Life has unarguably become extremely agreeable. It has never been easier to demand and instantaneously obtain comfort than now. The option of never having to leave the tranquility of our homes exists because there is invariably a piece of technology that can get the job done. This leads to an increase in individual productivity. So life cycle becomes fast people adopting scientific advancements and therefore turning into even faster people. The lucidity of the cycle is beautiful.
This would all be great except for the little fact that the feeling of having being left behind creeps up far too often to spoil our utopian existence. This occurrence is not surprising considering the speed that everyone and everything seems to be moving at nowadays. There are bound to be some who life will tend to outstrip with exasperating regularity because they take too much time to adapt, to change, to catch and latch onto the prevalent trends and the mania associated therewith. Some move from the old to the new, not with the conventional glee, but with grudging reluctance. Some like to be absolutely sure first.
They are those annoying people who still cling onto old candies, old games, old phones and other such futile joys that most people have trouble relating with any longer. They seem lost and out of place in these swirls of new sights and sounds surrounding us. They are artefacts of a bygone era. They are the people who run the risk of being reduced to mere relics; because familiarity and loyalty are outmoded in our times of fast food options and faster appearing choices in people. They are the ones who can be callously left swiped (Frank Lampard).
However, what one might forget at this breakneck speed is that these people might just be right. It is possible that they are slow not because they don’t comprehend or are close-minded but because they understand the importance of simplicity and nostalgia better than the rest of us. For some people, lucidity is not the construction of swanky malls and extra icons for the phone screen; instead it is the sight of a bright, woollen scarf (that a squirrel pinched from a distracted human to keep its burrow warm) bungling along the ground that appeals to their idea of logic and practicality. Larcenist squirrels are enough to make some people smile. So naturally, these people don’t create social cliques and crowd clubs to gyrate and party. They congregate uncoordinatedly in parks to look at squirrels.
It is because parks have the same unhurried pace that they live their lives with. Parks are probably the only places that acts a time warp between the world that they are stuck in and the world of their nostalgic dreams that they would like everyone to be a part of. It is because parks hold their preferred little joys in abundance.
Parks have always been my happy place. I believe that whoever comes to one does so because they are looking for a slice of quiet and joy in life (especially the people who laugh at the top of their lungs). They proffer the most elusive thing of our modern times — space. Parks have got something for everyone. People usually can do whatever pleases them (usually; thankfully). And considering the diversity and acceptance that is witnessed, they may be thought of as miniature democracies (without all the noise and the cumbersomeness). A park, in turn, can be as versatile as the kinds of people it harbours.
It is a comfortable place to the fitness enthusiast who is clocking steps on his Fitbit but due to some strange reason has enough romance left to think that running on a treadmill isn’t romantic enough (guinea pig syndrome).
It is a quiet place to the person who sets multiple alarms early morning to find some time to mediate and to bend her body into painful, convoluted postures that help her calm down.
It is an exciting place to the school kids who have been looking forward and preparing for that picnic for days and who get to create the racket that they usually have to subdue.
It is an equally exciting place for the couple that is just getting to know each other and that tends to meander (unconsciously or otherwise) to extend the limited time that they have together.
It is a warm place to the old person, who is looking for a place to soak up the sun for a few hours (I don’t know what they’re thinking but I really want to).
It is a place for artists looking for inspiration, photographers looking for a shot, footballers looking for a pitch, corporate employees looking for respite and even potheads looking for a bench to while away afternoons listening to music and looking at birds and clouds. Sometimes even the people who are afraid to soil their shoes convince themselves to take a walk (and squeeze enough time for a selfie). Parks assimilate everyone without bias.
Most importantly, it is a fun place to the little child. It is a place where he can discover new pastimes by climbing trees, climbing rocks, rolling down from little hillocks, finding swings, fighting for swings, throwing tantrums for cotton candy and having a fun time altogether. It is a place where running amok is legitimate, both for themselves and their imagination.
I recently noticed the sway a good garden holds over me. I was pleasantly surprised to realise that whenever I spend a slight amount of time at one particular place, I automatically tend to find a park that becomes my private refuge.There is something extremely serene and beautiful about them that never gets old. The child in me is always delighted to discover one.
The best bit about parks is that they will never rush past you like life or other people do. They let you be yourself and choose your own pace. They are like old friends who never change, who soothe, who give you a fresh perspective, who give you time for yourself and space when you need it. There is a strange sense of familiarity that develops over time (so much so that everyone has that one park that is ‘my park’). Parks can be great friends if you let them. Some places can be people too (minus the messiness).
Unfortunately they are disappearing at a frightening pace. I don’t know what idea of development rationalizes vertical monstrosities over humble, swaying, green trees but a lot of important people seem convinced of that being the way to go. Maybe I am too slow to understand this right now and so my opinion is obviously incorrect and inconsequential. Maybe I’ll go to the mall to buy something and feel better about life.
PS- Incase you don’t know him, this is Frank Lampard.