We don’t have to go as far back as my grandparents times; if Valentine Day had to become popular during my dad’s times, how would it have been? My dad died of an accident when he was just 56, one year younger than I am now. During his days, except for in movies, couples never publicly expressed love for each other. It would be indirectly hinted rather than ‘in-your-face’ proclamation. There were no Valentine Day cards or other accessories.Now lets suppose it was to be imposed on my parents, how would they have reacted? The entire conversation would have been in Punjabi but I think we would understand it better if I translate this imagined conversation:
Dad: In the office there is lots of talk these days about Valentine Day. I wonder what it is?
Mom: How should I know? I have tough time remembering all the other days: Republic Day, Independence Day, your birthday, our Anniversary Day, Holi Day, Baisakhi Day, Diwali Day, Christmas Day…
Dad: But, Ladi, there are all thinking of partying and singing love songs and saying I love you.
Mom: Chhi, chhi. What kind of zamaana (world) we are coming to?
Dad: They are also thinking of buying gifts, and…
Mom (cutting him short): That’s a wonderful idea ji. We should get new shoes for Ravi, another frock for Mona and…
Dad: No, Ladi, the gifts are for us, that is each other.
Mom (seriously and smelling him): Did you have a drink in office?
Dad: No, I am serious, we should get something for each other.
Mom: Who told you that?
Dad: I believe this Valentine was a saint and he told that.
Mom: He actually told to waste money on unnecessary gifts? He couldn’t have been a saint. These western saints will next tell you to forget all decencies of life, will you do that?
Dad: But, Ladi…
Mom: Suno ji; you should forget about this Valentine thing at the earliest. We are happy without him and his crazy ideas. Our children are growing up now; don’t forget that. Mona has already started wasting a lot of time in front of the mirror and Ravi has started growing feathers. What if they come to know their parents are getting influenced by some foreign sadhu? We would have cut our noses in public.
Dad: I think you are right. I got carried away.
Mom: (not giving up too soon): What else were they saying?
Dad: They were talking about appreciating one’s partner?
Mom: (wistfully) This you will never be able to do. For the last twenty years I have been cooking for you; you have never told me it was good what you ate.
Dad: (shocked at this ‘unfair‘ inference) But, I ate everything without complaining, didn’t I? What more do you want?
Mom before going to sleep, totally satisfied with the argument, would have known that words/cards/songs/memorabilia were never necessary to convey deep emotions. Even to this day she tells us, “Your dad would never eat out anywhere without me. And when we went out for parties, he would always return home complaining. So, in comparison, I knew that he liked my cooking.”
Mom: (Later at night, holding my dad with all her strength) You don’t require lessons in love from some phoren saint. You would have taught him a thing or two.
Dad: (half asleep) Main tanh makhaul kar rahiya si (I was only saying in jest).
I know why no outwardly gifts, V-Day cards etc were considered necessary during pre-Valentine days. The reason is that they gave each other something that modern couples can’t give, that is, time. They did not require a day to compensate each other for all the lost moments of togetherness….of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Perhaps, we should love all the year through like my dad and mom did. And yours too.
© 2011 – 2017, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.