LIFESTYLE

The Essential Indian Guide To Surviving Valentine's Day Without Losing Your Sanity

Hum honge kaamyaab, ek din.

13/02/2017 7:43 PM IST | Updated 14/02/2017 10:31 AM IST
Screengrab from Youtube

You may have outgrown your tolerance for giant red heart-shaped cushions, and giant red heart-shaped bouquets, and giant red heart-shaped balloons, but you'll barely ever outgrow giant discounts. So, it's only fair that Valentine's Day continues to be a thing because lipsticks at 30 percent discount is exactly what love feels like. But you're still left with an entire day to deal with -- filled with WhatsApp forwards, Facebook status messages, websites bombarding you with information about how to pull off a 'perfect Valentine's Day', Facebook DPs with heart shaped frames, and so much red stuff that the world looks like a bowl of Rooh Afza.

Your options are limited to Malaika Arora/ Karan Johar/ Farah Khan/ Shilpa Shetty staring mistily at a reality show contestant's gut-wrenching performance about unrequited/ lost love.

You don't essentially have to be single or bitter to want to switch on the TV to drown your sorrows into the bottomless pit that is primetime television, only to learn that even ichadhaari naagins are being wooed by their beaus. You hastily change channels, but your options are limited to choosing between Malaika Arora/ Karan Johar/ Farah Khan/ Shilpa Shetty staring mistily at a reality show contestant who is pouring every fiber of his/her being into a gut-wrenching performance about unrequited/ lost love.

You fling the remote on the sofa in exasperation and open the newspaper only to be subjected to elaborate details of the "surprise" plans of all the B-towners flying saat samundar paar to join their sweethearts at their outdoor shoots on this most auspicious of all days. No one will write a follow-up story on the expletives that will escape the producer footing the enormous bill for this PR pyaar ka public pradarshaan.

Let's not forget the right-wing trolls, who in their attempt to become relevant outside Twitter, will scour nightclubs and parks in their cities for amorous couples.

Let's not forget the right-wing trolls, who in their attempt to become relevant outside Twitter, will scour nightclubs and parks in their cities for amorous couples. And then howl about "Western Culture!" in the mics of bored TV reporters who actually just really want to thwack these haters on the head.

So what can you do, to escape unscathed from the romance-fuelled insanity our world is in the grips of, every February? Try these 6 coping tactics. They may be slightly extreme, but as they say, desperate times need desperate measures.

Uninstall WhatsApp for a day

Sure, It's inconvenient, but how many Rumi-quotes-photoshopped-against-pictures-of-sunsets can you digest in a day? You cannot really unsee the heart-shaped rose bouquets that will intermittently make appearances on your family Whatsapp groups or unread the cheesy copy-paste forwards your classmates from school will send you. Once they've sent you an Altaf Raja-esque shayari, you can just never look at them the same way again.

Stay away from social media

No matter how resolutely you decide to refrain from commenting on people's outbursts and declarations of love, there will be that one status update or tweet or Instagram video that will make you feel like you're stuck inside an Archie's card and can't leave. And once you start the tirade against Archie's-Hallmark days, there's no way to contain the flood. Stay away, be happy.

Do some social service — distribute condoms

Meryl Streep very wisely said, "Take your broken heart and turn it into art". The same way, take your irritation with Valentine's Day and turn it into public service. We live in a country where an alarming number of young people would sooner risk STDs and unwanted pregnancies than ask for condoms at a pharmacy. Save these red-faced souls the heartburn and leave a giant bowl of condoms at your favourite restaurant. Good karma finds its way back, hopefully.

Promotional poster // Wikipedia

Queue up some Indian horror films

Some of them are so bad, they're awesome. Since every Hindi movie channel is going to play Shah Rukh Khan movies on loop, Valentine's Day is the best time to indulge in the worst kind of horror films ever to come out of Bollywood. My picks for this year: Bees Saal Baad (A riveting combination of a vengeful wife from a previous janam, babas, tantriks, nails that must be driven into the hero's foot on a schedule, full moon nights and karwa chauth) and Papi Gudia (A murderous black magic doll, enough said). Remember Sony's 1995 hit horror show, Aahat? You can watch most of the old episodes on the official Youtube channel here.

Read some anti-love poetry

Couldn't keep away from WhatsApp and Facebook, could you? That's okay. To reverse the effects of all the sappy poems and love ballads you've battled all day, read some anti-love poetry before you end the day. To be clear, anti-love poems are not about hating on love, it's a kind of poetry that resonates people who are simply sick of the exaggerated expressions of love. Margaret Atwood's You Fit Into Me is a particular favourite:

You fit into me
Like a hook into an eye

A fish hook
An open eye.

You can read more wonderful anti-love poems here

Pamper a pet

Since Valentine's Day is going nowhere in the near future and the world is going to keep on insisting that you celebrate love, use it to celebrate a love that is as unconditional and pure as you're ever likely to encounter: your pet's. If you don't have a pet yourself, take your friend's pet on a date while they're out burning a crater-sized hole in their pocket for the pleasure of dining with heart-shaped balloons bouncing off their heads while their date sips on flat pink champagne.

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