The magical mystery tour
During our earlier stint in Kolkata, we lived in salt lake with my parents rather than in the official accommodation, and went for our morning walk to Central Park, a wooded haven of green forestry surrounding a lake with an island connected by a pathway.
My six years old and very imaginative daughter accompanied us, and this bit of wild fired her imagination to create a magical world out there..
The island immediately became cannibal isles, and the innocuous members of the laughter club became the cannibals with their ravan like ha ha ha belly laughs.
The yoga enthusiasts became the other savage tribes, grunting and performing strange battle dances. The birdirs were the explorers looking for a mythical beast and the fish in the lake were sea monsters like godzilla.
You had to be careful about your steps, for in some stretches stepping outside the flagstones could lead to disaster, as it was bewitched, and only our guide, my daughter, who had magical powers, could navigate through. The map at the entrance was of course a treasure map.
The years passed by. My parents are no more. My kids have grown up and flown the nest. I have retired and moved back to Kolkata and our house in Salt lake.
I once again have started my morning walk in Central Park. But now I go alone as the LOH comes here at an ungodly hour when I’m fast asleep
There are a number of uprooted trees from the last cyclone dotting the park. The place is overgrown, the lake is chock-full of weeds, there’s plastic waste littering the grounds, there are far more people walking and exercising or bird watching, a shanty town of new Bangladeshi and rohingya immigrants are encroaching with apparently tacit support of political parties, and roadside stalls have come up by the gates, and the parking area is full of cars.
Progress I suppose, but the idyll seemed damaged.
After the initial disappointment, I found a way to relive the old charm.
I too escaped into the magical world.
Now there are more warring tribes, some of whom do war dances, a new tribe of saree clad Amazons have taken over one corner, war council of the tribal elders take place in certain areas, a fierce battle between the lake monster and an abominable jungle giant has left a lot of wreckage, in fallen trees and plastic debris, and the druids at the gate are selling magic potion, while mechanical monsters are confronting hungry hoards in a distopian world just outside the boundaries of the magical land.
My walk has become interesting, but I think some people look strangely at this old man smiling to himself and walking around the park.