Imagine lying in the bedroom with curtains drawn and nothingness washing over you like a sluggish wave. Do you fail to envisage that you’ll be cheerful again? Do you see millions and millions of people, all slotted into their lives and then feel lost in the universe? What do you define it as – sadness, loneliness or mere depression? How do you deal with this overwhelming estrangement from humanity?
Some of us prefer to embrace this realism regarding the rottenness of our lives within the confines of our beloved home. Turning off the lights and putting on headphones to take us into a world different from one that make us feel inadequate is quite refreshing. But there are times when we feel suffocated inside and yearn to let the chill of the breeze outside penetrate our aching body. Amidst the turmoil of this concrete jungle, the beautiful Dhaka, we look for places to find our peace of mind- to breathe freely. In such cases, some of the places which serve as our safe haven are as follows…
1.Dhanmondi Lake- A Diva of the MetroPicture: Rabindra Sarabar Source: The Daily Star
We often crave for the tender touch of the green or the amorphous hug of the west wind when our inner spirit abhors our existence. Walking through the banks of the Dhanmondi Lake with earphones plugged in or just puttering about its green surrounding with eyes feasting on the green foliage helps to calm our spirits. Trees make us happy. The location of the lake and the park around serves as an ideal hub for morning walks, afternoon strolls, exercise, relaxation and recreational activities. Though a residential area, Dhanmondi is home to numerous schools, colleges and universities. You can always have the option to visit the lake on your way to school, during lunch breaks or on your way back home.Picture: Paddle Boating in Dhanmondi Lake
This place gives you freedom. You can just sit by the lakeside, observing the ripples and contemplating the reasons behind your depression to come to a solution. Or, you can choose to savor your tongue into the delicious French fries of Dingi, a small, yet beautiful eatery located near the lake. The youth of today strongly agrees to the fact that food helps fight depression, especially when you feel lonely and dejected. One of the most sought after opportunities available in the lake is paddle-boating. The cost of each ride varies according to the durations. Whether you want to see around the lake all by yourself in a boat or want to indulge in constructive discussion about with current state of mind with one or more friends, you can always try boating. The mysterious congregation of the blue sky with the green lush and infinite water body instills peace of mind in visitors. Besides, if you are a ‘Jhalmuri’, ‘Chotpoti’ or ‘Malai Chaa’ enthusiast, the small restaurants nearby the Rabindra Sharabar in Dhanmondi 8, surrounding the lake, can serve you the best. Sitting under the banyan tree, witnessing the performances at Rabindra Sharabar or just watching the street children feed the dogs (one of the dogs has a marvelous taste for tea!) will leave you contented. And surely, you won’t feel left out. The nature will be your companion.
2.National Zoo of Dhaka- Hub of the wild
Photo Courtesy: Tareq Aziz
Sometimes we find solace in observing the flora and fauna. Whether you are an amateur wildlife photographer, a zoologist or a mere natural world enthusiast, zoos are for you. Research on psychology has shown how green adds to our euphoria. And the National Zoo of Bangladesh will give you all the green you need. A student of the Physics department of the University of Dhaka, Tareq Aziz Touhid, has wonderfully put his view of the zoo as a supreme spot to fight his inner struggles- As you enter the zoo, you will be greeted by the majesty of monkeys. You will witness the frivolous activities by these creatures as they jump from one bar to another, chatter in anonymous languages, play, fight and pull a prank on their companions, enjoy the splashes of the water body beside or merely check the lice in one’s mate’s head. Be it a two year-old girl dressed in her winsome frock or an utterly reserved bearded senior citizen, anyone can be left spellbound by such awe-striking moments. Monkeys are often ridiculous but, they make you smile nonetheless.
Picture Courtesy: Tareq Aziz
Many places in Dhaka hold immense historical significances but to be honest, how do we expect a five-year old or a prolific teenager who dislikes history, to find comfort and truly understand the importance of the spot? Hence, many will choose the zoo over the other wonders of beautiful Bangladesh. Furthermore, what do we see when we go to a zoo- Just attractive porcupines, creepy snakes, colorful peacocks, mesmerizing dears, roaring beasts and chattering birds? No. We see fellow human beings. We can witness how a father finds peace by the seeing his little girl’s felicity. And, that can give us a different kind of solace- one untainted by worldly comforts. In addition, the zoo is never silent. Everyone talks- the tigers greet you will long growls, the multicolored birds of various shapes tell you their stories with melodious babbles while you will often hear passer-bys discussing about the other beasts and aquatic animals. If you need some time alone, you can choose to take some refreshments from the food courts nearby and feast your eyes on the crocodiles in the small ponds. The natural environment and vibrant ambiance of our zoo alongside the exceptional company of the animals are bound to make you feel better. And if you love to walk, this is your place. The zoo covers a huge area and you are unlikely to ever derive monotony from this place.
Had a fight at home or with a friend? Need to divert your mind into something better, something unique yet captivating? Struggling with a recent breakup? Try Takeout. Takeout is one of the most popular burger shops in town and currently features its outlets in both Banani and Dhanmondi. Starting from the Chicken Cheese Delight to the Mushroom Caramel, each and every burger of this restaurant has been known to win one or more hearts in town. You cannot help but get drenched in the juicy taste of the barbeque sauce of the savory dealings and lose yourself in the mouth-watering customized foods. Their French fries and drinks are also known to add to the vivacity of the outlets. These beautiful works of art and lively crowd of the place will help keep your spirits alive.
4.300 Feet Road, Bashundhara R/A
Many a times we feel disgusted by the hustle and bustle of the Dhaka city. Why cannot we be left alone when we need some space? Why does the air feel polluted with tantrums and taunts from the surroundings? Such questions add to our misery. In such circumstances, the 300 feet road serves as our salvage. If you love long drives or enjoy passing time with your beloved vehicles, this is the perfect cozy getaway from the urban crowd. Engaging in deep conversations with your best companion amidst the tranquility of the highway or just spending some quality time to find yourself in the serenity of the place can serve as a beautiful method to fight gloominess. Moreover, the road comprises of various food outlets. Hence, you will not have to worry about surviving hungry in the middle of nowhere. While security issues may arise in most of such places as the night falls, during the day, you are pretty safe here.
5.Chandrima Uddyan, Zia Uddyan, Dhaka
This park is prominent for being the place where the former Bangladeshi President, Ziaur Rahman was buried. It is connected to the road with a bridge which runs over the Crescent Lake. A lot of us often visit war-cemeteries and graveyards in the Dhaka city when we miss our loved ones or want to celebrate our war heroes. Hence, many of us may want to visit this mausoleum of Ziaur Rahman surrounded by the park. The calmness of the pure air, the refreshing dew during winters, the green dense foliage in the rainy season and the beautiful picnic spot in the park make it a perfect location for relaxation. It gives us the opportunity to embrace nature amidst the concrete jungle.
6.Curzon Hall, University of DhakaPhoto Courtesy: Afzal Hossain Jisan
This place is a common go-out spots for most students of the University of Dhaka. Besides the fascinating history of this building which stands as a monument to the heritage of education, the quietude and composed poolside of Curzon Hall serve as a preferred spot for uplifting fallen selves. Taking a stroll by the poolside, rehearsing songs for the upcoming concerts sitting amidst the greenery, capturing nature’s beauty in the third eye, ranting with a friend or just throwing stones into the water to create ripples and embracing the beauty help refresh the mind. Surrounding the Curzon Hall is a number of buildings that can also be explored, such as the Old High Court, The Mausoleum of Three Leaders, the Shaheedullah Hall and the Dhaka Gate. All these structures are reminders to the development of the city and are as important to the locals of Dhaka today, as they were when they were constructed. As an architectural wonder and home to science, the Curzon Hall is an unforgettable attraction. The place gives off a traditional vibe. It has been known to encourage students to keep up the resilience and to work dedicated to protect the culture and history of the motherland.
If you are an ardent admirer of architecture, you should be able to find peace in the gorgeousness of this building. It is a unique combination of Mughal and European designing styles and the traditional artistry of the time was made to blend exquisitely with the modern features. You will be able to view magnificent domes, stunning horse-show arches and cusped arches as additions to the beautiful pavilions and breathtaking eaves.
7.STAR Cineplex, Bashundhara City, PanthapathLike Ali Mashraf, a sophomore of the Department of Law, University of Dhaka, many of us love to check out the latest movies in the spirited cinema hall of Dhaka city with our friends and family when we need to boost up ourselves. Whether a movie freak or not, hanging out with loved ones to watch the newly-released shows excites us. If you are that kind of a person who is enamored by the bustle of the Dhaka crowd and the Butter-Pop Chicken of Cineplex, try visiting Bashundhara City the next time you feel down. Before your show starts, you will get the opportunity to check out the assorted shops in the mall and a range of cuisines in the food court of Level 8. Handi and Delhi Darbar are one of the many restaurants in the food courts that offer delicious Indian cuisines like Hydrabadi Biryani, Chicken Chaap, Doi Fuchka, Dosa etc, in reduced prices for customers. One or more things about the mall are likely to make you feel better.
Away from the hectic city life, this place offers the much needed relief and serves as a distraction from life’s responsibilities for many teenagers and mid-aged people. Starting from the opportunity to engage in some constructive natural photography and ‘adda’ with dear ones to the boat-riding facilities and mini road-trip options in this place, everything adds to its growing popularity amongst the residents of the town. This is yet another place like the Ramna Park and the National Botanical Garden of Dhaka, which brings us closer to Mother Nature. Moreover, due to its proximity to the airport, you will often see or hear various airplanes and helicopters making their journeys to and from the city. Many of us love to visualize ourselves flying like the birds or the airplanes with open wings, with freedom and that is quite energizing. Furthermore, if you choose to stay over at a resort in Diyabari or spend the evening in this place, you will get the one-off opportunity to witness the sky meeting the sea, as the sun sets under the orange contour of the sky. The scenery is inexplicably uplifting.
9.Hatirjheel, DhakaCycling around Hatirjheel when you are down can help uplift your mood. As a participant of the survey said, the more depressed you are, the faster you cycle (caution: stay in control, lest you may crash with a coming vehicle). Furthermore, the view provided at the Hatirjheel is thrilling. It is an idyllic spot for couples and families to spend some great time together, burying hatchets and embracing the togetherness with a broad smile. The background is picturesque for photography and so is the water body surrounding Hatirjheel. Once again, nature comes to rescue your down self. Long drives are also fun in this location.
Our School Grounds
While the aforementioned spots can help fight our distress in most cases, many of us love to visit our individual schools to shower ourselves in refreshing nostalgia. As Naweed Kabir, a current student of Notre Dame College and an ex-student of St. Joseph, believes, schools and teachers mold us into who we are today. Hence, when we feel down, some of us find consolation in visiting our institution grounds which serve as a reminded of who we are, who we were and who we can be. That certainly boosts self-confidence.
For those who love to stay indoors, rooftops serve as the best companions at times when we are upset. Chatting with our best buddies, engaging in photography sessions in our rooftops to upload our cheap thrills on social media or sitting at the top of our roof’s water tanks to catch the glamorous view of the city mesmerizes our souls with awesome boosts.
To add an end note, we all fight our own storms in diverse ways. To each of us, our problems are the biggest and our struggles the most excruciating. Family problems, relationship stress, fear about the future and the present, our horrifying past, insecurity, complex etc cultivate our depression. And we often get used to it. In the process, we lose our old-self and we become a self unknown to us and our dear ones, a self we abhor. In order to get rid of our melancholy, we have to be resilient and try to find our own ways, our own help. After all, we are the architect of our own spiritual emancipation or destruction.