The apartment we have recently moved into is located just opposite a terrific park, a very old one, and a very large one at that. It is full of mighty old trees, broad walking paths, huge grounds, and old vintage buildings. [No, it is neither Lalbagh nor Cubbon Park]
They do have a kids' area, but the play instruments are old and not very well-maintained. They will do, though. I guess I am just comparing it to the play area in the previous park I used to take Puttachi, which was so good that people travelled 5-6 kilometers to bring their kids to that park.
But the charm of this park lies in its trees and its walkways, its people and its birds. In its "ancientness". In its magnificence.
Parktime with Puttachi previously consisted of just taking her to the park, letting her play on the rides, and coaxing a small walk out of her, and then bringing her back. But in this park, it is different. It is as much as a pleasure for me as it is for her.
The moment we get inside the park, she spots the swing and the slides and we do the mandatory exercise of her playing on it. But very soon, she gets waylaid by a stone, a dog, a bird, and she is off, running along the walkways. She finds something interesting at each corner, and there is so much to explore. I just let her be, and follow her around, making sure not to hover about her, but being close enough to ensure that she is safe. It is so lovely to watch her. She picks up stones, leaves, shows them to me with delight. She spots a dog and runs after it. She finds a particularly huge tree and looks up at it wonderingly. She talks to everybody who talks to her, and even calls out to people who walk by without talking to her.
5 30 pm seems like 7 00 pm because of the thick canopy of trees in the park, and it gets cold very soon because of the number of trees. Though it is warm when we set out, I make sure to have put Puttachi in warm clothes, or else I carry along something extra.
When dusk approaches, the chirping of the birds becomes deafening. Birds fly all over the place from one tree to another, and Puttachi looks up excitedly at the sky full of birds. She jumps about with pleasure, follows the flight of the birds across the sky until she almost loses balance.
For me, just taking a walk in this beautiful park gives me a feeling of joy, of peace, of tranquility. Watching Puttachi enjoy herself is a bonus. Running along the walkways like the wind, pointing out things to me, listening to my explanation of this and that, collecting pebbles and putting them into her pocket to go home and show her dad - every little thing that pleases her amplifies itself and pleases me that much more.
When S~ joins us, I let down my guard, depending on S~ to look after Puttachi. I walk about at my own pace, enjoying the park in my way. Anyway you see it, the park is a pleasure.
The best part is that by the time Puttachi gets back, she is hungry enough to wolf down her food, and tired enough to go to bed without a fuss. And as for me? I don't know if it is the oxygen, or it is the green of the trees, or it is just the park itself, but I am thoroughtly rejuvenated.
Before we moved in here, I used to pass by this park and look at these apartments and think how lovely it must be to stay so close to it. I cannot believe that I am actually living a dream.