No space to access

No space to access

No space to access
Vacations are over and it is back to school for many. Getting children ready for school, dealing with their tantrums and fake stomach aches, running behind them with water bottles or forgotten notebooks — these are scenes that are common in any parent’s life.

But it may be the lesser of the 2 evils if you compare these tasks with the problem of keeping children entertained during the 2-month long holidays. Outings are usually a rare occurrence, especially if both the parents are working. On other days, domestic peace is maintained only when children have an outlet for their bundled up energy — in other words, when they go out to play.  But where is the space?

It is no secret that the green lung of the city is reducing. We may boast of a Cubbon Park or a Lalbagh but these are not very accessible to people from all parts of the city. Skewed distribution of the precious little clear expanses  that we have is one of the biggest factors contributing to roads and bylanes being converted into playgrounds. 

Ashwini Devadiga says, “It is important for children to explore the outdoors. But space is such a constraint in many places in the city. In places like Hebbala, greenery is almost non-existent and I see many children playing on the roads around apartments, which is the most dangerous thing to do. Fortunately, my apartment building has some space which is a blessing. I ensure my daughter spends some time outside everyday. We also take her on tours as much as possible.”

But enrolling children in a summer camp or taking them to hillstations are not viable options for many. Of course, a visit to the frothy Bellandur Lake is a substitute for a visit to some ice-covered foreign locale, but the focus is on slightly healthier alternatives here.

Deena Rebeiro says, “My little son is a bundle of energy and needs a lot of activity to keep him engaged. If he plays inside, the house becomes a war zone. But we are not very comfortable about sending him outdoors as there is almost no space around the house and whatever exists has been taken up by two-wheelers and heaps of garbage. There is a constant flow of traffic too. We prefer to  have him indoors and have bought many toys and video games so that he doesn’t get bored.”

Soubadra Devy from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, says, “With Bengaluru being crowned as the IT capital of India, several developmental activities have supported the growth of the city. But these projects have also resulted in the loss of neighbourhood parks and the felling of avenue trees. There is also a size-wise bias because large parks seem to attract the attention of naturalists, ecologists and citizens and the benefits of smaller areas are often undervalued. To bring about a change in the situation, we need to change the perception of the public about the role played by smaller urban green spaces. In order to gain their support, we need to offer opportunities for meaningful interactions with nature.

Similarly, laws relating to green spaces should be strictly adhered to. There are several NGOs doing laudable work in this field but they must come together on a common platform to scale up the efforts and build consciousness among the citizenry.”

So next time, instead of scolding your child for spending too much time in front of the TV, pick up a ball and head with him to the nearest park, wherever that may be.
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