With Valentine’s Day round the corner and with everybody talking about it, my six year old asks me “Ma what is so special about Valentine’s Day?” At first, I was perplexed and wondered how I could answer that! Then he asked me, “Why is entire country celebrating it and why are some people having problems with it?”
I thought to myself “Do kids at this age talk about V-Day and all that stuff?!” And if they do, how as a parent can I make my kid understand the true essence of Valentine’s Day, which over the years has got overshadowed by the sheer commercialisation of the day. So I sat him down, and this is what I told him. I told him that a long time back there lived a priest in Rome. His name was Valentine. But everybody called him Saint Valentine. On one 14th February he laid down his life for the betterment of humanity and since then, this day has been celebrated as Valentine’s Day. Obviously the kiddo had questions like what is betterment and humanity, which I explained to him.
Then I told him that we celebrate Valentine’s Day as the day of love, peace and harmony when everyone says I Love You to everyone irrespective of their colour, caste and creed. And the kiddo nodded his little head, saying he understood, but I was sceptical. So I asked him what did he understand and this is what he told me (and believe me, at that precise moment I felt that if we only we could all teach our kids, especially our sons, a little more about true love, half of our problems would be solved in a jiffy): the kiddo said that we should love everyone and be friends with everyone, and that love is all about giving and never taking. Apparently, his Veenu ma’am had told him that true joy of any celebration is in giving, when you give somebody a gift of your love the other person becomes happy and you also become rich. I thought to myself this is far better way of explaining to a six year old about love, compassion, peace and harmony.
And then he asked me, “But I still don’t understand why some people are against it. And momma what is paschatya sanskriti?” I smiled and told him that ‘paschatya’ means western something that has come from West, from abroad. “Oh you mean America!”