A Park To Remember

Published on May 14, 2009

By Hauthang Kilong

As I traversed back and forth from my workplace to home, I routinely passed by a park by the roadside. It is not the best park for sure. I have seen better parks in a number of places.
There are parks which are well maintained and nicely kept; some are admirable for their sheer size; some with touches of history showcasing beautiful monuments; some are chiseled in the latest modern avatars.
But there is something about this park which endears me. Not the beauty of the grass, and perhaps not the few people who chatter within the confines. Such space, do however, offers priceless peace to the residents of a crowded city.
As I could not avoid glancing whenever I passed by, it somehow began to engage my mind. I started searching my heart as to what makes it special to me. Actually, there is nothing significant about the park. It is not well tended and so bears a dilapidated look.
The grasses have almost dried up for want of care. The benches in the park are dirty and mostly empty. Rust has also set in and thereby repels visitors. The ground is strewn with litter, making it unhygienic.
In case they cannot be termed as encroachments, there are unauthorized structures on the boundary fencing. But despite the lack of beauty, the sight generates an inexplicable feeling. This sets me into the thinking mode.
The park has a rather odd shape. It is triangular. There are residential flats facing the park on the left side. Manicure trees stand randomly here and there. There are rows of eucalyptus trees on the far end and right. Vast shades of wilderness seem to extend beyond it.
It does not matter from where I observe. I do it often from the auto that connects me to the metro station. At other times, the metro feeder bus gives me a better view. Still, on rare occasions, a walk down the road allows me with more time to dwell.
It becomes a recurring phenomenon for quite sometime. Gradually, I realize what captivated me to the park was nothing extraordinary. It was just that the sight of the tall eucalyptus trees and the view that resembles the countryside where I was born and bred. In fact it was the thought of home; the sights and sounds of the lovely countryside.
In course of time, the whole lot of things brought something poignant to my mind. It reminded me of my humble roots. It brought back memories of childhood bliss. It tells me that the present state of things was not dreamed of at one point of time, that I should not get carried away, that I should not lost my way in the woods.
It is subtle to recall here the enlightening words of the Emperor of Japan in the concluding moments of Edward Zicke’s The Last Samurai, “And now we are awake. We have railroads and canon and western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are or where we come from.” 
We can always find ‘A Park To Remember’ by the roadside to remind us of our roots.
The writer is presently in the Indian Revenue Service (IT) undergoing training at the National Academy of Direct Taxes, Nagpur.