Although her house is at the heart of Dhaka city, it is a little further inland from the chaos of the main road that gives Nargis Sultana Mishu the quietness she cherishes.
"It took a long time to travel by rickshaw to the office, but the main reason for taking the house was its roof and balcony. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was that it would be my place of refreshment after finishing the office,” she said explaining her reasons of renting the house. Nargis is an executive sales support engineer at Marks Automation Ltd.
“When I came to Baridhara Diplomatic Zone looking for a house in Bashundhara, I was stunned to see the rooftop of the house. A nice tidy rooftop lined with trees. Later when I saw that there was an empty balcony next to the apartment, I instantly knew I need this balcony."
Whether the balcony is small or large, everything can be made beautiful and comfortable if it can be arranged well. If the walls of the balcony are of bright colour, it actually looks good even in low light. In this case, Nargis Sultana Mishu's favourite colour is yellow, and the whole balcony is decorated with this theme.
"After staring at the computer laptop screen all day, I don't want to look at the screen again for recreation, coming home. I have decorated the balcony with fairy-tale lights and added some more fancy lights.”
Nargis comes here in the balcony in the evening and has a little snack with tea and reads storybooks. It gives her the opportunity to spend some quality time with herself.
However, if you want to keep showpieces on the balcony, you have to keep in mind the rainy days and make sure if it is waterproof. The books of Humayun Ahmed, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Manik Bandopadhyay or Nirmalendu Goon can also have a place on the bookshelf hanging on the wall.
Khondoker Limana Naznin, a teacher at Gateway International School, has also a small garden in her small space. Also, she has a tea-coffee corner with small tools and chairs on the balcony.
“I like creeping flowering plants for my porch because it’s nice to see the leaves and flower arrangements across the porch grill. It creates a natural shade, which looks really great.”
For example, Naznin added some names- Asian Pigeonwings, Hiptage, Cypress Vine, etc.
However, she does not make any mistake in the maintenance of this small garden. She remembers cleaning the tree pot every week and not letting water clog there.
She places the trees on the balcony based on how much sun that particular tree needs. In addition, many trees grow well in low light and air, such as purple heart, inch plant, snake plant, which she put in a shade.
"On the balcony, some of the daily essentials such as oregano, rubble, mint leaves, lemon, arjuna can be kept effortlessly without any care. These have many medicinal properties."
Housewife Ushama Eva, from Gazipur, agrees with Naznin regarding medicinal property and other therapeutic benefits.
“Every morning, all the fresh spices in the regular spicy cuppa come from my balcony. There are various spice plants from lemongrass to key lime, cinnamon to cardamom and many others in this balcony.”
In terms of fragrance, the spice plant is no less than the flowering plant. Mrs Eva likes to take morning tea while sitting on the balcony with that fragrance. With all these, she points out another very important aspect of having a balcony as she said, “I kept a barbecue set in a corner of the balcony. During the lockdown, when the children could not go out, they enjoyed a barbecue on the balcony. There is a touch of green, an open sky on one side, and the lake behind the house can also be seen. What else is needed?”
Whether it's the morning light or the last afternoon sun, the candle or fairy-tale light, or the moonlight, this small piece of a balcony can be a peaceful retreat at any time of the day in monotonous apartment life.