I was really caught up on the 14th and 15th and all days in between. But since we are technically still in the Valentine month, I thought a super late post could still be squeezed in.

Remember the times when you and I were young? As in, actually young. Not the young at heart crap; a time when we knew 30 meant old and a time when the longing for eternal love had gripped us already. But knight in shining armor was nowhere in sight.

Shops like Archies were so wasted. We had no one to pour out our love filled wallets to. I sometimes wonder, did the policy and rule makers in Shiv Sena back them also have no sweethearts to give those gifts to?

I mean don’t we all know how they liked to put a ban everything lovey-dovey? Clearly, love and a growing population have nothing in common. Because they never put a ban on that! On the hind sight, we beat China to that. Made in India it is. People took PM Modi too seriously during COVID lockdowns.

Back to Valentines, I bet, the only ones who have always benefitted from this global celebration are marketers. Making hay while playing cupid, getting Romeos and Juliets ripped off with all things red, a special menu at restaurants, rose prices rising to the price of gold and parents of teens wondering why their credit card bills looked red too? Too much spending in February?

By the time you get a vague understanding of the different agendas people have had, thanks to your V-day celebration, you are officially old. Ahem ahem, yes that means you are now young at heart only, you have the man / woman / all other genders of your dreams lounging on an expensive couch, watching Netflix, you have children who are about to fall into the same trap of love and romance and the need to show it by squandering money and blah blah blah.

And V-day is probably just another day. That’s when a question by your curious teen takes you by surprise, “So Mom, what’s your plan for Valentines?”

With no answer to give and the blatant urge to not appear bored or boring, I choose to quickly plaster my classic fake smile and throw the question back at her, “Well don’t you have plans? Do you have a valentine?”

While my youth flashes back in front of my ageing eyes, my mind quickly runs over my plans – work, house work, dishes, laundry, workout and Netflix. Looks like there is no room for red roses, a glass of champagne, a delectable dessert or a walk under the moon, hands entangled like the holy matrimony we are stuck in. We have come a full circle indeed. And I think to myself, since when did I become so boring? How will those marketers put food on the table if well-meaning people such as myself chose to evolve and wisen up?

This dilemma is a bitter one. I need a distraction. But luck always seems to be on the other side of the street when I need it most. The kids refuse to fight. So I don’t get to play judge. They are done with all homework – how I wish this happened on days when I really needed 5 seconds of me time. Dinner is done too! And now my Netflix screen begins to stare back to me in my face, guilt towering between the both of us.

The better half on the other hand seems better off, unbothered, unscathed by these afflictions, working in is pod, smothered by the aroma of caffeine, the air conditioner turning his tiny study into Alaska while he sits there oblivious of the crisis I now face.
9pm on the 13th Feb is no time to plan surprises for a guy who has known you all your life. One look at the idiot box and I decide to bury guilt beneath my butt, sprawl myself on the couch and continue watching Emily in Paris – my latest addiction.

But the moment I un-pause the episode, the Mister marches out of his den, determined to get me. He hauls me into his study. Inertia to betray Emily overcomes my being. But his masculine muscle wins. I am secretly impressed by his strength to drag She Hulk. But I am about to be bowled over.

He presents to me.. his V-Day gift, a night in advance. An original, masterpiece – his love for me in a poem!!

I am beyond thrilled. After all these years, am I still worthy of an original piece of work?

I read it. And re-read it. And forget all about Emily and my long lecture on ageing. I lose my senses and wonder, It is about love then.. after so many years!

Here goes to the poem –

My dearest Sana, my love so true,
Together we dine on Indian cuisine,
From samosas to biryani, so divine,
Our love, just like the flavors, shines bright and new.

Your beauty, like the rich spices in a dish,
Cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin combined,
My heart, like the simmering paneer, so lush,
In your love, my soul, forever entwined.

Like a warm bowl of masoor daal,
Comforts me with every taste,
Your love, so strong, like the spices in a shaak,
With you, my heart will never waste.

Together we savor each bite of our meal,
Just like we savor each moment of life,
Our love, like a warm bowl of kheer, so real,
Sweet and everlasting, without any strife.

So here’s to us, my love, and to our food,
A romantic feast that will always be renewed,
With every bite, our love will never fade,
Forever and always, my darling, my sweet Sana.

As much as I am head over heels in love with him, my sixth sense pokes me. I have my doubts. Where was this poet hiding all these years? I want to pinch myself hard. Is this for real? He is shocked to see my disbelief.

And I find myself landlocked in this moment of guilt, Shit, I did not plan a thing; nor have I bought a gift. I am not even thinking about Valentines… Have I lost my spark?

And now, to all those women who paused reading, gave their spouses a piece of your minds because they didn’t bother showing such originality in affection, take a chill pill.

My smart Puneri husband outsourced the job to ChatGPT! That’s right! Did you ever expect this use case?
You don’t want to know what happened after that, do you?

P.S. Love may be about roses and champagne dinners and diamonds and long walks. But it is so much more. It is most definitely keeping the spark alive by showing your wife, you still have the charisma to fool her.. all over again!
So if it isn’t too late, Happy V-Day!!

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