Friday, February 14, 2014

The V-day debate!

 How many people realize that Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate love, not just romantic love but all kinds of love touching one’s life – the love of a mother, grandmother, a family member, a teacher, a friend and of course the love of a partner in a romantic relationship. But I am not sure what to make of the attempts to reduce this day to just “Lover’s day” and then juxtapose it with the execution of three of our most revered freedom fighters which supposedly took place on this day eighty-four years ago. While it is true that like many events, V-day celebration is an import from the West, but that doesn’t mean that we respect out freedom fighters any less or that celebrating V-day will make us any less Indian. Many facets of our current lives are inspired from world over. While there is no point in blindly following them, there is not point blindly decrying them either. Well, three decades ago when not many knew this day to be Valentine’s day, not many knew that February 14th was a day when Bhagat Singh was executed either! So where does that leave us? After all, love for one’s country is love too..isnt it?  

So on the occasion of Valentine’s day, I picked out a story from the February issue of Highlights Champs titled “A Valentine for Nanima” by Anita Nahta Amin and art by Kathleen Kemly. Reenu missed her grandmother who lived on the other side of the world. Rinu felt that her nanima may forget all the good times they had shared together and so she decided to make Valentine’s card using a photo of her and Nanima and embellished with things she found lying around the house, like cereal box, red paper, cotton balls, etc. Just as she finished, she wondered if Nanima knew about Valentine’s day and decided to write a note about it. But not knowing how to write in Hindi, the only language spoken by her Nanima, she sought her mom’s help and learned that love is “ pyar” in Hindi. Reenu mails the package to Nanima and eagerly awaits her reply. But as days pass, she gets impatient and persuades her mother to call Nanima. A phone call to Nanima’s has them talking to all of the extended family, except Nanima. Nanima finally comes on the line and amongst all the commotion and disturbance in the telephone line, Reenu hears her Nanima say a Hindi word she recognized “Pyar”! Surely no one should have a problem with “Pyar”, isnt it? Happy Valentine’s day everyone!

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