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Changing times: Geri route makes way for Elante on Valentine’s Day

The Industrial Area mall remained abuzz with activities throughout the day, as many youngsters, instead of roaming on the geri route, preferred to spend their day enjoying food and music at cafeterias and eateries there.

punjab Updated: Feb 15, 2018 13:50 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Geri route,Elante,Valentine’s Day
LOVE ALL AROUND: Elante Mall abuzz with activities as youngsters take selfies with the backdrop of ‘Love’ on Valentine’s Day in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

Love was in the air, but certainly not on the geri route. Nearly two weeks after it was renamed ‘azaadi’ route on Google maps, the internal road passing through Sectors 10 and 11 – a favourite spot for lovers and those in search of love – wore a deserted look on Valentine’s Day.

It’s loss was Elante mall’s gain. The Industrial Area mall remained abuzz with activities throughout the day, as many youngsters, instead of roaming on the geri route, preferred to spend their day enjoying food and music at cafeterias and eateries there.

Decorated with hearts at the entrance, the mall arranged several events to attract youngsters. In fact, the mall — which has become a favourite spot for youngsters — witnessed 20% higher footfall than the usual till afternoon.

“I had heard a lot about the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the geri route. I specially came from Patiala to celebrate the day here, but there are hardly any celebrations,” said Bikramjit Singh, 27, who was travelling in red-coloured swanky car decorated with balloons. Deepshikha, a student of the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, was also surprised to see a “quiet” geri route.

“I was expecting to see a lot of youngsters, but there is hardly anyone,” she said. Kamaljit Kaur of DAV College also missed the flowers and balloons that usually colour the route in red on Valentine’s Day.

LONE CRUSADER: A youth carrying heart-shaped balloons on a deserted geri route in Sector 10, Chandigarh. (Karun Sharma/HT)

Cops played a role

“I have never seen this place so deserted on this day,” said Mohan Singh, chef at Stop ‘N Stare, Sector 10. “Youngsters used to make a beeline for this route in their cars decorated with balloons and flowers.”

Singh said one of the reasons for the deserted route could be strong police deployment.

The UT police in fact turned the route into a limited vehicle zone for the day. Heavy deployment was also made near girls’ colleges. “We have been posted here since 8am and are not letting anyone enter the area without checking,” said inspector Nirmal Singh. “We are ensuring that youngsters obey traffic rules and don’t create nuisance.”

“I prefer this peaceful geri route, instead of the one notorious for eve-teasing,” said Sahil, a local businessman.

Everyone’s delight

Meanwhile, a performance by an all-girl band, Symphony Girls, in the courtyard set the evening romantic for couples at Elante. The mall even organised an event to make the singles feel special.

A teddy bear not only greeted the visitors with hugs but also had gifts and roses for those without a partner.

“There is a lot of nuisance attached with the geri route, whereas at Elante we can celebrate the day with our special friends in a peaceful manner,” said Harman, a city-based photographer. “The mall is so beautifully decorated that it makes us feel special.” “The mall is the best place to celebrate such special occasions. We feel happy and safe here,” said Prerna Sinha, another visitor at Elante.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 13:50 IST