Our Community Picnic – Duke Island Park Bridgewater
There are very few perfect days in a year – and this was one of them! June 25 this past week! After a deluge of rain, hailstorms and deep dark angry clouds the preceding day, the sun shone with bright optimism the next, only to assure us that it was in concurrence with our community picnic plans! Saturday beckoned us with a salubrious sunshine, brushed with a light breeze!!!
Picnic In Duke Island Park
Off we went to the Duke Island Park – happily situated in a set back area of Bridgewater, and the early arrival association members set up the badminton/volley ball court, (did we have a cricket pitch? Hmmmm…..I wonder!) the food tables, got the grill going and all was gung ho!! The evite was for 11AM but usually folks come strolling in around noon time to mid day.
The grand part of the picnic is that it is altogether casual and you come as you are, without the dress up pressure! No quibbles about ‘Oh what shall I wear without repeating it?’ It’s always great to see all kinds of casual apparel, like men in shorts, women in funky gear, sunhats, long dresses, glitzy glitters, and a slick shoe parade!! And children come in an assortment of casual gear, – little girls in summer dresses, reminiscent of Holly Hobbie bonnet lassies looking cute as ever!!
The Park is vast and grand. Our park portion was a large stretch of green set against a wooden under-based, iron awninged shed, to protect from both sun and rain. There are many individual sets of stone benches and tables encircling this shed, which houses inside it, more wrought iron-grill bench and table sets – very handy for all kinds of sitters and loungers. There are very large grills provided on both ends of the shed for multi purpose grilling. The park is a part of a gigantic green, where they have divided up the lots into smaller areas of public use. A Japanese bridge connects our end of the park to the rest of the lawns as indeed a circular drive through the park.
Our picnic site is very conducive to community style ‘ganging and hanging out’ and of course there was plenty of room for eats and play and a clear huge sky patch to fly kites in!!
The kids always have a ball there, usually hunting in the surrounding woods for strange creatures, bugs and flora; this time chasing a pair of froggies around the prefab john….much to the mothers’ chagrin but to their own violently intense joy!! Soon, as families came milling in, the aroma of the Tandoori chicken began to waft in the air and a large varied feast was laid out for the lot –
The food spread was big and varied, and included Poori Aalu, mixed Taahiri, Dahi Saunth ki Paapri, Tandoori chicken, a mixed medley of submarine sandwiches, Thhandaai, tarbooz, many different sodas, and finally 4 varieties of ice cream! Something for every age palate! There was tons of food, and everyone was hogging merrily along as they chit chatted with the old and newcomers, and much fun was had by all. There were about 75 people including kids – and we call that a nice turnout!
Our more vigorous picnickers are always fully involved in their games, usually volleyball. Cricket pitches are also set up but I am not sure if I saw the game in action – perhaps our recent victory has vicariously proved a triumph in every imagination as well! This time however, the kites were a huge favourite and some of them actually lost theirs to the clouds!! Some of the lassies also participated in this flying kite gig and enjoyed the take offs!!
Antaakshari is a very traditional Mathur thing to have in a picnic, so of course everyone who knew anything about any music was linked into this and Ashish on his tub-drum kept the maza going……Rajesh the evergreen dance buff and Mukesh the forever-jump-into-the-arena guy were rangeela additions to the foottapping music tunes……and it turned out a very enjoyable run for post repast activity for the laid backs!! There were 2 newcomer ladies who happened to have the biggest inputs into the game – one was Priya’s (and Gaurav, Princeton) mother Mamta and the other – Arti’s Kapur’s mother in law. Music when it blends from the melodious 50’s up to the swinging modern dhama dhums can nonetheless creep happily into every heart and can liven up any party.
Rahul and Parul, the chief coordinators of the picnic, organized the gig very well, and were totally on target with their arrangements of every kind. Naturally a team pitches in for sundries, and it is all a game of divide the jobs and conquer the show – as it turned out, it was a roaring success, colourful, entertaining and cheery!! A few of us always have to have a hand in it, in order to create a happy heartfulfilling time for all, and we are thrilled that we have a group that boasts of community and common fun times through the year, on some pretext! A round of applause goes out to all the Association members who make it their responsibility to come forth and manage a wonderful time for all attendees.
All those who joined the picnic this year :-
Amar-Astha & son, Anurag-Anuja-Kareena, Arun-Mithlesh, Arvind-Geeta Mathur, Ashish-Shaloo-Aniha, Bob-Preeti, Brijesh Dayal, Dinesh Lal (India), Dinesh-Pushpa, Gaurav-Priya & children, and mother Mamta (India), Mukesh, Nitin-Kajal-Aryan, Nishith-Parul & daughter, Parshottam-Kamini, Pulkit-Neha & new baby girl, Rahul-Parul-Siddharth-Divya, Rahul-Ruchi-Reya-Anya, Rajesh-Kavita, Shelly-Nandini-Anisha-Ayush, and Shelly’s parents (India), Rajni Sheri-Sonu-Reeya, Ritesh-Vinita, Sudhir, Suman, Sunil Kapur-Arti, children & Mr. & Mrs Kapur/parents (India)Sunil-Rashmi-Ronit and mother, Utkarsh-Ruchita-Sahil-Aarav.
To conclude the day, Bob elicited from the appreciative audience, a round of heartfelt and fitting applause to thank Rahul-Parul for having arranged the complete picnic event, as well as the team of volunteers for their valuable inputs; introduced all newcomers, and Rahul Srivastava spoke briefly about the upcoming Dine n Learn. Somehow it’s always an optimistic end to any event, if we have something else to look forward to, shortly afterwards. And as a unique community band, we promise to deliver exciting surprises all the way!! Do keep a lookout for more……..!!! And of course, if you want to spot yourselves, do peek at the pictures of the picnic – they are all here!!