Delhi Diaries: Valentines Day, Indian Style

It was Valentines Day and I was in Lucknow, ‘on assignment.’ I had a choice, I could stay in and ordered room service or I could venture out and have dinner on my own, in public, on what is purportedly the most romantic day of the year.
Neither was appealing, but I chose the latter, in what could have been an act of self destruction but telling myself, as it was the newest and hottest place to be in town, that it was ‘work.’ So what if I would be surrounded by gushing couples? I could still sample the food and service, and so, with my armour of pad and pen in hand, I ventured forth.

I balked at the door, had I made an error? I mean, the décor shouldn’t have been a surprise, but even by Indian bling standards, I was taken aback. This was tacky overkill on speed.  There were literally thousands of heart-shaped balloons taped to walls, strapped to chairs and dangling from ceiling lights. I felt that Cupid himself would have pulled a hand brake turn and shot back from whence he came, on the double.  I took a deep breath, I could do this.  It then took some time to convince the somewhat flustered restaurant manager that despite my attire, I did just want a table for one, but he ultimately conceded and we negotiated the forest of red plastic tat, floating and by now some somewhat flaccid balloons, and I was seated at a table which gave me full view of my surroundings. If I was doing this, I was facing it full on!

It was then that I got my second surprise.  I mean, to be fair, this restaurant was full of couples but then again, not quite. I ordered a glass of Sula, perused the menu, made my order and sat back to observe love, India style.  Yes, this next thing that struck me was how many couples who had booked this restaurant, which could not have done more to promote this as an the ultimate, intimate romantic night for two,  had dragged their kids along!  But they had a plan.  Not to deter from the purpose of the evening, they were indeed enjoying a dinner for two, full focus was on each other, whilst the kids were being left to run riot, skid around banging into the chairs of other amorous diners, whilst screaming and/or shouting the place down. The parents in love struck oblivion, this was their night and nothing was going to ruin it.

A couple of other couples had managed to venture out without kids but, that being achieved, didn’t quite seem to know how to get through a romantic dinner-a-deux; many were on their phones, others simply sitting looking bored and eager to get it over with. They were even looking longingly at the misbehaving children, seemingly desperate to get back to the distraction of their own.

The table next to me had just two bored kids sitting at it, behaving at least by staying put. The parents were six tables away, and kept sending warning glances in their direction.  The sister was amusing herself by playing candy crush, the brother alternatively with his cutlery and his nostrils.

At another table there were actually three people seated, I would like to think that the particular couple were being kind, though who knows what may have been in the offing?

The table beyond them had newly weds. She looked nothing short of shell-shocked with a dose of whip lash thrown in and mightily relieved that another couple had joined them, for dinner at least. He looked to be an unhappy combination of horny and sulking.

I was the only one who was actually dressed for the occasion, in fabulous red dress and matching killer heels. As it turned out, I was perfectly camouflaged and able to make my observations, for once, without being stared at myself. I may have been alone, but I managed to write two blog posts and engaged in some wonderful people watching.  Honestly speaking, I think looked to be the happiest of the lot. I also saved the best for last, and went back to the room accompanied by an old friend. Yes, there’s always an Old Monk around when you need one.

Happy Valentines everyone!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.