2021 Valentine’s Day received a different ovation than many years in the past. With the ongoing virus havoc in the world, quarantine, facemasks, and social distancing, the day’s celebrations were tethered to 2020 and the pandemic it brought. However, the message of love found wings on different clouds and flew high.
The Internet and the modern digital age would not allow love to go unheeded when we need more than ever to hear the magical words of “I love you.” And the Post Valentine’s Day- another day to celebrate the single status found its place in the love scenario. February 15 following the Valentine’s Day was the day for self-love and self-care, a day to set a date with oneself, to indulge in everything that makes the “Me” happy. Whether one was single or a couple, Facebook had streams of love expressions on the occasion of Valentine’s as did Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. One could not deny that the user-friendly social media pages were like a life elixirs. Sailing in the pandemic, stuck at home while the love potions boil, we are lucky that the Internet is there to vent our emotions, while respecting the terms and conditions. Lovers sighed and cried in their Facebook with hopes for better days to find new wings on the occasion of 2021’s Valentine’s Day. Love is the universal language that unites us. When daily life feels like walking on eggshells every day, we cannot give up on love and hope.We stand strong when it comes saying “I love you” even if it isn’t possible to say it in person, for romance, the Cupid found wings on the Internet. Many agree that there is a different charm in holding a Hallmark Valentine card against the heart, read and re-read the lover’s handwriting and placing it right in front of the eyes to cherish it every moment. The e-cards, emoji’s and Gif’s have a lot to give to feelings, but some tangible things are irreplaceable. Lovers will find ways to speak of love and yet not be satisfied. The sonnet by Elizabeth Barret Browning’s, ‘How Do Love Thee?’ seems to say with the opening verses the last:
“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise…”
In our life puzzles, when many societies witness family break-ups more than ever, people find love for the second and third time. Divorced coupled unite with children from the first marriages and lived happily in their second chances in life. The concept of ‘one and only love’ has faded behind the new horizon of love found in later years of life. There is no doubt about the saying of “Love conquers all,” yet getting married to a ‘happily ever after ‘concept is on a confusing stage. The temple of marriage holds sacred responsibilities, duties of raising children, to love and respect each other through good and bad times. When couples take vows, they do so with determinations to make the relationship work. Yet, confusions arise and things in life do not write the wedding story as imagined. When troubles start brewing in a relationship love suddenly loses its charm. Things get worse as the possibility of a nasty divorce keeps couples on hot wires. We can reason and say, “The marriage was a mistake” or “It wasn’t the right time or place to settle down.” But we cannot deny the hands of fate in making or breaking us. And so, many couples choose to live together without taking the vows and keep a more comfortable hold on the relationship. People living together share homes, raise children with less stress in the possibility of a break-up with unpleasant divorce settlements. Family patterns have evolved with time for better or worse. Life is about changes, and it is easier to accept them and go with the flow instead of holding onto the past.
The cream of Valentine’s Day is romance and thoughts rewind to the pre-Internet days when sending love letters through pigeons or having to travel miles to meet the loved one. The in-person meetings may not be a thing of the moment, but it takes a click of the finger to make an audio or video call and meet on the screen. The manner of courtship has changed dramatically, from intangible to the tangible, to first meeting people online and then to meet desired partners in person. Online dating scares many people. But love is what it is: if you find love: you sigh when not everything is rosy about sharing life. If you did not find love: you still complain for missing all it could be. I guess the best we can do is hope to find love with the magic it is supposed to hold us. Miracles do happen.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from