Like the sickly sweet smell that emanates from the doors of establishments famous (or not) for their fruity hookahs, you can sense it coming from a week away. Valentine's Day is that yearly annoyance that spares no one, most regrettably me.
Neither my apathy nor my distaste for this marketing scam of a day can save me from the onslaught of artificial sweetness that grips the roadside Romeos of Delhi. Everywhere I turn, I see red. In my opinion, buying ridiculous amounts of balloons and roses and cards and chocolates and stuffed toys, is pointless (and stupid) unless your hard-earned cash is going to the homeless Chinese child that made them (it isn't).
The cynics conveniently blame it on capitalism while the right-wing nut-jobs troll the streets looking for anyone remotely resembling a couple to either wed them or turn them into brother and sister, because, as we all know, they're both the same thing really.
Why is Valentine's Day still a thing? The very concept is as outdated as the Chaucerian gibberish that inspired it. In these days of texting, skyping and being totally, like, #feelingsad on twitter, Facebook and IRL, does something as irrelevant as Valentine's still stand a chance?
I tend to think it doesn't, based on my own experiences. But as is apparent all around this love-drenched city of ours, my experiences are clearly my own, because someone seems to be buying all this rubbish. And someone seems to be accepting/demanding it.
Now, before you start imagining some great heartbreak or a humourous third-act chase in an airport terminal, let me stop you right there. I've just never really been into it. Neither has anyone I know. It seems odd to grow up in circles where Valentine's has never been a part of conversations. I think it's telling that the earliest memories of Valentine's that I have are all merchandise related. In fact, those are the only memories I have of this day.
Am I so out of touch with my reality? Where've I been all this time? Valentine's is clearly something that has gripped the collective imagination of all the Playboy t-shirt wearing wannabes out there, with their statuses perpetually set to 'it's complicated', refusing to let go, like some sick disease.
At the risk of sounding clichéd (and cheesy), I'm just going to say it, because let's face it: clichés survive because they are usually true. So here it is, my wise two cents on a topic that doesn't really deserve them. Are you ready? Ok. Maybe, just maybe, we should celebrate love everyday and not just on the 14th of February like some member of a brainwashed cult run by a cat-stroking Bond villain CEO. Because we are human beings and we have feelings and stuff.
So what will I be doing on the big day? No Lana Del Rey songs will be playing in my head. Hugh Grant will not be stuttering on my TV. I will not be looking at the world through some knock-off, rose-tinted glasses from Janpath. Anyone who tries to sell me a heart-shaped cushion will not receive my money but will instead be treated to a frown, held firmly in place just long enough to make them uncomfortable.
So, this year, let's all behave like people and acknowledge our feelings as they come to us and not assign them to a specific day. Hopefully we'll all survive. And for the love of God, please let's stop circulating those mass produced rose-scented cards. They're the worst thing to happen to paper since Fifty Shades of Grey.