When I was a little girl, I didn’t know much about the symbol of love — heart. The two floral curve, meeting at a pointy end below was something I learnt about in high school. We giggled endlessly with our hands over our mouth as we drew them secretly in the pages and tore them up before anybody could notice. We certainly did not want to be caught with a drawing of a heart in our rough books.
When I was a teenager, a whole new world opened up. I would take out a pair of scissors and cut out hearts from coloured papers, in all sizes and colours and blew them up in the wind. When the paper hearts fluttered back and forth doing funny somersaults in the air, my heart within me danced with them. I would hum romantic numbers in my head and imagine myself in my best clothes in a lush green field of carpeted grass. I always danced barefoot in the open field with my feet tingling with the feel of fresh grass and the cool wind on my face. I was sold to the idea of romance where big fancy greeting card and a box of chocolates was all that was needed to profess love. The need for a partner to do the jig was something I thought of later when I finally fell in love.
I quickly opened the emoji counter. Lined neatly, in all colours were hearts, bears, rainbows and even clouds.
When love happened, there were no cut outs of heart, nor were there any chocolates. In fact, I never noticed that the cute hearts that I had pined for during my teenage simply never showed up. When, I realised that the romance accessories were absent, I rubbished the whole idea of cards, candles, flowers or chocolates. “I don’t need a Valentine’s Day to celebrate love”, I told everyone, “every day is a celebration”, I declared. I scorned at the gift shops, I rolled my eyes when I saw huge cards displayed on the shelves and I called the ostentatious display of love a waste of money.
A couple of days ago, I passed by a gift store. Well, I lie. I saw a huge fluffy toy with a large pink heart stuck to the open arms. The nose of this toy glowed in so much glitter that I could throw myself into its arms. Bewitched, I ran into the store to pick it up and cuddle it.
Right next to this glitter nose was a huge card with large red heart in it. I picked it up and ran my hand on it. I looked around. The store was filled with cute romantic accessories. I spent the next half-hour leafing through cards, reading romantic verses and giggling endlessly reminiscing all those moments I spent cutting out little hearts and also the phase when I thought how these things were such a waste of time.
When I got back home, I could not get the cute Mr Glitter-Nose out of my head. I was wondering whose life he would brighten when my phone buzzed. I opened the little message and I smiled because, there, at the end of the text was a pink heart. Gosh! The gift shop had existed in my phone all this while. I quickly opened the emoji counter. Lined neatly, in all colours were hearts, bears, rainbows and even clouds. What more, some of them could dance, laugh and even roll out funny anecdotes.
Well, I may have scorned at those knick-knacks in the gift shops in the past, but, today, they populate my phone and are there just a click away. And the best part? I don’t have to cut out hearts anymore or draw awkward floral curves meeting at pointy ends. I just click away. The only trouble is — I am still on the look out for Mr Glitter Nose in my phone. I wonder where he is.
— Sudha Subramanian is an author and freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman