Goa and Port Blair continue to be prime destinations for tourists and this time it is the Valentine’s Day rush. Confirming the trend, flights out of Chennai to destinations like Goa and Port Blair were fully booked by couples on Monday and Tuesday.
Making no mistake, the cash-crunched Air India pitched in with a bigger aircraft to accommodate all couples on the waiting list.
“We would have booked our tickets earlier had we known about the rush. Last year we got tickets easily,” said a couple from West Bengal employed in the IT industry in the city. While they were only friends during last year’s Valentine’s Day, they are engaged now and are hoping to get married soon.
Walking into the airport apprehensively on Monday morning, the couple finally relaxed when an official announcement was made about upgrading of the aircraft to accommodate more passengers.
An Air India source said that the airline management decided to operate an Airbus 321, which had 172 seats instead of the regular Airbus 320 that accommodates 142 passengers, on the Chennai-Port Blair route.
Similarly, flights to Goa and Port Blair operated by other private airlines too were over flowing on Monday and Tuesday. “The situation is different from the weekend, when we saw fewer turnouts,” said a private airline source, adding that the scenario was new to Chennai.
“While the city is known for less aggressive ways of demonstrating their love in public compared to other metros, the youth have now begun dating in a big way,” said actor Babu Ganesh.
He added that the youth usually visited the Prarthana Drive-In theatre or Residency Towers on Valentine’s Day, but now they were flying to special locations out of the city.
No barrier to love in hills
“Valentine’s day celebration is certainly an imported culture. Yet, it has come to stay in India. This is the day the present-day youth want to make special and celebrate to express their affection for their loved ones.
But, one should not exceed the limit. Not crossing the ‘Lakshman rekha’ is the Indian culture and Valentine’s day in India should be celebrated with an Indian touch by exchanging gifts, flowers and enjoying an outing,” said K. Priyadarshini, a college student here, that amply reflected the mood among the youth in the hills.
The flowers and gifts meant for V-day in novelty shops here clearly indicate that love is in the air in the hills as quite a few youths celebrate the day.
For Bengaluru-based, young tourist couple Suraj Lahoti and Roopam, Valentine’s day is something they look forward to. Mr Lahoti said it was the first V-day after they married and it is something special for youngsters and newly-married couples.
India is a democratic country and there should not be any opposition to the day. It is part of present-day culture. Though it is from the West, it has some meaning as it is a day to remember the loved ones and enjoy a day out, he added.
Echoing the same sentiments, Ms Roopam Lahoti said this was a special day to strengthen the bonds of love and affection and she has many surprises in store for her beloved husband. Valentine’s day celebration is a growing culture and it is hard to stop the youth from celebrating it, she said.
Saying that V-day is good for trade, Mr A. Sujith, proprietor of a gift shop here, said, “So many special gift items, targeting Valentine’s day, has arrived. Business is slowly picking up and it is expected to peak on V-day.”
Striking a contrary note, Mr R. Selvakumar, convener of the Hindu Munnani for Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts, said Valentine’s day celebration is against Indian culture and so the government should ban it.
thanks: Deccan chronicle