On Saturday, February 4, 2017, my two boys and I decided to have a boys outing at one of the popular shopping malls. One of life’s abiding truths is that window-shopping never goes out of fashion. I could easily add that the statement assumes greater relevance in these days of amazing, unbelievable and simply mind-blowing inventions which are rolled out onto the market almost daily. I am most impressed by the creativity and sheer workmanship of those who work in technological and electrical shops, who receive the new stock at regular intervals and have to quickly convert their respective shops into “winning posts” or else they go unnoticed by today’s discerning buyer. The subject of toys with my boys naturally means the window shopping will also include discussions on cars. But, here, I need to emphasise that this is where we truly limit ourselves to just a “feast for the eyes.” Often, the vehicles we discuss and thoroughly admire cannot make it onto our wish list!
After looking through a few windows, we got into one of the clothing shops. My older boy needed some T-shirts while the younger one wanted to invest in basketball shorts. As we made our way into the shop, I was struck by its sophisticated make-up and interior decor. We first passed by the fragrances section, a beautifully-scented place where one is transported onto a different realm of sweetness. After the fragrances, I quickly noticed that two colours, black and red, overrode all the displays. After noting the colours, it was time to look at the products on display.
Slowly but surely, the set-up began to make sense. In ten days, the world and “all lovers(?)” will commemorate the centuries-old tradition of Valentine’s Day. It is interesting to note that this is one of those days which never fails to cross borders or straddle territories in its messaging. Goods on display show humanity’s unity in sharing the message of love, from the inane cards, the living or artificial flowers, and finally an array of carefully selected clothing items. If I may digress, it is, however, sad, that Valentine Day’s gifts do not always necessarily translate into the sincere love which the Day is supposed to celebrate. Instead, the changing and high-value nature of proposed Valentine’s Day gifts which are displayed seems to feed into the spirit of needless competition that is slowly de-humanizing us. We seem to have morphed into that “profit-first-love-maybe” world that is driven by the competition spawned by the expensive gifts on offer.
I recently decided to widen my search for friends. I found myself subscribing to an online dating service which promised “just online friends.” Of course, the service also caters for those who may be in search of love, either in the form of short or long-term relationships. I am a little disturbed by the suggestion of “short-term” relationship. I believe that relationships necessarily involve an element of emotional investment and I am thus scared by the hint that it is possible for people to enter into short-term relationships. What for? What kind of world are we encouraging? Finally, although I said I joined the dating service for friendships, I have glanced at some of the qualities that apparently can build a successful relationship. Curiosity is a difficult thing to suffocate. I am a bit disappointed to find that at the top of so-called “turn-ons” is wealth (also called power). Further, the wealth must be flaunted for the world to see. I guess I will always be a traditionalist and opt instead for “turn-ons” which build character.
I believe relationships fail today because of the undue emphasis that is being placed on material things. For traditionalists like myself, we miss old-time songs like “Like To Get To Know You Well” by Howard Jones. The amazing song features some of the following lyrics;
Together we can cast away the fear / Together we can wipe away the tear / Together we can strip down the barriers / And be one
People want to talk about the future / Don’t want to linger on the past / Just want to reach to the real you inside / Forget cold glances and rejections / Leave the things that separate / Build on a trust that we can stand on
Finding all are insecure / Opening the same door / Leaving out a stubborn pride / Seeing from another side.