Is there any other day that makes you feel as big a loser as Valentine’s Day? After extensive research, we’ve come to the conclusion that February 14 is only eagerly awaited by a person in the first flush of love, when the chemical imbalance in her / his brain is matched by the same imbalance in the mind of the desired other. For all others, it is a day to be endured, ignored and quickly forgotten.
Or so we thought, till we realised that there are ways of celebrating even when there’s little to celebrate. Take a leaf from American pre-schoolers who mark Valentine's Day by handing out cards to teachers and classmates, or the people of Finland, who include parents and siblings in this celebration of love, and commemorate the day no matter what stage of relationship happiness (or misery) you are in.
Long-Term Shaadi or Relationship
From the point of view of everyone else, you are sitting pretty. After all, you have a significant other, and have managed to hang on to him or her past all complications and entanglements. But don’t worry; we’re going to keep your secret – that all the wild, blissful romantic moves you’ve seen and admired lately have all been either on paper or on screen. After all, how is it possible to stare into each other’s eyes when you need all four trained on your pesky brat? And how practical is a movie when all the cool ambience does is make you fall asleep instantly?
But never fear, this year, it’s not too late to devise a plan. Take a cue from the research studies that show that an injection of fun and adventure is the best way to fall in love with your partner all over again. So this V-Day, spend the day discovering an adventure activity that you have always wanted to pursue. From go-karting to skating and bungee-jumping to rollerblading, there’s an infinite variety to choose from.
That’s exactly what Maya D’Souza and her husband Akshay did when they signed on for a day trek to the Sahaydris in Maharashtra last year. "We’d never done anything like it before, and struggling up the hill together, waiting for each other to catch up and at the end of the day, massaging each other’s aching feet and calves was certainly an unusual way to spend February 14," laughs Maya.
Across The Seven
We know it’s particularly annoying to celebrate Valentine’s Day when you have a significant other who is physically absent, but there are ways to salvage the situation. Sure, there’s always the option of sending flowers, gifts and other tokens via the mail, and having a long conversation on the phone, but that is so last century. Instead, try and teleport yourself into your loved one’s home (or room) via the magic of the Internet, and seal the deal.
Celebrity blogger Malini Agarwal didn’t let a two-year separation from her boyfriend (now husband) Nowshad stop her from making Valentine’s Day special. "We would have Skype dates," she explains. "One year, we both dressed up, despite being in different time zones (India and the US) and ate a meal together. Another time, we watched a movie on Skype – one of us turned our laptop screen to face the TV. We also had other dates, when we played Battleships and Scrabble via video chat."
There’s another way of reaching out. In this age, when one can Google ‘passionate love letter’ and get 12,700,000 results in .41 seconds, a long outpouring of your thoughts and feelings, in your own handwriting, sent via snail mail, can be a very intimate gift indeed.
The Single Situation
Feeling singled out as the only person in the world who doesn't have a date for V-Day? Don’t crouch in a corner and resort to the usual strategy of pretending the day doesn’t exist or that you don’t believe in it (when you secretly do). Rather, come out with all guns blazing – and work out a plan – so you can mark the day and look forward to it.
Our recommendation? A ‘one plus one’ party, where a group of single people who are friends bring along at least one other single person to a party that is well-planned and rocks the night away. Find the friend with the largest living room (and balcony), book a caterer and bartender, set up a romance-neutral but bright and cheery ambience, devise fun party games and prepare to enjoy Valentine’s Day.
You never know, someone may just find their mate, but even if that doesn’t happen, you all will have had a fun time, and will have a great answer to the question – ‘So what did you do yesterday?’
Just Broken Up
So what if s/he just wasn’t into you? There’s no reason to let a break-up derail your right to a happy Valentine’s Day. If you are not up to joining the singletons at a ‘one plus one’ party, February 14 can still be about the most important person in your life – you.
Five years ago, banker Tripti Purohit didn’t let the fact of her break-up seven months before Valentine’s Day ruin the moment for her. "I went to the spa and got a pedicure and manicure – then I spent the day shopping for clothes and books – and in the evening read a Robin Cook novel all night," she confides.
If you’re a guy who has just let go of a relationship, here’s some good medicine. Jump into the driving seat of your car or bike, sign up some friends, and take off on a road trip, preferably to a destination that’s very (ahem) wet. A night out with old friends is just the ticket to put yourself in a positive frame of mind, and get the ball rolling again.
At Break Point
This is perhaps the stickiest situation to be in, come February 14. After all, how can you celebrate a day dedicated to love if you are pretty sure you are going to be breaking up and are only hanging on because you don’t want to do it before or on Valentine’s Day? If you are facing this dilemma, we suggest hanging out with the person, but in as neutral a situation as possible.
Software professional Rahul Barua’s solution was to invite the girlfriend to a movie that "was emphatically not mushy. It was a dramatic plot, and kept her eyes glued to the screen rather than on me," he recalls. Renuka Ramachandran, an advertising professional, opted for a different approach, ambushing her boyfriend at work, delivering a gift there, and staying just 15 minutes on the plea that she was going to work late that day. "This way, we avoided any awkward romantic moments," she confides.
From HT Brunch, February 12
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