Monday, November 14, 2011

Open spaces

I'm frequently asked what I miss most about the US since returning back to India. My answer undoubtedly is "open spaces" which should not be surprising to anyone in Mumbai. However I had hoped that things would be different on the IIT campus.

We live across the street from the IIT gymkhana, yet it is not too accessible to children. It is reserved for students between 5pm-8pm on weekdays and we have been rudely asked to leave the grounds many times. There are other smaller grounds on campus but they are ill maintained. For example, we frequently spot snakes in the Shishu Vihar play ground which is closest to our house.

When I was a kid growing up on the same campus, children would always play in their building compound and grounds were only meant for more organized sports. However, with the large number of cars in every building it has now become dangerous to let children play in the building compound.

So unfortunately, we don't have many options left. Usually, evenings are spent going for walks on the campus road sidewalks with the kids (Kabu usually rides his scooter). Sometimes we go to the guest house which has become the meeting point for most campus kids in the evening (playing on the covered concrete area or on the sloping guest house lawns). On weekends and off-semester days we go to the gymkhana grounds where we play soccer with the kids or just let them run amok.

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