"So, tell us about the funkiest thing you have ever done on Valentine's Day" was the question on Go 92.5 FM's "Mumbai Voices" on V Day.
Here is one of the 'funky' answers from a female caller...
I got my medical reports yesterday, it had my ECG. So I decided instead of buying a card or flowers let me give this CD to my boyfriend so he can watch my beating heart.
While host Tarana thinks it's sweet, co-host Jaggu is not too impressed and comments:"You could also look at it as recycling medical reports!"
There's another caller who relates how her friend mentioned that her dream guy would come on a white horse and sweep her off her feet. And what do you know, the boyfriend actually hired a safed ghoda so he could propose to her.
"But what if the horse pooped in the middle of the road?" asked Jaggu. "This is the reason you don't have a girlfriend!" cries an impassioned Tarana.
And the debate continues. To celebrate Valentine's Day - or not to celebrate - depends on whether you are a Taraana or a Jaggu.
The important thing is you should be able to celebrate it - if you wish to. And this year, despite the usual threatening noises from the moral police things were peaceful, with a couple of notable exceptions.
If you ask me, however, I would say the biggest pyaar ke dushman aren't these anti-love protestors and activists but Parents.
It is amazing how few Indian parents - even today - know about the special person in their son or daughter's life. There are multiple reasons for this, depending on what kind of parent you happen to have.
a) The Nahin, nahin, kabhi nahin type: This is the old fashioned breed which will simply NOT consider the subject with any kind of open mind. The kids figure out from an early age that if they get into a relationship, sneaking around is the only sensible strategy.
Attitude towards Marriage: Hum hi decide karenge. Apne hi caste ka hona chahiye. Jab raaz khulta hai there are only two options: break-up, or elopment.
b) The 'You can be friends but...": A little more open-minded, though not out of choice but because zamaana badal gaya hai. The parent does not mind the kid having friendships but 'within a limit'. . Which means, look -don't touch!
Nope, no point spilling the beans here either until you are sure he/ she is THE person you wish to spend the rest of your life with.
Attitude towards Marriage: May be openly or secretly heart broken if kid decides to have 'love marriage' (esp with a boy or girl from a different caste). But will accept the decision eventually.
c) The 'It's OK but settle down first..": A variation of the above, this parent positions his or her concerns in the form of the harmful effects a relationship could have on the kid's psyche and studies. So they advise,"In cheezon ke liye aage poori zindagi padi hai, abhi to padhai ke din hain..."
Attitude towards Marriage: If the kid were to conveniently fall in love at age 25 with a well settled office colleague they would happily give their blessings. In fact they would secretly be happy to not have the headache of finding someone suitable...
d) The 'We're cool with it' types: They exist, but in a minority. The Westernised parents who see nothing wrong in having more than one relationship before marriage (and are cool even if you choose to indefinitely postpone tying the knot).
Attitude towards Marriage: It's your life. But if you really want to - we could step in.
So what kind of parent am I going to be, I wonder. Hopefully 3.5. If my daughter lied to me, it wouldn't be too hard to tell... I cooked up enough stories in my own youth! So honesty would probably be the best policy.
On the other hand I would be unhappy if she went in for a series of shallow physical relationships. I think social pressures and protective parents do make young people in India think twice about casual sex and that is not such a bad thing.
But ultimately, parents and society imposing their will on the youth does not work. They will go through an experimental phase and arrive at a value system of their own. One that may actually be far more 'conservative' that you'd expect.
Although once again, the term conservative means different things to different people... In Bangladesh, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission recently asked mobile phone operators to discontinue late night free-call facilities. As a newspaper editorial elaborates
The commission has taken the step after receiving 'numerous complaints from parents and guardians on the ground that the late night free-talk facilities were causing moral degradation and change in the behaviour-pattern and life style of the young generation besides hampering their studies and disrupting disciplined and routine life.
Note that complaints were supposedly received from parents and not Islamic fundamentalists alone.
So like I said, zamaane se aap lad lenge. Magar pyaar ke asli dushman... unka kya?