A Walk in the Park

October 6, 2023by Swati Roy0
From the sidelines of a Bookaroo in the City session.

It was Oct 2. The lane to the basti park was full of temporary stalls displaying all kinds of wares from clothes to masalas to churans. We kept asking around where a storytelling session was being held but without avail. We soon realised the place had multiple parks. In fact one with stools decorated in mosaic style! The mind immediately visualised sitting under one of the large trees and having such sessions through the year possibly with a mobile van of books on the side. Flights of fancy!

Anyway coming back to reality. On not finding the right park we started feeling a little disappointed when the strains of chail chabila wafted in from somewhere. We were told the sound was coming from the Parda wala park. Parda because of the lovely latticed stone screens surrounding the park, I suspect.

At the far end we spotted storyteller Shivani, a bundle of energy, sitting on a chataai with a motley bunch of children. The sight was adorable. Thanks to the initiative of Hyder sahab of AKDN who manages an MCD school in the area we were able to gather the children on a holiday. While the group was engrossed in listening it was interesting to note that a bunch of boys whose scheduled football seemed to be disrupted by Bookaroo started walking gingerly towards the gathering and eventually sat on a platform a little away from the chataais. Once the story neared the end they walked off casually as if not interested. But I caught a twinkle here and a ‘palat’ situation where one of the boys tuned around when there was final cry of joy from the group as they thanked Shivani.

Suddenly I felt someone tugging my sari. A little girl asked if I could recognise her. Though she looked familiar I took a while and soon realised that she was from a nearby library that we had visited earlier in the month.

This seamless sharing of space and camaraderie is what makes Bookaroo in the City so special.

Till next time.

Swati Roy