It was one of those trips where I got into the back seat of the car and I settled down. I did not have to bother with the parking once I reached the destination. The destination on that day was my younger daughter’s school and it was the “annual sports day” after a gap of 3 years. Then I realised that I had forgotten one thing. I had forgotten to carry the mask. When I reached the venue, I saw that it didn’t matter.
It was our go-to driver whom I had requested for that Saturday as he was aware of the best routes, traffic congestions, and places which we normally go to. So we reached my daughter’s school 15 minutes before the start. That was the target we had set for ourselves as we didn’t want to take the car and get jammed in front of the school looking for a parking place.
The large ground had been converted to a temporary stadium with racing tracks and surrounded with chairs covered with tents in place of stands. I spotted a drone hovering above us. The place had a festive air with flags of various colours fluttering in the air. Behind one of the “stands” were the food stalls. We took a place from where we could see the 100 m race as our daughter was participating. It was a sunny day and I was enjoying the whole ambience and so decided to stand for some time. In fact, my wife also asked me, ” Why you are not sitting? ” pointing to the number of chairs around us. I was very keen to see what was going around and that required a certain vantage point. The chill in the air was great and so I had to wear my full sleeves shirt over my t-shirt. In the next couple of hours, I was amazed at the kind of scenes which played out in front of us
- As more people started flocking into the ground, I saw people jostling for chairs. I saw one elderly person and a young lady arguing about why they needed the chair, I saw a middle-aged lady carrying chairs
- People were busy photographing “balloons” that were set off during the opening ceremony.
- The chief guest was speaking but nobody was listening, In fact, thanks to drone coverage I too saw him o on the LCD panel
- People thronged with full family and dressed like they were having a picnic day, we seem to have forgotten Covid
- I saw just a few people wearing masks and they were making an identity statement
- People were taking selfies with popcorn while children were doing the parade on the ground
- Noticed people started milling around us as well and it was clear that if I move two steps in any direction the nice place where I was standing would be gone
- Our segment of the audience was busy with chair picking, eating potato wrap, video broadcasting
- Horse riding with kids from the school was another attraction apart from Bike acrobatics
- The guy who made it close to me and managed to rub shoulders and sit on the parapet was still holding the potato wrap stick. He knew it, if he leaves that is it …..
- There was one guy noticeably with folded hands watching all of the proceeds with rapt attention
- The drone was doing some feed onto the large LCD and we got a glimpse of the Chief guest finally
- The horse jumped over, Clapping and the jockey was patting the horse on his neck so to speak
- Saw after a gap of several years saw Sony handy cam, along with SLRs, DSLRs, drones, and a plethora of phone models
- Whoever comes first in running, the volunteer person will write on his or her palm, hoping it is like the ink that stays for long enough to dry and there is no impersonation
- I saw one wife holding her husband’s hand and making sure he was walking along with her
- A defining moment was when I heard the guy who was walking telling his daughter who was getting ready for the race “ mother is lost in the crowd in the ground ”
- Moms were busy making sure their children were encouraged to compete before the race and fed well after the race
- Dads carrying young infants… there was one observation “ happiness was written all over their faces”
- The sack race, three-legged race, hurdles race, and blind run were some of the more entertaining events in the competition.
- One T-shirt quote caught my attention, ” Find a way or fade away”
- My wife was busy reading a book on her kindle “Science of Storytelling” when all the above scenes were playing out in public
It was a perfect morning, with the sun shining brightly with a little chill that made me wear a shirt over my t-shirt. I was mindfully mindless. When was the last time I had to hold my ground and guard my place so it was not taken?
Race day took me back to my school sports day. Having participated in track and field races I could sense the excitement in the field. Finally, post the race I could hear some conversations. Bronze guys wanted silver, Silver guys wanted gold, and gold guys’ parents wanted better timing. So happiness is a myth and cannot be pursued. Philosophically It is a “by-product” of life. Practically it turned out to be a “buy-a-product” to make my daughter feel good about life. We saw a red-faced daughter. Was it because of the fun in the sun or the result of the run? My wife ended up ordering my daughter’s favourite meal for lunch that day. Happiness ensued…
I was reading a column about our city and it captured what I felt that day
The uniqueness of the city is something you can’t get anywhere else. It’s a non-interfering city that makes you stay for a long time ( particularly on the road!). People love the weather, language is not a deterrent and people are soft, fun, and culturally supportive. I liked the family spirit of cheering their children and also in the process enjoying the outing. After all who doesn’t like to have …