The Lost Garden

It was an October evening and there on the playground made green by the lush grass and the receding rains were butterflies hopping from one shrub to another on the lookout for that elusive flower that could provide some nectar.

A group of children were huddled together making huts of mud and sticks where the sticks came from twigs, discarded ice cream sticks and dried branches. In that group were budding potters, architects, masons and designers. They surveyed their creation and now made walls of clay. They planted some twigs that now looked as trees in the tiny courtyard. In that group was a boy who was telling stories of long lost kings and warriors to eager ears as the huts were being built.

The sun which was shining so bright on glazed leaves when they had started off was now beating a hasty retreat behind the large block of buildings in which they lived. A miniature well was getting dug and some kid brought water from the nearby tank and poured it into it only to see it disappear. The next generous lot of water persisted in the freshly dug well to make things look complete. They surveyed their creation and sat for some time as the storyteller among them was fast finishing his story partly because it was getting dark and also it was getting difficult to feed his imagination that was now running wild as the script.

There was some sand that had been dumped for construction by a shop long back and this was used by another group of kids who were designing roads and tunnels across and over it.

A puddle of water made by the overflowing tank in the morning had some kids busy digging canals and launching paper boats. This all looked funny to elders and adults surveying the group below from floors above but nevertheless it meant so much to the children who always descended on this play field and got creative every day to make most of the strip of land to feed their imagination.

With the disappearance of such strips of land in metro cities, imagination that was once put to constructive use in such a lost garden, was now restricted to new games that came up for the new generation…

Wonderful foggy night scene at a playground, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, India
Brett Cole Photography


21 thoughts on “The Lost Garden

  1. A narrative invasion of your brain like bees through sleep, the gates of the lost garden are flung open inviting readers to enter and explore… written with profound emotions, Sunith.
    I love this

      1. You’re welcome Sunith
        I recall molding soft clay with my hands to build a dream house when I was a child
        These days are gone
        But the creativity now seeks to mold words into poetry
        Have a wonderful day ahead

  2. Wonderful post. The sad state of our concrete jungles is robbing children of playgrounds and free fields that we have known in our time. What’s even more sad is that no one – not residents, not the government, and certainly not the builders, are concerned about conretizing the landscape of cities. Here in Pune, I have seen so many housing societies that have no gardens or play areas for children. What are they to do for recreation but to land in front of the tv and stuff their minds will mindless rubbish? Your post brings out this loss of an important part of childhood very well.

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