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    Volume 11 |Issue 26| June 29, 2012 |


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A Rendezvous with Butterflies

Aly Zaker

Photo: Dr Monwar Hossain Tuhin

The weekends allure me to leave home and venture out. I know many of my friends reading the maiden sentence to this rambling monologue would raise their eyebrows. It is not normal in the city of Dhaka as we know it to dare the ample traffic of even a weekend day. People have to brave through grid-lock every day of the week and, therefore, rightly decide to stay home on any day that does not make it obligatory for them to venture out. But, I do. Whatever the condition down below, the sky up above invites me to where it meets the green line of the horizon.

I have no specific place to go. So, the apparently insignificant wild plants on either side of Ashulia-Mirpur diversion road or Rajendrapur-Sripur highway, or places not very far from Dhaka beacon me to be in their company every now and then. I observe foliage and old plants from all angles. The light falling on wild flowers such as the Indian Rhododendron or our very own indigenous Jatropha interest me a lot. I often wait by them to take their picture in the light of various times of the day. I am no professional photographer. But such exercises nourish me and give me the sustenance in the otherwise uninteresting pandemonium I live in. I often revisit the pictures, look on the internet for photographers of the world with identical interests and more often than not, remain engrossed in my free-time in such so-called frivolity.

Photos: Dr Monwar Hossain Tuhin  

On one such outdoor undertaking recently, while photographing very wild flowers that not many are interested in, I remembered that only a few days back a special hub was opened in the National Park of Rajendrapur. This hub is dedicated to butterflies. The park was not very far from where I was. So, I decided to go and have a look at the butterflies. It was a long while since I had gone into our national park and I liked it enormously. The rain hadn't come yet but there were clouds floating across the sky. The tall Shaal trees in the light and shade seemed extremely engaging. The bushes down below had already got the signal from the ensuing monsoon and unfurled themselves to greet the rains with open arms. At the risk of being considered hyperbolic, I must confess that I am not

far from the truth. I have been an observer of nature for quite a few years now and have seen that only the nature, perhaps, had the time to receive such signals while the human beings remained ever so busy with their daily errands. Wonderful that. Because a visit in the woods can tell us what nature had in store for us then, and in the not too distant future.

A winding road within the park led me to the butterflies. It was a fenced garden and I had to seek special permission from its custodians over the telephone to enter it. I saw that it was a very well laid out park with various kinds of flowers, some wild and some not-so-wild. There were Lantanas, Blue Rats Tails, Blue Plumbago, Honey Drops, Blood Flowers and others transplanted as beds. These flowers drew butterflies to them. I came across various colourful butterflies, mustard and orange, blue, yellow, black and just plain yellow, dancing all round me. They were so edgy that they were jumping from flower to flower without letting me focus on them. So, going after them was quite an ordeal and some exercise. I thought that I could do with some exercise and, therefore, did not mind. So I sat there reclining against a Shaal tree and let my thoughts wander. It transpired that one had to find a little uncrowded spot and plant some flowers that contained the necessary nectar to tempt the butterflies and they would arrive spontaneously. I think this can be organised privately by those who had some free land in their possession. But would anybody be interested in such a venture?

However, I think the district administration in each district can dedicate some government land for such butterfly gardens. These could be wonderful rendezvous for people seeking the endowment of the mirth of nature. My passion that day tired me physically but I thought that it was well worth it. It was very hot outside but I had ignored it for quite some time as I enjoyed the nature to my heart's content. When we live within the confines of the air-conditioned atmosphere, we forget that such a beautiful natural oasis is so near us. We always whine for 'what is not'. I suppose getting closer to nature could encourage us to think more about 'what is'. This will take a lot of complaints away from us and give us reasons to live, so wonderfully, for such a little enterprise. Sitting under that Shaal tree, I opened my camera and revisited the pictures of that day. Suddenly, I realised that it is our own heart that could paint our lives in myriads of colours. And indeed, it was well worth having our heart guide us through such wonderful experiences of life. Try a rendezvous with butterflies today.

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