A Day of Love
Photos : zahedul i khan
Models : salman & naziba
Lovers all over the world will be celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow, February 14. Many cynics term this day as nothing more than a gimmick. It is, however, a merry day for card sellers, florists and gift shop owners. Why can't every day be Valentine's Day, they ask. However, for the young lovers, this is probably the most awaited day when they are showered with special gifts, words of love and special touches. This year however, Valentine's Day falls on a week day, which is why many of the on campus lovers find it difficult to make elaborate plans to celebrate this special day with their loved ones. The spring semester having begun in most of the universities, one hopes that the young ones have planned way ahead of the day. “I am planning to have lunch with my boy friend in between classes,” says Sabrina, a 20-year-old private university student. “That's the best we can do actually. My classes end after 7 pm on February 14, and I don't think I will be able to spend a late evening. Especially with all the traffic in the city, it will take ages to move from one place to another after class and then go back home again.” Traffic is probably not the only issue amongst the young people. They seem to be juggling with dilemmas related to time and finance as well.
Valentine's Day would be incomplete without a special evening out, delicious delicacies and music. There are plenty of places, where with early reservations, couples will be able to enjoy a propver evening out. Every year on Valentine's Day popular eateries and restaurants, in and around Dhaka city, spice up the atmosphere with a little music. Places like Spitfire in Gulshan, Mainland China in Uttara, Atrium in Bishwaroad and other restaurants, this year are offering special dinners and buffet. If funding is not a major problem, young couples could also try out the offers at the starred hotels in Dhaka, namely Westin, Hotel Sheraton, Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Hote Regency or even Sarina. Nothing beats good food and a fantastic evening out and that too enjoyed with a little style. However, if funding does seem to be a major hindrance, especially for the young campus lovers, who would prefer a 'chilled-out' experience with their loved ones, fear not. There are plenty of options out there.
Nothing beats live music! There are plenty of places in Dhaka where you and your beloved can enjoy munchies or good dinner for a reasonable price and enjoy acoustic music. For instance, Roadhouse (Gulshan 2) is a fantastic place for young university going couples to enjoy soft rock and a scrumptious meal. A long drive or a stroll at the park while listening to the radio is also a fantastic idea. For Valentine's Day, the local radio stations plan to play not only the contemporary hits but also the golden oldies.
For the much younger ones, studying in higher secondary schools who often have a curfew at home, especially on a weekday or a school night, the best option would be to grab an open space, like in a park, make sure that it is safe and there are other people and families around and enjoy a bag of delicious shingaras and cups of soft drinks or fruit juice. Valentine's Day is for couples only, nevertheless, nothing beats an adda with close friends from school or your locality. Put those young minds to work and be creative! Grab some of your young musician friends with guitars and arrange a mini concert by yourselves. Add bags of popcorns and milkshakes to the festivities!
For book-lovers and young couples who like to read and discuss books, the Ekushey Boi Mela is a yet another fantastic location where you can hang out on Valentine's Day. Not only can you browse through books, couples can also enjoy plates of phuchka, sandwiches, meat and vegetable rolls, tea, coffee and even ice-cream. The Media Centre, the Writer's Meet or the Nazrul Chattar are good open spaces at the Boi Mela, where young couples would be able to enjoy the hot drinks and browse through books.
The Dhaka University area being one of the most beautiful areas in the city with plenty of open spaces and history young people can enjoy, one spot which is quite popular amongst the university students is the Nescafe area. Surprisingly enough, it is still quite unexplored and undiscovered by the 'outsiders'. With tables and chairs made of bricks, the cafeteria there serves hot plates of shingaras with vegetable fillings and cups of coffee. This area stays quite full in the month of February, where visitors from the Boi Mela prefer to read their books over coffee.
Gift exchanges between lovers, being yet another special part of the day, many prefer to buy their boyfriends and / or girlfriends expensive items like watches, jewellery and even clothes. Ryan is a final year student of BBA at a private university. He has been saving up for the last few months to buy his girl friend a set of earrings and pendants that the both of them had spotted at Bashundhara City Shopping Complex. “My girl friend loves jewellery,” says Ryan. “In fact, she has a very good collection of jewellery sets and designs. She has a soft spot for earthen jewellery and I have given her plenty of those in the past two years. But this year, I want to surprise her with something more expensive.” The creative minds can set to work here and buy inexpensive yet trendy items for their loved ones. No matter what the cynics say, there is nothing more special than a bunch of flowers. Now with the upsurge of flower shops in every city corner, one can easily buy ready-made arrangements or even order for specially arranged bouquets; handful of roses with sprinkles of white all around wrapped with paper, red roses and yellow and orange carnations would be a wonderful display, depicting both Valentine's Day and Pahela Phalgun, and of course the all time favourite Rajanigandha would be simple yet a good enough expression for relationships which are still in the initial stages of delicacy.
Other than flowers, the young men can also buy for their girlfriends, purses, bags, kohl pencils, candles, glass bangles, CDs, DVDs and notebooks. A shout out to the young women out there, please don't linger behind. Show your love and buy items which your boyfriends would probably like to use, wallets, deodorants, bags, movies, music and the list would go on. A good idea would also be to put together little items in a box, like candles, cards with special messages, CDs, card holders, notebooks, pens, pencils, books and make your own stationary sets.
Despite the fact that Valentine's Day is said to be a part of the western influence that most young people seem to suffer from in Bangladesh, it is a day of love. It is a day when young hearts like to express their hidden desires and make their lovers happy and feel special.
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