Lily Swarn’s interview – Read her views on love
Valentine’s Day – myth or reality?
SONGSOPTOK: Valentine’s Day has become one of the major festivals these days, comparable to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Diwali, Id, Rosh Hashanah or Chanukah and observed by men and women irrespective of religion. Do you agree? How important is it in the country you live in??
LILY: I live in India, a country with truly diverse cultures and ancient traditions. There is st least one festival or celebration in most months of the year. That does not deter us from having more reasons to celebrate. We embrace Western influences and customs with a lot of enthusiasm. The urban youth eagerly wait for this festival of love
SONGSOPTOK: There are several different views about the history and origin of Valentine’s Day. Which is the version you know about?
LILY: I know about Saint Valentine’s association with this day and how he helped those in love. Its roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia .I read somewhere that this pagan festival was later converted into a Christian feast day .Shakespeare and Chaucer also popularized it in their works.
SONGSOPTOK: Why do you think Valentine’s Day has become so important all over the world irrespective of the political, social and religious dimensions? Do you think that the anxiety and stress related to modern day relationships have contributed to its growing popularity all over the world?
LILY: Love is a universal emotion and it has a universal dialect. The fragrance of romance spread world wide first with the hand made cards in Europe and over a passage of time with the Hallmark cards that could convey love as a proxy from one human to another. Expressing love in the written form without the embarrassment of having to look the other in the eye or worse still having to face humiliation .Later the electronic media gave it a huge backing with rampant advertisements .In a world where life is like clockwork and one is constantly under the grindstone, the idea of having a day to show love for each other seemed a great convenience .Spending quality time with each other seemed wonderful .
SONGSOPTOK: Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? In what way? If you don’t, will you please explain why not?
LILY: Well being a woman I would love to be fussed over, romanced and treated like a queen. The red rose fixation may have waned a tad, but the thirst for being valued remains, I have never celebrated Valentine’s day to be honest, Having said that I believe in valuing the person you love by showing it through acts of care and concern, these being an essential dimension of love .Gifts need thoughtfulness more than money .I also believe in walking the talk. No cards or diamonds can replace loyal and dedicated deeds that express love eternally ,Who needs a single day of love , I am greedy for a whole life time and beyond ,
SONGSOPTOK: Do you feel obliged to do something special for your spouse/partner on Valentine’s Day or it is similar to and as natural as celebrating birthdays and anniversaries? In other words, is there any peer pressure to conform to the traditions associated with the modern version of Valentine’s Day?
LILY: No not at all, No pressure at all , Even though I am long past the giddy goat stage of moony walks on the beach ,I firmly adhere to little acts that confirm and emphasize the glorious and many splendored emotion of love , Romance could be expressed through a glance or a word , A poem is always welcome though ! If someone wants to write reams about me then that is a blessing too, An intimate dinner is often over rated!
SONGSOPTOK: According to you what, if anything, is special about Valentine’s Day? Does it play an important role in romantic relationships? Why? Is it important for you to surprise your partner on Valentine’s Day? What would be your preferred way?
LILY: Well ,surprises add the spice to life , They are flavor enhancers like the powerful Indian seasonings ,,A little fun can only make the bond stronger , , I am as sentimental as any other woman , I would love to be serenaded , wined and dined and smothered in love , For my part I would selflessly go the proverbial extra mile for the one I love .
SONGSOPTOK: Do you buy gifts on Valentine’s Day? What type of gifts do you normally buy? Do you think it is important to follow the norm and go for the traditional gifts like flowers, chocolates, cards, perfumes etc.? Please share your motivations or lack of them with us?
LILY: I Do not buy any gifts on this particular day, The gift of love is what truly matters in any analysis, Try losing a loved one and then weigh the value of your solitaires in comparison…I do not expect any gifts either on this day specifically. On a lighter note, even now as I grow in years my girlish glee in unwrapping presents and parcels persists! Valentines Day remains a borrowed concept; it remains so in my books,
SONGSOPTOK: Marketing Gurus often dub Hallmark as the official sponsor of Valentine’s Day in the USA. Do you have any equivalent in your own country? Do big consumer good companies carry out an aggressive promotion campaign for Valentine’s Day? What are their preferred channels? Do social media play an important role in this respect in your country of residence?
LILY: Oh yes! The media is on a roll ,Newspapers , magazines , Television channels , internet and the social media have a field day in my country India as well , Millions of people spend huge amounts of money in buying and sending roses and soft toys to their heartbeats ,Surprises are planned ,tables are booked in swanky restaurants ,Chocolate is sprinkled like confetti in a wedding ,Red clothes are bought off the store hangars by pretty young things ,Many business people earn a crazy amount of money by selling the elusive dream of love, Beauty parlors promise to make you look like a million bucks ,,Social networking sites go berserk with messages of virtual love . Indeed the media splashes hearts and encourages you to loosen your purse strings,
SONGSOPTOK: What are the popular customs related to Valentine’s Day in the country you live in? What do you think about them? Do you think that men and women actually enjoy and look forward to 14th February or is it just a matter of keeping up with the Jones’??
LILY: The city bred youth in my country look forward to and wait for this day of romance , The city I grew up in ,Chandigarh puts on a truly festive air that day , The shops are decorated in pinks and reds , The girls are dressed to kill in red outfits ,There is much revelry , a spirit of bonhomie pervades the streets ,Nattily turned out boys carry huge bunches of red balloons to please their lady loves ,they try all mantras and tricks in the book to woo their lady loves. It’s the perfect day to bare one’s heart, Proposals are sent and champagne flows,
SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that there is actually a social stigma for single, unattached people who do not celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you think that the Valentine Day extravaganza may have a negative impact on their psyche, moral and ultimately their well-beings? What is your own experiences? Would you please share it with us?
LILY: Yes , the world is getting to be a cruel place but singles are not frowned upon, as many are single out of choice ,.I grew up when hardly anyone knew of the existence ,of Valentines Day There was no internet either , If someone truly loved you they would make an effort at courtship ,Love ,strangely , was a hush hush word and love marriages were a topic of excited discussion , Personally ,I think I could survive without lavish presents but not without love,The lack of love in any human being’s life will surely have a detrimental effect in their psyche . Of course it must be painful to be the proverbial wall flower .An act that could immortalize love like the Taj Mahal are the stuff of dreams .I don’t doubt love , I doubt the times !
LILY SWARN, a prolific writer of prose and poetry recently won the Reuel International prize for poetry and was awarded the title of Global poet of peace and universal love .Her works are translated into Italian and Spanish ..She was a university Gold medalist and Color holder for dramatics and histrionics .Flowers make her weak in the knees and racism raises her heckles .Poetry bloomed after her young son’s sudden demise ,Her columns and poetry are widely read on international web sites .
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