Matunga residents chill out on road with fun for all ages | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Matunga residents chill out on road with fun for all ages

By, Mumbai
Mar 11, 2024 08:14 AM IST

One Matunga programme returns after 6 years, offering over 100 activities for all age groups, bringing fun and nostalgia to residents of Matunga.

What could have been a normal Sunday for the residents of Matunga turned out to be a day of fun and frolic that would be etched on their memory for days to come. After a gap of six years, beset by the pandemic and personal engagements, the One Matunga programme returned to the area with more than 100 activities for all age groups.

Matunga residents chill out on road with fun for all ages
Matunga residents chill out on road with fun for all ages

The event, held on Dr Ambedkar Road in Matunga East, is a joint effort by a group of 15 residents who also obtained permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

“We started this back in 2014, when I had the idea to reinvigorate the lives of children with the games from our childhood, taking them away from screens,” said Achal Sarawal, also known as Chintu. “I approached many people from the area, and thus we formed a core group, supported by our better halves and volunteers. For this year’s event, we started preparing late in February.”

And it was a clear success, with over 8,000 participants. Featuring zip lining on the road (tried by 450 participants), rock climbing, jumping castles, board games, tug-of-war on skates, puzzles, sensory games, and much more, the event was primarily geared towards children. Some performances entertained the adults, while a separate corner was for senior citizens to play, enjoy some karaoke and socialise. All activities were free of cost.

“We also had desi games like kho kho, lagori and sakhi, which children today are not familiar with. There was also a mock post box made, and the kids could drop postcards with messages to a friend or family, and this was the first time many of them did it,” Sarawal said.

Explaining the thought process of holding the programme on the road, with one arm cordoned off for vehicles, Sarawal said, “Our area does not have buildings with a lot of open compound space. That is why we went ahead with the idea of having it on the road and also utilising the space under the flyover. After connecting with the schools and buildings, we could spread news of the event. My daughter is in Class XII, and despite having exams, many from her class joined in.”

The event also featured stalls by the police, raising awareness of cybercrimes; by the Election Commission, guiding people to get their voter IDs in order before the election; and even the Aadhaar department, helping update the card. The programme had many funders - from businesses to local builders.

Over 20 doctors stood guard, offering free check-ups, tests and consultations. “My mother got a physiotherapy check-up done, and was told to do some exercises at home,” said Yash Sanghvi, who went to the programme with his entire family, including his children aged five and two.

“It’s important that such events take place more often, because they have a wonderful effect. Our open spaces are shrinking, and unless children come together and have options and ideas of stimulating and engaging play, they will stay cooped up in their houses in front of the television or phone,” Sanghvi said. “There was a physical sensory set-up for toddlers which improves motor skills. Even I enjoyed the games arranged for adults.”

Satisfied with the success of the day’s event, Sarawal signed off: “The participants’ expressions said it all. I think it is a feat that an event of this magnitude was held on the road, and it is a clear indication of its need that so many people attended.”

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