“Ah, why is it so hot?” says everyone, at every chance. After a long and pleasant winter, what did we do to deserve this terrible heat? Talk of record-breaking temperatures and the re-entry of loadshedding do not help. Memories of similar heatwaves past are conveniently erased; this summer is the worst yet, is the general consensus.
Then, suddenly, the clouds make a guest appearance. Unexpectedly, they crowd the skies. An earthy smell tinges the surroundings. The homemakers are apprehensive about sending their maids up to the roof to collect the clothes hanging on the clothesline; what if it's a false alarm? Let's wait a bit and see what happens.
Before you know it, lightning strikes and thunder follows, the clouds finally surrender their rains, people run for shelter, transformers burst, and Facebook statuses are updated. “Loving the rain!” we declare, but because it's not quite borshakaal yet, the teasing rain goes as quickly as it comes. The sun is back in all its glory, and we are reminded again that this is the unforgivably warm month of May.
It is during this time of hide-and-seek between the incessant summer heat and the sudden welcome downpours that the first blooms of summer come out to play. Be it bright and colourful, or pure white and fragrant, when the summer blossoms choose to make an appearance, they do so with arresting abundance. Like beautiful maidens competing to be the fairest of them all, summer blossoms are not fair to us commoners; how do we cope with so much beauty all at once?
The first changes are the most visible, lining the streets of Dhaka where hints of nature still prevail. The red and yellow emerge in between the delicate leaves of the power couple krishnochura and radhachura trees. Nothing trumps the sight of one of these beauties in all their glory, standing firm on their feet amidst the concrete jungle.
And they are not alone. There are others, perhaps not as majestic, but quite special in their own right. Sellers of beliphool are back on the streets, the fragrant flowers appealing to every woman in their wake. Be it adornment in the hair during a special occasion, wrung casually around the wrist or hanging from the rearview mirror, who can deny themselves the lovely, natural fragrance of beli?
This is also the perfect time of year to go for long walks, if one has the luxury to do so, amidst the chaos of city life. If your locality has a park, or if your neighbours are kind enough to have some trees surrounding their homes, you may catch whiffs of sweet-smelling hasna hena, gondhoraaj or even kathal chapa. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder; which is why, the lingering smell when one crosses trees hosting these flowers can easily brighten up a day. Don't let the heat deter you from these pleasurable walks.
There is a famous proverb that states, “A rose by any other name, smells just as sweet.” That may be all well and true, but a rose can never smell as sweet, or look as stunning as, our most beautiful blooms of the year.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed