As stated earlier there is no dull moment in Cheluvamba Park. There is some activity or the other from morning till late in the evening. If poor lighting in the evening is a problem for some park users, it is an added advantage for some others!!! The security staff has tough time in getting the park vacated by late in the evening. Sometimes services of police “Garuda” petrol is also sought to maintain the park free from late night visitors. Broadly there are three category of visitors to this park – Walkers, Joggers and Talkers!! Sometimes third category of users could constitute parts of first two categories as well!!
Walkers constitute largest users of this park. They are mostly regular users. Most of them come to the park ether in the mornings. During evening also this crowd is not less. Some come both evenings and mornings. Interestingly the women walkers are in substantial numbers and belong to all age categories – very elderly, middle aged, young. Men are mostly middle aged and the elderly. Both the genders form their own groups depending upon their age and/or interests. There is some sort of self imposed gender separation! Very few couples walk together with their spouses. Interestingly, some couples come to the park together, but there after get separated. Join their respective gender groups and once again get united before leaving the park.
Most of the regular walkers use the outer walking path within the park. Very few use inner walking path which is laid with interlocking tiles. However, there are some others who prefer to walk on the footpath alongside the fence of the park. There are some hard core walkers who prefer to use the road around the park for brisk walk and then get into the park for a last round and / or rest.
After walking some of the walkers of these groups spend a brief time sitting on the stone benches and have discussions with their friends. Some loners spend time in doing meditation, Yoga on the stone platform or Pranayama sitting on the stone benches. For sometime there was a small group of women who used to do yoga near the Eshawara statue on the southern side of the park. For unknown reasons this group is missing now.
Normally, every walker walks in clock-wise pattern within the park. The ‘traffic’ is smooth even when the fast walker tries to overtake from behind the group of slow walkers. For unknown reason/s there is a very small number of people, mostly men, who take the anti-clockwise route. This action of theirs is very intriguing. One is to wonder why this deviation? One is compelled to suspect their intentions as the women walkers are mostly walking in the clock-wise direction!!! Also such deviation does create head-on confrontations among the walkers. Wish a board, like the one on the roads, indicating that all should walk in clock-wise direction is put up at the earliest!!!
Joggers form a very small number and mostly consist of youngsters. These joggers are regular users of the park. Of late young girl / lady joggers are also seen in Cheluvamba Park. One wonders why do these joggers use the park? Why do they not go to running track of a stadium or racing track? Joggers interfere in the walkers’ rhythm. When some of these young joggers prefer to jog anti-clock wise on the walking path one is compelled to suspect their intention!! It is already stated that women walkers mostly walk in clock-wise direction. Some of these joggers end up using children’s play area for a few games of shuttle or doing some physical exercises.
Talkers consist of group of elderly people, mostly retired government employees. They sit squeezed in threes and fours on the stone bench facing the inner walking path and heatedly discuss topics of current political scenario in the country, mostly in the state. Their arguments are so very vehement that one is compelled to suspect whether they were witness to or participants in the issues taking place in the government!! Of course there are a few talkers who do their talking while walking around the park. This category provides full enjoyment to those who are walking just behind them.
Apart from walkers, joggers and talkers there are lovers and loners also who use the park. In that sense Cheluvamba Park is a mini-society with its own characteristics and culture. It is a sheer pleasure to walk in the park and inhale oxygen, both environmental and societal type!!
By R Chandra Prakash