Where are the playgrounds?

I often wonder whether we are doing justice to our youngsters — all open spaces are being ornamentally ‘gardened’, ‘fountained’, ‘ticketed’ and enclosed with barbed wires that are inaccessable to children. To give one or two concrete examples, there was a nice open space behind the HOPCOMS in Sadashivanagar that is surrounded by houses. There is also a nursery school in that area. I have been a resident in this neighbourhood the past 30 years and it pains me to see all the open spaces being taken away for either allotment to VIPs or converted into ornamental parks with tickets. Teenagers who normally play games like cricket, football and basketball have no place in these parks where only tiny-tots can be entertained. Why prohibit entry to open spaces with tall barbed wires by children who want to play with balls and bats?

Another park at Sanjaynagar next to ISRO, where children and teenagers would play cricket, basket-ball, volleyball is gone. Unfortunately, now there is only grass and a walkway meant only for adults. Children are not even supposed to walk on the grass, let alone play. Most of the park is kept green while the whole area suffers from severe water shortage. There are no places for children to play. We cannot blame the youngsters if they sit at home and watch TV and play computer games.

Gone are the days when our children would go out and play from 4pm to 7pm in huge open spaces nearby and we, parents would go searching for them from playground to playground to call them for dinner. It has come to a stage when children have to be taken in cars to some open space far away and left there with an escort and a mobile phone for them to call back home when they have finished playing so that they can be picked up from the play area that is far away from home.

What an irony! Using a car, using a phone, using a driver; all this just for the children to play somewhere!


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