Playgrounds in the city came alive even as the rest of the city fell silent on Saturday. Making the best of the unexpected holiday, people dusted their cricket bats and tennis racquets and headed to the nearest open space.

Harishith S. (13), a regular at the Kanteerava Stadium, said: “Normally during weekends, 20 people play here. But today there are more than 50.” Rahul R. (12) was crestfallen to see the playground full. “The older people who came today told us not to hit sixers as it would disturb them,” he said.

There were also some who stayed indoors precisely because of the bandh.

Even as they enjoyed the game, the youngsters were up-to-date about the Cauvery crisis and voiced their concern for the farmers of Karnataka in a distress year.

As usual, girls were fewer compared to the boys in the playgrounds. Jyothi M., who came to the stadium to attend a tennikoit camp, said some policemen on the way had advised her to go back home. “But the bandh seems to be peaceful and all my friends have also come to play.”

However, not all playgrounds were reserved for play. Vinayaka ground near Corporation Circle was turned into a protest venue, but children of the area joyfully took over the empty streets.

With the cable TV operators blacking out all entertainment channels and with malls shut, even couch potatoes and mall rats had to venture outdoors. The energy and gusto on the playgrounds suggested that they quite enjoyed this change.

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