While visitors have been barred from the Park since Mid March, there are a set of service personnel who have been working through the entire period of the lockdown to keep the park clean each day.
Past peak summer, there is a fresh feel about the Nageswara Rao Park this second week of June. The entire pathway is clean. The Bermuda grass (G2) that had been laid has grown into a beautiful lawn. Right in the middle of the park, one finds beautiful, colourful flowers.
Sivakumar, VP (administration), Sundaram Finance, who manages the improvement initiatives at the park, says that close to 15 service personnel arrive at the park every morning at 9am.
“A few of them have been assigned the task of sweeping the huge park. It is the task of a few others to carry the fallen leaves and wastes to a designated area in the park. Some others water the plants,” he adds.
Today, the sounds of the birds seem to be sweeter than ever before as they have made the park their home during the lockdown.
Chartered accountant K. Vignesh, who resides 100 yards away east of the park, had lost his parrot 8 months ago. He spends an hour every morning and evening walking around the park calling out for Meenu, his parrot.
“I sense the increase in the chirping of birds. From the peripheral of the park, it is lovely to see the amount of greenery inside the park,” he says.
There used to be a special buzz on the first Sunday of the month with the kutcheri of young musical talent. Former IOB cricketer 67 year old Rocko Sundar who has lived all this life in Luz Avenue near the park says he misses spending time inside.
“Unlike the period in the 1960s and 70s when it was dark and quiet especially in the late evenings, the park today has been buzzing with activity. But with the lockdown, it just looks very desolate and wears a forlorn look. But on the positive front, the squirrels and mynahs are back in large numbers,” he says.
After the Vardah cyclone had ravaged the park four years ago, Sundaram Finance had undertaken the huge task of getting the greenery back. A. Sriram, who runs a private healthcare enterprise, resides near Raga Sudha Hall on the west side of the park says that the bats are back at the park “They had been missing for a few years since the cyclone.”
Sriram says he wakes up every morning to the sounds and chatter of the parrots. And he wishes that the bird songs will remain for long.
- Report by S. Prabhu