Bal Bhavan

Last few days my walking friend cum junior fm DNA cum budding good journalist cum soon to be teacher Mahafreed & I are on exploration trip for walk friendly places. She’s live wire, great comic timing, may be being a bawi is an added gentic quality wc other mortals lack. coming to our walks, we have experimented galore first me singly then Mahafreed & now us both. Same experience – difficult to walk in Mumbai city even for exercise. Very walker unfriendly city this is.

Few days ago she told me lets go to Bal Bhavan – our childhood garden. No fantasy please this is THE most beautiful garden, green spot between Charni Rd & the Arabian Sea. What a location in the 1st place. Now i’m in my 40s so imagine over half a century old this garden is.

Most of the garden is as it is. However there are many new things. First things first. This is solely reserved for Women & children below 12 years. Whatta fun this is. I love reservations, that topic is for debate and discussion later. We women & rest of the Bahujan, deprived sections of society deserve reservations for the next century.

That apart, as we enter Bal Bhavan main entrance on the left is the gargen gate behind is the Arabian sea side, on the right is a new small garden with all scienc gadgets. The Nehru Science Centre has put these things for kids. There are some metal gadgets that depict solar sys as seen in Jantar Mantar of Jaipur & Delhi. As the name ‘Bal Bhavan’ suggests the building premises, gardens, gym, et al are dedicated supposedly for the benefit of children. And here they declare the 10th & 12th board exam results.

In the science garden, they have plasitc manequinn blocks placed separately. When you see them fm all angles they look separate. Then you have to place your face near a metal board wc has a tiny hole & look through it & you see a wholisitic figure! So now you know how Mahafreed & I have some fun during our walk in wee hours of morning.

Mahafreed is scared of guards. She says all guards scold her. She look naughty while i am naughty..in my childhood all shouted at me, now roles have changed i guess..hehe

The garden has lovely morning dew. I saw a lady walk on it 2 days ago. We exchanged notes on walking on the dew. Scientifically we need to understand things. as we began walking this morning, M felt the garden was watered. It wasn’t. We removed our shoes at a bench which is well coloured. Imagine cobalt blue colour! How children friendly is that! We sat down for some time to enjoy sitting on that bench. Then we walked on the grass like little kids. And we remarked how lucky today’s kids are na. We both were amazed with these efforts taken byt the govt, education dept for the kids.

M says she used to come here to play, learn karate and she did duck walks etc. I don’t remember if i had to do all this. I was never atracted to Karate. May be because the trainers looked uninspiring, dunno too far back my childhood is. What i do remember is we played here, my sister & me. At that time there were slides, jungle gym thingies, swings & sand pits. Yes you guessed right. i would roll in the sand pits, take big swings and luuuuved jungle gym. Most of those things are there & some new additions. Plus now i see 1 extended part of the garden.

I’m sure that additional garden must’ve existed then too, but i’m not sure such a big one did. Or it was surely restricted to us children. Because now when we began walking it seems large. It was fun as we walked barefooted. We realised the different variety of grass that is there…most of the garden has soft nice levelled grass wc resembles Neem leaves. This holds the more dew and water. M wasn’t willing to believe that the grass wasn’t watered & there can so much of dew wt previous evening’s water. She asked the gardener & he confirmed he waters only in evenings. Plus we saw some abso dry portions of sand…slowly M got convinced. The magic of dew we began discovering…

We noticed Many nice flowering plants & trees, rat rani, champa- 1freshly bloomed flower had fallen wc i wore above my ear. My best friend who’s no more, CD would always tell me, “keep a flower wt you babes it’ll make you feel nice. When you get angry or upset, take a deep breath of it then think…all else is insignificant…” yeah Chetan’s right, the fragrance makes you forget everything else!

So we walk around this garden everyday…i feel young yet again. Not that i ever know what it is to be in 40s..really speaking. I mean i would never have imagined that i would return to this garden to take walks. Interestingly this garden is reserved for women & besides M & me only 4 women come to gossip or share tid bits abt their lives. Rest pass by and look from outside the fence at M & me as if we’re animals in some zoo.

I don’t want to be seen by people or show off that i go for walks in the mornings…also too much noise these walkers make…they are a nuisance actually. They talk too much checking out others while they expose their fatty stomachs through slinky sarees…shee

Everyday we decide to add some spunk to our lives…i love my Bal Bhavan. We were also surprised to see the door to a govt building open at 7.00am! Times surely have changed…. 🙂

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Neeta

A lady journalist in permanent Azad mode, observer.. Anti-multi-tasking, rather focus on the core. Wishing gardening would pay me millions. lover of rains..

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