How about a slap day after Valentine’s Day?

First, their hearts broke and bled, and then they struck a balance to turn back and think about what and how exactly things panned out.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

KOCHI: Nah, this has got nothing to do with post-Valentine’s moral policing or bullying. It is, rather, about what’s being called the Anti-Valentine’s Week – a week dedicated to those souls crushed by Cupid.

First, their hearts broke and bled, and then they struck a balance to turn back and think about what and how exactly things panned out. They then found there might be more to love than just the fluff and the mush and the gifts and the flowery feel of spring dawning when love sprouts.

They find the feeling that the bards lauded as immaculate may have manipulative avatars in the changed contexts, and the tugging of the heart that swept them off their feet could also slump them into pits of self-pity.

World over, the Anti-Valentine’s Week trend has gradually picked up – to look at the other side of the coin after the Feb 14 celebration. Some view it as a ‘tribute’ to all those broken hearts and ‘victims’ of love who had picked themselves up from shreds and braved to move on, and even find greener pastures.

Some others view it as a satirical take on V-Day, which has turned into a customary delight, both for those in love and those banking their commerce in it.

“Love should not be delusional. We should be practical. For me, V-Day is not just about love and lovers; my Valentine is my grandmother,” says a teenager in Thiruvananthapuram.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, in the name of ‘love,’ India has witnessed nearly a 2 per cent increase in crime against women. Also, the same report called ‘love affairs’ the third biggest trigger of murders in India.

Whereas in Kerala, the official records say there were at least 30 cases reported in six years in the state where unrequited love took a deadly turn.

Of these, 20 victims died, and the rest were seriously injured. Between 2017 and 2021, at least 350 girls or women died in the name of ‘love’; 10 were murdered and 340 died by suicide. The 2022 murder of Sharon, who was allegedly poisoned by his lover, was the talk of the town and sparked memes and comical takes on love in modern times.

“We need a balance and a practical sense of what love is. It is a feeling that needs thought, understanding and a knowledge of ours and the other person’s aspirations,” says Bhagya Suresh, a college student from Varkala.

Anti-Valentine’s Week, perhaps, helps in this context, not just to lighten the mood and have fun, but also to drive the message that the path of love needs careful treading.

“What we enjoy the most is the Slap Day, on February 15,” quips Milisha Yadav, who has finished school and is planning higher studies. “On that day, we are supposed to slap all those negative emotions we have had as leftovers of any previous break-ups. The fun take to this as we go about playfully slapping our friends in school. The Kick Day, on February 16, too, gets the same treatment. It used to be fun.”

Students chorus that “fun means fun”, and there is no intention or scope for violence on these days. “It’s like giving birthday bumps or a pillow fight,” explains Manoj K, of Kochi.

The third one, Perfume Day, is for gifting those who have helped one cope during tough times of love, and also for those who want to seek new relationships after kicking and slapping out past baggage.

February 18 has been set aside as Flirting Day, and those who wish to dally along are allowed to do so with all fun intact. The last one is Confession Day, meant to reveal feelings to a new crush or to own up and apologise to a past partner.

Next comes ‘Missing Day’ – simple, it’s okay to tell someone ‘I miss you’. And, the last one, on February 21, is Break-up Day. The swiftness with which the entire ‘emotional plot’ is planned might be a satirical take on how love pans out nowadays.

It is also a reminder of how all of it can be viewed with a practical, light-hearted mind that wants to find fun even in the grimmest of circumstances. And, of course, a larger point is that one should not shy away from snapping a toxic or unhappy relationship for good.

“In a way, it prepares us to face life in a better way. Even among the many days in the February 15 to 21 week, we select the days that are most important to have the maximum fun. Say, the confession or the break-up day. We make it as light and enjoyable as possible with friends and groups that can laugh with us. But therein lie deeper messages of reality,” says Athira S. Nair, an MBA student.

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The New Indian Express
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