The open space opposite to my building affords a number of interesting sights. It inspired this story, for one. That was about the ground as a separator. But how about the ground as a space in itself? Here’s what it plays home to.
Yesterday evening, I spotted this man walking his dog in the pouring rain. Now, I have heard of doggy-sweaters before, in cold places. But this is the first time I’ve seen a dog in a raincoat! What was funnier was that the man himself wasn’t rain-protected. Some people sure love their animals more than life itself!
The summer was full of screaming kids, playing crazily in a way that only children on summer vacations do. In one of those brief lulls, the park looked almost desolate. Except for its lone guest, a solitary bicycle parked right in its midst.
The same thing a few weeks later, right after a particularly rainy night yielded this sight: a log right in the middle of the empty ground, now lush with grass.
The weather hasn’t deterred our young, budding sportsmen.
Any semi-green patch in Mumbai acts like a magnet for all the children of the vicinity. This particular park doesn’t belong to any one housing society and doesn’t have an entrance fee either. So it often plays host to impromptu cricket matches, rainy football games, bat-and-ball toss and sundry other games that appeal to every boy under the age of 12 (and most of them above to, in retrospect). The kids come from the surrounding colonies and also the adjoining slum area. I’d like to say it’s a place where they all mingle but that isn’t really the case. They play in their own groups but at least they all play within close vicinity and I haven’t seen any territory battles happening.
A cricket game had just begun. First, a lone ranger staked out the pitch. Or perhaps he was sentenced to a remote fielding location. Either way, he didn’t look too bothered by it.
I was most intrigued by the batsman, being as he was the same height as the bat he was holding…just about.
They were watched by a cosy duo sitting on a log in a corner. I wondered what these two had to talk about that was so important. *Sigh* The good old days of a bestest friend to share playground secrets with!
In another corner, I spotted a bunch of boys practicing dahi-ka-handi for upcoming Janamashtami (which also kicks off festival season in Mumbai…hooray!).
Childhood is never out of vogue, even in a concrete jungle. It stakes out its own spaces and finds plays to jump and play.