The Telegraph
Thursday , December 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chant no-park mantra to escape chill

- Evening footfall goes up at coffee parlours & restaurants

The strong northerly wind has driven lovebirds, otherwise seen roaming across city parks, scurrying for cover indoors.

Not that the embrace of lovers have lost their snug appeal. But braving the December cold, even in the arms of one’s paramour, can be a daunting challenge.

Over the past week, the minimum temperature in Patna was below 10°C. Even in the morning, it was foggy, windy and cold.

So lovers were spotted more frequently inside restaurants and eateries, where the air-conditioning prevents the temperature from falling to uncomfortable degrees.

The food court at P&M Mall in Patliputra has suddenly turned out a hotspot for couples.

Commenting on the sudden trend, Sourav, the owner of Wrap and Roll — a fast food stall, said: “A lot of couples prefer to hang out at the food court during winter. It is good for us as the sale has gone up by 10 per cent.”

The lovers agree that the comfort of having a roof over their heads and warm food or beverage makes a date more enjoyable.

“We had planned to go to Rajgir but had to cancel our trip because of fog,” said Aryan, who had come to the food court with his girlfriend. “As it is uncomfortable to roam around in this weather, we decided to come here.”

His beloved, who did not want to be named, added: “This place is less risky than the restaurants near our home, where our parents might spot us.”

Café Coffee Day at P&M Mall, which is a regular hangout for young couples, has also registered an increase in patrons. Its manager, Roushan, said: “Couples hanging out at our café is a regular affair. But more have started to come here over the past few weeks because of the bad weather.”

Those who seek a little privacy are also looking for indoor spaces.

The zoo in Patna on a chilly Wednesday morning witnessed only a few children playing, while teenagers, who otherwise visit the greens in groups,were missing.
Picture by Deepak Kumar

Akriti, who usually hangs out with her boyfriend at the zoo, narrated her woeful tale of not being able to visit their favourite spot often in winter.

“Even if we want to hang out, we feel too conscious because there are so few couples,” she said.

Arshad, the owner of a tea stall at the zoo, too, commented on the scarcity of lovers frequenting the facility. Zubain Ahmed, who owns a toyshop and ice cream stall, said: “There is a drastic fall in the number of couples coming to the zoo these days.”

Those like Akriti, looking for a private space far from the crowds or prying eyes, could follow the footsteps of Anandita Casey who has found a solitary food joint on Boring Road.

“My boyfriend and I discovered this new place. Not many people know about it, so it is quite empty most of the times. We frequent it whenever we want to spend quality time,” she said.

But perhaps, Akriti would not have to go indoors in search of warmth. Ahmed, the ice cream stall owner at the zoo, has a hot plan up his sleeves to attract customers — especially couples — during winter.

“If the temperature goes down further, I shall start a small bonfire near my shop,” he said. “I am sure it would be very popular.”