‘Park’ing my thoughts

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!

The Little Sister

Bula clutched the doll in her hands. “Can she become Niva?,” she asked her mother. Bula’s mother suppressed a cry. “Amma, please tell me she can,” Bula insisted. Her mother hugged her and sobbed on her shoulders. “Niva isn’t coming back, dear,” she tried to console her elder daughter. Bula’s eyes watered as she looked at her younger sister’s portrait overlooking her mother’s shoulder.

Decoding the Twix

The taste of cream juxtaposed between biscuits and chocolate is heavenly. That’s just the experience you get when you eat a bar of Twix chocolate. I first had a taste of this about six months back and have been hooked since.

I have been trying to decode what makes Twix so tempting to buy and devour. It’s a combination of biscuit, caramel and chocolate. The first bite you take, the crunchiness of the biscuit is what you get. Then slowly, you get that caramel taste and the sweet chocolate. The most interesting thing about this is that the chocolate isn’t too sweet; else it would have overpowered the taste of the biscuit and caramel. That Twix would pale in comparison to what we have now. It’s one of the best chocolate bars I have had in my life! I am not belittling my other favorites here; it’s just that Twix gives a very peculiar, indescribable sensation.

The only note of discontent in this is the price. That’s the one thing that holds me back when I step into the store and really want to grab a handful of Twix bars. But once in a while, I yield to the temptation; the thought of having Twix for dessert and enjoying it with my wife is a pull that is hard to resist!

The Celebration

We live at a time when things happening around make us morose. One opens the newspaper only to find a nation plagued by controversies galore. Not that I mind controversies; but they should be of a stature that can enlighten and not the petty abominable things that are actually happening. The sports page offers more solace and so I turn to that first!

The other day I was thinking what has become of us – tolerance is a word that has become taboo. Nobody can tolerate anything. We cannot stand the sight of something that is against our ingrained sense – never! How did we become so apathetic? For anything and everything  we drag religion into the crux of the discussions and that takes all respect and civility out of the window. We somehow want our religion or our caste to come out trumps! Everybody else is inferior! A sigh is all I can muster at the end of my rumination which was disturbed by a very pleasant sight and so refreshing.

I was commuting to office and was in an area where a lot of construction was happening. As I neared one construction site, I could make out some decorations on an unfinished floor of an apartment or hotel. There were balloons of all colors and party ribbons. With a little effort, I could also make out that music was being played, for some workers in the site were dancing to a tune. The construction workers were dressed colorfully and were truly in a celebratory mood. I’m not sure if it was a birthday, or someone getting engaged, or someone leaving for better pastures. Whatever it was they were celebrating, it was amazingly honest and a delectable sight for the eyes. I was suddenly in high spirits – this site was a mini India with workers from different states and ethnicity coming together and celebrating. This was not a group that would be bothered by the pandemonium of the controversies; they were making merry! I realized there is hope after all.

By nightfall, as I commuted back home, I made it a point to check the construction site again and apparently all had dispersed. But there were the remnants of the celebration – some of the balloons had burst and pieces were strewn to the ground, some of the ribbons had snapped from the walls. Yet, like the part of the ribbons that had not come apart, hope lingered in my mind.