Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

Valentine's day is here again! This is the third valentine's day in Bangalore and I am literally seeing this day of love evolve in front of my eyes. It is fascinating to see new traditions take hold in a culture in real time.

I am not sure when Valentine's day became mainstream in India. Twenty years ago, the concept was non-existent here. Today - it is completely integrated into the traditions and festivals of the country. The collective marketing genius of commercial business was probably the source and catalyst for the introduction, acceptance and adoption of Valentine's Day in India. This is a perfect event to popularize in a country where the population of the young in their late teens and twenties is in the hundreds of millions. Most of these young work in the high growth sectors of industry and can boast of high disposable incomes. Perfect consumers for romantic dinners at Rs. 2000/- ($50) per head, dozen roses starting at Rs. 1000/- ($25) and a host of other gifts ranging from jewelry to chocolates. For those who are willing and able to indulge more, choices range from spa vacations and massages to personal barbeque chefs and vacations to Paris.

In the media, the spotlight is on love. All aspects of love and relationships are being written about in every major newspaper and magazine in the country this week. Interviews with relationship experts and movie stars on the topic of love cover the pages of today's papers.

And of course, you have the anti-Valentine's Day campaign that is also in full swing. This includes the traditionalists who feel that such a commercial and public expression of a private emotion goes against the strong culture and traditions of the country. On the extreme end is the moral police who is ready to find young couples out celebrating love and send them home packing.

Meanwhile, love rules and continues to march on!

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