Krishnachura tree in bloom
time I see a krishnachura tree in bloom, I am awestruck.
There were three krishnachura trees next door to our house
when I was growing up. I spent many a days staring at them
lost in thought, all year round. They were beautiful when
they were green but in bloom they became ethereal. So red.
So bright. So happy, it seemed. Now in space of one house
and a dozen trees there are multiple monstrosities called
apartment buildings and no krishnachura trees. Pity. Because
in my opinion there isn't another more beautiful sight to
behold in an otherwise quite ugly Dhaka city. Hold it! I
love my city -- I'd die for my city -- there is no other
city like Dhaka -- but it is ugly.
Think of all the open garbage dumps around us, even in Gulshan,
which is supposed to be the place of the rich and famous.
Well, I'm neither rich nor am I famous but I have an office
in a Gulshan high-rise with a spectacular view. From my
window I can see a part of the Dhaka City skyline, part
of the Gulshan lake, beautiful houses, if I lean down daringly,
I can also see the lowlands in Badda and the very unique
American Embassy. Whenever I stand at the window the wonderful
view greets me, that is, if I refrain from looking down.
Because if I do, I can see this road in Gulshan residential
area with a huge garbage dumpster with garbage scattered
all around it. The view of the dumpster slaughters the rest
of the breathtaking beauty completely. Why is a road in
Gulshan so dirty? Doesn't it bother the people living in
those pretty houses?
Then there are the posters. Political posters, commercial
posters, each one pledging something, be it Sonar Bangla
or cure-all medicines. Whether they can deliver on their
promises or not, what they can do successfully is to make
our city look like the aftermath of a madman's rampage in
a circus tent. An American friend of mine once commented
that Dhaka looks like it's been under attack and then we
reconstructed the whole, city over the ruins without cleaning
the debris first. I was mad at her for stating the fact.
It's okay for me to say bad things about Dhaka it's our
city, not hers!
Shall I now mention the noise pollution? Or, should I go
for the horrendous public transportations and people hanging
from there retching? Every time my car is beside a bus in
a traffic jam I try to use my willpower so that no one throws
up on my car. If it ever happens I will be traumatised for
the rest of my life. Another American friend (beginning
to think I have too many of them!), when she saw the beauteous
convertible Mercedes in the showroom couldn't stop laughing
because she said she could visualise the aforementioned
unfortunate incident happening to the owner of that car
very clearly. This time I couldn't help but laugh with her.
Hey, it's funny and it's very likely! The only thing I'm
going to say about noise pollution is that it is enough
that we honk away from here to eternity. Why do some people
have music coming out of their cars when they stop (and
I'm not talking about the kind coming out of their stereo)??
People, what's wrong with us?
I could rant and rave for another half an hour or so about
the unpleasantness of Dhaka city but I won't. Because there
are still some beauties left in our city as well. I hope
we don't manage to spoil them before long. There are parts
of Dhaka University campus; parts of Dhanmondi that all
those commercial buildings couldn't ruin. There is Hayer
Road and there are Sangsad Bhaban and Crescent Lake areas.
And then there are krishnachura trees in bloom.
In the summer when one could almost see the heat coming
in waves, up from the ground, down from the sky, feeling
it sterilising the city sitting in cars and buses, rickshaws
and taxis, people try their best not to notice it at all.
Pretending the heat doesn't exist; the raw smell of decay
doesn't exist. We all know rain will make it worse for us;
floating garbage all around, flooding under-construction
roads and overflowing potholes and uncovered manholes. But
sometimes, somehow it's possible to ignore it all because
amidst all the chaos stands a krishnachura tree in bloom.
Every time I see one I wish that I had a tree of my own.
So much so that, my sister has threatened to push me out
of the car if I say that one more time! So I won't say it
aloud anymore but I will be waiting eagerly for the Satmasjid
Road trees to bloom all at once and I'll be forever grateful
for having krishnachura trees in my city.