Valentine's Day, festival of 'hearts'

Valentine's Day, festival of 'hearts'


It is Valentine’s Day again, on February 14, Tuesday. And, it is the time when the youth celebrate with cards, flowers, sweets, gifts and good food.

Mysore, true to its cosmopolitan outlook, has been open to the celebration for almost two decades now. Except for some disturbances caused by activists of Sri Rama Sene in 2009, popularity for Valentine’s Day is on the rise over the years.

There are innumerable ways to express love. Some even go to the extent of telling that love need not be expressed, it can be felt even without expressing — if it is true.

Youngsters are already preparing their budget, chalking out plans, selecting cards and gifts and scouting for a perfect location to spend time with their loved ones. All parks and lakes in the city apart from college and university campuses would be thronged by youngsters. Hotels, restaurants and resorts have packages for couples, of course at higher prices than usual, with artistic lighting, music and contests with some prizes to be won.

All gift shops have stocked new cards, gifts, chocolates, bags and wraps to lure youngsters. Florists have placed huge orders for exotic flowers to meet the demand on Valentine’s Day. There are also several portals on the internet which deliver gifts at any place on the globe. One only has to place orders online and make payment to deliver gifts to loved ones. Everything available at a click of a mouse.

Deepali of Mysore Gifts Flowers,, says every year enquiries for gifts and flowers were increasing. “Orders for Mysore to Mysore are rare. We get some enquiries, but most of them do not translate into orders. However, we receive orders from Mysore to other places — across the world — and also from other places to Mysore.”

She owns various websites for online booking of orders for delivery of gifts and flowers and says the scene is encouraging.

Veeraraj Urs of Archies Gallery on Ramavilas road said every year the shop gets new and innovatively designed cards, gifts and bags. He said greeting cards cost from Rs 50 to Rs 400. Heart shaped pillows are in the range of Rs 699 to Rs 2,000. There are photo frames, stuffed toys, dolls and decorative items — all sporting the red ‘heart’ shape. A red musical heart and chocolates are new entrants.

Sushma Urs N S, administrative officer of Ashodaya Samithi, who was present in the shop, expressed her anguish over the behaviour of youngsters nowadays. “I wonder, how would girls take such gifts home? What would be their parents’ reaction?” she asked.

Michael Fernandez, a retired electrical engineer, and Leticia Fernandez, a retired teacher, now running Step-By-Step for toddlers, do not approve of the kind of celebration being observed by youngsters these days.

They regret utter commercialisation of all affairs. “For us Valentine’s Day is a quiet affair.

He used to take me for dinner on the day every year. When we could not make it for dinner, we would have lunch together in a restaurant. It is the quality of time we spend together that matters,” said Leticia.

Fernandez and Leticia, both from Goa, met at Mumbai, then Bombay, in 1967 and got married on June 1, 1969. They shifted to Mysore in 1976. Since then they have been known as one of the cutest couples in Mysore, among people who know them.

“We make it a point to wish each other. We also wish our family members, relatives and friends.

It is an occasion to express our love for our near and dear ones. But, youngsters do not understand the motive behind observing Valentine's Day. They just create nuisance,” Michael said.

They said even the Catholic church does not approve of the way it is celebrated now.
Almost all Christian missionary institutions declare a holiday to avoid any untoward incident on their premises on the day. Valentine’s Day was even deleted from the general
Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is no more a fest day in church, they added.

Michael said it was foolish to present ‘hearts’ to all and sundry in the name of celebration.

“It is the ploy of business establishments to make money and young people have become victims.”

B N Pramodh, co-founder of Mysore-based Business Management Systems, and Dr Sushma Krishnamurthy, a surgeon at Mission Hospital, also observe the day on a low-key. They wish each other and express love.

“We never took Valentine’s Day seriously. But, we exchanged cards and flowers a few years before marriage and for a couple of years after marriage. We never fancied expensive gifts,” said Dr Sushma.

“Now memories of what we did those days are cherished. A couple of years ago, when I presented her some flowers on Valentine's Day, she was surprised. Now kids are our priority. We got our second child, a baby girl, on January 25. That is the biggest gift this year,” said Pramodh.

“We know each other for almost 21 years and our love for each other is time tested. For us it was not love at first sight. We understood each other well by being friends before we realised that we were in love. So formalities does not matter much. Even then, expressing love on special occasions help a lot,” Dr Sushma feels.