This V-day, show some love to your pocket too.
Valentine's Day for those living in Dhaka is synonymous not only with love and affection for our better half (in some cases the ratio may vary), but also with the intolerable traffic and uncontrollable expenditure that comes with it. It is not a public holiday for us, but the masses generally avoid classes and work to spend fleeting moments with their loved ones. The roads are clogged, the restaurants and cafés are filled to the brim, and the wallet is constantly losing weight thanks to gift items -- all in the name of love!
There used to be a time when these wouldn't happen. Valentine's Day was nothing more than spending quality time with your loved one, just sitting and talking, without the need of proving your love materialistically in the form of dozens of gifts and an expensive date at one of the new cafés in the posh neighbourhood of the town. What if I told you it is still possible to wrap up the day's expenses under 500 Taka? It may be difficult to contemplate, but possible nonetheless. This Valentine's Day, go old school, which is both romantic and easy on your pocket. Here's how:
The day can be started at places where Valentine's Day celebrations are aplenty, such as Dhaka University's TSC circle. In fact, the majority of the day can be spent in such places, surrounded by a heap of other couples, music and festivities, and it would also save you the rickshaw fare. If you'd like quiescence to talk to your date, consider going to places like Ramna Park. Moreover, there would be loads of florists around these places, and you can easily get a single stick of a slightly overpriced red rose for your valentine [BDT 20]. Around mid-morning when hunger strikes, share a refreshing drink of coconut water [BDT 30] -- two straws in one coconut, just like in old movies.
Lunch, however, could be a problem, unless you are good with words. If you are around Ramna or the Dhaka University area, you may head over to Nilkhet with your valentine and feast on khichuri or tehari [BDT 80-90 per half plate + soft drinks]. Or, lunch at any of DU's numerous canteens. But if you are at other parts of the town, there are inexpensive places you could go for lunch with your date within the budget, such as Tehari Ghor in Dhanmondi. Flock to the food court of Bashundhara City if all else fails.
The wide range of gifts that people buy these days can be pretty expensive, but may not necessarily be a token of true love. How about doing something different? Around the large malls and university areas, sketch artists can be found on Valentine's Day. Getting a sketch made of you and your valentine to immortalise your love could be a nice and romantic touch, and it could serve as the perfect gift as well [BDT 100 approximately]. However, there are high chances that your date wouldn't want to sit posing in front of a sketch artist out on the streets; try to convince them for the sake of your wallet.
On the other hand, a major chunk of the day could be spent at the annual Ekushey Book Fair in the Bangla Academy premises. As you know, books do make great gift items, so why not buy a book for your valentine? A collection of romantic short stories or poems, or a novel based on the different shades of love could send out a proper message to your loved one [prices may vary]. Don't forget to scribble a small note on the books.
Moreover, rather than exchanging greeting cards from shops, go an extra mile and write a letter. Pouring your heart out on paper is a better idea than using predetermined clichés of the greeting cards. True, nobody writes a love letter any more in our era; yet, writing one for your valentine has a much more personal touch to it. But please don't over-kill it by writing the letter with blood; that's just disturbing, unhygienic and may result in your date abandoning you, suspecting you to be a psychopath.
By late afternoon, you'd both be exhausted. I suggest you find a clean spot and share a loving moment over peanuts and steaming cups of tea from street vendors. This may be the oldest idea in the Bangladeshi dating book but peanuts can work magic; unless you are allergic, in which case you should just stick to the tea. Cotton candies may also be shared as close alternatives. [BDT 20-30 total]
You know how they say money can't buy love? It's probably true. It can buy expensive gifts and a 5-star dinner for your valentine, but it can't really get you true love. Love is in the fleeting seconds spent sitting next to your loved one, sharing jhalmuri [BDT 10]. What really matters is the thought and effort put behind those moments. Bid your valentine farewell on that sweet and loving note, and start saving up for next year's Valentine's Day, because these are only sweet the first time.
P.S. The prices cited may differ, since it is Valentine's Day. Who doesn't want to make a profit?
You could go to the Airtel Carnival of Love where 500 Taka would get you –
Entrance: BDT 200 (Couples) BDT 100 (Single)
Biriyani/Khichuri/Tehari: BDT 130
Beauty's Shorbot: BDT 20
Shahi Paan: BDT 20/30/40
Kebab Platter: BDT 150
Burger Platter: BDT 150
Sub Sandwiches: BDT 120
Snacks: BDT 30/50/80
Chocolates: BDT 20/30/50/80/100/150
Pudding/Cheesecake: TK 50/100
Cupcake: BDT 80/100/120/150
Ice-cream: BDT 130/150/180
There will also be concert, telefilm screening, couples' games and photo exhibition for free.
WHERE TO GO: Airtel Carnival of Love
Airtel Bangladesh Limited, in association with Vivid, will be hosting “Airtel Carnival of Love” on the 13th and 14th of February, 2014 at Army Museum Ground, Bijoy Shoroni in Dhaka. The premiere of Airtel's telefilm “Bhalobasha 101” will be held at the event. The event will have various food stalls covering all types of cuisines from well-known restaurants as well as concerts on both days. Fun and games, photo exhibition and the carnival atmosphere should make this the ultimate venue to be at this Pohela Falgun and Valentine's Day.
For the lovebirds
A great offer for young couples would be 'lovebirds' from Airtel. The offer is designed to provide Airtel customers with dual SIM connection along with special features. For the first time in Bangladesh, Airtel customers will be able to enjoy video calls between the paired connections.
Potential customers will be able to purchase the package that includes dual SIM connection along with special benefits on voice calls, video calls and SMS at BDT 249. The offer will allow Airtel's valued customers with super FnF rates of BDT 0.25/minute + VAT with 10 second pulse on voice calls, video calls and SMS between the paired connections in the pack along with 1GB bonus (2G and 3G) internet. The FNF video call service provided in this pack is a pioneering idea which will enable customers to take benefit from the service at the lowest rate offered in the market for video calls. Each of the subscribers of this pack will receive a bonus of 512 MB (2G and 3G internet) if BDT 150 is recharged within 90 days of activation. Customers will also receive month-long free dedicated air tunes which will be activated automatically within 72 hours.
With activation, Airtel customers will receive a start-up bonus amount of BDT 20, 100 MB internet with 30 days validity and 100 SMS with 30 days validity. Every recharge of BDT 22 will enable customers with a special tariff rate of BDT 0.01 per second, 22 minutes of bonus talk-time, 22 free SMS and 22 MB bonus internet.
To avail the offer, customers will have to purchase the pack from the nearest Airtel outlet or Experience/Relationship Centre.