Thank God Valentine’s day is over

Maria Sartaj
Valentine’s day may be over but the strife of our females in respect to the roadside Romeos is not yet done with. Yes, the heart-shaped crimson balloons, candies and the equally red, palpitating mullahs-against-Valentines are thankfully out of sight but the Majnus of lovey-dovey WhatsApp forwards are not. Desi men make such lousy lovers that Valentine’s day ought to be banned keeping them in mind, not because it is haram. What we need instead are Izzat-Karo Day and T-for-Tameez day in the sub-continent. While the elderly generation of Pakistan squeals with disgust, beating their chest, at the mere mention of Valentine’s day celebrations, the same crowd happily accept gifts on Mother’s and Father’s day. Yup, no one ever seems to have rejected a kurta from Sapphire, neatly tucked in a gift bag from their offspring, calling it an un-Islamic gesture of love. There can be no disagreement that love — the romantic kind — is one of the purest emotions that a human being can experience on this planet. After all, ours is the land of Heer Ranjha, of the fables of Sassi Pannu and also of Bulleh Shah, who advocated love for all beings irrespective of class and caste. The romantic expression can never be obscene as long as it is accompanied by sincerity and respect. Take these two aspects out, however, and one has a relationship that resembles a half-baked naan, great to look at but tough on the digestive system. Love is beautiful, Luv not so much; unfortunately, this version of instant-pyar has gripped Pakistanis like there’s no tomorrow. Today, it is more important for a young guy to be seen with as many females as possible to up his sexual quotient amongst friends as the social value of a devoted man has considerably gone down. Along with the near-extinction of houbara bustards, family-oriented decent guys also seem to be diminishing in the country as well. All political parties must look into addressing this moral vacuum in our society but then again morality and politics do not go hand and hand, so we shall overlook that.In the western world, a gora (caucasian) couple can live together for years, without uttering the sacred three words but, bhaiyon, I-love-you seems to be dirt cheap here despite the inflation. It is more inexpensive than onions and potatoes, hence, people love throwing it around ever so casually, pretty much like the exchange of fire between India and Pakistan occurring across the LOC every few days. In the past, our understanding of romantic love was heavily influenced by the films of Nadeem-Shabnam while Hindi films also made their contribution.
More recently, however, our youth has sought inspiration from the virtual world and all of its excesses. It is a reason to worry because lust has been replacing love, not adding to it or enhancing its value. This is why even platonic friendships between males and females have heavy undertones of flirting now. Countless married women have also complained about young lads in their surroundings busy crossing all boundaries of decencies because suddenly they have the aunty-fever, a new phenomenon to have hit our country like a cyclone.

In comparison to what goes on in the name of love today, arranged marriages and relationships of yesteryears appear to be more wholesome and goal-some than the hollow hashtags and labels of #relationshipgoals found online. As regressive as it may sound, the romantic alliances of the 50s and 60s — the generation of the parents and grandparents — where the bride and groom hardly saw each other’s faces, had more dollops of love and a lot more kilogrammes of understanding than the shaadi-circus of this century.

A married female friend of mine believes that no one is happy in Pakistan because “behen, koi aurat yahan khush nahin hai chahe married hoya unmarried ho (no female is happy here, be it married or unmarried).” The wives are forever complaining about their spouses not caring enough for them or being tortured by them over insignificant issues like having served them a cold food item while also tending to a munna attached to the hips. The single ladies also face tremendous social pressures as they have to listen to the taunts of the aunties of their world, enough to give them sleepless nights.

Pakistan is obsessed with weddings and not crazy enough about love, that is where the fault lines lie, in wanting the Mr. and Mrs. status without really having the intention of investing into each other sentimentally.

Remember that classic song from the nineties, Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa lagga? Today men will feel very differently when they look at a girl, it’s all about her voluptuous assets rather than definitive facial features like her eyes, hair or smile. If Abrarul Haque were starting his career in the current decade he would have to modify the lyrics of his first blockbuster song and transform them into Asaan tey lena Billu da number. Acquiring more numbers to add to their contacts list gives our men immense pleasure at the end of their day.

Lust can be pleasurable but it is a momentary sweetness, an aspect that comes with an expiry date, it can never compete with true love. True love is almost like a prayer. It demands full participation, requiring complete presence through the ebbs and flow of life. Love, in its mythical and also classical untainted form, means never letting go of your partner’s hand. There is no blocking feature available in this purest form of affection.

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