Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Varied Valentines

"Do you like this watch?"
"What about this jeans?"
"Pretty earrings for a pretty face!"
"This top is tailor made for you "
"Do spare a glance here as well"
"You know, its like the Cinderella story, these shoes will fit only you. You must take them!"
"It's Valentine's day! You deserve this."
"A tattoo will look gorgeous on you, believe me!"
"Okay whatever you say madam! Just say what you want and I will get it for you!"
"Biscuits?" "Tea?" "Kathi Rolls?"
"You must take this jacket...I want you to have it...seriously!"
You must be thinking that I have such a doting boyfriend or a devoted hubby,so ready, so eager to please me. Let me clear your misconception. This is not my boyfriend trying to cheer me up or working hard to make my day special. These statements come from the varied salesmen adorning Palika Bazaar, all trying to sell this or that paraphernalia of theirs. I'm sure there are many such palikas,lajpats and sarojinis in Delhi as well as other states where you will find salesmen hounding you to purchase a cellphone cover, a cute purse, some t-shirts and the like. And believe it or not, after a time you feel as if you really need them, be they pretty shoes or nice earrings or even drab socks. My friends and I spent our Valentine's in such a place.
There are five kinds of people on the basis of their reaction to Valentine's day. One, who ardently follow the concept and make elaborate preparations to mark the day. Two, those who are ambivalent and are not sure about the degree of importance they want to accord to the occasion. Couples can fall in both the above categories. Third, those who tag themselves as 'forever alone' and flaunt their single status on social networks by trolling or putting up snarky statuses. Fourth, those who use the day as an excuse to celebrate and rejoice. Fifth, those who don't discriminate between one day and the next ; for whom the next day unfolds without them realizing the previous one has gone.
I guess we decided to put ourselves in the fourth category. My friends and I planned to utilize this Saturday and this Valentine by meeting up after many many months. As usual, we were in a fix about the venue. But then someone suggested the official universal female pastime and we jumped at the idea. We went to CP, loaded ourselves with oodles of cheese, pizza and even more cheese at Sbarro and proceeded to Delhi's first underground market, Palika. That was our moment of vainglory. A horde of guys begging us to buy or to simply check out their 'stuff' , calling us endearingly , offering us mind blowing discounts, behaving more submissively than a slave, professing their devotion to us (even though make-believe; by the way, even make-believe devotion is sweet to girls) openly and calling us over and over even as we rebuffed and slighted them, moving ahead like proud princesses. Such a vanity booster as that, was a high that I realized must be the reason I was a shopaholic, as are all the other women. The kind of attention one gets, the feeling of importance one enjoys, the satisfaction of rejecting and disdaining something you don't like and the pleasure of being chased relentlessly making one feel highly needed and wanted, almost like some guy madly in love with you. So what better way to spend one's Valentine than by getting pampered, cosseted, pursued and feeling special? Multiple men smiling at you and wanting you and you spurning them , what better high, what better celebration and what better ego booster? Add to that our group's private jokes, stealing glances at mushy couples and giggling at their mushiness, pitying couples who started out with the hope and the setting for a perfect evening but ended up in an inconsequential argument, empathizing with folks who either can't be with their better halves or those who don't have any such halves; all the while loving each others' company which was replete in itself sans any expectation, any duty. I must say I had a beautiful Valentine's, chock-full of narcissistic moments and queenly treatment.
Valentines this year we had many,
but we chose not to have any
Special we felt, putting on airs
Without any conditions, without any cares

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