From fitness zealots to people-watchers, our green spaces preserve us all(Photo imaging:Sunil Kumar Mallik)
From fitness zealots to people-watchers, our green spaces preserve us all(Photo imaging:Sunil Kumar Mallik)

Humour: Life is a walk in the park!

Extolling the virtues of the fast depleting green patches where childhood can still be found taking a stroll
By Rehana Munir | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2019 10:45 PM IST

The last fortnight, I’ve been walking around with a halo over my head. My friends prefer not to engage with me at all, for when I speak, I extol the virtues of Joggers’ Park, the patch of green curving around the Carter Road seaside. Many a childhood evening have I spent sliding down its gentle slopes, which now seem tiny as speed bumps. Having rediscovered a childhood place, I’m amused to see figures from the past still thundering down the mud track, as if avoiding the taxman, or their ex-lover’s current love.

People-watching

It’s a sorry fact that any talk of green spaces these days is generally in the context of environmental degradation. And so, this old private park, now under the charge of the local municipality, seems like a special grace. The ducks seem decrepit, and the clocks never work, but the sea is still doing its sea thing, seducing strollers into taking another round, if only to catch a view of the stunning crepuscular sky.

Where there is a park, there is people-watching: old friends laughing, juicy gossip trickling down the track, and the ocean, like a persuasive bartender, urging you to enjoy one last round

Where there is a park, there is people-watching. I’m especially captivated by one walker, who has the skills of a master strategist. Strolling gently around the track, his pace suddenly quickens, and he launches into a spirited run, just as he is passing the lady conducting her Tai Chi classes on a grassy patch. When he leaves her range of vision, his pace slackens once more. Then there is the old regular, sitting on a bench facing the sea, erupting in unholy laughter, swinging his hands wildly.There’s a lady who accosts women acquaintances while they’re mid walk, pushing visiting cards their way, peddling services ranging from wedding clothing to catering. And a group of businessmen animatedly discuss rising and falling stocks and rupee rates in between chants of ‘Hari Om’.

Rock Fantasy

I’ve left my footprints in a few parks around the country. The nap under a Chinar tree at Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar, after a meal of rista, gushtaba and tabak maaz at Ahdoo’s restaurant, is a feat that I have never managed to replicate. At Cubbon Park in Bengaluru, I was somewhat less lucky: let’s just a say a man sitting on a bench facing mine should never have been doing what he was doing. And this in broad daylight, with a posse of women cops nearby. It’s not strictly a park, but I’ve had the good fortune of stepping on the hallowed grass of Eden Gardens in Kolkata a few times. And a rose garden in an Ooty guest house, with two resident beagles, took me straight into a Gerald Durrell world of furry paws and glistening petals.

Earlier this year, I was blown away by the trippy Rock Garden of Chandigarh. I had been hearing about it since I was little, but somehow I had imagined an artistically arranged assemblage of stones around little bushes. How wrong I was. One Nek Chand Saini, a government officer, began to build this absurdly beautiful sculpture garden in 1957, using industrial waste and other unconventional materials. From walls made up of disused plugs to installations made out of recycled ceramic, the park’s form and message is both playful and political. A singular and whimsical artistic achievement, especially for our over-commercialised times.

Shakespeare in the Park

While lying in the garden that faces the Eiffel Tower recently, neck raised at a nosebleed angle, my mind raced to the cities of the world that I associate with their green spaces. I revisited a beautiful evening spent watching Shakespeare in the Park in Singapore, where a friend had packed a picnic basket straight out of Enid Blyton. (My contribution was a can of ginger beer, which I duly spilled on her excellent blanket.) I relived the splendid Garden Route that runs along the eastern and western cape of South Africa. And I could almost taste the supermarket sushi I wolfed down one distant afternoon in Hyde Park.

The thing about parks is, you see people letting their guard down. (An unfortunate metaphor, given my Cubbon Park experience.) Back in Joggers’ Park, I see people walking their elderly, and often ailing, parents. Kids being tended to. Old friends laughing on park benches. Juicy gossip trickling down the track. And the ocean, like a persuasive bartender, urging you to enjoy one last round.

From HT Brunch, September 15, 2019

Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch

Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Ricardo Sciutto, CEO of Italian footwear brand Sergio Rossi
Ricardo Sciutto, CEO of Italian footwear brand Sergio Rossi

Indian embroidery brings about cross-influence, but it’s tricky: Ricardo Sciutto

By Shruti Nair
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:59 PM IST
Riccardo Sciutto, CEO of Italian footwear brand, Sergio Rossi, pointed out how it’s more difficult to understand the market for footwear and jewellery as compared to clothing
Close
Myntra’s CEO, Amar Nagaram
Myntra’s CEO, Amar Nagaram

“Next step: apps must include luxury items”

By Shruti Nair
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:23 PM IST
Myntra CEO says that the younger generation has more disposable income and is more willing to spend on luxury
Close
HT Image
HT Image

“Made in Italy means high-quality craftsmanship”

By Shruti Nair
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
Vincenzo De Luca, the Italian Ambassador to India, spells out why Italian fashion is so loved around the world
Close
Stefano Canali of Canali Menswear, which has had a brand presence in India since 2009
Stefano Canali of Canali Menswear, which has had a brand presence in India since 2009

The Nawab jacket was our tribute to India: Stefano Canali

By Shruti Nair
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:07 PM IST
Canali Menswear has had a brand presence in India since 2009
Close
Alessandro Liberatori, Director of the ITA
Alessandro Liberatori, Director of the ITA

“‘Made in Italy’ extends beyond fashion…”

By Shruti Nair
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:19 PM IST
Alessandro Liberatori, Director of the ITA, says India is one of the most important markets for fashion, and will be valued at $93 million by 2025
Close
(Top) Gong Bao chicken at Hyatt Regency; Mai Bao restaurant was jam-packed for an event on Valentine’s Day
(Top) Gong Bao chicken at Hyatt Regency; Mai Bao restaurant was jam-packed for an event on Valentine’s Day

Rude food by Vir Sanghvi: Welcome back, restaurants!

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:58 PM IST
Yes, it’s time to eat out again and enjoy the full experience. As long as you follow physical distancing and remember to sanitise and wear a mask except while you’re eating!
Close
From diving into dark chocolate sorbet to immersing in hours of literary fiction, decadence is in (Parth Garg)
From diving into dark chocolate sorbet to immersing in hours of literary fiction, decadence is in (Parth Garg)

Humour by Rehana Munir: In defence of decadence

By Rehana Munir
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:58 PM IST
Equanimity has its sensible uses, but nothing succeeds like excess. Especially after the year and then some spent in lockdown
Close
Thick and bushy eyebrows is the way to go for a natural look; Model: Naveed Khan (A theatre actor and model from Afghanistan) (Yatan Ahluwalia)
Thick and bushy eyebrows is the way to go for a natural look; Model: Naveed Khan (A theatre actor and model from Afghanistan) (Yatan Ahluwalia)

Men’s Style & Grooming by Yatan Ahluwalia: Casual is cool

By Yatan Ahluwalia
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:58 PM IST
A style guide to creating a casual look that suits your personality and fits you just right. Something for every kind of occasion
Close
How to make sneakers sexy and why kaftan suits all
How to make sneakers sexy and why kaftan suits all

Ami Patel: How to up your sneaker game & why kaftans work

By Ami Patel
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:56 PM IST
Ditch those stilettos and embrace your comfy, sexy sneakers; and knee-length kaftans that work for even those who are 4 feet zilch
Close
Gaurav opines that if you want to upgrade an iPhone every year, then you’re not going to find any major difference or notice tangible improvements with every upgrade
Gaurav opines that if you want to upgrade an iPhone every year, then you’re not going to find any major difference or notice tangible improvements with every upgrade

Technical Guruji: When do you upgrade your iPhone?

By Gaurav Chaudhary
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 08:58 PM IST
Eyeing the new iPhone? Well, considering it will burn a hole in your pocket, it’s best to wait for at least two years to upgrade to another
Close
Chef Prateek suggests saving all the vegetable trimmings and freezing them
Chef Prateek suggests saving all the vegetable trimmings and freezing them

Prateek Sadhu: Stocking up on stock

By Prateek Sadhu
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:56 PM IST
How can you make non-vegetarian or vegetarian stock and use it for the whole week, especially with offices opening up or WFH becoming more hectic?
Close
(From left) Islamabad resident Dananeer Mobin, 19, whose pawri/party video went viral and music producer Yashraj Mukhate, 25, whose pawri mash-up started trending
(From left) Islamabad resident Dananeer Mobin, 19, whose pawri/party video went viral and music producer Yashraj Mukhate, 25, whose pawri mash-up started trending

HT Brunch Social Media Star of the Week: Pawrriii… aka Party

By Karishma Kuenzang
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:55 PM IST
The word with an exaggeratedly rolled American R became a meme and showed us how having an accent has gone from elite to funny
Close
Mandvi Sharma, who was Shah Rukh Khan’s publicist for several years, now works with the likes of Kamal Haasan
Mandvi Sharma, who was Shah Rukh Khan’s publicist for several years, now works with the likes of Kamal Haasan

HT Brunch Game Show: Which star has the right idea of fame?

By Karishma Kuenzang
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:54 PM IST
The actor who believes that social media following shouldn’t affect the films they do, who says one shouldn’t idolise celebs, or the one who believes the mystery of stars is a thing of the past
Close
Did Shonda Rhimes’ version of Bridgerton work for you or do you prefer the book by Julia Quinn?
Did Shonda Rhimes’ version of Bridgerton work for you or do you prefer the book by Julia Quinn?

HT Brunch Sunday Debate: Play it by the book

By Vivek Bhattacharyya, Ritika Passi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:54 PM IST
A bookworm and a bingewatcher who’ve watched and read the books Bridgerton is based on argue which version works better
Close
David remembers that when he first came to India, EDM was still a little bit new but the response was still amazing. The scene has only become bigger, he opines
David remembers that when he first came to India, EDM was still a little bit new but the response was still amazing. The scene has only become bigger, he opines

India Exclusive: India on the cards for David Guetta?

By Karishma Kuenzang
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:53 PM IST
The French DJ talks about post-Covid performances, the rise and fall of EDM and returning to the subcontinent
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP