Ok so it’s the time of the year where TV, radio, newspapers and magazines start harping about love. All the shops are coloured pink and red with merchandise and all the couples around you start planning dinners, gifts and what not.
Yes, Valentines’ Day is around the corner and although I haven’t been in Mumbai for the past 2 years, I haven’t been untouched by the pink phenomenon. In fact, the last two valentines’ days spent abroad have made me tolerant to the Mumbai Valentines’ Season!
In 2006, I was a desi student at University of Sussex. While the under-grads, changed their boyfriends every week and took periodical breaks from dating and coochie-cooing, it was sacrilege for them to be single around the second week of February. And those who didn’t bother with the dating through the year, miraculously pulled their heads out of their labs and libraries to check out other singles. All to ensure a date for Valentine’s Day!
My best friend at the Uni spent most of her year missing her boyfriend, but she didn’t make any bones about Valentines’ Day, one of the reasons why I love her so much. And I didn’t give a damn. I was busy with my thesis, my sister was going to arrive in a month and I had to save up for a grand French holiday. I’d rather damn the Valentines’ day. That was my Valentines’ in Brighton.
The year after that, I had moved with bag and baggage back to Mumbai and was visiting UK for my graduation. I extended my trip and was going to be in London for Valentines’ Day. Immediately, a couple of my friends concluded that I had got together with someone and wanted to celebrate the day with him. I didn’t need that lame an excuse to extend my stay in UK. I love that country. It was my home for almost 2 years.
But it was that valentines’ day that has made valentines’ season in Mumbai much bearable for me. Everywhere I went, there were people holding red roses. Every store’s window display was red and pink and hearts were in abundance. On the bus, tube and on the streets, everyone was kissing and whispering sweet nothings. I am sure, Cat Stevens was in London around the Valentines’ season when he wrote ‘Love is in the air’.
Some of the couples seemed genuinely sweet, but from my experience at the Uni, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these people were genuinely in love! Like my SRK says in a film called ‘Dil to Pagal hai’- How many of these people will even bother to see each other beyond this hyped celebration of love. Is it that, these same people may celebrate the next valentines’ with a different person in their arms?
By the time the Valentines’ season wound up in London, I was asked out by some 5 random men, I was tempted to buy myself a gift for bearing through this unbearably sweet celebration of love with gritted teeth and I realised that Valentines’ Day is the season to segregate those who are single by choice for this occasion and those who hook up to avoid being alone on 14th of February!
And yes, if you don’t hook up and do end up staying in with Tesco finest pre-cooked pasta and a glass of cheap wine- don’t worry the TV will remind you that the world outside rejoices being with someone by playing the mushiest films, mushiest videos and the mushiest episodes of popular television series.
The romance-cynic in me is happy! It’s the 3rd of Feb and nobody’s bothered to tell me that I need to be with someone this season… How I love Mumbai!