Home was his heart | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 25, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 25, 2012

Home was his heart

Humayun Ahmed and his Nuhash Polli


This was the haven of Humayun Ahmed, a magician of words, who spent most of his time there after he started directing TV plays and films. Photo: Shah Alam Shazu

Most paths in Pijulia village, under Mirzapur union of Gazipur sadar upazila, are lined with thick Shal forest. One path with its beautiful play of light and shadow, welcomes passers-by, leading them towards Nuhash Polli, 25 km from Gazipur sadar.
This was the haven of Humayun Ahmed, a magician of words, who spent most of his time there after he started directing TV plays and films. Nuhash Polli was open to the public and visitors would traverse great distances to get a view of the picturesque estate.
Nuhash Polli was founded in 1987. Initially it covered 22 bigha of land. Now it covers around 40 bigha. Actor Dr. Ejaz helped procure the land. The heavenly 'village' was named after Nuhash, Humayun Ahmed and Gultekin Khan's (his first wife) son.
Ahmed had a deep attachment to Nuhash Polli. On November 13, 2010, his birthday, Ahmed spent half the day at Dokhin Hawa, in Dhanmondi, Dhaka and another half at Nuhash Polli with near and dear ones. Folk artistes performed Baul songs that night. Unfortunately Ahmed had to celebrate his last birthday in USA where he had gone to receive treatment for the cancer that finally claimed his life.
Ahmed was very fond of music. He loved to live amidst nature and relished the date plantation, which he had set up inside Nuhash Polli. When he recently visited Bangladesh for 20 days before going back to New York, the writer-filmmaker strolled around the garden for a long time.
There is a dighi (big pond) at the extreme north end of Nuhash Polli. A wooden bridge has been constructed over the pond. A tent was placed on an artificial island in the middle of the pond. Ahmed's wife, Meher Afroz Shaon, conceived a daughter who died before seeing the light of day. Ahmed called her Leelaboti, after whom the pond was named. Ahmed also wrote a multi-volume novel called “Leelaboti”.
A building called 'Bhutbilash' was constructed adjacent to the pond while Ahmed was receiving treatment in USA. The last time he visited Nuhash Polli, Ahmedi inaugurated 'Bhutbilash', hoping to behold a 'ghost', seated by the veranda of 'Bhutbilash' at midnight.
Nuhash Polli houses a large number of sculptures crafted by local sculptor Asaduzzaman Khan. Spectators cannot but be impressed by a sculpture, 'Ma O Shishu' (mother and child) at the entrance to Nuhash Polli. Ghost- shaped and frog-like sculptures have been made to amuse children. A tree house is a delight for children.
Ahmed enjoyed rainfall and moonlit nights. He created a room called “Brishti Bilash' from where he could observe the pattering rain. The green yard was always kept clean and tidy to indulge Ahmed's passion for watching the waxing and waning moon. The manager of Nuhash Polli, Bulbul, led a nine-member team in overseeing the overall management of the idyllic locale.
Whenever Humayun Ahmed travelled within and outside the country, he would collect various types of trees. About 300 species of medicinal and fruit trees can be found within the precincts of Nuhash Polli. The writer also had a tea plantation at Nuhash Polli, which still exists.
Initially, Ahmed accompanied his guests while they wandered through the Nuhash Polli estate. He introduced the visitors to various species and would invite them to taste the leaves of a particular scented tree.
A swimming pool stands near the bedroom of the deceased writer. He would swim there at times with his dear ones. Once he swam with noted Indian litterateur Sunil Gangopadhyay. Nuhash Polli was Ahmed's favourite shooting spot for almost all the TV plays and films directed by him.
Most of Nuhash Polli remain unchanged, only Ahmed is no more.

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