Coffee House Gup-Shup: Park or ice-skating rink

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.

Children enjoy the morning chill out at Ice Skating Rink, Shimla

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.”

A marketing professional, adventure enthusiast and a part time writer

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  1. says: Prateek malhotra

    Dear sir ,
    This is to bring to your kind notice and all the concerned people who are wondering what is happening at the park,as read in the newspapers they are not giving the whole park they are just giving a section of it, and this is to bring to your kind notice that it’s not a permanent ice skating rink.No concrete construction or haphazard activity can be done there.Indeed it will be beneficial for the children who don’t have anything to do after school.The park can be solely be used for the purpose of entertainment and sports and it’s not being encroached for personal use,it can rather be used for sports as a recreational park.They will not be making any building on the park, it is going to remain as it is.It will be better if we are patient and wait to see the outcome of the park,whether it will be used more efficiently and effectively.
    P.S. As read in the newspapers earlier the ladies parkthat park was earlier used by people who were dating or youngsters abusing their health, a systemised entry to the park will keep a check on the activities in the park.

  2. says: Vikrant singh

    I truly agree with this chap, Prateek Malhotra. Ladies park is not being used for what it’s meant for. All kinds of wrong and shady crap happens there as told by the locals. And I’m sure the locals are the most credible source available.
    And I have a known person working in the state government who gave me some info about this project. Even he was upbeat about it.
    The current skating rink is all natural which is quite different from the artificial ice skating rink this project boasts of and also seasonal. And being a skater myself , I can say that the artificial ice is far more fun and crazy when compared to the artificial one and also it will be open round the year. I can vouch that this will be a huge hit amongst the youngsters and certain adult skating fanatics like me.
    It will be a huge crowd puller and a major tourist attraction in Shimla.
    And as mentioned by Mr. Malhotra, if only a section of the park will be used for the skating and the remaining will still be used as a recreational park , then I don’t see what the fuss is all about. As such the Ladies Park is a mess. It will be nice if its used for something productive.
    So rather than denouncing this project , I hope the writer of this article should be more inclined in knowing more about it and then come to a conclusion ( which I’m sure will change) rather than criticising it with non-credible information. Peace !

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