Why I Refuse To Buy A Gift For Valentine’s Or Watch Pathan

I love SRK. I love buying gifts. Yet I will not watch Pathaan or buy any Valentine's gifts. And I have a very good reason. Want to find out?

Love, like Pathan, is in the air. The heart-shaped cakes and balloons and roses are so very yesteryear. So very Dil-to-Pagal-Hai. Ishhh, SRK again!

This is the time to gift diamonds. Because they are a woman’s best friend (and you, my friend, are clearly not.) Or buy a smartphone. With cameras that can zoom into the compound eye of a housefly, but will totally wipe out the finest trace of pimples from your beloved’s face. Better still, buy her a car. Because Valentine’s is here to show you care.

Ditto for boyfriends/husbands. Gift them a spa appointment. Or PlayStation 5. Boys need pampering too.

What did you say? You are single. No problem. This is the season of self-love. Buy yourself a car, drive to that spa in your brand-new car, and click a selfie flashing your new solitaire ring on your new iPhone. And then, post the selfie on social media. Yes, the same one that reminded you it was going to be Valentine’s in a fortnight. The same platform that advertised all the goodies that spell love. Because, otherwise, how would you know?

Why the sarcasm, you say?

What is wrong with one more opportunity to express our love? Nothing wrong. I am totally in, to wish my folks on these designated days. Be it Mother’s day or Friendship Day. Or World Cancer Day (Feb 4, by the way. Oh, I saw you smile apologetically, that’s alright!). Or Valentine’s day for that matter.

In fact, I am all for it. In our busy schedules, designating a particular date on the calendar, to take time out to wish/catch up with a loved one, is a beautiful idea. I have nothing against buying gifts on these occasions either. The more gifts, the better. Especially the gift of time. The universal favourite gift of all- mothers, fathers, children, spouses, friends and the most coveted me-time.

My problem is them telling us you have to buy something on these special days. Who them, you smirk? Them them. The ones selling the gifts. The ones advertising. The ones selling the idea of buying. Above and beyond your needs. Above and beyond your capacity. And now, thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence), above and beyond your comprehension.

I will buy the ring for myself/ my loved one when I like it. Do not drill it into my head. With mushy ads. Flashy discounts. Shiny apps. But then, they are sellers after all. It is up to us to decide, whether to buy, or not. In which case, we are at a serious disadvantage. In the times when the AI is prioritizing what customized ads to show me based on the difference of nanoseconds I take to scroll different ads on my phone, I would have to be extraordinarily smart to know when I am being played into buying something by feeding me the same diet on different apps. Extraordinarily as in inhumanly smart. Something I clearly am not.

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So my defence mechanism?

I decide whether I need/like/want something. Simple. Just like how I would/ would not buy a book looking at its cover and perhaps reading a page or two from the actual book. Without yielding to the coercion of social media. Just like how I saw the trailer of Pathan, and did not like it. So I would not go to watch the movie in the theatre. Inspite of every review telling me to go because it revived the box office. That it has had the biggest opening at the box office. That it is cringeworthy in parts, predictable in parts, problematic in parts, and still is something I would not want to miss.

I might change my opinion about the movie after I watch it, in the remote future. But for now, I will not. The bots can have a ball figuring out strategies to lure in the crowds. Let us not make it easy for them to feast on us.

So, I will not watch Pathaan. For the same reason that I refuse to celebrate Valentine’s day with gifts. Because they think consumers are fools. And I have decided to rebel. Why, you ask again? Because, Kuch Kuch hota hai, tum nahi samjhoge.

What will I do on Valentine’s, you ask? Perhaps watch an SRK movie, like I would do any other day. Just not Pathaan.

Image source: a still from the film Bend it like Beckham

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