O Desi! My Desi: Never Too Late To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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By Anu ChitrapuO Desi-Anu_1
INDIA New England News Columnist

It is that time of the year where people all around the world are celebrating Valentine’s Day. I am so impressed with the marketing genius who came up with the idea. For us desis who did not get a chance to participate in this celebration in our younger days in India, no worries, it is never too late!

In our younger days, our parents would have grounded us if we so much as mentioned the concept of a Valentine, but now in our adult years not only do we celebrate but we post pictures on Facebook for the whole world to see. In the stores selling beautiful red dresses, you can find desi moms trying on those ever so pretty little outfits — we may be a few years late but now we can pose in our dresses, surround ourselves with rose petals, throw on a few bottles of perfume and look dreamily into the eyes of our Facebook friends! No wonder our children don’t want to befriend us on Facebook.

On Valentine’s Day, a non-desi friend of mine asked me how desis celebrated this special day. My gut response was to say — with mutter panneer and chicken tikka masala but instead I told her that Valentine’s Day did not really hold any significance for us. But boy was I wrong! I realized how wrong, when I logged onto Facebook that evening. Now I know it is even more significant for us because we need to make up lost time.

The funny thing is we tell our children to focus on academics and not get distracted by meaningless things like Valentine’s Day and while they are busy solving equations, we leave the house to attend a Valentine’s Day party. But that’s ok, because like all other festivals, we celebrate this day too with family, friends, Bollywood music and good Indian food. The only part I cannot understand is why for this day, we shed our beautiful ethnic clothing and feel compelled to squeeze into western outfits?

Apparently in India, Valentine’s Day is like a national holiday. Ok, not really but close to. And the best part is that everyone young and old, single or married is included in the celebration. So 80+ year old grandparents get calls from their grandchildren wishing them Happy Valentine’s Day! I am wondering what thoughts are going through the head of Ambujam Patti (tamil for granny) when her granddaughter calls her and wishes her! Kindergarten children also receive little cards with cute little bees buzzing around saying “Beeee mine” — anyone else thinks this is carrying things too far?

Whether you spent Valentine’s Day hard at work, or partying away in a little red dress or just enjoying time with your family, I hope you had a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! I know this greeting is a little late but like I said, it is never too late for Valentine’s Day.


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