Valentine's Day has created an industry out of Male Forgetfulness. You may forget her birthday, the date you first went for a movie or the day she first bunked class to meet you.
But the entire media and advertising industry puts up a huge unmissable alarm for you on the 14th of Feb to wine her, dine her, pine for her and shine her day! Mushy cards at Rs 20, red rose buds at Rs 50 a piece, hideous teddies at Rs 395 a kilo, designer chocolates at Rs 2200 a kilo and romantic dinners at Taj for Rs 8000 an hour are all available at an arm's length to help you get there.
Unfortunately, my wife has never got any such sweet nothings from me. The one time she got flowers was when she asked me specifically ("yellow carnations from the first shop as you enter Defence Colony market") and I almost thought that they were for somebody else!
Oh - once I also got a friend to compose a song for her. When he becomes famous, this number will probably be known as Tina's Song. Now, how's that for a romantic gift... a song composed exclusively for you! Thanks, Prash!
But I think I have taken her to innumerable breathtakingly beautiful places to attend performances by immensely talented artistes. No, no - not Yanni by the Taj. Just a whole lot of fantastic restaurants!
We are really quirky eaters. We look at dessert menu for an eternity and then order chocolate mousse and apple strudle. We order main courses and exchange dishes halfway through it because we like the other's one better.
So, our likes and dislikes are also quite eccentric. Apart from the fantastic ones listed here, there are a whole lot of others who are memorable for really arbit reasons.
Mainland China (Calcutta), for being the place we first met at.
Lazeez (Bangalore), for being the only restaurant in Bangalore which cooked biriyani with potato in it.
Green Park (Hyderabad), for introducing us to the concept of late night binging with their Midnight Biriyani Buffet.
Masala Art (Delhi), for putting red meat to impossibly imaginative uses.
Taaja's (Calcutta), for making us order Khau Swey every single time despite an unendingly long menu.
Mahesh Lunch Home (Bombay), for unearthing the cats in us.
And Indigo, for being the Holy Grail. We are yet to be there!
All this came up for two reasons.
One, yesterday we were at a family friend's wedding reception and had a feast which was almost as good as my sister's. Take my word for it, that's a serious compliment. It was a Kashmiri spread and for the first time in my life, there were four (!) mutton dishes on the menu. Kabarga, Yakhni Mutton, Keema Aloo Bukhara and Khatta Liver. After that, how can you go wrong? We pigged out so shamelessly that the hostess invited us one more family function where the same food will be served. What a way to spend Valentine's Eve!
And two, Valentine's Day is also the wedding anniversary of a couple, who hate Valentine's Day and love food as much as I do. Quite unavoidable since I inherited my chromosomes from them!