Desi love or pyaar has always been something that we have all had to approach like we’re tip-toeing. Quietly, slowly, without others noticing, else log kya kahenge? Valentine’s Day, however, gave that added courage to confess our love. I can almost hear lovers across the country saying, “chal aaj bol hi dete hain.”
How did we go about experiencing Valentine’s Day? We start with our fair share of trial and error experiments at the best place possible – school. The one place we learn about the dynamics of pyaar more than we learn anything else. So apart from the obvious, what are the elements that feature in a Desi Valentine’s day?
In school be it any occasion, birthdays or otherwise, an Archies card always managed to make its way to the venue. No different in the case of Valentine’s day either. But on V-day at school, this card was carefully kept in a backpack, between notebooks away from the prying eyes of your bench-mate or worse, away from the gang of boys in school who will definitely make life hell if they find the card.
The one day of the year we do business with our local florist and all that we purchase is one measly rose. Not our fault, blame pop-culture.
But a rose in school for your Valentine meant that you’re serious about whatever it is that you had in mind. Even if it was puppy love, this was some serious puppy love. Hold that thought.
A shout-out to all our readers who are today with their high-school sweethearts. Props to you!
Combine this rose with a box of chocolates and you brought your A-game to school. Next, hope s/he says yes.
As mentioned earlier, there is always that gang of guys who have switched on their Romeo Radar on V-day. Their ability to spot a love-struck classmate, say inappropriate things and successfully embarrass people doubles on Valentine’s Day. When you think the coast is clear and that you can finally approach your crush with your gifts, poof! They will magically appear like Vishnu did when the elephant Gajendra was about to die. Except, they are of no help. In fact, they will place you in the deathly clutches of humiliation, for which they are the primary cause. Despite all of this, you still hope s/he will say yes.
If you are friends with them, we are sure that at least one of these guys still remind you of your crush from school and won’t save you the embarrassment even today. Tag them!
The only dining experience pocket money allowed back then was whatever was available in the canteen. You could take it or leave it! But all efforts had to be made to make this day special, so you take this opportunity. Maggi, chaat and milkshake became an integral part of your ‘dates’ and laid the foundation of whatever love-life you managed to have despite our unique Desi impediments.
Fast forward a few years and there were different impediments. One of them was..
Indian parents experience the same kind of panic we do when a question in the exam is out of syllabus. An offspring falling in love was never covered in the ‘Handbook for Desi Parenting’. So they panic and use a an argument that was created by one parent and went around like Chinese whisper to all other parents. At this point it makes no sense. They say that much like Valentine’s Day, love is a western concept divulging from our sanskaar and hence “yeh pyaar-shyaar abhi kyun? Puri zindagi padi hain pyaar karne ke liye.” (P.s. this could also be code for that they’ll figure out your pyaar for you themselves, in other words, arranged marriage) And so, like other dreams you stow your dream to fall in love in a box that you can’t open until you’ve achieved other things. You hope that whenever you open the box and decide to confess your pyaar, perhaps on V-day, s/he will say yes.
Impediments aside, Valentine’s day looks different now. When we were younger, we looked around us to find couples with cupid’s arrow in them and sense that love was in the air. With social media as an added element, all you need to do is bend your head down, create an unhealthy text-neck and peer into your phone. The intensity of love can be felt in the posts based on the hashtags used, ranging from #together4eva (albeit, they might have been dating for two weeks) to #foreveralone.
But for a moment, let’s get out of social media and try and picture a real scenario. If there was a Desi couple where both of them are ready to get married but are lazy to organize and conduct any of the rituals, what should they do? It’s pretty simple really. They need to go to a park, hold hands and do anything that would suggest that they are lovers. Then they need to wait for members of a social-political party to find them and do the rest for them. This is truly a unique element to the Desi Valentine’s Day experience.
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