“I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes. The love that’s all around me. And so the feeling grows”. We’ve all heard this song from the album Picture This by artist Wet Wet Wet – Scottish soft rock band – during our school and college days and especially during Valentine’s Day celebrations. Even today, celebrating the V-Day brings a huge smile on our faces. However, over the years, V-Day celebrations have massively evolved with commercialisation. On this occasion, we spoke to people of different age groups to understand their views on love, romance and how the celebration of V-Day has changed over the decades.
“I feel Valentine’s Day is a very special occasion for people in love or newly discovered love. We students enjoy the entire Valentine’s Week by exchanging gifts and chocolates among friends. It is fun to hang out with friends and receive gifts. There is so much love showered by friends it is quite overwhelming. Infact, I believe in real love and for me romance is something which I see in my parents for each other. Even after so many years of marriage, I feel that their love for each other is only growing day after day and year after year. I feel Valentine ’s Day is an opportunity for all people in love to rekindle the charisma and the vows for each other. Cheers.”— Ian Colaco, Class XII, 17, single, Lourdes Central School, Mangalore
“Chocolates, roses and teddy bears – the quintessential V-Day scene has not changed much from the time when I was a teenager to an adult nearing her thirties. If anything, the chocolates have become more exotic and sophisticated, and the roses now come from across the seas. That said, my V-Day memories – single or otherwise – have always been a desperate effort to slip away from the crowd; like wearing the one color from the code that doesn’t mean anything. And a definite stay away from all kinds of forward messages. Memes are allowed though.” — Chithra Vijayakumar, 26, engaged, assistant managing editor of leading tech magazine
“In my college days, the youth especially from the villages did not have the space or platform to meet the special person. Village fairs and festivals used to be the occasions to get out of homes and the meet that someone. During these fairs, the couples exchanged greeting cards printed with romantic Bollywood screen pairs along with gifts and sweets. However, now with too much commercialisation there are so many public places where people in love can meet and greet each other which is surely a positive trend that is promoting more openness to the idea of love and romance.” — Manjunatha M, 37, married, professor in media studies and coordinator, Reva University
“Back in my college days, greeting card companies such as Hallmark and the Archie’s sold cards and gifts exclusively for V-Day which they do even today. However, the world has evolved so much now that small shops to huge commercial establishments are offering products, package offers, schemes and events exclusively for that entire V-Week. With all this hype, I in a way feel that the youth today is losing the true essence of the meaning of love. Hence, as a mother of two kids, I want to make my children understand that love need not be celebrated only on one day. Every single day of the year should be a V-Day and not just one day.” — Saritha Chukka, 37, married, working in Cognizant as a consultant
“I am not officially celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, as I am traveling. I am a very romantic person and if I miss one day I still have 364 days to showcase my love for my loved ones. Back in those days when I was in college I felt it was more of showcasing love to your loved ones but now a days it has become too commercialized and a trend to follow. Like during my growing up years it was more love-oriented, people celebrated it with simple stuff such as exchanging gifts or flowers. Today it has become a fashion trend and instead of a day a complete week is celebrated. However we still have people who really love each other and it’s always nice to demonstrate love to your loved ones. Live and let live cheers.” — Debasish Das, 38, in a relationship, professional makeup artist
“During my college days, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day celebration, the romantic couples of our college would just go out and celebrate. When I started working it became a celebration among friends. However personally I do not believe in the V-Day concept. I feel it is nothing less than a marketing gimmick. But at the same time, I am against moral police or the so called cultural saviours who decide upon themselves to punish people coming out and celebrating their special day, all this because they believe it is not part of our culture. I don’t think this should be the attitude. If people want to celebrate V-Day they should be allowed to do so without any guilt or societal scorn.” — Divya Bhandarkar, 40, married, homemaker
“I was doing my first year graduation at Vijayawada and even now I remember V-Day had its innocence back then. On that day in our college girls used to come dressed in pink to reciprocate their interest to the guys who had proposed them and then the guys used to gift them red flowers, chocolates and gifts. This cute gesture has turned into a massive corporate revenue generating business today. I strongly feel that though somewhere along the way the innocence has been lost the massive transformation is still a very good thing because the concept of V-Day celebration has generated an immense market, revenue and also jobs. However, the irony is that in India most married couples celebrate their day of love on their wedding anniversary. The real V-Day mostly remains as a celebration only among the teenagers.” — Satyanarayana V K, 42, married, manager at Capgemini
“I hail from South India and from an orthodox family. During my growing up years, there was no concept of V-Day and most of the girls and boys had very little freedom in their homes. The little freedom we received was only to go for movies or for lunch dates with friends of the same gender. Infact, most of my friends got married as per the wishes of the family. The more spirited ones used to run away from homes and get married while the meeker ones used to draw a line. However, now I am happy with the changing times, since the youth today have got more opportunities to meet and find their true love, and also celebrate it and the V-Day is promoting this concept. However, the younger generation should observe caution and draw their limits too.” — Geetha Nair, 60, married, retired teacher
“Those days when I was growing up, there was no television in our house so obviously there was no media influence. When the television came it was Doordarshan with its traditional programmes. However now with changing times, I feel the V-Day concept is good for youngsters. This is the best adaptation from the western culture we have had. This gives the youngsters a good platform to express themselves. Youngsters are becoming broadminded today. They do not fear interactions with each other irrespective of gender. This is a welcome change. However, there are pros and cons to everything. I believe it is important for the youth today to keep their safety in mind. Be wary of predators, and take care of themselves. This is especially because of the increasing exposure to social media, and also then increasing crimes rates against children and girls.” — Padma Shenai, 62, married, teacher for children with learning disabilities.
“During my school days way back in the 1960’s very little was known about V-Day. But that did not come in the way of searching for true love or having girlfriends and interacting with them. In fact, going out for dates, lunches was quite common among romantic couples. The concept of V-Day has dominated the public mind since the nineties and this has opened up people’s attitudes towards romantic relationships as a natural way of life. This is an excellent trend especially in a country like India where now the couples can openly celebrate love and not worry about maintaining secrecy about it. However, in the last five to ten years there has been a hypocritical backlash by the moral police who have created a fear psychosis in certain parts of the country. This is an unhealthy trend which can drive healthy relationships back to the closet. I would like to say that being in love is one of the most exciting feelings in life. I found my true love a decade ago and have been happy ever since. I would also like to say that there is no age limit for love and romance.” — Anil Thakore, 73 years, in a relationship, subscription manager