Ours was the first generation to celebrate Valentine’s day or for that matter any dedicated day such as Father’s day, Mother’s day, Friendship day, Rose day……… We were still in school when Archies gift store came up in the neighbourhood. If it was a market of little repute, it would have two things, Archies and Nirula’s and latter Wimpy came in with it’s burger and coca-cola combos.
In all practicality, Archies brought in the idea of celebrating love. Unlike the present times, where the idea has extended to love between father and daughter, mother and son, sister and brother, friends and even between you and your dog. In 80’s and 90’s it was largely restricted to school and college going teenagers.
Love was not such a big business then, though Delhi is a metropolitan city and the idea of love was present, and few lucky times accepted too but it was not openly celebrated. Archies brought in a revolution of sort by brining in beautifully and dramatically designed greeting cards, on the cards you would see lovers holding hands walking on the beach, lovers sitting on the beach watching sunset, boy giving flower to a girl and she accepting it coyly, large red heart with a romantic message, butterflies and roses, girl and the boy hugging looking serene and lost in some other world, couple dancing picture looking some what like a still from ‘Dirty Dancing’ movie, teddy bears hugging and many more such images that symbolises love.
It became easy to express your feelings with the help of the greeting cards. No matter how coy, shy, reluctant, introvert the guy was, it was convenient to express love through the Archie’s Cards. On the Valentine’s day, you could actually pick up a gift along with the card. Teddy Bears, Customised Key Chains with your name on it, Customised mugs with your lovers picture on it, Pens, Clocks, Revolving dancing dolls which once again came into vogue when Shahrukh gifted it to Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om, and other affordable gifts were easily accessible at Archies, it was one point solution to all your Valentine gifts problems.
Our neighbourhood flower vendor was not so greedy and roses were still in vogue. We had yet to see Lilies, Orchids, Amaranthus and all other fancy flowers, so roses were much in demand. The price would rise considerably for that one day but it won’t leave your pocket high and dry, unlike today when you nearly get robbed in buying 20 roses.
Dinning was easy and Winning difficult, there wasn’t many restaurant choices and club culture was yet to boom. Nirula’s if you preferred Hot Chocolate fudge with Pizza, Delhi Hatt or Chanakya Puri market if you liked Momos and cold Fruit Bear, Wimpy if you were Burger lover or you would have to resort to your local sit down bakeries.
Age of minimalism. Age of Innocence. Gone too soon.
Now days, sale of Louis Vuitton peak twice a year, Raksha Bandhan and Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of clubbing and dinning options and they go extra mile to make your experience grand but along comes a grand bill, it will take your next 2 months salary to clear your credit card outstanding. There is more fun, joy and satisfaction in sharing your valentine day details on face book with unknown people then living it on the day.
The brands leave no stone unturned to ensure that you express your love through them, you will be hammered with offer promo text messages and emails. I enter the club, I see restaurant promotion poster for the much coveted day. As I move down the stairs towards the gym, i see another poster, it says yoga for couple – special offer on Valentines day. And i wonder what does yoga have to do with love??? Every time i open my mail box i am reminded that a luxuries holiday can be a possibility on 14th Feb, not before, not after, may be they believe that 14th Feb is a national holiday so i can plan my vacation. I look at my phone and see Zara, Promod, Aldo screaming….. sale on valentine day, to be honest it does get my attention but if I love somebody then i might as well spend time with him than shop for shoes.
We are still a democratic country so our Love is not everybody’s business, but Love itself has become a business!