One day I was talking to my dad’s friend who retired as the principal of one of the esteemed engineering colleges in Mysore. As he was fond of my son and was aware of how active he was he casually enquired whether there were any parks or playgrounds for him to play near the place where I lived in Bangalore. I said with much chagrin “Yes, there is a big park but reserved for senior citizens”. He said, “It is so unfortunate that children are being deprived of open space to play and let out their energy”. He turned to my dad and quipped, “We senior citizens are being spoilt!”
Being a mother of a very active boy, I was always in a dilemma to find ways for his need to play outdoor games. The roads in cities like Bangalore are extremely dangerous for kids to cycle, play badminton, skate etc., I would generally pack him off to my mother’s place in Mysore during holidays, where the calm streets and children friendly neighborhood would make his holidays memorable. But what about the other times in this chaotic city with all the parks being pruned and landscaped with neatly laid walking path for the senior citizens. If any child is caught as much as holding a ball in his hands in the park, the senior citizens pounce on them and knock the daylights out of the child scaring him not to enter their park again. Have they forgotten that they were children too? Have they forgotten the pranks and games they played? Now, they expect the kids to sit at home prim and proper and read books and watch TV. “Makkale.. adjust madkolli”/Children.. please adjust is their command. “Hoon, makkale adjust madkobeku..yenu madodu….role reversal agide alla….yenu madakke aguththe?”/Yes, children have to adjust what else can they do when there is a role reversal. Elders can spend time watching TV, walking in their garden or terrace, reading, talking, debating etc., but the children have to play.
Please senior citizens understand and let go of being the golden citizens. Remember the days you spent outdoors, cycling, running, jumping with freedom and let the children and the future senior citizens have at least the freedom to play for few hours.