| A. Eyingbeni Odyuo,
BA 6th Semester (English Honours)
Hearts, red roses and cupid! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Many people, mostly youngsters are anticipating for the day to arrive, looking out for the best gift for their loved ones. Being pampered with the best treatment and the best gifts can make us happy anytime. However, these are just momentary happiness. So for a change, why don’t we celebrate this Valentine’s Day by showing our love to our family and friends; sharing it with the less fortunate and making the day less materialistic. What better way than to give out the greatest gift that money can’t buy.
Money Can’t Buy Love“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired” – Robert Frost.
Like an old fashioned writer, I took a pen and started to retrospect the charade of Valentine’s Day. The week of love before Valentine’s Day gives me hiccups. Love hovers all around. The most awaited time for lovers, it is a week full of roses, candle light dinners, and shockingly red teddy bears. When I was a child, the phrase ‘Valentine’s Day’ didn’t exist in my vocabulary. It often confused me. Why were boys and girls giving each other gifts and blushing on this day? And most importantly, why was everything in bright shades of pink and red? Various advertisements finally taught me what this day is all about. The days itself suddenly changed and bore a sweet aura. We live in a postmodern era where everything has become so advanced. Children are so blinded by blatant consumerism that they don’t hesitate from asking money from their parents to buy gifts for their ‘loves’. This of course becomes a headache for their parents. The world has become so materialistic and people seem to be more concerned about money than emotions.
Falling in love is the happiest experience. Attaching a monetary value to it however ruins it. Hence it is not surprising that some people believe that love is an illusion, something that exists only in fairytales. In romance fiction and movies, the ending is always almost perfect. The man becomes the saviour who takes the damsel in distress away from her sorrows. But the reality is rather different. Uncomplicated fairytale love stories only exist in the fantasy world. Love doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. True love should consist of powerful emotions enough to tap at the artistic sensibilities of man.
William Wordsworth defined poetry as the spontaneous flow of powerful feelings and emotions which are recollected in tranquility. The true love which is selfless and giving comprises of thoughts and imaginations which are strong enough to create wonderful poems of love. Love can’t be seen but it can be felt. Romantic poets like Shakespeare, Lord Byron, and Keats immortalized their love through poems. We too can express our love through poems, given that we make the attempt to write something sensible. Shakespeare in his play ‘Twelfth Night’ has quoted, “If music be the food of love, play on”. An urban saying believes in the key to women’s hearts is in their playlist. “Everything I do, I do it for you”, sang Bryan John. I cannot remember having heard more romantic lines than these. I’d choose a romantic song over a teddy bear which says “ILU” any day. The trend of composing romantic poems and winning hearts through lyrics is perhaps getting outdated. Some of my friends have never even written a love letter their entire life. As a student of literature, I think this is unfortunate. Poetry is the most beautiful way of expressing our love. Music and poems can move souls.
I often find myself wanting to travel to the era of Queen Elizabeth, when poets composed verses dedicated to their muses, and those eternal lines of love have reverberated through centuries. Even though there was no day dedicated to St Valentine, I think love was celebrated in a much better way back then. We spend thousands of rupees buying the most costly and meaningless gifts. I have often wondered why can’t the same money be used to spread love among those less fortunate, like donations to orphanages and other charities on account of this day of love. For just a thousand rupees, we can sponsor the mid-day meal of a child through charities like the Akhshaypatra Foundation. I think that will be the greatest gift, to help someone in need. Everyone is gearing up for the upcoming Valentine’s Day and some will be in a great dilemma of what gifts to buy. Our love and care will always be more precious than whatever money can buy.
Let’s celebrate this Valentine’s Day with grace and make the one we love feel sweet and pampered, not by giving him/her the most posh gifts, but by expressing our love through poems and music. Gifts will vanish with the snap of a finger, but the lyrics of love will remain in their heart forever. Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to the ones we love. Let us not forget our friends and family. Love doesn’t confine itself to the romantic notion alone. This time, let’s wish our parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends, teachers, and everyone we love. May hatred and jealousy melt away, so that our world does become a better place to live.