Thursday, February 14, 2013

Will you be my Valentine?

The first time I received an Archies Valentine’s card with an embossed red rose and shiny glitters was in 1988 I think. I was in school, exactly the same age as my daughter now or maybe slightly younger, and yet to be an eighth grader. Someone had taken the pains to sneak it through my Duck Back school bag and I had only accidentally discovered it when I got home. I clearly remember I found it in the front pocket, hidden behind the flap, with a partly melted Red bar of Amul Milk Chocolate. The choice bolstered by its slogan, in those days, we thought was self- explanatory.  It was signed by “A Secret Admirer”. I spent the rest of the afternoon learning from my sister what Valentine’s Day signified and wondering who that admirer was. I also spent a chunk of the evening explaining to my much amused parents (still trying to cope with the fact that their little baby was growing up), why I was the recipient of such an amorous adulation. With time and frequent repetitions, that ice-breaker became a ritual and my parents became more flexible and understanding to the life of an additional teenager daughter in the family.Valentine’s Day in those days of my childhood springs and early youth was a day to declare yet hide a certain emotion called love or perhaps puppy love. Looking back, I may write off those moments of supressed smiles and acknowledgments, fleeting glances over a Lord Byron poetry, candied moments of chocolates and empty coke cans as innocent infatuations which meant little beyond being “seen” as a couple and occasionally daring to hold hands.I don’t know how and when the definition changed and love was no longer something you concealed in layers, you waited to unveil itself; it became a declaration. If you were in love, you ought to scream about it, shout at the top of your voice, and let the world echo your love…why do I hear a hollow reverberation in that resonance? Then am I contradicting myself when I say “mana ki mohabbat ka chupana hai mohabbat, chupke se kisi roz jatane ke liye aa…dil hi dukhane ke liye aa” Tomaye natun kore pabo bole haarai khone khon…..may love be the guiding light of your life!

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