It’s that time of the year again

Written in


Hillary and Obama are fighting over primaries.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, primarily, February is the time when men go “Oh Bummer” and ponder at the upcoming loss of hilarity in their lives.

It’s that time of the year when one needs to decide what would make a suitable Valentine’s day gift for The Girl. And it’s not funny at all.

Admittedly, I am supposed to be an old hand at this, but..

Every year brings the same nerve-wracking pressure. What is a suitable symbol of undying love in commemoration of a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269? Here is a quick chronology.

My experiments with Valentine Day gifts


  • Ashok
  • Inner Narada

Circa 1990s

Many years ago, I stepped nervously into an Archies showroom to buy a vaguely pinkish piece of paper that professed undying love for a girl whom I had not even made conversation with. I found a suitable candidate, picked it up, forked over Rs. 20, and walked out.

That was when the Inner Narada announced lugubriously – “Archies? Thoo. Is that how you profess undying love? By buying a mass-produced piece of paper with words authored by some one else, probably an overworked clerk who mostly spends his time cursing his boss for not giving him free time to meet his girlfriend? Aah, the sheer irony.”

I threw that card away.

I walked into a Cassette shop to buy the next girl in my life, “The greatest hits of Richard Marx”. Apparently in the 90s, Richard Marx tapes were chick magnets.

The Inner Narada intoned sarcastically – “Thoo. So where ever your girl goes, whatever she does, Richard Marx will be right there, waiting for her. Is that what you want to tell your girl? Are you the one professing love or are you simply a messenger for Mr Marx?”

Oh well. The cassette tape, in addition to its claim of being a chick magnet, was most definitely a magnet magnet because it got stuck in the head of the tape player and caused Mr Marx to sing in the scale of an MD Ramanathanesque C instead of a Kumar Sanuesque E

So I moved on to Soft toys. Teddy bears holding I heart you signs, Monkeys holding roses, Gorillas playing guitars,  Grizzly bears playing Antaakshari, Duck-billed Platypi playing the harmonica etc.

The Inner Narada stated softly – “So yeah. Underpaid, overworked, Southeast Asian kids are currently saying ‘I love you so much that I don’t mind missing out school and playtime making this for you so that talentless losers like the one who spent Rs. 100 buying this from a company that pays me Rs. 0.5, can try to impress you‘”

Ah surely jewellery then must be the right thing. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Rubies are her facebook friends, Emeralds must be on her blogroll and surely Sapphires must be her Orkut fans.

The Inner Narada informed insouciantly – “Blood Diamonds. Platelet Rubies. Lymphocyte Sapphires. African Warlords. Guns for Gems. Is that what you want to tell your girl? That you love her so much that you don’t mind sacrificing thousands of African lives to buy her a piece of Carbon?”

Ok. Surely, flowers are a safe bet. After all, that was the tradition in the middle ages, when Valentine’s day first became popular.

The Inner Narada smirked sardonically – “Plant reproductive parts, plucked out cruelly before they could bear fruit, only to be bunched together to die a slow, dehydrated death in non-biodegradable plastic covering, do not, I believe represent the concept of love. Would you like it if the sturdy Elm gifted the swaying coconut tree some human private parts?”

Fine. No flowers. But before I considered sarees, watches, chocolates, wolf pups, ventriloquist tarantulas and other goods that could be purchased in exchange for the swipe of a plastic card, Inner Narada interrupted thus –

“You are missing the whole point, Ashok. You do not express love by buying stuff. Buying is easy. Essentially, its like saying that you just don’t have the interest and inclination to spend your time doing something special for her, so you just get it done by some one else in exchange for cash”

Ok. I got the hint. I vowed to stop buying things. And that was when Inner Narada took a vacation.

Circa 2005-07


The first thing I ever made as a Valentine Day’s gift was a pencil-sketched card that had 2 sparrows in Bollywood-movie-kiss-scene-censored-replacement pose. But at the last moment, I decided to dump it.

But eventually, I felt bolder. More confident. And that was when I attempted a portrait.

Bad Idea.

The first one looked like something that the creators of South Park discarded. The second one, one that I spent many hours on (even used unethical tools like tracing paper etc) came out much better but in the end, didn’t quite look like The Girl.


I then tried writing songs dedicated to The Girl. Wrote the lyrics, sang, played the guitar and sequenced other instruments on Garageband, and gifted a small, miniature CD with an inset containing hand-written lyrics.

But after doing this twice so far, a third attempt feels like Terminator 3. Cliched and jaded.

Circa 2008

Ok. Now my wife is out, presumably shopping for a gift for me, and here I am, still planning what to do. Buying is passe, and I’ve run out of manufacturing talent. Some shady ideas come to mind,

1. I could dedicate a blog post to her

2. I could SuperPoke her on Facebook (But she is not on Facebook)

3. I could create a website, and search-engine-optimize it so that it shows up as the top result for the query “I love (name)”

4. I could post a video of myself professing undying love on youtube and send her the URL.

5. I could flood the social web with “I love her” messages. Twitter status, GTalk status, Orkut status, Facebook status, Email signature, Blog title etc.


One more day. And no good ideas yet.


41 responses to “It’s that time of the year again”

  1. Kamini Avatar

    You need to resurrect your Inner Narada – he seems like a sensible chap.
    Just do it the good old-fashioned way – look her in the eye and tell her you love her, in a voice dripping with emotion and sincerity (no, I am not dripping with sarcasm here). The rest will follow.

  2. vettipayal Avatar

    Maybe she will leave a comment here.

  3. ggop Avatar

    How about a good massage or a five course meal cooked in her honour?

  4. mrs.maami Avatar

    What’s Valentine’s Day for a man who professes his love gallantly on the sidebar of his much read blog? That’s a lovely promise that rings through the year.
    But Maami ‘chonna’ kelupa:
    Phuleese don’t say, ‘Happy Valentines Dearie’. Corny.

  5. Krishnan Avatar

    You seem to have exhausted all the options when it comes to gifts dude. Do as Kamini says “look her in the eye and tell her you love her, in a voice dripping with emotion and sincerity”.

  6. Kiran Avatar

    Circa 1990s and Orkut, Blogroll and Facebook during that period…hmm…I seem to miss the whole point here! 😉

    Btw…am in the process of collecting stones to throw at Archies gift shops on Feb 14th shoutin ‘THIS IS AGAINST OUR CULTURE’ and subsequently ransacking a gift from that place 😀 I can help you with whatever you want from that shop at no cost at all…just lemme know 😉

  7. 10yearslate Avatar

    Maybe a photo of you in a saffron bandanna, caught in the act of throwing a rock at Archies?

  8. Lekhni Avatar

    As the self-designated expert (I just blogged today about what not to buy for V-day) let me tell you what works – diamonds/ spa certificates/ chocolates/ roses. But of course, there is a catch to each one of these 😉

  9. Arti Avatar

    Give her the one thing tht ppl dont have today-time! Take off early from work and spend time together 🙂

  10. Bikerdude Avatar

    Here’s two good ideas:

    (a) Hard cash – always works.

    (b) Go traditional. Buy her silk saree (ahimsa of course), malli poo (an usha uthup style plastic mozham if you prefer*) and iruttu kadai Thirunelveli halva.

    *PS: Using real flowers is cool too. They are evolutionary mechanisms specially developed by plants to ensure their survival, by getting humans to propagate them for their showy reproductive parts. Plants like jasmine, rose and hibiscus do not use their flowers for any purpose other than this. So they *do* in fact want you to pluck and use them.

    OK? OK.

  11. Pri Avatar

    you could always knit her a sweater. but seriously women love it when they can sit around and be pampered. so like a spa certificate or something.

  12. Rithish Avatar

    spa certificate?? again buying?? you giving a head and body massage instead??

  13. ~nm Avatar

    I think you should do what me and hubby do! No gifts!! 😀

    It really makes life so much easier 😛

  14. Pramod Avatar

    Take over the kitchen on the V-day if you are allowed to do that!!Truly will be a memorable day.

  15. Giridhar Avatar

    you could send her a collage of ur previous crushes’ photos with a “I love u more than them” message at the bottom.
    and maybe u can ask the other girls to endorse it as well….

  16. Arun Avatar

    @Giridhar: I dig that!! Hilarious!

  17. Vijay Avatar

    Ashok is very clever,just write a blogpost indirectly asking for ideas,and there you go, 15 of them already….
    Lemme drop in mine,whatever you buy or do,let that be out of your own mind,after all you know your wife very well….

  18. Karteek Avatar

    Uhmm, If I give you an idea, Your inner Narada will come back again and tell you that its not Your Idea. why waste of time for him 😉

  19. ela Avatar

    I am sure you can pull this through……that you were thinking about her and a gift which can befit her…..but in the process you realised that there is nothing in the world that can do justice to her…..except, maybe , you yourself is the only gift that you can think of!
    with this dialogue spoken (of course i count on you to make the right expressions) u can fall on her feet or kneel down…’s your choice……

  20. satts Avatar


    probably u can try the simple and obvious way of professing your love.

    Look straight in the eyes and say

    “A Million Status Messages Later,
    A Million Comments Later,
    A Thousand Blog Posts Later,

    Dearest I have no words that can describe my love 4 thee”


    i have searched u r name i google,
    i have indexed my hard disk [ Vista],
    i have reg-exed u r name using Scite
    only to find it inside my heart written in Arial Bold.

  21. SambarRice Avatar

    Edible Underwear (pick flavor/color)

  22. desigirl Avatar

    The person who came up with Facebook Mahabharata, Ramayanpedia and the immortal political poster stumped for ideas? that too for val’s day?! oh no! kali kaalam!!

    ps: da bikerdude makes sense to me.

  23. maxdavinci Avatar

    From years of research I have concluded that though women like flowers, gifts, chocolates and a truckload of stuff what they really want is to Just spend quality time.

    The whole ‘time-spending’ exercise goes totally over my head, but then I’m too young to understand that stuff…

    Assuming that you read this comment on Thursday morning, my advise would be to make a decent meal(i hope you can cook) and then SPEND TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. kavitha Avatar

    Happy Valetines DAY!
    this mite be tooo late..but still

    1. why dont u do a treasure hunt style of gifts with clues around the house..u can cook the meal while she hunts 🙂
    2.Take her to all the spots u guys used to frequent while still dating and give her a self-made card at each of those places 🙂

  25. rekharaghav Avatar

    Ayyyoooo.. so many of the ideas above are so cliche.
    If your wife reads your blog and the comments out here, sorry to say but you might be in big trouble now.
    If after all the wonderful/expensive suggestions you just received, what you get her does not measure up.. hmm.. ah.. all the best!

  26. Hari Avatar

    Give her the credit card and accompany her to shopping. This time U stand for hours waiting for her to finally buy something she likes…. 😛

  27. IdeaSmith Avatar

    If your Inner Narada’s single, could I date him?

  28. the decimator Avatar
    the decimator

    hmm…..why do it on this particular day ? You have 365 days in a year to do it. I see no point in picking this particular day.

  29. complicateur Avatar

    Take pictures of yourself attempting to buy mallipoo, halwa and pattu sari. Add picture of your wifey dearest. Create slide show along lines of mastercard ad. Eggjample: Mallipoo mozham: 25 Rs. Tinnelveli Halwa 0.5 kg: 100 Rs. Kanjeevaram Pattu: 5000 Rs. Photo of wife: Priceless. Add opening interlude of Sundari Kannal oru seidhi as BGM. Serve Suda Suda!

    Ok I’ll stop now that was nauseatingly sweet, even for me.

  30. krishashok Avatar

    Thank you everybody,

    Giridhar and complicateur win the award for amaklamatic dadabulatistic valentine day’s gift award.

  31. Ambika Avatar

    wonder what you actually did….?!

    Agree with your award choice, though!

  32. crazyBugga Avatar

    so as usual no gift a?

  33. scudie Avatar

    simple krish.. ‘I protest this crass commercial nonsense. for me every day is valentines day. i lou you every day’ apdinu bit-a potu, apram girl kita kettudu enna venum nu!

  34. Rajendran Avatar

    Inner Narada answers the male species’ quandary to answer the meaning of life – “What women want?”

  35. maheshexp Avatar

    Inner Narada is brilliant enough to make you not to spend money for your love. Pray that she

    shouldn’t read your post, else “Thorathi..Thorathi adipanga”.

    I would recommend your post for some of my friends who don’t want to waste money, esp. on

    valentine’s day.

    You could open up a section “What to gift on Valentine’s day” and list down things come to your mind. Might be useful for lot of love birds… 😉

  36. desigirl Avatar

    i didn’t know there was an award in q! i wud have tried to come up with a worthy contender! hmph!

  37. Vinod R Iyer Avatar

    Ashok .. Idhu romba anyaayam … U give us a lecture of how to be innovative for 2 hrs and now u r asking us for ideas 😛

    You can always say – “I have gifted myself to you” 🙂

  38. Rajaram Sethuraman Avatar

    Do you have your feed on email ?

  39. churningthewordmill Avatar

    stubled apon your blog while floating through the net.. stopped by to compliment you on an absolutely fabulous blog! your writing is truly hilarious! 🙂

  40. zeph Avatar

    what did you get her finally?

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