Calm of the dry winters, while sipping that morning’s cup in the coffee house, was disturbed by a news report. Prominently displayed in the newspaper before me was an item about the only park for children in the city now contemplated to being converted into an Ice Skating Rink.
Ladies Park will soon be made into an indoor ice skating rink, the reports screamed. Crowded Shimla, which already faces a legroom crisis for grounds and parks, will now in all probability lose its only children park.
To the group sipping the mornings brew with me it sounded beyond belief. Why a new Ice Skating Rink, when Shimla already boasts of the oldest Ice Skating Rink in Asia, we wondered?
Would not putting a roof over the existing rink be a natural option rather than encroach up a children’s playground.
The conversation got louder and an opinion came from the gentleman, a retired employee, sitting at the adjacent table. “The government could assist the management of the existing ice skating rink, or even take it over to create the necessary infrastructure for having ice-skating round the year. Tourism would certainly benefit as well as the sport would find many takers,” he said.
Charging up after sipping the steaming coffee, one from our group raised his voice, “the existing ice-skating club is poorly managed and is being run more or less like a social club and not a sporting one.” Being one of its members who loved his precious ice-skates and the rink, he was best qualified to represent an insider’s viewpoint.
“The club is registered under the Societies Registration Act and has been run so for about 100 years. If the management had any concern, the best talent for the sport from the club would have been spotted competing at the international level,” he said, silencing the others for a while.
Resignedly he added, “the current sets up of clever people are more involved in scoring petty mileage and keeping control of the club for personal benefits.”
A young set of ladies, sitting at a table across, finding time for a morning round of conversation after having packed off their adolescent children to school, got interested in the Gupshup at our table.
An agitated brunette pitched in, “all of us love children but nobody in the government or the city pays heeds to their requirements. Needled by the High Court, both the state government and the municipal authorities have made many announcements about creating more parks in the city and here we learn that the one park that is centrally located is being eyed for a built up structure to house an ice-skating rink.”
Concluding the discussion, her friend added, “growing children need playgrounds, a certain minister even recently announced plans of developing 4 or 5 new parks but doing so by grabbing an existing one is stabbing a young population, with no voting rights, in the back.”