Mum­baikars em­brace car-free move­ment

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

Over the last four month, the Equal Streets ini­tia­tive has be­come a fullfledged move­ment em­braced by mul­ti­tudes. And it has come to mean dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Some see it as a rea­son to rise early and ex­er­cise, while oth­ers come here for in­spi­ra­tion and still oth­ers view it as an op­por­tu­nity to be kids again. “Go­ing back to our child­hood days, we used to play on the streets. We were able

The ini­tia­tive has given peo­ple a chance to re­visit their child­hood when they would play on streets to re­live that again,” said 31year-old Di­pan Maru.

Agroup of adults played lagori fur­ther down Link­ing Road, near where Swapna Wagh had set up her stall for Desi Toys. There she was sur­rounded by kids and adults alike, be­ing in­tro­duced to his­toric In­dian games like Wagh-Bakri, Pachisi and Bud­dhi Jal. Many adults were also spot­ted tak­ing self­ies with the street art, us­ing a host of giz­mos from selfie sticks to go-pros, to par­tic­i­pate in this Sun­day’s ‘Street­fie’ con­test. The pic­tures, once posted on so­cial me­dia with the ap­pro­pri­ate hash­tag (#street­fie), stand a chance to be fea­tured in next week’s edi­tion of The Times of In­dia.

As part of the move­ment, brought to Mumbai by NGOs, think tanks, cit­i­zens as­so­ci­a­tions and cy­cling groups, a 6.5km loop from Ban­dra to San­tacruz is closed to ve­hi­cles from 7am to 11am ev­ery Sun­day. The Mumbai Po­lice, BMC and the NGO EM­BARQ are part­ners and the ini­tia­tive—that will go on till May 31—is sup­ported by the Times of In­dia.

Mem­bers from the In­dian Stam­mer­ing As­so­ci­a­tion per­formed a flash mob to ed­u­cate au­di­ence on this rare con­di­tion. “Only 1% of the pop­u­la­tion stammers, and the ra­tio of girl to boy who stam­mer is 1:4,” said Shilpa Shag­wal (34), a chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent. Also try­ing to reach peo­ple was pre-pri­mary school teacher Yas­min Shroff, who sought to en­lighten peo­ple on their lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. “Our or­ga­ni­za­tion is about pos­si­bil­i­ties, and the pos­si­bil­i­ties within each per­son,” she said, armed with sim­ple tasks and book­lets to de­mon- strate her point. Plac­ing a tiny seed in a palm, she added, “Just like the seeds of the banyan tree look like tiny specks of dust, they grow into some­thing im­mense, so can you.” And so, it’s ap­par­ent, has this ini­tia­tive.

There were also other se­ri­ous is­sues be­ing pro­moted. Mem­bers of the Art of Living com­mu­nity were rais­ing aware­ness about the pos­si­ble felling of trees at Aarey Colony. They will host a med­i­ta­tion ses­sion at Aarey next Satur­day, to cel­e­brate the spirit of Aarey on World For­est Day.

DOWN MEM­ORY LANE:

Pics: San­deep Takke, Ku­mar

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