THE RED OF VALENTINE'S is also the universal colour of alarm. No coincidence. It's not just meek or headstrong singletons who find themselves in the red on V Day, it's the idea of V day itself. The usual mania of blinkered celebrations paints too many people, animals and things into a graceless corner. It’s a day that will see the usual contingent of nervy kinds signing off early from office citing general weakness, just to avoid being teased. There will also be the teasers themselves signing off early, pretending to have a 'date'. But wait. Why couldn't we all just drop the hang-ups and celebrate?

Valentine's Day can be about raising more than a few proverbial and actual toasts to all the things that give us hope and happiness. Food, pets, kids, family, people of all ages and leanings, music, song, spring, and of course, that trusty companion in the woodwork. It’s a day to throw open the imagination and the doors of perception. It’s a day that brings to mind the words of a revered Sufi master who preached:

river-like generosity,
Sun-like affection,
earth-like hospitality

We take these and its givers for granted in the goings about of life. Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to give back. What better way than to take along family, friend, jittery colleague, golf partner, or all of them together, to a Valentine's Day feast at the ITC hotel in your city that has plenty lined up for the day. There are events that are perfect for rekindling the flames with partners – like the enchanting floating tea pavilions on the lily pond at ITC Sonar or a private gazebo under the stars at ITC Maurya. There are also the wider celebrations that can shine their grace on everyone, with menus customised for the day - you can look forward to single-origin couverture chocolate custard espresso cheesecake and flambéed brownie ala mode at Visakhapatnam, free flowing champagne at Windsor, a hearty buffet at ITC Gardenia or an energetic night of dance at WelcomHotel Dwarka’s Ghungroo.

Take your pick. And don't forget to pack a V-Day treat in the doggy bag for your pet waiting back home.