Though I live in a metropolitan city but I often remember my small hometown in eastern part of the country. We were a bunch of friends...good friends bonded over a lot of playful activities. Summer breaks were a great moment of joy as schools were closed and there were no routines to be followed. From morning till night we used to play most of the times. There were three playgrounds, two big and one small in the vicinity. Morning was for football and evenings were exclusively reserved for Cricket or Badminton. Ah! We had a lot of fun. Sometimes, apart from going to the playground we used to play kabaddi in the gali (Lane) with all boys and girls.
Those were golden days. After completing my schooling we moved to Delhi for graduation and post graduation. Delhi was a big cultural shock for all of us but bigger shock was when we observed that children playing in the small colony parks rather going to the nearest playground. And the park was also not meant for their playful activities as per the municipal corporation. After the school hours and in the summer breaks children had very less open spaces to go for recreation. Some good playgrounds were very far and taking children there daily was not easy for parents. Apart from the little time for outdoor recreation most of the children were used to confine in their homes watching television. This was a dangerous situation and it still is. We are in fact on the brink of making our children couch potatoes and now after the internet revolution net junkies. This is indeed not a proud situation but an alarming one. Most of the metros are developing on a rapid pace and hence shrinking the playground space for our children.
Recently union Sports Minister Ajay Maken urged Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath to ensure mandatory use of playfields that have been alloted by the Delhi Development Authority to the Delhi's schools during non school hours. This is indeed a very good thought as schools run by private institutions and by the government are everywhere in the capital. But such a noble thought must extend to all over country especially in the metros where open spaces are shrinking at an alarming pace due to unplanned urbanization. This step can create a lot of open spaces for recreation in school's huge playground which often see no activity after school hours. These vacant spaces can be utilized by the children and hence promote a healthy sports culture in the country.