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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hallmark’s Day

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California Psychological Inventory classifies me as norm-favouring personality, which I think is correct to my self-assessment. I tend not to seek change for sake of change unless it offers distinct and significant advantage over status-quo. On the other hand, if there is sufficient advantage in change then I am restless with status-quo. That’s why I am less than impressed by corporatization of love today. It’s not because it’s against Indian tradition nor because it’s Western concept. What I don’t like about today, and there are handful who agree with me, that it’s an imposed idea of celebration of love which emphasizes expensiveness of gifts as measure of intensity of love. Greeting cards and gift corporations are well known to create market by introducing such celebration and associating them by traditional token of love such as cards, flowers, cake, gifts and so on. In cultures where such days are not norm, intensive branding and marketing propagates the notion as has been done in India and China with respect to Father’s day, Mother’s day, Valentine’s day, Friendship day, and whatnot.

What is more surprising in Indian case is that we already have existing well-established tradition of love, at least for Hindus: Karwa Chauth. As has been mentioned earlier, Indian idea of selfless love which emphasizes purity of heart and intention and focuses on giving and well-being of loved one (at least in theory) is being replaced by imposed idea of selfish love which is measured in monetary terms and focuses on receiving and self-fulfillment (even in theory, in practice I don't think there is much difference). Obviously, there are exceptions and it all depends on couple involved, but I am talking about more general scenario propagated by industry and increasingly accepted by youths.

Frankly, what doesn’t irk me is the idea of promotion of Valentine’s day but rapid promotion by companies in last few years at the cost of denigration of traditional Indian customs. There is undercurrent of campaign against this old festival where some think that fasting and praying for long life of loved ones is sexist (or perhaps too much hard work). Moreover, idea of gifting your loved ones is not new nor something to fret about, what is abrasive about today to me is that someone else telling me when to gift my beloved and corresponding pressure of expectation from significant other. This, of course, is not India-centric problem. Even in USA corporations are robbing festivals like Halloween and Christmas from their family orientation to become more consumeristic nature.

At the end of day though, since V-day has been so deeply penetrated by now that this whole post is futile attempt. I will not wish you Happy Valentine's Day, I will wish you Happy Love!

And now some fun..."real" Valentine's day cards here & here and history (video below)...

(This incidentally is 200th post on this blog.)