It seemed bigger then, trees so plentiful and enormous, pine needles thick and browning on the ground, the paths covered in white sand, and that passage with its queer reddish tiles, shaded by bougainvillea that streaked down the sides, so sublime then that it had etched itself into our hearts. Only the structure remains now, scrawny vines snaking along its top. The place is strewn with discarded bottles and plastic wrappers of various snacks. Cigarette stubs glaze the ground by the benches. The monkey bars have disappeared, as have the seesaws and the slide. The fountain has dried up as has the ‘pond’ where water lilies bloomed and tadpoles swum in their multitudes. Young people come here to snack and smoke. The older ones sit under the trees at noon, gazing at their feet, lost in thought. The trees still stand but around them, where grass and pine needles covered the ground, is nothing but dusty soil. The sweepers, old and burugaaed, with their plastic fibre sacks and ekel brooms, would sweep and make small piles of dried leaves and inorganic waste. They stuff these into the sacks and disappear, only to come and re-enact the process another day. But despite their attempts, the place remains unsightly. And nothing can stop its decline; the place had lost its soul long ago, even before the last tadpole matured and was squished underfoot. Adieu.
photo: ressaaa galaaa