|Queue for that bargain sale?|
Any guesses what the above picture is all about? No, it is not the crowd of Diwali shoppers at Ranganathan St. or Gariahat Junction. No, this is not Ahmedabad either where people have queued up demanding reservation. It is also not those routine ‘Run for…..’ marathons which are dime a dozen these days. What you see is one of the busiest traffic junctions in one of the fastest growing cities in India. It is the Diwan Bahadur Road/Thiruvengada Swamy Road junction in R.S.Puram, Coimbatore. It is a picture of Happy Streets!
An initiative of Times Of India Group and Coimbatore Police, Happy Streets is a programme wherein no vehicular traffic is allowed on the stretch covering the two streets between 7 AM to 10 AM on Sunday! It is an initiative to get citizens to walk that extra mile. An initiative to let people realize what they were missing. A Traffic, noise, stress and parking woes free roads!
|A 'normal' Coimbatore street!|
You know the initiative is a hit when your children wake up on their own on a Sunday morning at 6 AM! As it has been the case with many a household in Coimbatore ever since Happy Streets happened. You know the citizen support the initiative when polite notices and barricades asking people to cooperate by leaving their vehicles behind or take a diversion are adhered to with a smile. You know the programme is a success when the otherwise choc-a-bloc streets are free of honking cars, indisciplined bikers criss crossing or the arguments over parking are missing.
|Look Mamma! I am climbing ladders!|
You know you are onto a good thing when the above are replaced by a buzz! Buzz of human voices, chirp of children and an occasional ‘thwak’ of bat hitting the ball or a crescendo of a Laughter Club!
|Cricket, Football Same Same!|
Or showcase struggling art forms!
Can we ever be away from music and dance? Never!!
|Dandia minus the danda!|
Or simply give the Taekwando School a miss for a day. Only the school not Takewando!
Happy Street for us and Happy Street for them too. They would approve of Happy Hours too if it meant this!
|Thank You Sir!|
I am told this is not so unique an initiative, other cities also have or had such a programme. If such is the case, bravo Coimbatore for having joined the club. And if not, I hope other cities emulate the same. The sheer thrill of letting your hair down on the main roads far removed from the chaos that the streets witness is indeed a unique, relaxing and a refreshing experience.
One sore point though. While the citizen enjoyed the Happy Streets, what they left behind didn't leave a happy feeling. At least not for the folks in the picture below. Don't we owe them a Happy Street too Coimbatore?
|Not So Happy Streets for them!|
PS: How I wish there were some thought provoking street plays too? C'mon Coimbatore! Streets are here, get in the play portion. Make the Happy Streets, Happier Streets!