Today February 14 is the Valentine Day, the day of expressing love to each other particularly to the dear ones and the kith and kin. I don’t know the importance of the Day from historical perspective but I like the day and its celebration. In my personal life, I am not too enthusiastic a man to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and religious festivals but I do like these celebrations as I think one shall deny pleasure and happiness particularly when it involves the society at large. The life, these days is becoming tension ridden by the each passing day. All of us must try and bring in more occasions for cheer and relaxation. I see and value the Valentine’s Day from this point of view. I don’t confine the Day only to expressing love and romantic feelings by the young people. It is a Day, I think, for universal love and wellness. Keeping this in view, I simply tend to convey my wife, Children and other close relations and friends all the best wishes on the day and do nothing more. But again if there is an occasion created and initiated by someone else, I would gladly join and enjoy.
All said and done, I will keep and maintain throughout my life the cherished memories of the Valentine’s Day in 2001 in Tokyo (Japan). I was posted in the Embassy of India Tokyo. I got seriously sick while in office in the afternoon of February 12 with a head stroke (brain hemorrhage). My senior and junior colleagues immediately came to my rescue and got me shifted to the hospital. I was kept in the ICU and the competent doctors and hospitable staff nurses could succeed in plugging the leak without ant surgical operation. On February 14, the Valentine’s Day, I was shifted to my allotted room in the VIP ward. My wife was with me as my daughter Vaishali and son Rupesh had gone to Stockholm (Sweden) to be with my elder son Naresh. The whole Embassy stood by us at this unforeseen emergency. But the climax was yet to come. In the evening after the close of the Embassy, the entire local Japanese staff including 10-15 young ladies came to see me with boxes of chocolates to wish me HAPPY VALENTINE. They came, they sat, they sung, they shared and they CONQURED. I, with my wife Vidya, was overwhelmed by the gesture and VALENTINE LOVE of my Japanese colleagues. God bless them. With God’s grace and the wishes of my friends and dear ones, I stood on my feet again and accomplished greater heights in diplomatic career and retired happily in December 2010.
Let me share a few more line on the Japanese way of celebration of Valentine Day. Japanese women give presents (mainly chocolates) to their men. Traditionally, Japanese ladies are too shy to express their love. The Valentine day is thought to be a great day to express their love and regard. Men respond back by exchanging gifts a month later that is on March 14 and express their love. It is called the White Day. There is a difference between the romantic love and obligatory love and regard to bosses, elders etc. The second kind of chocolate gift is called Giri Choko on the Valentine day. In my case too, it was a GIRI CHOKO by my Japanese colleagues when I was confined to the hospital bed. It was a great day for me.
I take this opportunity and convey my greetings and all the good wishes to all my relations and friends and also my colleagues with whom I have had the chance to interact and work.
Let us exchange love and respect for each other.