One day I went to Riccarton Bush; I myself found it amazing that after spending so many years very much in this city, I went there only recently; though many a times I tried but some fete or weekly market or similar events were there most of the time. Or, we would find endless queue of cars all around thus parking a very difficult option, so got to come back.
This time I was lucky. It was a clear summer day with gentle breeze. I went at first along the canal, watched different types of birds, big old trees and likely things; tried to glance through details in the journal of the grand old lady – Jane Dean who was so meticulous about every details of various exotic plant species in and around her manor. Then I noticed there was something inside a big fenced area. The fencing was in itself quite ominous one; so I got curious and thought of peeping in; I got to enter via a bank strong room sort of entrance with double door protection system. One got to be careful while entering or exiting from that `booth’ type entry point, as doors do not simultaneously open. To open one, the other one got to be properly shut. On the face those `thud’ sounds of door closure might appear a bit daunting, but as one enters via those two doors, and beyond that point, it was surreal – `এ কী দৃশ্য দেখি অন্য / এ যে বন্য এ অরণ্য / হেথা দিনেতে অন্ধ কার / হেথা নিজ্জঝুম চারি ধার / হেথা উর্ধে উঁচায় মাথা দিল ঘুম / যত আদিম মহা দ্রুম্’ I have had never thought of coming across such a huge number of old ancient trees, shrub and other species – in short a lively and vibrant and beautiful forest just in the middle of our city of Christchurch! Many a people had been this Riccarton bush but I have never heard of this protected special patch of old coastal plain forests so nearby; it was hardly 20 – 25 min walk from starting point to the finish, but it was worth every single moment of it. At times those bushes were so dense and thick that hardly sunshine was able to seep through. At times it reminded one about those pristine forest tracks found along the great Greymouth region of this South Island, bush near Punakaiki region. Or, I was thinking of our days at the Rajaji National Park under once famous Lansdowne Forest Division, specifically known as Chilla Forest. On these last two, I will come back in details later