Celebrating Singlehood, The AIB Way!
-Akchayaa R, II Year B.A. English
Gone are the days when all the single people watched ‘Love, Rosie’ and ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ with a huge tub of chocolate ice-cream while all the couples had their share of fun on the 14th of February. This year on Valentine’s day, cherishing solitude took the centre stage rather than being in love, and we can thank the AIB, (All India Bakch*d) and their campaign #PyaarEkDhokaHai that took social media by storm. The hashtag used by AIB roughly translates to ‘love is betrayal’, quite unconventional for it to be trending in February, but self-love and flaunting your ‘singlehood’ seemed to share the limelight with roses, chocolates and other cliché V-day stuff.
What started as a story on Instagram by Tanmay Bhat, a popular comedian and one of AIB’s founders, became a serious event when more than a thousand people marked that they were going to shout ‘pyaar ek dhoka hai’ on Valentine’s day. This inspired the founders of AIB to actually organise an event where single people could gather and shout the slogan. People who are active on social media would have noticed their newsfeed being filled with memes featuring the viral hashtag instead of videos of a school girl doing tricks with eyebrows and pictures of couples who have the need to post every single thing they do (a welcome change, indeed!).
The campaign (or movement) was one of its kind and unlike anything India has seen before, particularly on Valentine’s day. Even before February 14, AIB welcomed people to send videos of themselves shouting ‘pyaar ek dhoka hai’ in colleges, offices and any place one can think of. The response was also heart warming as people from all over India and countries like USA, Russia, Dubai, etc sent videos of themselves, shouting the slogan alongside a group of happy, single people. On V-day, around five thousand people gathered at Kamgar Krida Bhavan in Mumbai to do something that nobody had ever dared to do- celebrate self-love and enjoy one’s own company on a day that might have made them feel bad for not having a significant ‘half’ to share it with.
The occasion was graced with the presence of AIB (except Khamba who got married three days later!), Kenny Sebastian, Kaneez Surka, Surmukhi Suresh, Zakir Khan and Ritviz. All of them took turns to come on stage and take pledges as the crowd cheered them on, repeated the pledges and shouted ‘pyaar ek dhoka hai’. The huge turnout and the enormous support made this quirky, fun event a huge success and the founders promised that it would happen the following year too.
A few days after the excitement had died down, Tanmay Bhat posted another series of stories on Instagram which said that if a silly event like this was needed to not feel bitter about being alone and to celebrate oneself, it was worth it. This event was not just about defeating the age old notion that all single people curl themselves into a ball and cry tears of despair because they have nobody to spend it with, but also to make people realise that enjoying one’s own company and self-love are equally important and worth celebrating. I’m pretty sure AIB received a lot of messages asking them to become a political party and contest in the elections. If they ever do so, making February 14 the National Dhoka Day would be the trick up their sleep to win the election. Now that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?