A Sombre Day for City’s Catholics as ‘V-Day’ Clashes with ‘Ash Wednesday’! But LOVE is Still in the Air!

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A Sombre Moment for the City’s Catholics as ‘VALENTINE’S DAY’ Clashes with ‘ASH WEDNESDAY ‘on the same day (14 February), and also is the First Day of Lent where Catholics are restricted from having Meat, Alcohol and other Fun things -But LOVE is Still in the Kudla Air

Mangaluru: For many people, going on a romantic date is a cause of great stress. This year, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the same day as Ash Wednesday. The last time that happened was in 2018 and it will happen again in 2029. For those who consider faith an important part of their lives, the coincidence of having this Valentine’s Day, a commercial holiday, on Ash Wednesday, a religious occasion, may pose a dilemma. Ash Wednesday is not a fixed day. It can change depending on the moon calendar because Easter in the Catholic Church is celebrated “on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon occurring either on or after the spring equinox (March 21).”

This Catholic tradition marks the beginning of Lent, which culminates 40 days later with the Holy Week. People who participate in this celebration receive a cross on their forehead, which they normally keep throughout the day.

If you are not a religious person, Valentine’s Day will be just the same. However, those who care about their religion may wonder: Is it a red flag to go on a romantic date with the Ash Wednesday cross on your forehead? It’s once again that time of the year when controversies involving young lovers and activists of certain political saffron parties are nothing new, but the feeling of ill-will is usually at its peak on February 14, Valentine’s Day. St Valentine merely wanted to spread the message of love, but lately, this day has become one of possible conflicts in India, as well as Mangaluru. As lovers eagerly await to greet their Valentines on February 14, there’s some not-so-pleasing news for them, as they fear about these saffron outfits. But luckily no untoward incidents have occurred until now, and no matter what, lovers who really want to celebrate this day, have gone ahead and bought the V-Day stuff needed, and want to make the best use of this romantic day.

Among many love Birds or call them Sweethearts that I met, here was this true devoted and true lover and true caring husband, who on this V-Day did not buy a bouquet or box of chocolates or jewellery, a V-Day gift costing not in thousands but lakhs- and it was a 2024 KIA Seltos costing around Rs 20 Lakhs. Wow- that’s a pricey V-Day gift. Wow- this doctor really loves his wife? He is Dr Kaushlendra Kumar, Professor & Head, Department of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru.

Dr Kumar aged 40, hailing from Bihar married Ms Sweety, aged 34, who holds a diploma in the same studies, married on 28 June 2012, and are proud parents of two boys, Roshan (11) and Karan (6), studying in St Theresa School, Bendore, Mangaluru, and the family residing in apt at Marnamikatta in the City. Having done his PhD in Audiology & Speech Language, he joined KMC Hospital, Mangaluru in 2006, and now is a professor/HoD in Dept of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology at KMC. When asked about the secret of his happy married life of 12 years, he said, “There were no arguments/misunderstandings/anger/etc, but totally mutual understanding, love and care towards each other, and we still continue in the same way as of now. We have two happy kids, and we want to live a happy married life forever”.

No Flowers, No Box of Candies, No Jewellery! Dr Kuashendra Kumar of KMC, Mangaluru gifts his wife, Ms Sweety, a car worth Rs 20 Lakh on V-Day 2024!

When asked what gifts he had earlier given to Ms Sweety on V-Day, he said Jewellery, taking her out for shopping, tours, expensive dining, etc, but what made him buy this 4-wheeler gift, is the reason, I wanted her to use this valuable car to take my children to school, do other errands, etc which is beneficial to the entire family. And this gift to her was for being devoted, caring, loving, committed, and just for being a perfect woman made for a man like me.” Words from Ms Sweety were, “Marrying Kaushlendra was definitely my dream come true. I am overwhelmed and lucky to have him as my life partner, a man who is a caring and devoted husband, a loving father to his two boys, and a perfect gentleman, and confident of living together as a happy married couple for the rest of our lives”.

Dr Kaushal also said that today was V-day, it was also a day to buy a car, being Vasant Panchami, a festival of Hindus that marks the beginning of preparations for the spring season. It is celebrated by people in various ways depending on the region. It is a festival dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, who is the Goddess of Knowledge, Language, Music, and all Arts. It is a very Holy Day to start up any new work or take any step towards your dream.

If Sri Rama Sena Supremo Pramod Muthalik is dead against observing Valentine’s Day, but that hasn’t stopped those who believe in V-Day, and are all geared up to mark this Day, buying roses, gifts, chocolates, cards etc, except “Pink Chaddies?” for their dear ones. And for that matter, if you look at the flower shops, especially a Flower Shop in Karangalpady, Mangaluru and gift shops in Mangaluru, they are all making brisk business from flower arrangements, teddy bears, greeting cards, novelties, gift items, chocolates/cupcakes etc etc., but in a lower scale, unlike the previous years. As lovers listen to their hearts whisper and say those three little words with roses and gifts, V-Day spells megabucks for bizland.

Big-time parties are excluded at luxury hotels, pubs and lounges which have been quite reluctant to host any V-Day events, with a little fear of the saffron groups creating trouble, who say they do not encourage or tolerate Valentine’s Day celebrations or functions since it is a western culture and not Indian tradition. The watering holes in the city have limited the day with only Valentine’s lunch and dinner- no DJ or dancing.

The shops selling flowers and gift hampers added that though they had prepared Valentine’s Day special gift hampers, however, the response was not so encouraging. The person in charge at Iris Flower Shop said, “We have Valentine’s Day red rose bouquets, chocolate boxes and soft toys. However, so far the response from the customers is fair, compared to previous years. But we are happy with the sale since we have not made more flower arrangements, unlike previous years.” Meanwhile, the Mangaluru city commissionerate has deployed additional police personnel in places frequented by youngsters and couples. At this flower shop, SI Umesh Kumar and Police Constable Hanumantha of Kadri East Police Station were patrolling the premises.

Like the prices of ‘Kumbalakai’ go up during ‘Ayudha Puja’- the prices of roses go up during V-Day. Also, since this year millions of roses have been exported to Western countries, there has been a shortage of roses here, and that’s the reason they have jacked up the prices. Flower arrangements range from Rs 1000- Rs 15,000-Rs 25,000- and there was one flower arrangement ordered and ready to go, costing around Rs 18,000. I guess this man truly loves his wife or girlfriend to spend Rs 18K on a red rose flower arrangement.

“Love birds do not mind paying around two times the usual price for flowers,” giggled another florist at a popular florist shop in town. However, he said many avoid purchasing flowers due to anti-valentine squads and Immoral-police personnel. The immoral police brigade on that day is keeping an eye on so youngsters hesitate to purchase flowers to avoid problems. Last year there were protests by the saffron group in the city, claiming V-Day as a Western culture”. But many flower shops still want to continue and support various traditions that people are still used to, including V-Day, even though they don’t make big profits. “V-Day has been good, but could have been better, if not for all these anti-elements,” said a flower shop staff near Kankanady.

Suhan, a medical student who had bought a mega-size V-Day card at Jerosa Company, Mangaluru has plans to take his sweetheart for a “candle-light” dinner at Onyx Lounge or Liquid Lounge. Martins Restaurant, Valencia is all decked up with V-Day decorations, which would be an ideal place to dine tonight, followed by clicking a few selfies/photos for memory’s sake. To sum it all up, Valentine’s Day is traditionally a way to celebrate the romance in your life, but it’s also a good way to show friends how much you value them. There are as many ways to do this as there are friendships, and no way is right or wrong. With some friends, you might give a card to say “Happy Valentine’s Day,” while with others you might go all out with a big party. There are different ways to celebrate V-Day- pick one and celebrate. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I end this column with the modern cliché Valentine’s Day poem found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784):

The rose is red, the violets blue,

The honey’s sweet, and so are you.

Thou art my love and I am thine;

I drew thee to my Valentine:

The lot was cast and then I drew,

And Fortune said it should be you.


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