Every year, this time round, I am hit by severe Agoraphobia- fear of going out in public places. And I have my father-in-law to blame for that.
The condition was still manageable five to six years back, but since then things have gone severely downhill. The fact that I cannot possibly find a cure for my condition makes the threat even more menacing. This is going to recur next year too, with greater severity.
The cause of my fears- the event called Valentine’s day! And the reasons for such a malady isn’t because of the slight difficulties experienced in bringing our wives and girlfriends together- it’s much more complicated for me.
I have never belonged to the cult who celebrate the 14th like the world ends on the 15th. But I could never shut my eyes and feign ignorance of the end of the world as well. That’s because I have a matter of grave importance to attend on this day- and going out for that on the 15th would be like walking in the ravaged alleys to pick up the remains of Armageddon. Obviously any sane soul would want to avoid such an occurrence, though very soon I feel that would be the lesser of the two evils- as compared to venturing out on D-Day.
However, after the love drones have fought their wars and dissipated into thin air on the 14th midnight, the world doesn’t feel the same. I sometimes question what exactly happens to the zillions of couples we see dressed in the brightest of reds on every nook and corner of the city and beyond, on the other 364 days of the year ? It’s like every one of them have their own fairy godmother and her strictest instructions- not to remain on the roads after the clock strikes 12!
Though I doubt whether the princes go around with a glass slipper looking for their “sole-mate”- or devote their attention to the perusal of an altogether new pair of slippers. But then my wife frequently questions my limited understanding of the worldly affairs as well.
I digress. Point is being confined to the crevices of our tiny abode isn’t an option for me on this fateful night. My father in law has blessed me with an eternal problem. My wife has her birthday on the 14th.
So come every 14th, I am found contemplating on the place to go, that would help us escape this red avalanche – red balloons, red lighted décor, heart shaped pizzas and deserts- almost everything comes in those two combinations!
Last year, despite my sincere efforts, we ended up having heart shaped chicken breasts served in red wine sauce, in a heart shaped bowl. And, no, I do not want to discuss the post dinner conversation I had with my wife.
The only positive that I see of her birthday falling on the day is that, I never forget it. But I do suffer from the dread experienced my most married men- of finding an apt present for her. Gift shops don’t help- the same red hearts seemed to have engulfed everything from cards to diaries. For the poor pocketed like me, who cannot afford diamonds and precious jewellery, this can be a problem. Going up to the counter and asking “do you have anything that is not red, and doesn’t have hearts ?” brings about sheer shock mixed with part disgust, on the face of the persons manning the counters.
I guess I have started sounding like those grumpy bachelor souls rambling about how V-Day is a disgusting custom and should be done away with promptly. So before the red brigade attacks me I think I may just have to give up this futile attempt of planning something white and grey for her, and resort to watching a movie at home. Safer, simpler and cheaper 😀
(This is purely a work of fiction, and the author does not claim any responsibility for any resemblance and hence any misfortune for any persons, obviously living, or any date, that has been discussed in the passage. )
Archya, is a doctor-turned-healthcare administrator, who is in his idle time, likes to ruminate on his journeys through this material world, that has brought him everything but fame and money. May be Blongshong is his second chance !
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