Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gooseberry and Not Happy about Valentines Day

Gooseberry ? That’s what the package said. The fruit that you see in the above pic was known as “Tya(n)pari” in Bihar, it was sold by the cartful on the roadside and we used to love it. It was not much seen in Kolkata, the strange thing being D had never even heard of it. He would laugh at me whenever I said this name and was I elated to see this small pack in my local Shop Rite fruit aisle a month ago. Though the package said Gooseberry I think this the “Cape Gooseberry” according to Wiki. It is sweet and juicy and I love eating it raw. If you know more about this fruit please input your info.
Can you discern the heart in the picture? I didn’t plan it but when I saw it on my computer I was sure it was all because of Valentine Day and I had to write something I had wanted to keep to myself.

Ok, so let me come clean, I have stopped being a Valentines Day Fan. I feel it's overly hyped and there is too much brouhaha with it and the commercialization -- the less said the better.

Maybe I don't feel any attachment to this tradition because I have not grown up with it, Valentines Day was unheard of when I was in school, at least there was not much hullabaloo over it in our small township. At the close of the teens there was this hush in the air about this day and it was solely marketed for "romantic couples", we felt it was supposed to be for errrrrr stupid females with bfs, we ( the more stupid ones) had none so that was it.

By the time I was in college and we had moved to the city with an "Archies" store at every corner, the cute pink bears holding red hearts and the mushy-mushy card made my heart flip and if you would sniff hard, rising above the diesel and the fumes you could smell the red roses and "Love". That was the age to go rubbery in the knees on seeing such things and if someone so much as dropped the "L" word you would go red -pink & purple, ok not purple. "Archies" did a very good job of putting pressure on the millions of Indian youth and I bet even that gangly youth with oiled hair from Jhumritaliya shyly scribbled on an “Archies” card for the love of his life.

No such luck for me though and even later when I was friends with D we never succumbed to Valentines Day, the V day was still very much targeted for the mushy-mushy lovey-dovey couple of "Maine Pyar Kiya" and no way I was going to be labeled in such a category.

This changed however after marriage, the first Valentines day I totally flipped and sent a card worth 50 bucks to D who was far from India at work on an project. I was sane enough not to spend more of my hard earned bucks on postage and sent it with another good friend who was traveling to the same place around this time. Fortunately this was a guy and "happy & gay culture" was not in so there was no confusion as to "who gave the card to whom".

Since D did not send a card or claimed that his card was lost in transit I threw a hue and cry…all those years of not celebrating V day and "Archies" & now "Hallmark" was showing signs. So by the next V day when we were here in the "Valentines Day Mecca" D promptly bought me a bunch of roses, roses on V Day are you crazy ?? I was apalled by the price and again threw a hue & cry.

By now the poor guy would have been confused but he knew me well enough not to get ruffled. So the next year I asked him to get me a single stem of rose, that's it.

By now I was getting sick of Valentines Day anyway, and then it seems V day is no longer for "romantic couples" it is for everyone are you kidding me? Why the hell would I buy a dozen Roses worth $50 and present it to close, not so close, barely know them friends.And then they have Valentines Day parties at pre school and toddler classes too. This is getting on my nerves and so I put my foot down, "No Valentines Day For Me" this year

And so while I will hop around and check out all these wonderful blog events for Valentines Day, and die of guilt for not making a contribution, I will stay put and let Hallmark lose one buyer

Check out Valentines Day in other cultures in Wiki, fun info

Trivia: March 14 is celebrated as White Day in Japan & Korea by a concentrated marketing effort, when men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day has emerged in Japan and Korea as a day on which women, and less commonly men, give candy, chocolate or flowers to people they like.


  1. As I understand, Valentine's day - is basically to "love one another and hate none", at least that is what St.Valentine intended it to be for a more peaceful world.

    We are definitely not a country that is against expression of love and affection since we ourselves have a rich heritage of romantic literature in almost all the languages of the sub-continent.

    We, being a secular tolerant society have accepted and celebrate it inspite of Valentine's not being a part of Indian culture. Do we find Diwali hyped in the western world?!! What is annoying is, Valentine and Halloween being overly hyped in India due to selfish commercial interests.

  2. Hi Sandeepa, in France, this fruit is known as physalis or amour-en-cage (love in a cage), and is quite expensive! Apparently, its scientific name is Physalis pruinosa, and I think is also known as a ground cherry.. how unappetising! :)

    But oh yes, I checked out of the V-Day tradition long ago.. :)

  3. ~Hugs~ Awesome post !!!!!! And I am with you on it 100%. Why do we need one day to express our love to our loved ones when there are 365 days in a year!!!!!!

    We give each other flowers and cards... be it sunday, monday or valentine day!!!!! Why do I have to wait for the whole damn year to express my love!!!! HUH!!!!

    I think its a total western influence scooping everyone with it!!!!

    "Oily hair in jhumritalaiya" hahahaha loved that!!!! LOL LOL LOL !!!

  4. BRAVO... loved ur post... and guess what? me and K didn't celebrate our 1st v-day and this yr is no exception. i love to see all red and white decorations here in shopping malls and just love to see happy couples. other than that v-day is same for as any other day where we celebrate our happy relation and bond of lifetime:) as i said b4 every day is v-day for us:) i am not letting him buy some £30 roses for me;)
    he he he... good post again:)

  5. Hi Sandeepa! Nice post. Don't you (and all other readers) agree everything is being commercialised nowadays, Valentine's Day or Deepavali? We tend to notice V Day because it's relatively new, but I never used to notice such a hue and cry about Deepavali earlier.
    Maybe it was partly because we were in the South but still, I didn't notice gift sets, greeting cards, hotels organising Diwali parties, etc. Same goes for Sankranti, one of the few festivals slowly getting commercialised.
    Even an occasion like the Akshaya Triteeya (Akha Teej), which in the South was originally a good day to begin new ventures and one of the auspicious days to initiate children into education, has, for the past decade been used to sell gold and platinum. I don't think any festival will be exempt from this onslaught of commercialisation. I even hear of Karva Chauth cards and stuff!!!

  6. Sandeepa, you are after my own heart. I can't stand it either, the preschool made us buy cards for everyone in DD's class, atleast in the school she is right now they make them draw it. Oh well, over commercialize and in the end no one has a clue why it is bein celebrated in the first place other than the stores being packed to the brim with pink and red stuff and don't forget the chocolates.

    About the gooseberries I saw on Food TV a pie being prepared with them and have been looking for them for a taste, have not found them so far

  7. Good for you!! Spent $50 !! You are crazy!;D
    No,I don't like V'day either and I don't celebrate.But got to cook something for me blog!:))
    Glad to read your opinion,I concur and Gooseberries,I love them.

  8. Sailaja
    Though the day is named after St. Valentine the ritual followed on this adya has nothing to do with him
    Wiki says
    "In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manners of gifts in the United States, usually from a man to a woman. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry."

    I think this is more what V Day is, hyped in all parts of the world, not just India

    The real message if there was any is totally lost

  9. Hi Shilpa
    Physalis peruviana is indeed the scientific name. It's not very cheap here either.
    Did you have it in India ever ?

  10. Coffee
    Yeah the whole thing gets too much when you have to buy cards to send with your 3 yr old to school. Last year I diddn't know and didn't buy any but my daughter(who was 2 then) brought home, loads of these mini cards and I was like, what the...:)

    I don't have anything against anyone celebrating Valentines Day. You can always go ahead and do anything any day you want to have a good time with your loved one and you are so right that it can be any day.
    But I think it creates a pressure and a lot of money is spent on something not that relevant. If you see the way they hike up the price of roses, it's audacious !!!

    Yeah I heard they had cards for Karwa Chauth :) :)
    I know Diwali is hyped too, but the traditions and festivity with Diwali far outways the commercialization. Just like Christmas, even with all the presents that "you have to buy" there is still the fun, family and warmth thing which I don't feel at all on Valentines Day

  11. Hi Sandeepa, uh-oh, you are going to be really disappointed.. I've never been to India.. *very very sheepish*.. I'm originally from Singapore. There, I didn't want to reveal my real identity on my own blog, but I think I'm safe here! :)

  12. Hi Sandeepa...really nice post, thanks for sharing your opinion. I don't go nuts all over this day Like I used to. My dad and Husband refer to this day as "Volatile Day". (haha)....for reasons unknown to me!

    btw, regarding the paintings, the artists vary, let me know which painting you liked and i'll tell you the name of the artist.


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  14. You beat me to the gooseberry post! more about that later on my blog.

    As for val's day - all I can say is, ditto, ditto, ditto! There is no better way of describing the scorn I've developed for V day! it bothers me that even news channels devote so much air time to vday - aren't there more important things happening around the world???
    anyway, glad to see I have good company in my protest :)

  15. Hi Sandeepa,
    Lovely post. You have no idea how much I identify with your write-up on this :-) and I am especially grumpy this morning as I'll head out in a few min to buy V-day cards for all the 2 yr olds in my daughter daycare class!

  16. Sandeepa,
    I just loved your post. While reading this, I thought, 'She is like me'. My husband & I are married for 11 years and we never celebrated V day too.

  17. sandeepa,

    love you blog, love your writing style.


  18. Your pictures of the gooseberries are so lovely! I agree with you about Valentine's Day--it can be very forced now. I loved it as a kid, making cards for everyone. I have told my husband not to waste money on candy for me this year! (But, he will probably ignore me and get it anyway.)

  19. I guess I am with you. I could totally care less that Valentine day is on Wednesday. I don't think I have tasted those gooseberries.

  20. hi sandeepa
    Actually Valentine's day is for people to share love and peace .The moral of that day is that.But when the time changed it bought so many new changes..this "valentines day "is also from the same.
    I agree with u..if one wants to express their love to their loved ones they can do it at any time.
    My feeling is that..
    The picture is amazing..i have never seen this fruit in INDIA..

  21. Hi Indo
    You are so right when you say "in the end no one has a clue why it is bein celebrated in the first place ". That sums it all up

    Not in Dollars, it was Rs 50 :)

    The sixth thing we do not know :)

    Ha, ha liked your dad & K's version

    Now you intrigue me :)

    Ei bar amar meye school jache na, March theke jabe so I am relieved :)

    By the time it's 11 years you don't really bother about these things :)


    Yeah if kids make card on their own accord fine, but now it's like you have to buy those pack of 20 cards scibble on them and send them to school, while the kid has no clue :)

    The gooseberries are sweet and a little bit sour, but juicy

  22. Sra
    Sorry "outweighs" bu I know you must have noticed :)

    I so agree with you

  23. Sandeepa - ami abar magaziner article ta ke dekhlam. tumi kothai dekhecho tomar naam ta sundeepa lekha ache? Please let me know. Ami dekhlam it is written as Sandeepa.

  24. Hi Sandeepa -- regarding the fruit -- I have seen them called ground cherries as well -- some info and pics about it here. have never tasted that but looks similar to tomatillo or husk tomato, which is green.

    Regarding Valentine's Day -- at least it has a history, unlike so many of the drummed up holidays -- secretary's day, boss' day (I should be spending my salary to buy the boss a gift!??), even grandmother's grandfather's etc... it all gets a bit ridiculous. Small acts of love and kindness on a daily basis are worth alot more, in my book :)

  25. Dear Sandeepa,
    Taypari we love it ,I will blog a recipe for it soon,
    and for the emotions you have for V-day , I agree to some extent that its very much commercialised ,but then our own festivals are also ...why we need to get new clothes on durga Pooja ,it can be any days ..isn't it ..Kinto tumaar lekha khob hi impressive ..
    we need an excuse to celebrate , and I dont mind It either ..
    Hugs and Smiles

  26. Mandira
    Tomar blog ei likhlam, last name er bolchilam not first name. But it's ok, tumi ekhono mone rekhecho :)

    The problem is not that it's history, it's now more of a "Hallmark Event", it's a marketing gimmick

    I knew someone would come up with this :) I do agree to a point that but the other festivals like Durga Pujo or Diwali are so much connected to my tradition that I feel one with them. I love all that shopping, eating, splurging, etc. that goes with them. They bring a warmth and joy because they are deep rooted in my culture and tradition
    Same for ThanksGiving, it's a very traditional thing for the Americans.

    But for ME V Day is not close to my heart as it is not so much of MY tradition. I am not saying it should be same for everyone. If anyone has grown up with it, always celebrated this day as a special day that's fine.

  27. Hi sandeepa, It was a neat post on the much hyped valentine day, guess, Western culture is seeping through & influencing the young college going crowd a lot in the present day ,BTW,your post was pretty interesting!:)

  28. I'm not sure about the fruit, read ur v-day write up.Really good one. We never followed the tradition of V-day.

  29. Sandeepa,
    Loved reading your post gal as always and your are so right. We hardly heard about Valentines day when I was in school. Now every month has some days like mother's day, father's day, friendship day, valentines day etc etc. Everything is just commersialised. Myself and my hubby believe in every day being a special day for the two of us and make every coming day a memorable one for us.
    Love ya gal.

  30. Nice write-up and I too am part of the No-Vday club. Back in college, we roomies used to buy small gifts for each-other, just cos we had no BFs to buy things for us:) I have certainly gotten more sensible after marriage. After all, we need to run the house efficiently. Rather than spending/letting hubby spend the money on roses, I could get something useful for my daughter....diapers!!!

  31. Nice write up sandeepa...yeap you are right..too commericialised v-day now a days.We actually stopped giving each other expensive after our first anniversary.Another reason for this is first four monthes of the year is full of bdays,v-day,pongal and S didn't want to make a tradition where he has to empty his pocket :D.Instead, he buys me plants or some new kitchen gadget or utensils or something we need for lil' one.In a return favour, i cook some nice non veg for him..:D.We both think this is healthy and economical.V-day celebration in pre school..that's UNBELIEVABLE...

    Abt gooseberries, never tried before..will go search for it here in local stores now.

  32. Hi Sandeepa...loved reading your post...I agree with you too...neither me nor my hubby are carzy about valentine's day. Recently I came across news in times of india about a 16 year old boy who mugged his own home and stole jewellery worth 2 lacs for valentine gift for his gf.

  33. Sandeepa - well said! You go girl!!

  34. Wow A Brave post... I remember the archies shop opp to my college,which used to sell wonderful cards..Haven't bought one in college days ..but only for the 1st valentine's day I bought a card and gave to my Hubby as it was a week from my wedding date.. then after that valentine's day come and big difference..This time to post in our blogs had to cook up something
    Anyway good post!!!

  35. aw cho chweet! we have anti valentiner! while u do chaff at the marketing of valentine's day u have to agree deep down, you could stop and smell the roses and wish ur d with love.:) I don't celbrate it either, having been relegated to getting 20 valentine's cards for my son's classmates, but i do love feeling happy to be loved.

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