Make him or her go wiki in the knees
While Wikipedia is still publicly accessible and editable, use the chance to make your loved one a glowing Wikipedia page complete with pictures, platitudes and praise. Heap on the rhetoric and make authoritative-looking references to Facebook profiles, LinkedIn résumés and the like. Don’t forget to spice up the profile with fake quotes about your loved one by famous people he or she adores. When you are done, quickly save a copy of the page with screenshots before the Wiki-ogres take the page down citing lack of relevance.
Photograph: Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
An unequal music
Why not burn him/her some high-quality independent music instead? Both Indian and foreign sites offer a great choice of tracks from all genres that you can download legally. Burning the disc is the easy part. Get creative on the packaging. With enough effort, some open source images and freeware, you can design professional-looking CD inlay covers and packaging. Rest assured that the album you’re gifting is the only one of its kind in the world (save cover design and keep a disc backup for reuse later in case things don’t work out).
Music sources: www.tempostand.com, music.download.com
Freeware to design covers: www.coverxp.com
Be a do-gooder
Tug firmly at the heartstrings by gifting the significant other a piece of wholesome karmic goodness. Spend some time with a charity or a non-governmental organization, preferably associated with a cause your lover has a passion for. Teach, clean, write, hand out notices or paint posters (donating money would be beside the point). Make sure you have a record of your involvement in pictorial form. For even more dramatic effect, and if you think you can pull it off, take your sweetheart with you and gift her the satisfaction of activism as well. Note: Choose non-messy, uplifting activities if you intend to spend time together after.
Go on a public transportation tour
Dig around in your city or town, and chances are there are at least a couple of touristy spots and heritage sites. Draw up a city sightseeing itinerary, brush up on your local history and find out the best mode of public transport to use. Choose your timings carefully to avoid rush hours. Then go on a couple’s tour, with you acting as guide. If you have the time and technology, make a little soundtrack of songs to go with the tour and load up the iPod. Suggestions? In Mumbai, choose Bus No. 124 from Colaba bus station to Worli depot. Choose late evenings, a double-decker, and sit right in front on top. The bus winds its way through town and even through Bhendi Bazaar, where the aromas of food being cooked make your eyes sting. Make your lover see the city like they’ve never seen it before. Cost? Bus tickets for two.
Take your relationship international
Treat your beloved to high culture and international art…on the cheap. Cross-border culture outposts such as the British Council, Alliance Française and Max Mueller Bhavan have film festivals and art shows running all year round. This month, for instance, there was an environmental film festival at the British Council, and weekly film screenings are held at the Alliance Française. Most screenings are free, start at convenient times and are in reasonably comfortable surroundings. What you save on the movie tickets could be better spent on another starter for dinner.
Always remember to assure your partner that the cut-price love is only a temporary phenomenon. Next year (or whenever earliest), when the bonuses are up again and markets are bullish, make up for the frugality with some luxury.