And here it is again, in the air. What is it you ask? Well love and all things that come with it, from heart shaped everything to roses, chocolates, candles, dilated pupils and the mush. But is it all passé?
The city youngsters seem to have received a download of a more practical and higher perspective of this day called the Valentine’s Day. Chennaiites have evolved with their idea of what love is and what this particular day means to them sans the rosy skies and butterflies.
Sharanya Manivannan, Chennai based poet and author is of the opinion that it need not be relegated to just a day, even though it’s important to acknowledge the day, it can be quite triggering and there should be healthy ways to deal with it.
“When I was younger, I used to have a lot of ideas for making the day less about couples. But honestly, now I say —- let them have it. After all, it’s a very important day on which unhappy couples get to perform affection on social media — hah! Being single, and having a holistic idea of love, is an everyday project,” she muses. Sharanya also shared how she finds Tamil Nadu when it comes to celebrating this day. “People often like to say that North India is more dangerous for women and couples — but more dangerous doesn’t mean that the South isn’t. Just recently, couples in parks in Madurai were picked up by the police and handed over to their parents,” she states.
According to the author, we need to look beyond the patriarchal and the heteronormative and embrace love in manifold ways. Her idea of celebrating love is valuing her closest friends that she claims are her real significant others. “Having been single for most of my adult life I’ve developed and am still evolving a feminist theory of love. And I put it into practice in every way I can,” she explains.
The millenials too echoed her sentiments regarding, love, V-Day and the societal nuances in a bare it all to DC.
Test of creativity
Valentine’s Day in Tamil Nadu has always been celebrated in a very peculiar way, right from beaches being extremely crowded to no tickets being available for any movies in theatres. Finding private places to “express your affection” and writing Anna University 16-mark questions are the two places where Tamil Nadu youth express their creativity.
Progressive TN welcomes V-Day
Valentine’s day is a happy day in Chennai. You cannot generalise Chennai with other districts. As far as I know, this ‘romantic’ standard, as movies showcase it, has not gone down with youngsters like us. We don’t always rely on hearts and flowers during this day. It’s another day to have a very good dinner with someone we love, someone meaning anyone.
There was one time where I heard about a good friend of mine who was walking with his girlfriend, who faced this issue. A few people were asking them not to hold hands while walking. But that was years before. So much has changed. But Tamil Nadu is not that regressive towards Valentine’s Day like the northern parts.
Live and let live
Love was never wrong. We all need a room for love to keep us going. 10 or 20 years ago, love between 2 adults that led to communal riots, religious fights and family fights were a common thing. But now we see a progressive society which lives with the motto of “live and let live” and we see more parents who approve of their children’s choices. I definitely feel that Valentine’s Day or a day to spread love and happiness is a beautiful concept in a strenuous world of competition, hatred and politics.
— Neethu Sabu
Love is everything
In comparison, South is ahead of the stringent regressive attitude faced in the North due to the society and moral policies. There is advancement towards a broader thinking in many parts of the southern states, breaking off from the conservative norms set by the society. But apart from these differences, there are a significant number of issues faced, from small villages to big towns in the city with regards to moral policing even in the South. I believe we would see a notable change in the coming years as more progressive youth with broader perspectives are coming up.
I believe this day isn’t about the duration of a relationship but the beautiful memories one makes in it. It is to remember how blessed they are to have someone return the love they give. The millennials should understand the importance of love amidst all this materialistic gains they run behind.
— Varun. R
Every day is an occasion for love
I personally think there shouldn’t be so much focus and hype on one day. If two people are in love with each other every day is an occasion to celebrate. Apart from gifting greeting cards, roses and expensive goods it would be ideal if they could exchange each other with the guarantee of trust and loyalty which I feel lacks in most relationships and would be the most appropriate Valentine’s Day present.
When it comes to Tamil Nadu, being the conservative capital of India, the buzz is relatively lower compared to other cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
— Sriram Ramakrishnan
Long live “Kiss of love”
People who say that they are not against love but against lovers publicly displaying their affection are absolutely right because apparently minding one’s business is too difficult. Sarcasm aside, but as far as contamination of culture is concerned, one genuinely fights the urge to say “Really? With all the internal wars going on based on religion, Valentine’s Day is contaminating our culture? Inspite of all the opposition the youth today somehow manage to hold their stand by protests like “kiss of love” that began in Kerala and later spread to other parts of India
— Sean Lobo
Make it special for that one special person
Apart from the usual few score of youngsters who spend their time, energy and money in planning for the “grand” day, a few others differ from the popular opinion. It isn’t the day that’s to be given importance, it’s in celebrating the person who’s worthy of appreciation that makes the day special. It certainly is not a one day treatment, it’s a foundation that’s laid for such respect and mutual love to be made manifest throughout one’s lifetime.
A Nigerian friend of mine once enlightened me of their celebration of Valentine’s Day. Youngsters party hard with their families, showing their love for each other. It is most certainly not limited to their lovers. They also go around meditating on the love of God. Such is the supreme quality of love hailed in Nigeria. Indians, in this respect, seemingly have quite a long way to go
— Josephine Mercy
Spend quality time with loved ones
First of all, the millennials that I’ve seen are already tired of waiting to celebrate their V-day. Whereas some don’t believe in having great romantic things, most of us millennials just want to spend useful quality time with our beloved ones (after all we’re already old enough). Coming to the part of celebrating the day differently, I’d rather celebrate it with some good food and try to understand more of what we are and plan things ahead. No fancy stuff, no dramas, no cheesy things. Being mature and planning a healthy relationship will be the best gift a couple can give themselves.
The society, we can never change it. They’re anyway going to judge and never let a couple or others live their life in peace. It’s not just North but even South isn’t any different. But that doesn’t mean people can do be judged anywhere you go. But whatever we do, decent or indecent, in India you’ll always be judged by the society.
— Shruti Kamakshi R
I’ve seen a drastic change in the perception of Valentine’s Day. Earlier it was a day that everyone looked forward to. There would be this silent storm raging in everyone’s souls. The day for some unknown reason was significant. Even the colour of your clothes had meaning but nowadays the hype seems to have gone down. People now actually seem to loath the idea of Valentine’s Day saying it’s too cliché and dumb.
As far as moral policing is concerned, Chennai has not suffered much but it is different in other places in southern Tamil Nadu. Parents monitor their children closely on this day. Couples usually don’t hang out together on Valentine’s Day for fear of being caught. Society is still not open enough to accept Valentine’s Day.
We need to look beyond the patriarchal and the heteronormative and embrace love in manifold ways.
— Sharanya Manivannan...