cover photo by: Anushree Fadnavis
Wherever you travel around the world, it’s always nice to encounter happy people and this lively street in Mumbai, India just may be the happiest street in the world!
“Welcome to Equal Streets!” says Shilpa, a local resident in Mumbai who travels over 45 minutes by car every Sunday to hang out on the ‘STREET OF FUN’ as it is being referred to locally.
As in Mumbai, traffic is much in line with the growing population, and as with most densely populated cities there becomes a lack of space to simply chill, let your hair down and mingle with strangers… the parks are equally congested, and so a local initiative has been granted supported by the local government office and the Mumbai Police, where a stretch of 6.5km of usually congested traffic on the busy Linking Road in Bandra gets closed in order for the local residents to take over and do whatever leisure activity they like.
“It’s a brilliant initiative where the public claim the streets for whatever they wish to do! It’s an area filled with lively characters and is fun for the family and the individual, be it young or old!” said Ankita Shah, a local poet.
The initiative runs every Sunday between the hours of 7am to 12pm and was the idea of a collective of local NGO’s, think tanks, citizens associations and cycling groups with the goal being to help residents re-envision their own streets as open-air dance studios, yoga ashrams, gymnasiums, art galleries… just like a lively, open-air community centre.
‘The Spiritual Company’ are one group of lively citizens who run regular sessions for the community to enjoy themselves and be ‘at one’ with their fellow beings. They are regular attendants at this street of fun to spread their message of togetherness for all.
“We are here every Sunday and we gather folks to join us in dancing, doing Yoga, and drawing on the road with chalk. We just want to spread the joy and encourage more togetherness and happiness!” said one of the members of the group.
So everyone local in Mumbai, or even anyone visiting the city. If you fancy a weekly mingle-fest with fun, happy people then Equal Streets in the Bandra region of the city is the place to be.
You’ll also find free Pilates sessions, live music, roller skating groups, chess players, bikers and people just expressing their creativity in any way they feel.
“You can dance on the street, you can draw on the road, and you can even sleep out in public if you want! It’s such a cool initiative and this concept should spread to every city in the world!” said Shilpa, a lively local resident who has fun here very week!
We’d open up this concept idea to anyone who wishes to suggest it… picture major cities of the world all doing something like this for it’s local citizens, and if so could it work? Picture well known locations such as Oxford Street in London closing all of its long stretch of traffic for pedestrians, or the entire Times Square region in New York closed to traffic. How about at the famously busy Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan? Now that would be giving back some ‘power to the people!!!’
It’s also quite a good initiative for charity projects and local grass roots projects in any city to regularly publicise their work at no cost… just some extra food for thought, so SPREAD THE WORD!
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Filming / Pics by: Arun Asthana at Newsivity India
Edit: Guavo Media for Newsivity