21
August , 2017
Monday

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“Oh! Isn’t life a terrible thing, thank God?”. This statement was quoted by an earthling by the name Dylan Thomas. How true its essence is in today’s times! For the average citizen, activity is the norm of the day. We wake up, we slog, we sleep; We roar, we fiddle, we meddle; We spurt, we dream, we conquer; We forget, we fret, we cry; We punish, we pester, we persist, we exist. So lost are we in an imaginary illusion that we, sometimes, curse our relentless endurance. So obsessed are we with our savoir-vivre (social ambition) that we, more often than not, abstain from undemanding pleasures of life. At this standpoint, the inevitable query pops up – ‘How are we to unwind?’ ‘Where do we find solace?’ The inhabitants of Dr. AS Rao Nagar have found an answer.

Mammoth play area Credit: Surreal Gaze

Mammoth play area Credit: Surreal Gaze

Inaugurated on 8th April, 2002 by the then Chief Minister, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, AS Rao Nagar HUDA Park (as it was then known) provides an incredible escape from the hustle – bustle of mundane city life. One look at the park shall suffice to satiate your senses and reassure your spirits; the 300 paisa (Rs.3/-) spent for the entry ticket won’t go down the drain. However, the entry ticket is valid only for a 2-hour stroll inside the park, after which, we were told, the watchman would be waiting near the gate to levy a ‘fine’ on the unassuming visitors. Deepak, a frequent visitor quips, “That is mere speculation. The watchman hardly bothers about the duration of one’s stay in the park. There have been instances where my friends and me stayed put for more than 4 hours and never been penalized”.

Significantly, the inauguration of the park signaled the launch of ‘Green Hyderabad Environment Programme’ by His Excellency Mr. P.F.C. Koch, the then Netherlands Ambassador to India. Under the aegis of this program, the onus was on the creation of a number of parks in Hyderabad as part of the ‘Green Hyderabad’ initiative (the number of parks that actually came up is anybody’s guess!). AS Rao Nagar Park is located at a stone’s throw’s distance from the busy Sainikpuri-ECIL stretch, yet, in a serene, dainty surrounding. The park is not as seductive, infectious and prevailing as some of the other famous parks are but it yields an indigenous charisma over the indifferent visitor, who’s willing to indulge in a gracious, soothing paraphernalia.

Figurines as these dot the pool Credit: Surreal Gaze

Figurines as these dot the pool Credit: Surreal Gaze

Lush green cover dots its landscape and the hordes of trees in the vicinity reinforce a hint of calmness. Ramachandran, a visitor proclaims, “I drive down all the way from Warasiguda to spend a placid evening with my family. We throng this park almost every month”. Anali, an engineering student asserts, “My day starts with a stroll in this park. During weekends, I hangout with my friends beside the pool; we squat in a corner and gossip for hours on end. I even catch up with many of my relatives over here”. The park boasts of a gargantuan play area coupled with a skating rink. Anurag, a fifth grader, who stays in the adjoining colony squeals in delight, “I love this place. I’ve been coming here every evening since I was six. My friends and I always quarrel over who should mount the swings first”.

Come summer and the park springs to life; its precincts teeming with activity as people of all age groups flock its confines. Srinivas, who ekes out a living selling ice creams on a push-cart in the park muses, “Usually, I earn around 200 rupees per day. But, during summer season, sales peak and I end up earning around 400 bucks a day. That’s when I reap huge profits”. Conspicuously, loyalists who visit the park frequently decry its maintenance. V.Kameswara Rao, one such resident who’s been frequenting the park since its inception whines, “This place was synonymous for its tranquility and hygiene in the beginning. As time continues to fly, the park is turning increasingly filthy, thanks to the shoddy maintenance of the Kapra Municipal Corporation (KMC)”. Incidentally, KMC owns the responsibility of maintaining and cleaning the place.

Perfect spot for relaxation Credit: Surreal Gaze

Perfect spot for relaxation Credit: Surreal Gaze

When asked for their comments, none of the officials of the KMC opined their views, although, many of them couldn’t be contacted for obvious reasons. Curiously, the person sitting behind the ticket-counter refused either to budge from his seat or allow us into his office! Parks anywhere in the world are notorious for love-making couples and AS Rao Nagar Park is no exception. We actually caught a few couples off guard when we snapped them in the course of our footage. Sheetal, a housewife frets, “I come to this place to pass time with my kids. But, the presence of these couples in every nook and cranny of the park is totally unasked for”.

So, if you stay in Secunderabad or happen to drive down to its environs; if you were looking for that impeccable getaway from the smothering heat and moronic survival, head straight to AS Rao Nagar KMC Park in Dr. AS Rao Nagar. You could wrap up your day sipping cool coffee in serene locales, all the while gazing into the eyes of your loved ones!

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