While Islamabad welcomes spring, freezing cold winds have turned to light breezes. Spring is a season of eye-catching colourful flowers.
“Chacha” Sharif, a gardener at a private school in sector F-6/4 of Islamabad is involved in the beautification of the front of the campus building.
“This rectangular ground was barren a few months ago when the school owner hired me. He was looking forward to the up-coming spring season and invested some money to renovate this piece of land for kids and visitors,” Sharif said.
The old gardener, with his wrinkly hands, has done a major part of his work. The rectangular field has changed into a lush green meadow with red roses, Asiatic lilies and carnations, with white lilies on the boundaries.
“I worked very hard to satisfy my master. He wanted this garden should be an award-winning garden; better than all others in this street,” he said.
Usama, the 12-year-old grandson of Sharif, helped him in his work. As he was not a specialist, he assisted his grandfather in watering the plants and collecting decayed leaves. “Yes! I go to school,” he exclaimed. “But today is a holiday and I preferred to be with my grandfather rather than playing with my friends. I love to spend time with him as we visit various beautiful places like parks, bungalows and schools,” he said.
Sharif said he was an all-rounder.
“One can hire me as a driver, watchman, gardener, and a peon but I prefer to serve as a gardener. And the last couple of months have been the best for gardening. I know common methods of plant propagation like sowing seeds and grafting. Moreover, I am familiar with ordinary plant diseases and their treatment,” he said.
“I leave my home early in the morning on my bicycle, go to a bungalow in F-8/2 and then I come to this venue. I do all this not for a few hundred rupees, but for self-satisfaction. I do not want to be a burden on my poor son who is a daily-wage labourer,” he said.
The Capital Development Authority in its annual plantation campaign plants around 5 million saplings. CDA engages different NGOs, educational institutions, and organisations and educates them to achieve this target. The civic agency gives out free saplings to individuals as well.
But, Sheraz Satti, a 30-year-old gardener who works for a private hospital in the Blue Area had some reservations on this way of plantation.
“It is a waste of money. Targets can’t be achieved by this method,” he said.
“They should hire people like me on a contract basis to meet the goal. We know how to deal with plants and seeds because this is our work,” he added.
He did not seem as satisfied with this job as Sharif was.
Sheraz and Sharif deal with colours and fragrances. They bring spring into other’s lives for a meager amount of money; they are still waiting for their own spring.