Love birds in India say Happy Valentines
By Shabarni Basu, New Delhi, Feb 14 : The wait of one long year is finally over for the love birds in India as they joined the world in celebrating Valentine's Day on Thursday pledging love, exchanging gifts and billy-cooing empty nothings that set aflutter young hearts.
While some religious radicals protest and rant about the Westernization of courtship in India on this day, the overwhelming majority took the opportunity to soak in the candy floss feeling of all that is defined as love and chose to make most of the day.
So from Facebook to SMS inboxes and gift shops to city parks, love is in the air.
The history of Valentine's Day is quite impressive as it is observed to honour one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.
It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
On Thursday, couples belonging to all age groups were spotted strolling lightly in the park, holding hands and taking vows of spending the entire life together on this day. Some pledges would be forgotten and lost, but many will last, say the young people bitten by Valentine's bug.
From coffee shops to shopping destinations, every hangout has turned into a vibrant red colour dedicating the day to love and care.
Cinema houses across all major cities were spotted with long queues on this day as couples turned up to watch films, without any particular choice for the same.
"No matter whatever film is being screened here, I just want to spend the entire day with Karan, my love," said 20-year-old Jiya as she waited outside a multiplex in Delhi.
Schools and colleges across India had very poor attendance as couples dropped studies to celebrate this special day.
Heart shaped balloons were seen hanging in nearly every alternate gift shop in India, restaurants and other hangout places.
Red roses were the most visible element on this day as almost every girl had one in her hand despite flower traders charging almost Rs.20-25 for each red rose.
Even the hangout destinations left no stone unturned to mark this special day with not only the decors but the management authorities in many restaurants and cinema houses wishing the couples entering their premises with a red rose.
Gift shops were the most crowded destination on the V-Day and ahead of it as lovers gift each other as a token of expressing their feelings.
Different kind of show pieces, pink teddy bears and chocolates were the most sought after items for gifts not leaving out the Valentine Day's special cards, which is the very essence for couples to express their feelings.
Jewellery is the other most favourite item for gifting on this day and several jewellery companies offered huge discounts on making charges of gold and diamond rings, earrings, bangles and pedants.
Companies and e-commerce portals also positioned themselves to make brisk business.
To ride high on the V-Day boom online lifestyle shopping portal straightline.in has launched 'Love is in the Air' with a wide range of Valentine gifts keeping in mind the gifting requirements for today's youth including fashion accessories like designer watches, belts, wallets, diamond jewelry, exclusive gift hampers and electronic gadgets.
Infact, V-Day preparations started since last week with girls going for make-overs in salons and boys joining up for gym classes to look -gym-fit on this day and to impress their partners.
Celebrities also expressed their feelings and views on social networking site Twitter to mark this special day.
Actress Priyanka Chopra tweeted:"Happy valentines to all those who have ever felt love..... May we always feel it...."
Actress Shruti Haasan tweeted:"Happy valentines day tweeps! Pardon my complete lack of enthusiasm lol."
Author-columnist Suhel Seth tweeted:"Happy Valentine's Day: another day for you to get mugged with tales of love and all that b#@@s#@t! No harm in paying more for roses!!"
Actor Siddharth tweeted:"If you believe in celebrating love on one particular day, Happy Valentines day."
Actor Manoj Bajpayee tweeted: "This date should be marked as the day when you show love for your family and surroundings!make it sure the hatred should fade for anybody."
Actor-social activist Anupam Kher wished:"A life without love is like a year without summer." HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY.:)"
Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh tweeted: "Wishing you all a very happy Valentines Day !! GOD BLESS YOU ALL ... With a lot of Love and happiness always. Keep smiling. :):):):)"
Actress Diya Mirza tweeted:"Love ♥ Love ♥ Love ♥."
Actor Vivek Oberoi tweeted:"Happy Valentine's day to all u beautiful people out there!!! Have a super romantic day with ur loved one!And come see our film #jbkls 2moro!"
Industrialist Raj Kundra wished his wife actress Shilpa Shetty saying:"It was a million tiny things that,when u added them all up, they meant we were supposed 2 be together..& I knew it! Love u @TheShilpaShetty."
Actor R. Madhavan tweeted:"Happy Valentines day folks. Today Make sure you express your Love to all the people you love and Love you. Start wid the Family. Biggg Huggg."
But with the Delhi gangrape and recent attacks on women still overshadowing almost every celebrations in India, the day is also marked by pledges to rise against sexual assaults.
So India would join 198 other countries to say 'Strike, Dance, Rise', on Valentine's Day under the campaign One Billion Rising to make the world a safer place for women and encourage them to regain the public spaces. --IBNS