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   The wife was saying last night :"I hope you have got me a 'Gili Valentine' for tomorrow." (February 14, 1999)

"Stop talking like Archie's Comics," I said. "I am not a Valentine person and nor are you."

"The whole town is in Valentine fever, and you say we are not Valentine people. If you have forgotten to get me a 'Gili Valentine' collection, say so. Don't make excuses," the wife said.

"I am not making excuses, I am the last person to make excuses," I said. "I don't know what this Valentine thing is about and I don't see why you should be involved in it. Your name is not Veronica."

No, my name is not Veronica, and I do not want a name like Veronica. But I don't see what has that got to do with my being your favourite Valentine. Everybody has a favourite Valentine on this day."

"Don't make me laugh," I said. "Do you think Mr. Sharad Pawar has a favourite Valentine, or Mr. Murli Deora. This is meant for American teenagers, it has got nothing to do with us."

"It has got everything to do with us," the wife said. "Very soon somebody will find out that the custom of Valentines started in India first, then went West, like everything else. And, of course, Mr. Murli Deora observes Valentine's Day, his wife presents him with a shirt every year, with a little heart embroidered on it."

"Shirt is fine," I said. "You can also present me with a shirt, but don't go putting any hearts on it, I will not wear it. It is bad enough wearing shirts with all kinds of logos that you are not paid to advertise."

"You want to be paid for your Valentine's heart!" the wife said. "I am shocked."

"I don't want to be paid for any heart, yours, mine or Valentine's," I said. "All I want to do is restrict my celebrations to the traditional holidays. Like playing Holi on Holi, but with clean water."

"What has Holi got to do with Valentine," the wife said. "I have ordered for you the largest heart I could get, it will be delivered at the door in the morning, with a message written on it, 'To Love Is To Give', and it will have your picture on it."

"One minute," I said, "you are not having this delivered at the door, so that everybody can see it. What will the security say, what will other people in the building say."

"What will they say! That you are getting your Valentine on Valentine's Day," the wife said. "And, after tomorrow, you can use it as a pillow in the night. What's wrong with that?"

"Everything is wrong with that," I said. "I will

never be able to live it down. Imagine a grown

up man receiving a great big red heart with a ribbon tied to it."

"Pink," said the wife.


"Not red, it's a pink heart."

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