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     Volume 4 Issue 34 | February 18, 2005 |

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Another year has passed, another Valentine's Day gone. Say goodbye to the most depressing and unnecessary holiday of the year. I know what you're all thinking -- only single, "bitter" women who have no life say that, but that's not true. I am pretty sure that even if I did have a life and wasn't bitter, I would still hate Valentine's Day.

When I left the lights and constant hustle and bustle of Manhattan for Dhaka, there was only one thing that I knew I would never miss -- the sickly-sweet, "lovey-dovey" atmosphere of Valentine's Day -- you know the kind that makes jaded human beings like me sick to their stomachs? I had figured that in a country where it was culturally unacceptable for couples to openly express their feelings for each other in public, Valentine's Day would be a far shot. Boy, was I wrong.

I am sorry to say that with the unfortunate side effects of Star TV, Hallmark and commercials promoting love, happiness and everything that is sugar and spice, we, who are otherwise known as scornful, have to suffer the sightings of star-crossed, love-struck couples roaming around Dhaka on this godforsaken day. We see them holding hands, staring in to each other's eyes over a melting bowl of icecream banana splits, receiving presents of big stuffed animals and even bigger garishly decorated cards, sniffing the petals of their bright red roses, coyly biting into tiny, heart-shaped candy. Even at this olden and golden age, I do not have the nerve to so unabashedly "shout my love from all the rooftops of town" -- for even my mother, much less a member of the opposite sex.

Promoters of this day claim that this is a day for love, a day in which you show your appreciation for the people that you love, a day in which you make that someone special feel how special they really are. Shouldn't that be every day? I mean, sure, it's hard to always show you're appreciation and love to those who are around you constantly but is the world really lacking in love so much that a whole day has to be dedicated to celebrating it -- or rather, overdoing it? So let me get this straight, for the rest of the year you can neglect those you care about as long as on Valentine's Day you show up with a box of chocolates, a fat teddy bear and a card saying I love you?

My issue is not the celebration of love. My issue is why should the thousands of people who do not have Valentines, or even those who have Valentines that do not believe in cards and gifts, feel less special and less loved than anyone else? And when you really love someone, do you really have to display it and showcase it, or even prove it? Yes, it's true that getting flowers or a card saying how much someone appreciates you is always a nice thing -- but does there have to be a specific day set aside for that? Or should it be something that comes from the heart?

Face it, Valentine's Day is just a ruse -- there is no cupid (and even if there is I cannot believe for one second that anyone would take a naked baby with a bow-and-arrow seriously). It's just another excuse for card stores to sell more cards, another opportunity for candy and chocolate industries to sell more of their goods, another pretext for toy stores to sell stuffed animals to adults.

Again, I am sure all you crusaders of love are reading this and thinking I am this rather unattractive, overweight, pimply woman, who wears bright colours that do not match, thick plastic-rimmed glasses, and who has obviously never had a Valentine, and never will, with this nasty attitude. You could be right. You could be wrong. The fact is you'll never know. What you do know is that even with my horrible attitude, I survived another painfully and excruciatingly boring Valentine's Day.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004