Vol. story 1

It’s mine!

More often than not, people tend to get consumed by their lives.  

Sometimes a dry smile is all that can be spared for their neighbours, if they happen to know them at all. 

We live in a typical urban community with twelve or so houses. There is a community park close by – according to the black stone plaque on the park’s wall and Google map, at least.

To the locals, the once “Nangal ground” (a ground used for feeding people at house- warming ceremonies) has long become nothing but a dumping ground. 

One of the several perks the pandemic has offered is that we have more time for ourselves and for the people close to us. It all started with a casual chat on the weekend amongst neighbours. The conversation was around the park and how this could be a great time to clean it up – to restore it back to become a place to meet and and be with one another. That which it was supposed to be. 

We all gathered in the park with whatever tools we had and started cleaning up the space. Our intention was to do it ourself. We piled the garbage and burned it, removed the weeds, and levelled the ground. A lot of people showed up in the next couple of weeks – men, women and children of different ages. 

A few people even purchased some gardening tools from the market to support this effort. We could all feel the community spirit that we often read about or hear of from others. We made a corner dedicated to garbage, from where the UIT garbage collection van could come and pick it up. We also made a clear path for people to walk on. 

Starting a fire is one thing and having it burn for long is another. We know this project can only succeed if people keep volunteering with the same excitement. We want everyone to feel it’s their own park. Just like they take care of their home. We needed to think what it would take to make it a place where people would want to come and spend time. Planting trees and creating a garden seemed like a good idea. For that we needed saplings.  

Dharohar was kind enough to give us saplings. 

We planted these saplings along the boundary wall and now we have “Neem wali gali’, ‘Gulmohar avenue’, ‘Kaner bagh’, and ‘Amaltas row’ in the park. 

Four weeks later, all plants are healthy and growing, and some of them are noticeably taller. Almost every morning, four to five volunteers can be seen at the park doing their bit – whether it’s levelling the ground, clearing out the weeds or the moss from the walls. 

This has been a humbling experience for us – to see so many people actively participate each day of the week, while others, like us, have been able to give time only on weekends. 

Now the challenge will be to keep the spirit alive even after the pandemic is over. A lot of people are telling us that they would love spaces where they can meet and chat. Where they can become a part of a community. Maybe this effort will lead to that. And as the trees keep growing and the park gets greener, I am sure ‘Apna Park’ will continue to be the love of the community.  

Vol. story 1

It’s mine!

More often than not, people tend to get consumed by their lives.  

Sometimes a dry smile is all that can be spared for their neighbours, if they happen to know them at all. 

We live in a typical urban community with twelve or so houses. There is a community park close by – according to the black stone plaque on the park’s wall and Google map, at least.

To the locals, the once “Nangal ground” (a ground used for feeding people at house- warming ceremonies) has long become nothing but a dumping ground. 

One of the several perks the pandemic has offered is that we have more time for ourselves and for the people close to us. It all started with a casual chat on the weekend amongst neighbours. The conversation was around the park and how this could be a great time to clean it up – to restore it back to become a place to meet and and be with one another. That which it was supposed to be. 

We all gathered in the park with whatever tools we had and started cleaning up the space. Our intention was to do it ourself. We piled the garbage and burned it, removed the weeds, and levelled the ground. A lot of people showed up in the next couple of weeks – men, women and children of different ages. 

A few people even purchased some gardening tools from the market to support this effort. We could all feel the community spirit that we often read about or hear of from others. We made a corner dedicated to garbage, from where the UIT garbage collection van could come and pick it up. We also made a clear path for people to walk on. 

Starting a fire is one thing and having it burn for long is another. We know this project can only succeed if people keep volunteering with the same excitement. We want everyone to feel it’s their own park. Just like they take care of their home. We needed to think what it would take to make it a place where people would want to come and spend time. Planting trees and creating a garden seemed like a good idea. For that we needed saplings.  

Dharohar was kind enough to give us saplings. 

We planted these saplings along the boundary wall and now we have “Neem wali gali’, ‘Gulmohar avenue’, ‘Kaner bagh’, and ‘Amaltas row’ in the park. 

Four weeks later, all plants are healthy and growing, and some of them are noticeably taller. Almost every morning, four to five volunteers can be seen at the park doing their bit – whether it’s levelling the ground, clearing out the weeds or the moss from the walls. 

This has been a humbling experience for us – to see so many people actively participate each day of the week, while others, like us, have been able to give time only on weekends. 

Now the challenge will be to keep the spirit alive even after the pandemic is over. A lot of people are telling us that they would love spaces where they can meet and chat. Where they can become a part of a community. Maybe this effort will lead to that. And as the trees keep growing and the park gets greener, I am sure ‘Apna Park’ will continue to be the love of the community.