St. Valentine, I am looking for ya!

Hailing from a not-so-metropolitan city called Madurai, I had never heard of Valentines Day.

Now that I have spent four years in Chennai…I know what it takes to go thro` the torture. Sometimes I feel jealous of the Madurai boys, who do not have to undergo the pain.

When February begins girl-friends start hinting. Hints vary from the subtle, “It has been a long time since you gifted me something,” to the hard-hitting, “how about a Gold necklace this time.”

Poor guys. They need their share of affection from their girl friends, and hence just bite their lips and hold their tongue. While we are at it, I might as well tell you about this bunch of friends, who still believe affection and sex are different!

As the Day nears, one gets lot of affection. I did.

On the 12th of Feb, previous year, she was nibbling at my ears…when all of a sudden I was brought down to Earth from the 7th heaven. Between blowing her breath into my ears like a vacuum cleaner that had forgotten its purpose, she whispered in my ears: “Lovie-dovie, have you bought my gift yet?”

I was in two minds. What do I say? If I said the truth, my evening would have ended then and there. And if I said yes…the questions would go on. Immediately, the Liar in me took over, and I was describing this cool earring I bought. Her breathing became heavy, and she pulled me closer. If I had thought, I had gotten rid of her I was mistaken. For now she wanted to know the price.

She enquired, “Costly huh?” She was using her vantage position to good effect. Even as she closed her eyes and inched towards my nape, I blurted out: “Yeah, paid two thousand.” I am not sure if I heard her counting, but I saw a smile escape her lips. She was happy. Needless to say, the evening went on well.

On the 13th, I rushed to a shop that I thought sold stolen Gold articles and bought a stupid looking earring for a fifteen hundred ruppees. Looked like my grandma`s, but did not care. Luckily, the fashion had come a full circle…and my girl thought it was awesome. She gave me a hug. Big deal.

On the 14th she decided to go to Hotel Basera, on East Coast Road, here in Chennai. A nice romantic place, she said. If I were on my own, I would never go there. Saravana Bhavan is fine with me.

The menu did the appeal to me, for it proudly mentioned that a one liter Bisleri water bottle would cost me Rs 30. At home, I get the 20 liter Bisleri for Rs 30. The Chicken Tikka came at Rs 150. No wonder, the food did not seem tasty.

Like any boy friend with some self-worth, I waited. Did not ask her to part with my gift. Soon we were at her door-steps. I was dropping her, and was yet to get my gift. Come on, I had wasted Rs 1500…and I was not going to be conned like this.

The darkness helped hide my anxiety, as I casually remarked, “hey, where is my Valentine`s Day gift?”

She just smiled. When I asked again, she said, “remember, when we first met in 2002, you asked me to marry you?” I nodded reluctantly. “Well, I am ready to marry you. And that`s my gift.”

We broke up on the 16th of February…. because I had wanted my gift back!

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