It is that time of the year again when the shops dress up to impress, malls give out discounts to lure couples and teddy bears become a common sight, but not in toy stores. Come February, and the need to look good and attractive is felt not by people alone. Just like any other festival, it is time for the highly commercialised Valentine's Day. If a day wasn't enough, there is now an entire week dedicated to displaying love. I would not be stating anything new if I call Valentine's Day, a carefully crafted marketing strategy of the gift stores. It has worked wonders for them. From initial days of Valentine's Day greeting cards to now customised gifts to holiday plans, the commercialisation is on point.
To a generation of seeking too much information but comprehending very less of it, we don't think twice before exchanging Valentine's Day greetings and wishes. But who was Saint Valentine and why February 14? Why is he validating the bond of couples all over? To give you that brief information, Saint Valentine, a priest from Rome helped a lot of secret lovers to get married. Then Emperor Claudius II did not allow single men to marry because they made better soldiers. St. Valentine understood the injustice of the decree and helped to perform marriages for young couples. When Claudius found out, he was put to death. So yes, a celebration of love actually denotes death.
History aside, let us come to the present. The celebration of love has become extravagant. A small, simple emotion of liking, caring for someone and expressing it has become jazzy in more than one ways. Offering a red rose has become an opportunity to cash on for florists, gifting a bar of chocolate has established into fancy chocolate boxes, cakes, desserts etc, dinner dates have evolved into exclusive discounted rates affair. When did emotions turn into a business? Albeit, a successful one.
Having a date on Valentine's Day or showering them with gifts (read love) has become a status symbol. Couples tend to feel an edge over the other single beings out there, who would rather go reclusive as the showy display of love surrounds them. Suddenly, being in a relationship is promoted as a source of happiness. A well-structured, carefully crafted strategy to 'endorse' love over embracing it. Single on Valentine's Day 2019? Creating Funny Memes to Joining Bajrang Dal, Here's What You Can Do to Enjoy Your Singlehood.
I am sure, there are many happy couples out there who would be looking right through all these rose-tinted celebrations and yet being happy, without being a part of the bandwagon. They would rather indulge in such celebrations on each other's birthdays or ring in anniversaries. Because that is 'your' day. That date means something to both of you together. What is the fun in this forced sort of a romance that was reinforced in pop culture and continues to be carried on?
To conclude, I have nothing against those who are out there indulging in their crazy display of love. But it would be great if we could spare a thought or two about what and where the lack of love, wrong kind of love and forced love is driving people. Why do we still not advocate self-love as a right thing to do, as much as we stress on having a partner and eventually settling down? Why do we not promote love towards animals as much as we chase someone for our individual support? Why do we not address same-sex love with equal measure as much as we cheer the opposite-sex love stories? Love is love, right? So from when did it need a commercial date to symbolise? It is time we embrace real love, one that goes beyond a specific date to be cherished and celebrated.