Love and Friendship

A different Valentine’s

She always gets loads of flowers, heaps of cards and books on Valentine’s Day. Candle-lit dinner invites, picnic-style lunching out with the spring breeze wafting past. But not from her husband…
girl with flowers

Well, it starts from midnight before V-Day, just like it does on my birthdays too. Love poems, some picked from the Net, some my very own that I often share on my Facebook wall and some very quirky sexy messages from those who know they can never take me to bed! That’s how I start the morning of 14th February. Not with a kiss from my husband, but with flowers that start arriving early morning from my boyfriends. And I take pride in making my husband jealous (at least I think I do, though later I find I didn’t) when before leaving for office he sees our living room half full with bunches of orchids and lilies and not roses. But he proves to be smarter, by offering a lone rose from our garden, to stand out from the rest. I cry out: “Afterthought!”

He says he forgot the date just like he forgets our anniversary date every year. And yes, he still hasn’t realised why I do not love roses as much as I do lilies.

But in doing so, he somehow endorses the eternal truth on which our married life dangles ­– everyday love. Really, what’s in a V-Day after all? When every morning my husband fights with our adolescent son as to who will give me the morning kiss first, when on weekends we toil our garden together growing flowers and admiring them, when on Sundays he tries hard to make a breakfast of half burnt toasted sandwiches and omelettes that never come with the right amount of salt, I ask myself, “Do we really need a V-Day to prove that this man who has been a constant in my life, loves me?”

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All said and done, I will not deny I love the pampering I get from friends as well. It makes me feel loved and belonging. On a hilarious note, my personal diary carries a headline: “Flirting after 40 is healthy. It keeps you alive and evergreen.” I don’t mind indulging in that, exploring my die-hard romantic side.

On a quest for this connect I never say no to picnic lunches and candle-lit dinner invites on V-day. Though most of my male friends live in other cities, there are a few who live here as well. Thankfully, none of the ones who live in the same city are married, thus helping me to avoid the guilt of depriving their spouses of their rightful V-Day dinners. Or maybe, they also have dates with others? A quirky V-day bouquet arrives without a name sometimes, and once I even played Miss Marple investigating the source, and amazingly found it came from my ex-boss, always known to be a workaholic divorcee. Valentine’s Day has always thrown up surprises for me. Even the romantic candlelit dinners, where I land up imagining a funny intellectual chat with a man and end up realising a whole gang of men has been invited, including my husband. It’s almost like being surrounded by a gang of bulls, me, the lone cowering cow, romantic dreams melting into playful banter. And I suspect at times it must have been my husband’s V-Day idea, for he knows all the male friends in my life, and must have floated the idea of a joint venture. Driving back home, he never holds my hand and I complain, “So this year too, you forgot the date and came on someone else’s invite.”

He will always smile at me and say, “I know February is a difficult month for you. You lost someone you loved dearly and his birthday clashes with this date.” (Yes, I lost my younger brother in February at the age of 12, and he was a spring child.)

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“I do not want to make you emotional by sitting with you alone in some restaurant. I just want to see you happy with friends around.” Well, I am left with no words at the end of V-Day. That’s the greatest V-Day gift one could ever get – understanding the ‘inner’ me.

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