Happy Valentine’s Day from India! I am writing to you live from Mumbai –the maximum city. Today is Saturday 14th February 2015. For me and my husband, it’s just another Saturday –we just finished our weekly household tasks and are ready to enjoy the weekend.
For the last few days, I have been overwhelmed with all the love-filled ads in TV, the big screened ads which are lining up the highway when I come back from office and of course all the special V-Day offers that come into my mail box. Most of the restaurants, hotels and bars are having a special set dinner for couples or even a Valentine’s Party set up for tonight.
For many of my friends in Europe, Valentine’s Day is just another day (like Christmas) used by the industry to make you buy gifts for each other and instead of YOU celebrating your love, businesses celebrate their spending customers.
My husband and I are also not so found of Valentine’s Day –in fact, we don’t care which day it is: If we feel like going out on a date with each other we simply do it –no matter whether it’s our wedding anniversary or an ordinary Wednesday evening after work.
Tonight, we are going out –because it’s Valentine’s Day. But not because to celebrate our LOVE; it’s something equally important that we will celebrate tonight: FREEDOM. Freedom to love and freedom to express your love in public.
In the recent years, many moral policing attacks by right-wing Hindu nationalists made the headlines of Times Of India and other big Indian newspapers. Couples celebrating their love on Valentine’s Day with a special menu in a pub or restaurant have to fear physical abuse by the underground support of political parties like Shiv Sena and BJP.
This is the reason why Valentine’s Day is not just another day in India. It’s a day to stand up (and go out for a Valentine’s dinner) for the FREEDOM TO LOVE.
PS: My tip to be safe during Valentine’s Day dinners: Go out for a meal in a fancy 5-star hotel or in a shopping mall. The moral policing mop usually targets smaller restaurants in individual set-ups.
PPS: And if you are in danger, the police asks all couples to file FIRs.