| Youths enjoy boat ride at Eco Park in Patna to celebrate Friendship Day on Sunday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Shah Rukh Khan wooed Rani Mukherjee with a friendship band in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but youths in Patna gave a wide berth to traditional Friendship Day gifts and instead chose social networking sites to wish their near and dear ones on the first Sunday of August.
“Why waste money buying cards and friendship bands? Expensive gifts are not the markers of true friendship,” said Ankita Kumari, a student of St Joseph’s Convent High School.
She added: “I wished all my friends on Facebook. What’s wrong with that? My friends also greeted me on social networking sites.”
Owners of gift shops confirmed the downward curve of the sales of Friendship Day cards and bands.
“The sale of friendship bands — which used to be a craze a few years earlier — has gone down considerably. These days, teenagers prefer to wish their friends over Facebook or social networking sites or text message each other,” said Prem Agarwal, the owner of Gift Emporium at Mauryalok Complex.
First proposed in 1958, International Friendship Day was recognised by the United Nations in 2011. According to the declaration of the UN General Assembly, International Day of Friendship is supposed to be celebrated on July 30. But different countries follow their own customs and practices.
Like India, many Asian nations celebrate it on the first Sunday of August. Friends greet each other on July 20 in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
Not everyone wishes friends over the Internet, though.
Some in Patna preferred to take time out to spend with their buddies. Others loosened their purse strings to buy gifts and cards.
Ritu Singh, a student of Patna Women’s College, was elated to get a pack of Ferrero Rocher chocolates from a friend on Sunday. “I love this chocolate. It is so yummy and crispy. The best part of Friendship Day is getting gifts and cards from friends,” she said.
Gifts pale in comparison to the good times friends spend with each other, said others. Many of them crowded Mauryalok Complex and Eco Park on Sunday. Some went to eat out or see a movie while some indulged in pleasurable activities.
“It is a sunny day and the best way to enjoy it is by boating,” said Vivek Jain, a Patna Science College student who had gone to the Eco Park with his friends.
The special day also allowed young lovers to spend time with each other.
A college student at Eco Park with his girlfriend told The Telegraph: “Friendship Day is not just for friends. Today (Sunday), only youths like us are here.”
As Rahul (Shah Rukh’s character) in the 1998-blockbuster says: “Love is friendship.”