The Streets Are Alive.

My childhood and boyhood was spent in two gated communities and two homes in cul de sacs where my siblings and I along with other neighbourhood friends could play all kinds of games particularly cricket.  My cousins in Chennai and Mumbai living in flats would be sent off either to the terraces to fly kites or to the streets below to play.  I simply cannot think any day other than when we were ill that we did not play on the streets outside our homes.

Today’s living is somewhat different with more high rise apartments in cities and towns and streets with high traffic density that allows little space for children to play in.  Newer gated community complexes with high rise buildings in them but with their own play areas, clubs etc are coming up, but where I live the older stand alone buildings predominate.

When I sit in the garden after my evening walks, many young parents and or grand parents who live in apartments in the locality come to the park with their  children.  From where I sit, I can view the main quadrangle which is a vast expanse of grass that abuts the children’s play area with swings, see saws, jungle gyms etc.  No sooner the children come into the park, they start laughing and screaming and  running on the grass in the quadrangle with the older parents and grand parents struggling to keep pace with them.  This is always a very endearing sight to see as I can understand the children’s desire to run the minute they see such a vast open expanse having spent time in small flats.

kids-running-in-parkWhen I was in Chennai last month, I was staying with my brother Arvind who lives in a gated community with its own playground facilities for the children plus a few attractions for the oldies too.

Mantri FountainOne of such attractions is this fountain, one of three in their complex, around which benches have been installed for residents to sit and watch the fountains play.  I can assure you that it is one of the most soothing things that one can experience and almost every evening I would go there with Arvind and Shanta and sit around making friends with other residents.  Arvind’s two grand sons Kedar and Sarang 6 and 4 would not sit with us but would be running around the fountain playing their own games along with other children from the complex, and I would expect them to slip and fall but they never did.  But the joy in their faces just running and yelling, being free was worth bringing them down from the flat.

All these memories were brought up to me by a post that Nick put up on Facebook about roads being closed to traffic in the UK to enable children to play.  Among all the miserable news that I get to read now a days, this was one that gladdened my heart as I am sure it must have a lot of others.  I hope that this post will gladden the heart of those who have not read it so far.

I hope that the movement will catch on and come over to our country as well.


38 thoughts on “The Streets Are Alive.”

  1. As Grannymar says, even when there are local parks they don’t seem to be used by children very much, partly because of the current paranoia about child molesters and drug pushers. Like you, I spent a lot of my childhood playing in the streets on my own, when cars were rare and no big hazard. The introduction of play streets that are closed three hours a week for children to play is brilliant.

  2. you would find me sitting close enough to the fountain to feel the spray!
    i dearly love fountains! and watching little ones play around it would be just fine.
    then i would have to come back and have some quiet time!
    the spirit of this post is beautiful rummy.
    and i had to laugh at alan g! LOLOL. mr wilson.
    tammyj recently posted..clearness of knowing

  3. I grew up roaming the hills around our home. It was such a gift. Many of the fields where my children played are now filled with homes, offices and apartment buildings, but the lucky children still get to play in the streets and parking lots. Thank God for many parks and open places in my area.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Travel Connections

      1. Ah, yes…the differences. Come to that, I see the most changes in time… My grandchildren have been so scheduled that they couldn’t visit us (where we lived at the time on 7 acres with a creek by the back yard) because they were scheduled; sports, music lessons, play dates. The difference would, perhaps, have been if they lived in the same town and could have squeezed in the visits between scheduling. Not complaining, tho. We spent a lot of time in their homes. It just wasn’t the dream I had of grandchildren spending weeks in the summer at Grammy and Grampy’s house.
        Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Travel Connections

  4. Hi Rummy,

    When I was a kid, I used to have so much space to run around and play with my friends. A few years ago, I visited some of the places where I lived and the children living there today don’t have half the space I was blessed with (in one of the places, they even removed the forest to build…so sad).
    It would be great if all cities would think of the children more and allow them space to play.

    You put a smile on my face.

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  5. I couldn’t run about like other children when I was a child. I had to make my own fun at home but we had an extremely big yard, a corner section and I don’t think I ever tired of finding some game within the bounds of my disability.

    However, in the summer I went to Twilight sports in the local domain and even though I couldn’t ever “win a race, from the start line” I still managed to have fun. I would try almost anything just for the heck of it and no one made fun of my problems…I was one of the members.

    If I was doing the long jump – I would often say to a another good jumper “see I’m only this far from your mark” never mind the fact I had not been on the “start line” 🙂

    At the school swimming days I would be on the benches, cheering on everyone, as I couldn’t swim much at all, dog paddling was about my lot!

    I have ended up a loner but to me I do not have a problem with that at all…I can work with a team occasionally but not well 🙂
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Mount Maunganui 2 Tauranga

    1. I am more or less a loner now Cathy. I am not lonely but enjoy my solitude. But when I socialise for those short spells, I thoroughly enjoy the experiences particularly if there are young people and / or children around.

  6. How liberated some of us were, growing up without borders. Sharing space with cats, dogs, plants, frogs and even snakes was always exciting. We even played host to a 6 foot iguana and kids had a field day at school describing the “crocodile” which came to have a feast. On hindsight it seems funny, but was really scary when we had to hurl 3 young ones on to the top of a cupboard.

    1. Yes, that is the word liberated. I think that the kids in the park feel exactly that when they see the vast expanse of open space with comfortable grass below their feet. Iguana? Where are you from?

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