Thousands of people surged the venues of Ekushey Book Fair at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan and the fair gained momentum amid festivity and enthusiasm on Friday.
Venues brimmed with book enthusiasts celebrating Pahela Phalgun, the first day of spring, and Valentine’s Day. The two occasions fell on the same day that also coincided with the weekend triggering the huge crowd on the fairground.
Young women donned in red and yellow saris while men adorned themselves in colourful panjabis rendered a festive look.
A total of 369 books were launched on Friday at the fair. With these, the number of new titles in the fair so far rose to 1,991. Of Friday’s new arrivals Al Mahmud’s epic ‘E Galper Shesh Nei Shuru O Chhila Na’ was among the most demanded titles.
The fair venues opened at 11:00am and run till 1:00pm as the two hours were dedicated to children.
Huge number of parents with their children gathered at the venue. Maximum stalls at the Children’s Corner were jam-packed with visitors.
The stall attendants at the children’s books corner said that they were satisfied with their sales which were more than the total sale of the past week.
Shamim Ahmed works at Beximco Group and came to the fair along with his son. He said, ‘I enjoyed the moment here. The place is so spontaneous with visitors. I bought books on different genres including comics, rhyme, science fiction and short stories for my child’.
Bani Majlish Khan, a housewife, said, ‘My child is playing at the Shishu Chattar. In the city life, we don’t get much better environment for children. He can play with other children and also buy some books for him’.
Anisuzzaman Kahn, a stall attendant at Mahi Prakashani said, ‘Our sales were not satisfactory in the previous week. But, I’m satisfied with today’s sales’.
Jalal Ahmed, an academy director and member secretary of the fair organising committee, said, ‘We will also observe Pahela Phagun and Valentine’s day on the same day in the coming years. I am very happy to see people are enjoying the fair with festive mood. I hope that the fair would be more vibrant from today’.
Hatekhari, a place similar to Shishu Chattar, also attracted children at the fairground. There are some special arrangements for children to introduce them with Bengali alphabets.
In the afternoon, there was no place to move on the fairground.
Tahia Tanzin Shristi, a 3rd year student of social work department at Lalmatia Mahila College, said, ‘I feel so nice here because all are in festive mood. I came here along with my family. I am looking for books by Anisul Haque and Selina Hossain’.
Nowshin Sharmin Talukder, a 1st year student of environmental science and engineering at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, said, ‘I met with many of my known people here. I also took photographs with Anisul Haque. I bought books by Humayun Ahmed and Mostaq Ahmed. The authorities concerned should address the dust problem on the fairground’.
The stall attendants had a hard time to dealing with the crowd. Some of the pavilions were seen jam-packed with book lovers.
Faisal Ahmed, a stall attendant at Genius Publication, said, ‘The morning hours sales were low. Our sales increased after lunch. We are very happy with the sales and turnout of the visitors’.
‘Book lovers are looking for new books this year’, he said.
Amzad Hossain Khan Kajal, manager of Oitijhya said, ‘The sales is good but it would be better for us if the special occasions fell on different days. My past experience says every second Friday at the fair remains jam-packed with visitors’.
The fair remains open for visitors from 3:00pm till 9:00pm on weekdays.
On holidays and weekends, the fair remains open from 11:00am till 9:00pm.
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