Like many senior citizens, I have been enjoying for the last more than two decades my morning walks at the Aunty Park in Clifton’s Block 5. Recently, the park has been renovated by the German consulate after which one saw even more people — young and old — walking in the morning as well as in the evening. Recently, however, the park has become a sort of ‘cricket ground’. There are at least 10 teams of young children playing cricket. They all make sure that they hit the ball hard and score a six. One day a ball struck hard ended up hitting me in the face. I was lucky that I escaped unhurt and even the father sent the child to apologise to me, a gesture which I appreciated. I wonder about the solution to this issue. The children at their age deserve to have fun, and, as a working paediatrician myself, I have to advocate physical activity and fun for these children’s emotional and physical growth. Should I be tough and ask them not to play cricket in this particular park since it was created specifically for walking and jogging? I may be right in doing so, but then, where should these children be playing? Are there enough playgrounds where these children should go and play? No. Should I and other senior citizens stop our health walks? No. Health walks are as important for our health as having fun is for the younger ones in society. Can the government authorities take notice of this quandary so that the senior citizens do not have to scold these children for playing in the park? I once saw a woman, a senior citizen, shouting and calling those children illiterate, uncivilised and even using abusive language. It was just her frustration showing. Over the last few years, several parks have been established in the area, including the new Justice Bhagawandas Park and the Education Park. Besides, the Moin Akhtar Park and the Hosh Mohammad Sheedi Park are there close by. Indeed, there is an empty ground around a school in the area. Should some of these facilities not be converted into playgrounds so we may ask these children to play in designated playgrounds and let the people walk in parks without having to risk an injury?
There was a discussion in the park amongst the seniors recently. And the opinion was seriously divided about keeping the children out of the park, with both sides having legitimate concerns. Children need playgrounds and senior citizens need parks so that their rights are not violated and both groups may enjoy good health. Converting some of the unutilised parks into playgrounds may serve the purpose.
DR MUMTAZ LAKHANI