Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Picture me with the Cheshire Cat’s grin at being the lucky columnist to land on such a lovely day. How shall we mark the occasion?
What are you all planning tonight? Romantic dinners, flowers and candles? A quiet night in with loved ones? A full night’s celebration with friends? It’s always nice when a birthday, festival or event falls on a weekend so people can be really free to enjoy, isn’t it? I hope you all make the most of it tonight! Unfortunately for me it’s not quite the same, since weekends are usually main working days for musicians. As you read this, I’ll be in Mumbai sound-checking for my show with The Anoushka Shankar Project (I’ll tell you more about it next week, in advance of our Delhi show); yes, I’m performing on V- Day! I hope the audience is full of couples who’ve come to enjoy a nice evening together, and I hope to give them the space to do so.
Which brings me to one quick point: thank you! I really appreciate everyone who wrote to me in support of last week’s column. Obviously I’m not alone in feeling the way I feel about the clamping down on women’s rights. Now again, a day like Valentine’s Day has come under fire. I hope you all use today as a symbol of your freedom to spend your time as you choose and with whom you choose, and also support a day that’s really no more controversial than being about the most beautiful emotion in existence.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a gooey, soppy, mushy Valentine’s addict. In a lot of ways I’d much rather be surprised by romance on a day it’s not expected, than feel forced into feeling romantic simply because of what day it is! I think it’s gotten really out of hand how people are “expected” to go all out, and are meant to spend a certain amount of money to prove their love! I feel so sorry for men who are supposed to give diamonds and extravagant gifts for V- Day. If they do it from their heart, no woman would complain, but I feel sad that it’s become such a pressure. However, I am a big fan of taking time out to share with people that you care for. Not just your partner, mind you. Who doesn’t love being told that they’re special and appreciated? If Valentine’s Day is a day where you take the time to express your feelings, isn’t that wonderful? What’s wrong in that, regardless of how new the concept is here in India?
Here’s my only tip: be creative! Roses are always beautiful, but there are ways to make a gift of flowers extra-special. Bring in an element of surprise or an extra twist. Remember that you don’t have to spend money to show your love. (And everyone, don’t forget everyone else in your life; believe me, a little love goes a long way).
Happy Valentine’s Day!