Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brave parks and Dusty minds

My blog/FB friend, MS Gopal aka Slogan Murugan,has an amazing photoblog called Mumbai Paused, dedicated to , basically, the real non airconditioned, rushing, trying-to-make-the-best-of-it , Mumbai. His latest photos in his blogpost about Shivaji Park, is about a "Defined Green Open Space" in the Western suburb of Dadar, in Mumbai. 

Shivaji Park, was decreed as an open playground , by the Municipal authorities (then British) in 1925.  As MSGopal says ,"The gardens, parks and maidans in our part of the world - Indian subcontinent and the Persian influenced world before the British took over were never like the European ones with their beautiful green temperate grass. Our parks and gardens are decorated with flowering and shade giving trees. The ground was always dusty."

Today with expensive sprinklers installed, the ground, overrun with several sports existing cheek by jowl  at the same time on the same ground, the water is simply not enough.

Like our society,  a few rich green well tended patches exist.  The middle class suburb of Mumbai, with houses , gardens, and a sensible ethos, has now accelerated into a place where houses are "redeveloped " into high rises with swimmingpools way up there, parking is a problem, the ground is ravaged by political parties digging indiscriminately to put up temporary set ups, holding public meetings to point fingers at each other and applause to themselves.    At the end of the day, misdirected priorities rule, and dreams of the ordinary folks simply go up in, what else, dust.....

(All photos by Slogan Murugan)

At the end of the day,
it's all about water,
isnt it ?

Four and Six lane
for Sir and Madam
yet fanning themselves
inside an AC car,
while Gangubai trudges
across a narrow clearing
5 kms down the hill,
balancing her four pots,
her worries and her sanity.

And so
buildings reaching the sky,
with infinite pools,
on the 45th floor,
where page-3 folks
display poses and attitudes,
and a hankering for liquid,
not fit to print,
down below,
the dusty maidan
with running scraped knees and shouts,
how there is no money for water,
but lots of it
to dig poles in the ground,
and erect
wordy statues to self
under shamianas
with paid applauders.

Today , we use grounds
to play games
of a different type...

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