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Love in the time of Covid

Photograph: iStock

Text: Aina Masood

As Covid-19 continues to be a threat to social life, Valentine’s month can be dreadful, but can we develop a new normal for love?

Across the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February. The day of love is celebrated by exchanging candy, roses, and gifts. To add more romance, you can add in a candle-lit dinner on the eve of February 14. Valentine’s Day has some Christian and ancient Roman history, but the modern-day celebration is more focused on rejoicing love for a partner more than anything else.

It brings joy to me to see people wearing red and using the day of love to go on dates and exchange gifts. It is also special to me because my birthday falls on the same day. So, when I see people with beaming smiles on their faces and looking all bright and lit-up, I would secretly think they were, in some way, celebrating my birthday. Sitting side by side, holding hands and sharing a meal, they could enjoy the simple pleasure of each other’s company.

Shifting gears to the world after 2020, it has become difficult for so many of us to enjoy these simple pleasures. If you are an expat and have your family with you, you might have options to spend time with your loved one and show love. However, if you are a new expat or have a loved one far away, sharing simple, human interactions might have become strenuous. The two meters distance rule further adds to the complexity of finding love.

Here is what I suggest, let’s expand our horizons. Why should Valentine’s Day be limited to a partner/spouse? Why should there be only a single day to celebrate a beautiful emotion? We don’t only feel love towards our partners, right? Add in more people. Take the entire month. Remember that neighbour, who was kind enough to check up on you? Give them a bar of chocolate. Remember that friend who called you when you were down in the dumps? Get flowers delivered to them. Remember that colleague who brought you groceries because you had to quarantine? Get food delivered to their place.

"Sometimes its not about being's about being there for each other. Happy valentine's day."

We need a reason to celebrate now more than ever. Find that reason and be creative. There are travel restrictions and all sorts of rules keeping us from physically being together, but we are social animals and love-hungry beings. So, we must make space for love and connection.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Arrange zoom dates and dress up.

  • Have an indoor picnic.

  • Write letters to people who have shown you love and kindness when Covid-19 was stripping us of the very things that are natural and routine to us.

  • Get food delivered to your neighbour.

We (humans) are social beings, and are fragile but remember that we always find a way, and we shall do the same and toast to Love in the time of Covid.

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