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A picnic in your livingroom on Valentine's Day!
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February 05, 2008

So you're fed up of the candle-lit dinner routine every single Valentine's Day? We have five great ideas for you to explore  -- go on and make it truly special this year!

~ Picnic in your living room!

February 14 falls on a weekday this year and for many working couples, that means just a quick dinner and cuddle before turning in. A night on the town just isn't fun when you have work early the next morning and you know it's eating into your sleepy time!

"My husband and I both wake up at 6:45 am to head off to work," says 28-year-old school teacher Kumkum Kapoor* from Mumbai. "So the prospect of staying up late is not one we want to consider, even if it is Valentine's Day!"

For couples like Kumkum and her husband, here's what you can do -- set up a proper picnic in the comfort of your own home! All you need is a soft, comfy throw-rug and a basket full of picnic snacks. Go exotic, with wine or champagne in tall glasses, crackers and cheese, steak or lobster sandwiches and some sinful chocolate cake for dessert.

If you're springing a surprise on your partner, so much the better -- set it all up before he/ she gets home. If you have a sprawling balcony, make the most of it and if a cold wind's blowing, consider the livingroom. All you have to do is play some romantic music, place lighted candles everywhere, a few flowers and you're good to go -- just make sure the television stays off!

~ Visit a local spa for a relaxing day of togetherness and pampering

So take the day off -- it's not the end of the world! If you're worried that your boss will think you're cheesy taking leave on Valentine's, just go the easy route and call in sick!

With a whole day to spend in each other's company, you can just head to the nearest spa for some pampering for two. Says 27-year-old Delhiite Firdaus Merchant*, "My girlfriend and I were holidaying in Goa [Images] last year when Valentine's Day rolled around. She didn't suspect that I would have anything planned, since we were already on vacation by the sea  -- but was she surprised when I woke her up that morning and told her I had made an all-day appointment for us at the hotel spa!

We took several relaxing treatments together including a full-body massage, enjoyed the jacuzzi and lunched by the pool. I took her shopping in the evening and at night we dined at a beach shack under the stars. She was absolutely delighted!"

You don't need to be in Goa to enjoy a spa with your partner -- simply book yourself into one for the day and enjoy each other's company as you relax and unwind together.

~ The movie (and makeout!) route

In keeping with the spirit of Valentine's Day, theatres everywhere will be showing romantic, feel-good movies. And there's nothing like a movie date with your partner to rediscover young love!

Says Rooshad Irani*, a 29-year-old Chennai-based stock broker, "Last year, my wife Taashan* insisted we watch 'Almost Famous' on DVD for Valentine's Day and I readily agreed -- it was a weeknight and I didn't want to stay up too late. When I got home, the lights in our livingroom were low, there were candles everywhere, a bucket of hot popcorn by the sofa -- and my wife was already pouring me a chilled beer.

It was only when we settled in and got the movie started that I remembered -- I had taken Taashan to watch 'Almost Famous' on our first date way back in 2001! I was really touched -- after the movie was over, she even showed me the ticket stubs she had saved up from all those years ago. It was like we went back in time that night -- I fell in love with my wife all over again!"

So behave like a couple of love-struck teenagers if you want to -- go to a feel-good flick and just feel good!

~ A date at breakfast, not dinner

While most Valentine's Day dates tend to culminate in dinner, there's no reason why you can't start your celebration a little early on!

A great idea is serving your loved one breakfast in bed. Simply whip up a pancake batter, or an omelette batter and pour it into a fryingpan in a freestyle heart shape! A glass of orange juice, a few slices of toast, a few strawberries with fresh cream and you've got a delicious Valentine's breakfast going!

Says 25-year-old freelance writer Preeti Singh*, "Last year my boyfriend took the day off from work on Valentine's Day and we were keen on spending some quality time by ourselves. Imagine my surprise when he asked me to be ready by 9:30 am on February 14!

The next morning, bright and early, he drove us to a five star hotel and we had the most delicious breakfast buffet ever, before heading out for a spot of shopping! I loved that he had come up with such an unusual idea and surprised me."

~ The feel-good factor

Now this is a truly unusual and heart-warming idea, if ever there was one. Says Apeksha Thakkar*, a 25-year-old Mumbai-based sales executive, "My boyfriend works with an NGO that provides aid to cancer patients. Last Valentine's Day, he suggested we spend a couple of hours in the evening at an old age home in South Mumbai.

We got a few of our friends to go with us too and took along candy for the old folks. A friend of mine amused them playing Hindi songs on his guitar. I got so emotional after the experience that we've gone back several times since then. I realised that Valentine's Day isn't just about your partner and gifts and expensive dinners. It's about spreading love and giving something of yourself."

So go the philanthropic route -- donate toys to a children's hospital, or then simply volunteer to spend a little time with the less unfortunate. It's all about love, after all!

Happy Valentine's Day!

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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