Valentine’s Day

Frankly speaking Valentine’s Day in India is a recent age phenomenon and an after effect of globalization, and a very good marketing opportunity. But how many of us know why this day is called thus? Well Valentine’s Day celebrations began in Rome in 269 AD in memory of St. Valentine. He was imprisoned for performing marriage ceremonies of couples, which was a taboo according to a law set by the king of Rome. During this time he fell in love with the daughter of his jailor. Before he was executed he wrote a letter to her and signed it “from your valentine”, which went on to become a tradition. Since then Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of love all around the world.

Valentine day preparations begin weeks in advance. Obviously, because no one wants to be the cause of their partner’s displeasure. Normally, you don’t need to spend money to show someone your love but on Valentine’s Day this statement does not really hold true. Prices of certain commodities sky rocket with chocolates and flowers being the most coveted items. Red roses, which are considered as a symbol of love, are sold at double the normal price! Making a restaurant reservation should be done well in advance. Since 14th February is the universal day of love, you will see so many couples tying the knot on this day. Gift shops are the most crowded shops in the mall with people buying tokens of their love ranging from life sized soft toys to precious little platinum rings. These are some of the typical Valentine’s Day traditions. But things are not so stereotyped any more. You will see a large number of people opting for more off beat things, like couples going twin bungee jumping (jumping off a cliff with someone you love could be kind of romantic) or joining a salsa dance class together.

Valentine’s Day may reduce your bank balance to an extent, but all the festive goodies are sure to increase your weight quite a bit! So do make sure you take good care of your health, avoid fats and oils and carbohydrates, and stay away from too many chocolates. If you must eat chocolates, dark chocolate should be the preferred option. And if you do feel like indulging yourself on this romantic day, make up for the excess by jogging a little more, or running a mile more or walking a little more. You have to burn the extra calories you have consumed. Remember that staying healthy and fit will always be the trend. A healthy heart is a happy heart. If you plan to cook a meal for your loved ones, make sure it is nutritious. Use fresh ingredients and cook with your heart and soul. Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with complete abandon or not at all. It’s not always about what you are eating, it’s about who has prepared it and how. No wonder maa ke haath ka khaana is always delicious! Like they say a way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Right?

I am one of those people who consider it as any other day for I do not believe in symbolisms. I won’t be giving gifts to anyone. I will just spend the day doing something I love, with the people I love, my mother, my wife and my daughters. They are all foodies, and I am more than happy to cook for them whenever I get a chance to. It sounds rather simple, but it is not that easy. The four women in my life have very different choices when it comes to food. My mother is a pure vegetarian, so I will cook for her a vegetarian meal, maybe something that she used to prepare for me when I was a kid, that will surely widen her smile. Alyona on the other hand, loves seafood, so I’m planning to make some seafood phad thai, it’s quick and really tasty or Pepper Rawas Tikka. For my daughters the menu is pretty much fixed, Chicken Pasta. Every time I step into the home kitchen, which does not happen a lot these days due to my busy schedule, I am expected to make a chicken pasta and I do it with great joy. For dessert I’ll be making Chocolate Baked Yogurt, which is as healthy as it is tasty. Preparing a meal for my family, who are also my toughest critics and watching them enjoy the meal is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world for me – as a son, a husband, a father and a chef! Nothing can come close to a special home cooked meal, the company of your loved ones and conversations that never seem to end. I am sure my day is going to be very special if everything goes as planned.

Valentine’s Day is a just a reason or a special chance you get to celebrate love, but also remember that each day in your life is a gift, a gift that you share with the people you love and who love you back. Try and make tomorrow more special than today, take chances, follow your dreams and tell the people in your life how much they mean to you as often as possible. Love should be unconditional. You run after it and it will run away from you. Just keep doing what you love and have faith in yourself, you will be rewarded just like I have been by the love and good wishes from the millions of fans around the world.

Wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day.

Celebrate with these Valentine’s Day special Recipes.

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