Should there be a special day for celebrating love? For most grown-ups, it's just another day that spells more business for florists, chocolate connoisseurs’ and card shops owners. But for teens and those 20-somethings, it is one day worth waiting in the year.
A special day infused with love and affection -- the underhand classroom card exchanges and throw in the chocolates and pink-frosted cupcakes, and you really have to ask, "What's not to like?” It’s just another way of showing you have a loving heart.
“It’s an important day for young people like me. I expect something special this year. Though, I don’t want things to go over the top, but yes, gifts are always welcome,” says Akshdeep Kaur, a 21-year-old engineering student from Mohali's Chandigarh University.
While there are others who don’t have any special fondness for V-Day. “I am not against people celebrating love on V-day, but it is kind of illogical. Love can be celebrated every day, why limit it to just one person and just one day. If you absolutely want to do it, celebrate it with all your dear ones," says Delhi University's M.Sc student Tandrali Mazindar.
Whichever side of the divide you choose to stand, this is one day that brings out some very radical thoughts too. Says 18-year-old Vishal Rana, a student of DAV School in Chandigarh: “It is a flawed concept. It’s meant to spoil our Indian culture and traditions. I don’t find attacks on young couples strange anymore.”
Also watch: Valentine's Day is over-hyped, say India's young
From Los Angeles to India, ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day’ campaigns are de rigueur. And in some parts of the world, opposition toward the celebration runs much deeper -- tangled up in politics, religion, and national identity.
The Hindu Mahasabha, a Hindu nationalist group, which who has promised to force impromptu weddings on unmarried couples that publicly display affection for each other on ‘the day love’, has also vowed to dispatch teams to monitor the social media. According to them display of love in the entire week is equivalent to not following Indian traditions! Anyone found displaying love on WhatsApp will be caught hold of too.
So much for a progressive society!
Says 20-year-old Umang Agarwal, a BBA student from Mumbai: "V-Day is a great way to show your love. Everyone should get a chance to celebrate it. What Hindu Mahasabha is planning to do is not right. Their measures to monitor things are stronger than needed. It’s like you are being forced to marry just because you are seen outside with your partner. They need to realise that it’s not their choice but people’s choice to get married."
But Hindu Mahasabha is not alone in their fight. In Japan, a Marxist group called Kakumei-teki himote doumei (Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Woman Are Not Attracted To) is calling on supporters to march against the holiday in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. Then there are countries like Indonesia and Malaysia who have been fighting against V-Day celebrations since 2011. And not to forget Saudi Arabia, where last year, five men were sentenced to prison and public lashings for holding a Valentine’s Day party with women.
With so much hullabaloo surrounding the ‘special day of love’, we got in touch with a few youngsters across India to get a peek into their minds. Read on, we promise you, their responses might just stun you.
ChandigarhSpeak: "It’s for people who have someone special in their lives"
Though Valentine’s Day is like any other normal day for me, it holds special importance in many other people’s lives. Our generation is comfortable with the idea of such a day since it gives us a chance to show our affection to our loved ones.
I believe it’s for people who have someone special in their lives, or else sleep, have fun and enjoy life. Celebrations are a part of this day, though it differs from people to people.
Deepak Verma, BPO employee
Of course, it’s a special day! I want to celebrate it. This year, there is a lot of buzz about it in the market and there are plenty of options available. I plan to gift something to someone special and look forward to receiving one for me as well.
Hardeep Kaur, school teacher,
My best friend’s birthday falls on February 14, and ever year we have a tough time getting permission from our parents to go out to celebrate his birthday. As for the other significance of the day, I think make up kits would be the best gift for girls in general. You can give clothes, but they’re really expensive. However, girls would love it.
Devanshi Saini, student, Chandigarh
DehradunSpeak: "If celebrating the day makes my partner and me happy, so why not do it"
Valentine’s Day holds much relevance in my love life. I celebrate it warmly with my partner just as we celebrate any other special occasion (like anniversaries or birthdays). For us, the day is more about spending quality time with each other than delving into its materialistic aspect, though small gifts like flowers or chocolates are okay. Many youngsters don’t really agree with the concept of Valentine’s Day. But my point is, if celebrating the day makes my partner and me happy -- like any other occasion does-- why not just do?
Ishan Balodi , marketing manager
If one is in love, the feeling ought to be cherished on every single day of the year – including the Valentine’s Day. Life has become very busy these days and people tend to miss on special occasions due to hectic schedules. So, a day like Valentine’s Day does, in fact, turn out to be good opportunity to make one’s loved ones feel special. This time, however, some of my friends are planning to be a little careful amid warnings (from some right wings groups).
Parul Mehan, management student
I find the concept of Valentine’s Day quite amusing. If you love someone, why ‘celebrate’ it on just one day? Everything becomes so predictable and clichéd on Valentine’s Day that it all loses the real charm. In fact, I fail to understand how demanding or presenting gifts like teddy bears, jewelry, fancy phones, and bouquets made of a 100 roses add quality to one’s love life! I’ve even seen some of my friends break-up on Valentine’s Day over trivial issues like choice of gifts.
Shaan Mishra, model & actor , Dehradun
I think Valentine’s Day is a highly overrated affair. To me, it means nothing more than a day that involves sheer wastage of money on gifts and parties. And the gifts are no longer limited to those heart-shaped goodies -- swanky gadgets and shopping vouchers reign supreme. In fact, many girls have impractical expectations and the boys in turn splurge in order to ‘prove’ their love -- the more one spends, the stronger their love is!
Ashu Satvika Goyal, management postgraduate/model
(As told to Neha Pant)
IndoreSpeak: "I have celebrated Valentine’s Day as a single more than as a couple"
I think Valentine’s Day is sort of over-rated. Though the day doesn’t have much relevance for me, but probably it might be more meaningful for someone who has just started a new relationship. I don’t believe in exchanging presents like flowers and chocolates, instead I would prefer going out for a movie or dinner or maybe some late night coffee and a long drive. At the end of it all, romance cannot be summed up in a day.
Ishita Jain, designer with a clothing line
I have celebrated Valentine’s Day as a single more than as a couple, be it a beach party in Australia or may be watching a Real Madrid Vs Manchester United football tie. V-Day is too much pressure, it can break or even make a relationship and sadly I have been a victim of both. I have majorly received personalised cards, picture frames and nowadays selfies as gifts but I wouldn’t like to reveal my gifting idea's in public.
Saurabh Shrivastava, owner of a city café
Valentine’s Day is a day of love and happiness and to share and celebrate. I prefer celebrating the day with my best friends as I don’t feel that it is mandatory for someone to celebrate the day with his/her partner. When it comes to gifts I would love to accept a teddy bear, a bouquet of chocolates or flowers on this special day.
Ambika Rathare, project manager at a pharmaceutical company
Well, I don’t particularly celebrate Valentine’s Day as I think it’s slightly hyped. It doesn’t have much relevance in my love life as I am pretty much single as of now. I usually don’t prefer hanging out with my guy friends or even my brother for that matter on Valentine’s Day as you never know it might offend the fragile sentiments of the lunatics roaming in angst on the streets from stopping people to celebrate this day. I have never given any gifts but if ever receive a Valentine’s Day gift, it has to be a piece of jewellery, a real one, nothing less.
Shivali Bharuka, doctor
(As told to Husain Malvi)
BhopalSpeak: "Moral policing is a must to check obscene youngsters"
I do celebrate Valentine’s Day. This day gives us the reason to spend some quiet moments with our loved ones. I think moral policing is a must to check obscenity youngsters do in the name of love but it shouldn’t be as stringent as it usually is in our country. They protest the marking of this day because according to them it is against our culture. I think everyone should celebrate this day but keeping in mind our moral values and culture.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not a crime. If we know our limits and maintain decorum I don’t think moral policing is required. However, forbidding someone from spending their special moments with their loved ones is not correct. I think it is high time we change our mindset and start pushing the envelope.
Dhara Pujara, student
Valentine’s Day is celebration of love and that cannot be detrimental to any society or culture. I don’t support what these guardians of society do in the name of safeguarding our culture. Enlightenment and education is what we need.-
Asmita Sarwade, student
I neither believe in the concept of Valentine’s Day nor celebrate it. For me it is sheer wastage of money and valuable energy. I do not understand the exclusivity of the day or the hullabaloo enveloping it. For me it is nothing but overreaction. I would rather prefer spending a day pampering myself rather than spending on someone else as V-day gifts.
Kamayani Tiwari, BA student
I would love to celebrate Valentine’s Day but fail to do so owing to moral policing by activists. Nothing can be more risky than going on a date with your girlfriend and getting hitched or beaten black and blue. If there were no protests against celebration of this day I would have loved to take my girlfriend out for a movie followed by a quiet dinner and long drive. When it comes to Valentine’s Day gift I love giving and receiving something it not expensive but emotional and touches the heart.
Sandesh Tiwari, Mass Com student
Can there be a special day for celebrating love? Isn’t the whole idea ridiculous? Having said this it is understood I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. Why restrict celebrating such a special feeling to a particular day? Every day should be special for people in love.-
Safi Khan, entrepreneur
(As told to Ranjan Kumar Srivastava)
JaipurSpeak: "Roses are a passé. I would want my beau to woo me with iPhone"
My parents are against my celebrating Valentine's Day, but are okay with my brother celebrating the same with his girlfriend. Therefore I am keeping a low profile on this day, and will celebrate it with my boyfriend two days after the V- Day.
Radhika Sharma, student
While I am against evils like boys stalking girls and eve teasing. I believe there should be no protests about celebrating V-Day. It's all about love and happiness. Moreover, if they have to protest then they should do something against eve-teasing which happens all round the year in every nook and cranny of the country.
Bhoomika Gupta, student
Roses and chocolates are a passé. I would want my beau to woo me with iPhone or some high end perfume.
Preksha Shukla, MCA student
I am single and will celebrate the day working. Thankfully I don't have to worry about what gifts to give and where to take my girl out for dinner. V-Day for me will be an out and out 'I' day. That is celebrate with my own self.
Madhav Vohra, fashion consultant
I am in a relationship for the past five years. Valentine's Day is very close to my heart and this year I am to make a lifetime commitment with my lover. I will offer her roses and a ring.
Ram Prasad Prajapati, mechanical engineering student
(As told to Namita Kalla)
KeralaSpeak: "It's a good day for business and a bad day for love"
The facade created about V-day is so huge in India that it has literally made guys run after girls like dogs chasing cars, the whole concept behind the celebration of relationships and chasing after love is messed up.
Joby Jose, student, Alleppey District, Kerala
Valentine's is a good day for business and a bad day for love.
Kewin Kunjappy, law student, Kerala
(As told to Rohan Naahar)