Down south, we never celebrated Valentine where I come from which is in Thiruvananthapuram, earlier called Trivandrum, when I was a child. However, it became something we did celebrate by the time I reached my Master’s. I gave a Valentine to my girlfriend which was not traditional, a kind of painting done with felt pens on a card done by me. She tried to find meaning in it but it was just something I had drawn of a few objects I had known. A candle, a sea, a boat, a tree. Things like that. On a chessboard of a ground. She loved it.
Now I have matured past romance. A quiz I did said I would be with Beyonce this Valentine’s Day. This should make me feel happy, maybe, but only makes me feel amused. There’s as much connection between her and me as between me and some poor slum girl dreaming of a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her from Saudi.
What I’d actually like to do is be magically transported to India, being in Saudi, and spend time with my wife, and daughter and my son who has autism. Buy her, Anna, my wife, whatever she wants; chocolates, Al Rifai nuts, flowers, especially red roses, and a V day card as well as sweets and dresses. She doesn’t care for gold. Take them all out for dinner. Or transport them here, miraculously, along with my other daughter who is in Norway.
If I could be in two places at the same time, I would be in India and Norway simultaneously.
That’s what I’d really like to do.
And as fantasy? Well, as fantasy I would like to be with this mysterious charmer of a woman who loves me and whom I love madly, insanely, addictively, as an obsession, possessively, and who has dark skin, in a restaurant in some exotic location like Algeria or Tunisia or Morocco that serves great food and tequila and get drunk with her, both of us trying to drink each other under the table, after which we’d have a cigarette or two or smoke some weed, and go to some place special and make love. A quixotic Valentine’s day out with my fantasy babe. That would work out or be fine too.
A Valentine full of work is what I will probably have instead, not bloody but colourless, grey and dull like what it used to be before I came to hear of the day made for lovers.