merry in the woods
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more…”
- Lord Byron
A glance into the memory lanes, vague flashbacks ignite hours of sheer play and plain fun. Closely-knit family members would gather around to get away from the monotonous hustle and bustle of their lives to cherish the bond they share. Corporate stresses would be laid down within the premises of professionalism for a day out with the colleagues where anything but the strenuous schedules would be discussed.
The long drives with the soul-quenching tunes humming in the stereo while everyone mingled and chit-chatted their worlds away are found as mere nostalgic moments in the corners of the shadowed past. The carefree picnic days have been replaced with an hour or two of mundane dinner-outs or lunch-outs with the colleagues or families and friends. The beats of our never ceasing hearts lay nostalgic with the bygone picnic era and long desperately for those days to be resuscitated.
Picnics uncover a meal outside in the air from the French en plein air. This definition allows you the flexibility to venture out into your backyard, a local park or into the outskirts of the country. A day away in the surrounding suburbs is what our tiresome muscles could use.
Pack up a basket of heartfelt goodies and set out to rediscover the alluring magic that is the picnic. With the ongoing holiday season and the blissful winter winds with just the perfect amount of sunshine, the time is ripe and nature's beauty is at its very best. A cruise on a yacht or a local ship swiftly waving through the ruffling tides is another option you could look into. Buriganga river cruises is the finest of its kind in the country. Rent one out and load it up with a bunch of family members and cruise. Along the seashores of Chittagong, cruises come in an array of options you can choose from. Sundarban's overnight cruises are another that you can look into if escapism for three days or more is what you have been searching for. The forests at Sundardan are soothing and it is nothing but nature throughout.
If conventional ideas are your cup of tea, stick to the traditional notion of picnics. Carry a basket of homemade sandwiches, packed bottles of juices and water in a cooler, a bed sheet, plastic plates and utensils, a few family board games, napkins and paper towels, cleaning wipes, and a trash plastic bag for a small family picnic.
Start your engines and drive down the winding paths to an unforgettable day. For official picnics, you can either place catering orders or opt for a potluck where each one prepares a dish or two. The potluck creates a delectable spectrum on the table and is a great way to combine team-building skills with the cooking ones.
If you are one from the adventurous clan, pack up uncooked meals, cutting knives, cooking and serving utensils, a bottle of propane or a fire starter and matches, a foldable grill, seasonings, cooking oil and a map. Set out for an unknown destination but with familiar companionship to unfold the dried leaves of nature.
You can hike up a mountain till your legs are numb and then rest on the very first camping site. The quintessential feeling that resides within a hike is unfathomable. Get those hiking boots out and hike to your picnic spot.
Whoever said, the bright sunshine had to be up in the sky while you were on your excursion said it upside down. A night out for a picnic is definitely on the untouched continuum. You can sip on a warm mug of coffee or soup as you cuddle around a radiant bonfire in a crooked circle. Setting up tents and being on the dark side of nature under the moonlit shrouds is one you should at least try once during your years.
For safety precautions, carry along an all-purpose pocket-knife and a fully equipped first-aid kit. Discovering unfamiliar territory; you never know what you will encounter and that is what makes explorations even more delectable.
Carry sunscreen with an effective SPF or a tanning lotion, depending on the tone you want to retain. Insect repellents, antiseptics and soothing lotions to keep the allergies at bay, should make it to the top of your checklist.
Into our senior year, a bunch of us, decided to defy the laws and the numerous rules that tied us down at our boarding school. One picturesque morning, surrounded by the gorgeous clouds and the immaculate hills of Mussoorie, we headed out into one of the local hills at the foot of the Himalayas called Flag Hill.
We carried a boom box playing our intoxicating favourite tracks, screeching to rip apart the serenity of the air through the hours. We trod the tarred alleys with the thumps of a marching band.
This was an out of the body experience as we packed dozens of ready-to-cook Nepalese noodles named Wai Wai, a few bottles of drinking water, cooking utensils and a camping stove for our day out. Once we reached the top of the hill adorned with Buddhist prayer flags, the view of the stretched skyline enthralled us, engulfing us into a sphere we had never been to before.
Hand in hand, we cooked our unhealthy meal as we talked about what paths lay ahead, what we would remember ten years down the line, who we would become in the years to come and the inevitable consequences we would face once we reached school.
We wanted to explore the never-dying bond that bound us like a neatly woven spider web, the intricacies and the closeness. Now days have rolled into months, as I reminisce my years of high school, this is one day that has embedded memories and sketched an experience so perfect that I can breathe and relive every minute of it.
Now I have the answer: I will remember not the calculations I conducted during my Chemistry experiments, but my friends, our picnic getaway and the bond of a lifetime. Of course, the following weekend we ended up collecting trash from around the surrounding Chardukan Chakkar. Nevertheless, the escapade was worth it all. Being Tenacious, we lived up to our class name and turned a day of arduous trash collecting into big polythene black bags, into a memorable one yet again.
Picnics are “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get”. Un-traditionalise the traditional concept of picnics. Hike up to some place for an overnight hike, camp out under a tent or sit in a crooked circle around the radiating heat from a musky bonfire. Let spontaneity be your guidance to picnics.
By Sanjana Rahman
We would like to thank Tumpa, Jahan, Sanjib, Ela, Babu, Hasnat, Parul, Farhana, Shanta, Zemi, Tito, Shimu and Shiplu- students of 8th Batch, Faculty of Fine Art, Dhaka University- for providing the photos.