Candies wrapped in heart-shaped boxes, local flower shops over brimming with long stemmed red roses, chocolates and marzipans, engraved, painted, etched and inked paraphernalia, baubles and bites all romancing the young and the old. Hallmark and Archie’s, Hanley’s and Tiffany’s all serenading and seducing sales, working their charm on lovers everywhere.

You know then Valentine’s Day is around the corner, where every turn you make your nose is rubbed in pink heart-shaped decorations, leaving hopes and hearts both ablaze.

 What is it about February 14, year in and year out, that has such an effect on people the world over? Whether it is Facebook, WhatsApp or Messenger, the pipelines are chock full with romantic lines and fabulous gestures, from celebrities to the common masses, the celebration of this day is all about the flavours of the love. This is indeed tricky day! Whether you are celebrating or simply choosing to ignore this love-struck madness and furore, the underlying truth is that you cannot escape its presence, especially on that day. Whether you’re a mushy cheerleader or a downright Valentine’s hater, the day sure pressures you into having fun, celebrating and being just darn romantic all the way.

So while couples or people in relationships seek to reaffirm their underlying love for one another, fully rejoicing in their relationship and publicly displaying their ‘forever’ affection, without shame or inhibition, without balloons floating on ceilings and red roses lining every surface. It’s almost as though lovers everywhere are suddenly surrounded in this hazy pink fog that clouds their senses and sensibilities, where that piercing honest sunlight of reason cannot penetrate.

This is the time when lovers find themselves thick in the moment of ardour, laden with heavy deep feelings and an ever-flowing pot of ink and sentiments.

 They write about love and passion, regret and hope, flapping those regret and hope, flapping those white sheets in reckless abandon and pursuit. They call them poems, stories, essays, articles… all over brimming with outpourings of pain, pleasure and stuff.

Flooding their Instagram accounts with open declaration, protests and posts, you will notice and read everything from the inane to the intense, love to despair, music to food, alcohol to spirits, they write about sunlight dancing on pretty faces and beautiful hair or the shadows cast on memories.

Suddenly, the whole world is infinitely fecund with ideas, drama, plots and narratives. It’s almost as if the world wakes up to this wave of love. Come February 14, every aspect, every shape, seems filled with heart and you wonder at this epidemic that seizes vulnerable souls while logic and reason cease to exist. And then, of course, for those who are single there is always an option of feeling mortified at your status and bellowing out loud to sympathetic ears, the fates, and the heavens or simply focusing on all the wonderful propositions of being independent and footloose, striding into spas and shops for a wonderful self-indulgent spree of pampering and retail therapy.

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Being single is pretty good as well for it’s often accompanied by its great sense of irresponsibility. Surely one can’t complaint there!

Nonetheless whether you’re savouring the joys of love or gradually dropping the whole idea of it, performing the chores of daily life like a mill-horse tramping round blindfold or seeking those vast lands of passion and felicity all basked in glided sensuality of the hearts delight… whether its sighs in the moonlight, long embraces and hands parting bathed with tears, the truth is Valentine’s Day fuels the excesses, or lack thereof of this while idiotic notion of romantic love.

So whether this conspiracy of society revolts your or simply leaves you unmoved, what one tends to forget is that even cupid does not have perfect aim. He’s known to have had misses and failures. Life, more often, is full of commonplace heroes and moderate feelings; it is rarely an Italian opera reaching a climax of uninhabited passion and overture.

While for a few of us who really have been through the whole human experience, wanting nothing more than to be serenely sitting down with both elbows planted firmly upon this table of life, it’s however not without a devious sense of mirth and smugness that we view new found love, painted on innocent child like faces, wearing an expression of exhaustion and somnolence when Valentine’s Day glares bright with all its exaggerated angles.

~ Veera Sanjana