics of mating, but also the bottom lines of many a business.
Romeos would stay feverishly awake the previous night. Even if they bought the best gift, the most sparkling wine and that red, red rose that blooms only once in decades, they still had to surprise their Juliets the next day by topping what they did the year before. But this year no one blushed, stammered coyly or drew hearts. With Covid-struck Cupid in quarantine, V-Day, alas, never stood a chance. As we lay white lilies on your grave, we recall the red roses we bought at traffic lights to pretend someone gave them to us.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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