The ongoing pandemic has taught us that only good health and love can help navigate through life’s many curveballs
Valentine's Day has never been my favourite day. I have always questioned the legitimacy of having only one day to celebrate love. Shouldn't love and the people involved in it be celebrated every day? The saccharine-sweet mush and ugly cushion hearts were never cool in my eyes and excessive usage of the colour red felt nauseating. In my mind, V-Day also became associated increasingly with consumerism; a clever ruse to fool beguiled people into spending money.
This year, however, everything feels different. After the unexpected pause thrust upon us by the dastardly COVID-19 virus in 2020, every festival or occasion feels reason enough to celebrate. As yet another Valentine's Day beckons, I must admit that I am looking forward to the silliness that it brings forth. Just to observe people in love would be exhilarating after the calamitous year that we've had. After my own shave with the dreaded and still mysterious Coronavirus at the beginning of 2021, every occasion, even sappy Valentine's Day, feels like a celebration of life. So, while I still grudge the consumerism, I think I'll keep that ugly red cushion.
Love has indeed had it hard in the last year. Lockdowns proved tricky for some, blessings for a few, and disastrous for others. Many relationships breathed their last under the burden of cloistered expectations while a chosen few rediscovered their partners and sat back to enjoy a reignited romantic bliss. Some lonely hearts got even lonelier unable to nurture fledgling loves or meet new ones. Sadly, for many stuck in abusive relationships, it also meant an increase in harassment and domestic abuse. In India and globally too, the number of complaints of domestic abuse upped exponentially. Last year, between March 25 and May 31, 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were registered by women. These complaints recorded over two months were more than those received during the same period in the previous decade. The United Nations described the 20 per cent worldwide increase in cases of domestic abuse as a 'shadow pandemic'.
Love in its many forms has stood trial during the pandemic. We learnt anew how to coexist within the same spaces even after the world started opening up as we continued to exercise caution and limited outdoor time. There was no greater expression of love than the many partners and family members who selflessly nursed those who fell victim to COVID-19; the heartbreak of those that lost their loved ones. This pandemic has given ample reasons to celebrate love every day through the little acts of kindness and empathy that we have shown to the people in our lives.
As we await our turn for the vaccine shots, we are forced to acknowledge that through this most difficult phase in our collective memory, it is only love that has outperformed every other index of life. Wealth, power, and fame were meaningless without health keeping us bodily safe and love feeding our souls. Holding our hand in the bleakest moments, it is love that has helped tide us over. And more than anything, since March last year, love has also learnt to be patient.
We wait to see the back of this pandemic, having taken the new normal as the only normal. Many changes to our behaviour, attire, work, and living will continue long after the COVID-19 antibodies kick in. Experts opine that this may not be the last pandemic; many more such catastrophes, perhaps even worse ones, sneakily wait to unfold. But love has taught us that after the challenges of the pandemic, humanity as a whole can endure anything. This is because our resilience is fortified by science, faith, and that downplayed but most important emotion, 'love'. This Valentine's Day let's celebrate that crazy kind of love that nurtures and heals, guides us to the right path, waits for us to find our way, walks with us as we tread unknown paths. Let every day be Valentine's Day.
The writer is an author and media entrepreneur. Views expressed are personalThe ongoing pandemic has taught us that only good health and love can help navigate through life's many curveballs