(Published on 13th February, 2013 at www.tripurainfo.com )
Come February 14 and the air will be filled with the ethereal fragrance of romance, with soft breeze pampering the already passionate hearts and perhaps maddening them all, especially the youth. Youngsters will be seen wandering aimlessly through the streets, hand in hand with their partners, who perhaps surprises him/her with a cute teddy or a box of chocolates or if nothing else, with a beautiful red rose, as if it were the long preserved, priceless heart, which was waiting for its true soul mate. Our very own Agartala is not an exception to it. Since the last few years, the youth of Agartala has been giving a real hard time to the city florists at Shakuntala Road or Kaman Chowmuhani to supply the “bestest” flowers available in the market, only to win the beloved’s heart and celebrate the day of love. In fact, not only the high profile restaurants, but also the not so posh eat-out junctions of the city seem to be a party to the occasion, which is still believed to be an emulation of the West, but do these euphoric lovelorn youngsters really care? Nay…
Just in case you think I am an ardent VHP fanatic, let me make it crystal that I am not. But I do remember the times when I was growing up a decade back. Well, back then, we really did not have a gaudy Valentine’s Day, let alone a Valentine’s week! I believe we celebrated mostly New Years’ Day with Archies gallery cards and not a V- Day! We mostly looked into each others’ eyes and then fell in love, dressed up in a very traditional Bengali way and acted really coy when it came to going out on a Khejur-Date! A kiss on the first date was like an achievement and the taste would linger for a long time in the hearts and the minds. Going out with a special someone, especially on a luncheon would surely bring butterflies in the stomach; we did hold hands, did dream about the beautiful future, did exchange gifts and yes, did spend sleepless nights thinking of our beloved!
But times have now changed and so has the city. It is really amazing to see those young men and women wear a bindaas attitude, now getting no more scared of the ever questioning eyes of the society, when it comes to falling in love or going out on a love-meet. It is really amazing to see how these young people pine for blood red Bangalore Roses at the florists’, pick up the best gift in the market, wait in long queues outside the restaurants or if nothing, go out on a bike ride to celebrate their platinum day of love. With the increasing number of eat-out joints, coffee shops and theatres at Agartala, not to mention the shopping malls, it seems, people are ready to fall in love anytime and spend their day of love with a greatgung ho.
But will this 14 February be a V –day or a V- day in the heart of Tripura? Perhaps for the first time, the streets of Agartala will not see ecstatic lovers walking, hands in hand but only hear the thumping thunder of military boots on patrol. The markets will remain closed and people will prefer staying inside the confinements of the four walls. The roses will have no admirers; the restaurants will flaunt empty chairs, the coffee machines will not make any noise and the menu cards will lie flat on the table tops. The schools will not hear the cacophony of the children or the harmonious Morning Prayer, the desks would lie vacant and no screech of the white chalks will be heard on the black boards. Instead, groups of enthusiastic democrats will get up early in the morning, carry heaps of hope in their pockets and go to the polling booths where a machine would be waiting for them. Then perhaps, estranged lovers will meet after five years, one gently touching the other and a smile of satisfaction would gradually flash on the numberless faces; faces longing for a newer life, a better life, a safer life.
Ending on a humorous note, a friend of mine recently cried his heart out to me, “Yaar, I really want a PORIBORTON in my life after this 14, fed up of the same old life."
I said, “Oh, is it OPPOSITION RULES for you this time?”
He gave me a disgusted look and replied,” Who’s talking about damn Elections? I want a girl friend now, tired of this Sainthood."