It has been almost sixteen years since I passed out of the University, and eighteen, since I passed out of my teens. It isn’t such a long time- but perhaps it is – looking at the Valentine brouhaha. This day’s fame was still unheard of in my student days in a non-metro city and individual emotions could be privately celebrated without caring a fig about the moral police, if only one could somehow manage to dodge the family members.
The closeness between the two genders in terms of physical space was not much appreciated and girls pillion-riding with a non-relative did raise eye-brows. But falling in (puppy) love, which happened ever so often, was fun. The mere presence of someone from the opposite gender permeated the atmosphere with a certain indescribable excitement. All those formative years spent in a single-gender missionary school made the opposite sex seem a little strange. The identity revealing cell-phones and the caller i.d.’s were still a few years away , and one could have the pleasure of hearing one’s flame’s voice over the basic phone without getting identified. Being identified involved the risk of rejection by one’s secret love, and so, remaining incognito could let one have a ray of hope alive forever. Indelible are the memories of the split second exchange of furtive glances, the stammering first conversation, those unsaid rendezvous of the neighborhood grocery shop, the university library and the lane near her house and; the goose-flesh one had when she got touched accidentally while handing over a book or a pen. Those ingenious tricks to somehow get acquainted to her , the begging help from one’s sister, friend’s sister and class-mates for this favour and; those deliberate checking of the bicycle chains and petrol in the scooter while waiting for her to pass by was permeated with a sensibility and an emotion of which romance is made of. Do today’s valentines riding the fast lane of life , fraught with increasing calls of competition , casual inter-personal relations, decreasing spans of attention and, living in times when genders are not so strangers to each others, possess the same sense of romance as we did, I wonder!
The present generation must be experiencing romance in its own way, I am sure. But, perhaps, the celebrations of love should not be limited to a single day. Instead, the Valentines Day should be an occasional episode in the general drama of love.