What a coincidence! The 1st day of Falgun that heralds the advent of the king of seasons -the Spring and the Valentine's Day -a day dedicated to love, embrace each other to disprove Kipling and the twain meet together rather happily. Of all the six seasons, the Basanta is the most charming in this part of the world. Flowers like palash and shimul run riot with the resplendent colours. Krishnachura and sonail take some more time to be on the scene but they are particular about keeping their dates right in this season.
If those flowers splash the tree lines all red or yellow at some height, below within reach and close to the ground, flowers like rose, marigold, sunflower and other flowers such as gladiolus coming from foreign climes take over the charge of colouring not only the pasture where they are grown but also the mental landscape of all who have the reserve within the soul to appreciate beauty and natural aestheticism.
So there is perhaps no need to feel frustrated over blooming or not blooming of flowers. The Basanta is very much there and flowers have announced their presence in profusion. Yes, this year has witnessed a winter not experienced for decades with the chill remaining sharp and at times conspiring with thick fog to revive memories of the past. Even its legacy now looks like transcending to the Spring as was the case in the past. At least for once, here in Bangladesh -more particularly in the capital, the feeling is that global warming has not deprived the people of the seasonal originality and natural bounties.
If the Spring is the season of colours and celebrations, the naturalisation of the Valentine's Day has helped colour the romantically yearning minds of the young people in particular. In towns and cities, the young generation seems to have made the day of love their own. In fact, a section of the young people is more enthusiastic about the celebration of the Valentine's Day than Pahela Falgun. A shopping spree of gifts and memorabilia goes on to mark the day.
It was Rabindranath Thakur who actually introduced in his inimical way the celebration of the Spring. His simple but straight announcement is "Today, the Spring is right at the door'. Then he has some remarkably beautiful poems and songs to celebrate the king of seasons. His is a classic way of setting the theme of celebrating the season. He blends aestheticism with traditional folk culture closer to the hearts of sons and daughters of the soil. Refined and yet a shared bond that elevates the human spirit to a higher plane runs all through his celebratory poems and songs.
The history of the Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery and even the story of the patron saint Valentine has several versions with no definite person or time. But it contains today vestiges of both Christian and Roman tradition. It celebrates the gift of love or romance within heart. In Western culture, gift of flowers symbolizes the exchange of hearts. This simple culture has been accepted by the young generation in this country as well. Nothing wrong with it as long as it is responded to romantically!
It has been reported that on this day florists expect to trade in flowers worth Tk1.90 billion. This is amazing. Sure enough, both Pahela Falgun and Valentine's Day have extensive use of flowers. This is a clear sign that people have the means to fuel their romantic yearning. Here is a proof that they can afford the luxury of spending so much money on something beyond the mundane world of daily necessity. Now there is a need for expanding the range and scope of such an aesthetic feeling. People must learn to appreciate beauty and not apply physical force to satisfy their baser instincts. Had the young generation been imbued with such a feeling, they would not go for committing sexual crimes which have become a cause for serious concern for society.