There's a book for almost everything, whether it be showing affection to a special someone, or celebrating one's tradition. But what happens if you need a book that can express both? Yesterday was such an occasion, because it welcomed the first day of spring while love was in the air, and there's no book on that as of yet.
Marking Pahela Falgun and Valentine's Day, the two venues of Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela – Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan – and their adjacent areas, including Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University (DU), were flooded with enthusiastic book lovers dressed in red and yellow, as both occasions were celebrated together for the first time.
In the evening, couples wearing saris and panjabis, with flowers in their hands, flocked to the fair grounds. Many were seen gifting books to their loved ones.
"Books are the epitome of knowledge, and that's why we buy each other books on special days," said Nilima Jahan, a third-year student of DU's theatre and performance department.
Nilima and her boyfriend Sanwarul Haque Sony, who graduated from the same department, came to the fair after enjoying a gala concert at TSC in the afternoon.
Sales of romantic novels and poetry titles by popular writers – including Humayun Ahmed, Syed Shamsul Haque and Nirmalendu Goon, among others – were booming on the day, said respective publishers.
"Seeing these youngsters engrossed in books on special days like Pahela Falgun, Valentine's Day and Ekushey February makes me so happy," said Raihana Sathi, Chandrabindu's stall attendant.
"Sales of books are satisfactory so far," said Ahmedul Kabir, a salesperson at Agamee Prakashani. Stall attendants of Kureghor Prakashoni, Somoy Prakashon, Pearl Publications and Anyaprokash also echoed Kabir as books were flying off the shelves.
Early in the morning, the celebration of "Bashanta Baran" at DU's arts and fine arts faculties also drew a huge crowed.
As the fair gates opened around 11am due to holiday, hundreds of little ones enjoyed their time with Sisimpur's Halum, Ikri and Tuktuki, marking the third Shishu Prohor (special hours dedicated to children) at the children's corner on Shurawardy Udyan.
Stalls at the corner were also busy selling a variety of books on Bangla cartoons, ghost stories and rhymes, among other topics.
It is worth noting that the fair gates will open at 11am today as well.