Opinion: Pandemic moved Valentine's Day online

New DelhiWritten By: Monojit LahiriUpdated: Feb 14, 2021, 04:57 PM IST


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Are pandemic times all set to rain on the V-Day parade in 2021?

Feb 14 is this big world mush day when lovers of love in all sizes, shapes, colour, language, religion & region, floating on a delirious lavender cloud, play out their very own expression of love. Different degrees of anticipation – from the hysteric, hi-decibel to the coy & understated – come centre-stage because of the sanction to openly display their dil ki baat to their significant other.  

With setting, day, time & occasion in place, this is the day to Show the oldest emotion on Earth...through action and not words. Let it all hang out. Undoubtedly, gifts top the list of this big, fat V-Day bazaar for the moony gang to shower their mehbooba with one-from-the-heart!

In 2021, however, is the pandemic all set to rain on this parade? Despite unlock happening with baby steps, is the conscious and (sub) conscious apprehension, fear, nervousness & negativity that coloured the recent nightmare times going to play spoil-sport & ruin the Love Utsav? Or will the lovers of love proclaim, Pyar kiya to darna kya and discover new & ingenious ways to insist Sangam, hoga!hoga!hoga!!

20-year-old, Delhi-based psychology student of Amity University, Esha Chauhan fires the first salvo. Like most of her gen, she is fully into the hi-pitched, over-the-top, baring-of-the-heart theatrics that explode on this day “But since I am single, I choose to do my own thing ... Meet with friends, party, bond afresh with them and generally have fun. Now with the Pandemic, life has gone on-line, so from studies to socialising and chatting with friends, video calls & zooms have defined my life."  

"Result? My friends are in my room every day!"

However, for young couples in relationships, it can be trying and frustrating but on-line range of romance-driven fare [thanks to the huge demand & supply quotient] are on call.  Singer Prateek Kuhad is this sensational mush singer, a pied-piper for Gen Y, who adore his stuff.  Then there are music events, concerts, etc but I know there will be a big segment of kids who will defy this edgy time and physically meet with who cares? & damn-the-pandemic writ large on their heart!  

"After all, for young people in relationships, this is undoubtedly the biggest day of the year!” Senior citizen, communication person Delhi-based Esha Guha, for a second, goes coy and misty-eyed. 
“Let’s face it.  Virtual life is virtual life and real life is real life.  Zoom calls are fine for business meetings, education and catching up with friends, a platform that facilitates collective events, but love is the most intimate relationship of all, something age cannot wither nor custom stale her infinite variety ...” 

A trifle embarrassed at her emotional outpouring, Guha agreed that kids will take a hit and resort to on-line romancing, but the ones that wear their heart on their sleeves will follow the love is a many splendoured thing melody & fly to their soul mate. 

Kolkata-based Chitrani Ghosh agrees.  

“Here clubs & pubs are great popular settings for fun & entertainment and they are forever designing themes for special events. After the miserable nine-month-plus push on the pause button, things have started opening out and action – with checks & balances in place – is happening.  However, like it’s been mentioned before, it does cast a cloud, barrier and a purdah between couples that feel compromised on the thrill of feel & touch. Without the real ambience of person-to-person, no matter how fabulous the roses & chocolates and on-line gifts are, somewhere, the magic is lost.”

Kolkata-based [Dr.] Angana Moitra, 29 year old, visiting faculty (Dept. of English, Sister Nivedita University) offers her evolved take on this theme. 

“Kolkata, the City of Joy, is a city that is truly irrepressible in its zest for life! V-Day, obviously, for young couples is a very special day, when their world will revolve around everything that is heart-shaped! With the pandemic slowly appearing to calm down & cool-off and the vaccine a reality, psychologically it is an easier time.  Responsible young people will certainly celebrate but with caution, avoid crowded events and parties. However, I am sure there will be tons who will explode and freak out, throwing to the winds the SMS [Sanitiser, Mask, Social Distancing] way of life that held them in vice grip all these miserable months. Youth can be an intoxicating time and given an inch could trigger an Usain Bolt flyer into their favourite zone!” Adman Tito Khanna is the only dissenter who comes on strong and zooms in with his take 

“This annual hoo-haa about V-day, I am certain, is a brilliantly orchestrated marketing and merchandising exercise seductively flaunting a product called love – aiming at the exact spots where logic is hit out of the park & love, emotion & cupid play huge starring roles! Before getting the knives out, answer this: If love was such a big deal, why is it given just one lousy day in the year for celebration?  To me, it is a blatant commodification of a sentiment that supposedly makes the world go round; a calculated smooth and savvy commercialisation of the four letter word that zonks the softies, transporting them to a never-never-land-of-happy-ever-after!  In a savagely consumerist society which knows the price of everything and value of nothing, isn’t V-day an event totally in sync with the tone, tenor & testosterone of the times we live in, a vulnerable acceptance of a global phenomenon that champions hollow, emotional posturing? I rest my case.”

Before the howling mobs are at the gate of this gentleman, yelling things like KILL-JOY, CYNIC, DOOMSAYER, WET BLANKET, DAMPENER, let’s get back on track and address the main issue.  It was a year of the forced re-discovery & re-evaluation and in some ways echoed the life of pre-liberalised India. Sure technology helped, but could it go the distance?  It made us reflective and hope that the future has a better script for [hopefully] the new & improved version of ourselves with Love at its centre.

Mohabbat Zindabad!

(Disclaimer: The views of the writer do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Nor does WION or ZMCL endorse the views of the writer.)