50 years of The Hindu's Bengaluru edition

When children had space to play

Former India cricketer Roger Binny recalls vignettes of old Bengaluru which had fewer people, fewer vehicles, and a slower pace. It was a city that was quieter, greener and a healthier place for children, he says.

Open spaces, parks and grounds

We played sports on the roads. I was lucky to grow up in a big house which had a lot of space to play. It was definitely a boon for the children. All parks allowed us to play cricket. In my neighbourhood, Coles Park was our favourite. Since we grew up in a cantonment area, we played on the many Railways grounds present at the time.

On cycles

In those days, you went to the school that was closest to your home. We used to go to school on cycles. The cycle stand in my school, St. Germain’s, was always jam-packed. You don’t see many cycles in schools now. We would also enjoy our walks to school. On the way, we would stop and stroll through a park. Life moved at a slow and relaxed pace.

Outdoor activities

There was a lot of emphasis on outdoor activities. Apart from sports, we had NCC, Scouts and Guides and so on. The days were packed with outdoor activities. We took part in school concerts, which would bring everyone together. Every school had a music room and every child was taught an instrument, and apart from this, schools also had skill-training like carpentry. I used to play the trumpet for the school band, but that didn’t last very long. I also played the guitar.

Anglo-Indian community

My community, the Anglo Indians, have a unique culture. Music, dance and parties were the norm for us. The big outing for the family was a trip to the band stands at Coles Park and Cubbon Park. We grew with the Beatles, the Carpenters, the Rolling Stones, and other bands. Many in the newer generation have decided to settle abroad. This has meant that our Anglo-Indian population in the city has dwindled, while other communities have grown.

The old vs the new

People in Bengaluru now lack civic sense. When we were children, we never saw garbage on the roads. Our civic sense was excellent. Children now are indisciplined and you can see this when you stand in queues at the railway station or cinema. Discipline starts at home; parents should take the responsibility. The infrastructure in Bengaluru now is not adequate, given the huge growth in population. It was a lovely, green and clean city, the pensioners’ paradise. We’ve lost that charm, which is quite sad.

(As told to Ashwin Achal)

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 7:47:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/when-children-had-space-to-play/article31880951.ece

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