The first time I noticed Jacaranda was on my way to school as a second-grader, a little over a decade ago. This was also the first time I was commuting in a school bus, and I wanted to literate myself with the route.
Somewhere in the almost 10 kilometers’ route to my school was a little park right next to the road. A bamboo fence encircled a small pratikshyalaya with a thatched roof, few wooden benches, a number of street hawkers, and there were Jacaranda trees shedding enough to cover the entire park. It was an uncanny resemblance of the famous Japanese Sakura blossoms, except purple. It was something so pristine that I made watching it a daily ritual— that, and Enid Blyton, of course. And thus, to and fro the school, I would either look out the window or would go through a children’s classic.
Fast forward 10 years, a lot has changed, people confuse me for a grumpy teenager (which I usually am), I have matured, and I am much more aware than I was back then. What has not changed, however, is my perennial love and admiration for this mystique energy that the environment is. I still crane my head while riding my cycle in the valley, or from public vehicles when I travel that old route. Only, the park no longer stands, owing to “infrastructural development”; And neither do the trees that once laced around streets. The recklessness in development processes has been quite noticeable with most of the greenery in the valley gone, and no substantial remedy at hand.
The first of my memories of Kathmandu has narrow streets, greens planted on both sides of the little roads. Having lived in Kathmandu all my life, I am watching our environment deplete firsthand radically, and that green memory of mine is fleeting.