The week that went by was pretty hectic. So when I suggested to my wife, kids and my parents that we visit the city during the long weekend, they readily agreed. So it was that we set out to a very popular park – Subhash Park – yesterday evening.
The park is etched in my memory since childhood. I was born in Kochi and stayed for the first decade of my life very close to where the park is. And I remember that we used to frequent the park. Those were the days when there was no television at home so such outings were something to look forward to. And boy, me and my younger brother really enjoyed those moments.
We moved to Kottayam as I entered the second decade of my life. I really missed the park. We did visit Kochi regularly but on most of those instances time was a constraint so a visit to the park did not quite materialize even as I yearned for it to happen. There were one or two exceptions and on those occasions I realized that the park had not changed much. Something in my mind told me that there needed to be some aesthetic changes as times were changing. There was the old world charm about it but poor maintenance and upkeep was resulting in it being in danger of losing its popularity as a hangout destination.
Since we moved back to Kochi midway through the third decade of my life, I have tried to visit the park as often as I could. Each time I found the place in a state of neglect, an apparent result of the corporation prioritizing its funds elsewhere. It did not really look like a place where one could go – with overgrown shrubbery attracting the likes of snakes etc. and poor lighting making it unsafe for the dusk walks which otherwise was a star attraction of the place. When I took my wife and elder son to the park for the first time a few years back, there was a lot of criticism from them!
Therefore, it was with great interest that I read recently in the papers that the park had been renovated and beautified. The curiosity in me piqued and I was waiting for an opportunity to visit the park again. The week that went by had really sapped my mind and energy for a lot of reasons and I really wanted to go there to get my groove back.
We picked my father from his office and reached the park just as it was getting crowded. The milieu suggested that the park had changed. As I walked with my sons in tow, I noticed that the rides for the kids were new, the lighting had been changed, the pavements and walkways were really neat. The grass had been cut to the right length as well. Subhash Park was right back in action, I thought to myself. There was a very nice feeling about the whole thing.
It was a memorable evening as I chased my kids around the park. We were running, walking and jumping. I turned into a 10 year old boy and could sense the people around me were amused. My wife was chiding me but I said this was how I wanted to play with my kids in the park! The sight of the backwaters and the cool breeze made the evening quite beautiful. The park holds some special memories and yesterday was no exception. I really hope and pray that the park, easily one of the enduring icons of the city of Kochi, stays fresh and bubbly as it felt yesterday. As Robert Smithson had remarked several years back, parks carry the nostalgia of heavenly bliss and eternal calmness!