Follies and foibles in Valentine’s week : The Tribune India

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Follies and foibles in Valentine’s week

Follies and foibles in Valentine’s week

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Atul Joshi

THE buzz and festivities associated with Valentine’s Day — or rather, week — have to be seen to be believed. Shops are adorned with dazzling lights and stacked with attractive gifts. Markets are bustling with enthusiastic young crowds. Couples move around, hand in hand, whispering sweet nothings. The euphoria is all-pervading and romance is in the air, fuelled by aggressive marketing.

How do past generations view all this? It could be with resigned acceptance or possibly with the rueful feeling of being born too soon and having missed the bus.

While I was in a medical college, the annual youth festival once fell during Valentine’s week. Among the fun activities planned that year, the Mr and Ms Rose event was keenly awaited. Depending on who received the most number of roses, the winners were to be announced during the valedictory function. For one college Romeo, this was a golden opportunity to express his feelings to a girl who was least interested in him. Within no time, a hundred rosebuds were delivered to the embarrassed and annoyed girl. Her discomfiture was aggravated by the realisation that she would be crowned Ms Rose in front of the audience. Since I was to conduct the concluding function, she approached me to help her escape the ignominy of this dubious distinction. On his part, the Romeo was determined to see his ‘lady love’ win the crown. It was a challenge for me to prevent an unsavoury situation for the girl, even as the ‘rose-giver’ threatened me with dire consequences if I did not announce her name. I had to reach out to the dean to ensure that Valentine’s glory was not bestowed on an unwilling recipient.

Notwithstanding these ham-handed attempts at expressing love or infatuation, the spirit of bonhomie among youngsters has prevailed. They look forward to the second week of February every year.

I work as a doctor-teacher in a hospital. Once, while performing a surgery during Valentine’s week, I was bombarding my young assistant with one question after another about the procedure but was not getting any response. His silence perturbed me. He was not able to answer simple queries related to the area under surgery and the surgical steps. I shifted gears and started asking him graduate-level questions, which I expected him to answer easily. The result was the same. He kept his gaze lowered and maintained a poker face. Just as I was about to stop this exercise in disgust, I asked him: ‘Ok, is it Rose Day today?’ Pat came the answer: ‘No, sir! It is Chocolate Day.’ He had a big smile on his face, while I was struggling to conceal my emotions.


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