This Valentine’s Day, we will play into the hands of capitalists, yet again…

Published: February 8, 2016

We celebrate love but we also judge love. We have to show off what we received as a gift, what we wore and obviously where we dined.

St Valentines breezed into our life ten years ago and dyed our mundane existence with his amorous red. But little did we know that his lucrative bag of goodies masked loathsome massive genii of capitalism waiting to be unleashed. In a society, blemished by polarities and rife with the most complex war ever, we were love starved.

The gap was wasting to be filled with love and ‘expression of love’. We express our hatred and dislike easily but when it comes to love, we are meagre. So, it hit us unexpectedly and the conditioning became so engrossing that after almost a decade we have no memory of how love was expressed without the string of ‘things’ attached.

The expression of love has been reduced to a necklace, a coffee machine, a dress (should be red of course) a designer bag (or any bag, it all depends on your pocket) and these are just a few examples to quote. We celebrate love but we also judge love. We have to show off what we received as a gift, what we wore and obviously where we dined. Here comes the part social media plays in this vicious cycle. As Jimmy Kimmel said once, that thanks to social media we cannot sit in our home and relax. We must go out and do something ‘post worthy’. We ‘construct’ our Valentine’s Day around ‘post worthy’ products and activities to stay upbeat and alive. Remember if you don’t share it then it didn’t happen.

Inadvertently, we have become puppets in the hands of capitalists giving them ample opportunity of minting money. St Valentine’s Day has snowballed into a lucrative market in Pakistan. The hilarious part is that every business wants to capitalise on it, irrespective of the relevance. The most heart-warming ones are the publishers. The Blind date with a book which was supposedly ‘a hit’ last year is back again.

As if we are cultured enough to go for a blind book date. One renowned publishing house is announcing a special discount for the ‘special one’ oblivious of the fact that that special one is harder to find than the discount. One money transfer facility was also offering something generous, which I unfortunately forgot. Then there is this new coffee machine fad (which I am also eyeing) claiming that coffee makes conversations longer and pleasant. Famous jewellery houses churn out cheaper pendant sort gifts for the lower income bracket (yet equally big dreamers). The flowers prices soar to their maximum that day and become almost extinct too.

The internet is bursting with humour about the big day; some stating that if you are single, you should be thankful that you don’t have to buy a gift. The hypocrites are also dealt with in humorous posts like the one below.

Are we just playing into the hands of these capitalists, defining love for us, by becoming mindless consumers? We are being fed a special version of love just to sell rings and we readily believe them. The one reason could be that we are so famished of entertainment and recreational activities that we easily become prey to capitalism. As I was throwing away my eight-years-old teddy bear with a heart and love embroidered on it, I was wondering whether the expense in itself was worth it or not. I changed its place so many times, but the memories kept piling up (along with dust) and finally I had to get rid of it.

Isn’t it time to create our own meaning of love and celebrate it the way we want?

Fatima Majeed

Fatima Majeed

An avid reader, freelance writer and home-maker.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.