Welcome to this travel blog which is inspired by the wandering clouds effortlessly gliding through distant lands. Sometimes almost still as if watching the beauty of the earth below and at times rushing to some place far away – as if on an endless travel mission. This is where I share my observations, experiences and thoughts gathered during my travels

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Some things change and some things don't

Spaces for children in urban areas are dwindling rapidly and Mumbai is no exception. Very few parks have been designed keeping children in mind. One of the oldest parks that has been the top favourite among children is the Kamala Nehru Park. All those who have grown up in Mumbai would recollect that this used to be a regular spot for school picnics. After all these years, when I passed by Kamala Nehru Park some time ago, it was heartening to see that at least some things in life are still the same.

Old Shoe at Kamala Nehru Park
Located on top of Malabar Hill, the Kamala Nehru Park was full of children. It was so nice to see children running around, talking excitedly, chasing each other, hiding behind the trees and conveniently ignoring their parents.  The Old Shoe structure was still there, in fact it was freshly painted and I remembered how we would impatiently jostle each other inside the stairwell so that we would be the first ones to climb up to the balcony. After enjoying the view, we would come back and try to climb up the shoe from the other end. I could not help seeing myself among the children trying the very same stunts. At that time, we thought the Old Shoe was very very big. I suppose our perspective of space and size changes as we grow older because this time I thought the Shoe was actually not all that big. I have no idea why the Old Shoe was constructed, but it is said that it was inspired by an old nursery rhyme (There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do; She gave them some broth without any bread; Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed). Since the nursery rhyme itself is horrifying, I wonder if it could have inspired something so wonderful. Thankfully, I was not taught this rhyme in kindergarten, or else I would have got terrified to go even close to the Shoe.

At Hanging Gardens, Mumbai
Next to the Kamala Nehru Park is the Hanging Gardens, which as a child I had mixed up with The Hanging Gardens of Babylon! The garden has interestingly cut hedges that form shapes of different animals. I think the trees and hedges have thinned down and are quite sparse than what they used to be when I was a kid. Standing there facing westwards, one can see the Queen’s Necklace and the mighty Arabian Sea. As a child, I remember feeling overawed, not so much by the sea but by the tall buildings and imposing offices which looked so distant in all respects. Now as I write about it, I am reminded of a quote which my friend and fellow blogger, Swagata had recently shared with me:
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered” by Nelson Mandela in A Long Walk to Freedom.


  1. yes indeed..memories...when you go back everything flashes like a movie...you can figure out yourself out there. yup..I have experienced it too.
    Have a nice day

  2. The only Malabar Hill I've visited was on Lord Howe Island ... a little bit different to YOUR Malabar Hill!! But it didn't have the wonderful hanging gardens - not surprising you've mistaken them for the gardens of Babylon!!

  3. nice post! i too have fond memories of both, kamala nehru park as well as hanging garden... and the shoe in our pic looks better than it did the last time i went there... took my son there just once, but he wasnt really impressed by the shoe! i remember loving it!

  4. @ Jayendrasharan and Anu - isn't it wonderful that one can go back to the same places and look back again thru a different lens!
    @Red Nomad OZ - :) Thanks for visiting again.

  5. Memories are great when pondered down memory lane. I've never been to these parks and surely looking forward to visiting on my next trip to India.

    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog :)

  6. I have heard the first line of that nursery rhyme before. Didn't know the remaining was this nasty.

  7. @ Kiran - Thanks!
    @Kirklops - There is much written and analysed about the depictions, metaphors and imagery found in old English nursery rhymes and how they reflected the situation at that time. They must have served some purpose then, but today they would indeed seem nasty and abusive towards the same children who are supposed to be entertained and educated through the rhymes. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Nice post and the nice quote at the end!

  9. I remember the shoe in the park too and I had gone there in the 60s when I was a pre-teen. Like you, I had also thought that it was India's own Hanging Gardens :) Good to know children still enjoy the park.

  10. @ zephyr - the kids seemed to be having pure fun in the park. Thankfully, there still exist such places for them.