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For a breath of fresh air and sense of well-being

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ISLAND OF PEACE: The Haddows Road park is a serene spot for locals to get exercise. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan
ISLAND OF PEACE: The Haddows Road park is a serene spot for locals to get exercise. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

Swahilya

Nungambakkam residents get parks and plenty of open space

CHENNAI: If residents and those working in the numerous offices in Nungambakkam are thankful to the Chennai Corporation, it is for the gift of space for the renovated Independence Day park near Valluvar Kottam, for transforming a sewage canal into a beautiful Canal Park on Haddows Road and for the Corporation's open space opposite Women's Christian College on College Road, maintained by Scope International as a small walking garden.

All these projects have given lots of fresh air and lung space to walkers in the area, who have not seen anything beyond dusty roads, pollution and traffic hold-ups.

Sreelakshmi, helping her little girl Keerthana down the sliding board at the Independence Day park is delighted that her child has so much space to play.

"This is one of the best things that could have happened in this area and we want more space for walking and recreation," she says.

The park, once avoided by people, has become a meeting place for a number of people, as the long row of two-wheelers parked at the entrance testify.

Visit the park and you can see walkers using the stone-paved path for a quiet stroll. A few others prefer to hold a quiet conversation with their friends sitting in chairs. Under the bright lamps of the park, two boys sit reading a standard XII physics book.

Families take a stroll in the inner walking ring, while in the central cemented portion around an ornamental pillar babies in walkers and prams have their share of fun.

Students of Women's Christian College, employees of banks and corporate houses nearby or passers-by take a walk around the circular garden adjacent to Scope International on College Road. Surrounded by stone benches and chairs, a small water spot with soft lights falling on the thick grass gives walkers quiet moments between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. when the park is open.

The Canal Park on Haddows Road, further down Shastri Bhavan, is a walkers' paradise.

Rahamathunnissa walks three times around the stone path skirting lush grass lawns on what was once a sewage canal, rolling her prayer beads all the while.

"Three times because they said it adds up to one km and I come here twice a day," she says. The park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

D. Banumathi, president of the Banumathi Karate and Welfare Association, and her student-associate J. Sridhar discuss the benefits of taking regular walks while breathing in and out deeply.

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