Looking for small delights in this heartless city

Nilratan Halder | Saturday, 14 May 2022

The number of people in the wide world, who do not love flowers, birds and butterflies is perhaps next to nothing. But unfortunately, the young generations, particularly in towns and cities, are growing up without ever coming in close proximity with such gifts of Nature. Children in villages are luckier still to have a chance of suddenly sighting a rare bird, a butterfly never seen before, a grasshopper, a mantis etc. But those in the concrete jungles at best have a look at animals in zoos, catch sight of house sparrows, pigeons, martins, kites and only rarely bulbuls or parrots provided that there are trees nearby. However, there are crows, like house sparrows, everywhere.
The chance of coming across flowers is rather high, thanks to proliferation of flower shops and the urban people's new-found fad for multifarious use of bunches and bouquets for celebrations of a growing number of personal and social occasions in keeping with the rising income of certain segments of the people. Then more and more people are making rooftop flower gardens a hobby. The young ones are encouraged to take part in the exercise and thus at least a small band of children is becoming familiar with flowers of local and foreign origins. Again the more enthusiasts among them attend the National Tree Fair and different flower shows in order to get to know more about the floral world.
There is, however, little scope for watching another wonderful creation of the world of insect, butterfly. Short-lived, these winged creatures seem to amend for their brief longevity with the exquisite patterns and colours of their wings. Credit goes to the Jahangirnagar University at Savar for raising butterflies and holding an annual show for the public. Monarch butterflies are indeed a sight to behold!
Instinctively children get attracted to birds, flowers and butterflies but in the absence of proper environment, they continue to distance themselves from these simple, beautiful and colourful living beings. Thus grown, in their adult life they are not backed by their childhood memories to develop a lifelong passion and emotional attachment with these objects of delight. Material concerns get the better of aesthetic sense. In the process, most people now distance themselves from Nature and Nature also disappears from them in the farthest horizon.
This is exactly why the city life is becoming more and more artificial. But still a few exceptional families are teaching children to feel closeness to Nature. Family outing to parks, botanical gardens and spending long holidays in the lap of Nature or visiting national parks or safari reserves at home and abroad are a sure way of given the young ones the right orientation for developing love for Nature.
However, the problem with such undertakings is the cost. Not many families can afford the costly visits abroad. Although people in this country are showing a greater trend to become internal tourists, they are yet to learn the art of maintaining sanctity of tourist sites. It is just revelry, not the happiness and contentedness of being close to Nature. The majority of internal tourists spoil the environment of tourist spots. Then the largest segment of people cannot even afford a visit to such resorts nor are they interested to.
The village people have their own way of responding to the sights and sounds of the environmental settings ---idyllic or not---around them. Actually they are a part of the environment. Their children inherit the characteristics from their parents and only become aware of what they miss when they are forced to move to a lifeless urban centre. They crave for the open space, the expansive undulating crop fields in sprightly dances with a breeze or wind, the chirping or melodious songs of birds from the orchards or woods.
If they live in what is nothing better than a veritable cage in the form of a flat, they may roam on the roof and suddenly get startled to see a bulbul chirping on a treetop and suddenly its consort come flying from nowhere. Or, maybe, a moutushi or purple sunbird twittering constantly fearlessly on a rooftop plant close by! Then it departs suddenly in the same way it arrived unannounced. These are the small delights even in this heartless city one can enjoy. To do so, one must keep the eyes and mind open.