The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Happy Streets

A group of men boxing… sketching on the street…..youngsters playing football (with mini goalposts in place) or a game of volleyball or badminton…young boys and girls zooming on roller skates or cycling around…..children practising karate……adults practising yoga or meditation, and all of it in the middle of the street on the Park Street-Camac Street-Little Russel Street-Russel Street quadrangle with no traffic around……sounds absolutely surreal! Then what will it be if one sees all of this actually happening on two consecutive Sunday mornings?

Welcome to Happy Streets, a gift to the city of Kolkata from Times of India (TOI) in association with Kolkata Police. This is its season 2 in Kolkata after a successful debut in 2015.

As TOI, known for creating innovative events over many years in Kolkata (and in other cities), describes it, “Happy Streets is to promote community bonding and healthy lifestyle for the people of Kolkata. The objective is to reclaim a stretch of road space from automobiles and opening them to the public every Sunday to create a whole new healthy, sustainable & vibrant city street experience. Everyone is welcome to participate in healthy activities of all kinds, from highly intense Zumba to street cricket, Yoga or other games like basketball, football, badminton and karate or just enjoy a theatrical performance.”

Here are glimpses of what I saw on my first ever visit to Happy Streets on 31st January and on 7th February. It will be an experience to cherish in a long time.

Balloon sellers this young to old were aplenty to cater to the carnival mood

The police deployment was noticeable. Senior police officers were on duty so that we have unhindered fun.

The longest queue was at the rent-free cycle booth.

The cycles were being issued upon submission of an I-card and mobile phone.

Ah! She finally got hers after a long wait.

The age of visitors had a wide range. 

The Facebook photo booth was a popular attraction

The stage at the Park Street-Free School Street crossing

Volleyball arena

Cashing in on the need for breakfast after the morning activities

It is expected to continue over the next few Sundays. It starts at 6.30 am and goes on till 9.30 am. Keep an eye on the Happy Streets Kolkata Facebook page or on the paper. Head for it with your family if you can, for a new experience in life.

#HappyStreets #TimesOfIndia #ParkStreet

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