If you ask the taxiwallah to take you to Veer Baji Prabhu Udyan, most likely he would shake his head no, some would ask you “kidhar” (where?) wanting to confirm. This place is not known by its name, a trait that is common to most Indian addresses.
Situated in the Marathi heartland, this locale has varied sports facilities; couple of gymkhanas, swimming pool, scouts & guides center, shooting range and a huge maidan. No wonder maharastrians have a sporting streak!
It is comparatively a small garden but I would call it an appropriate one. It is a narrow stretched piece of land along the seaside. Though it lacks the extravagance of spaced green lawns and vast trees, what makes it good are all the essentials put together in a nice layout. A big arch gate welcomes you as you step inside.
Canopied trees are missing but the whole park is flush with coconut trees and palms. This in my opinion poses a potential danger! How? As coconut trees swaying in breeze can occasionally drop its seeds, branches and coconuts too! So I am happy when K chooses to scurry around rather than sit and pluck out weeds. The landscape has a slight dip towards the sea that can be figured out from the stepped contours. Why have precast benches then?
The entire play area has sports flooring. Taking its advantage, I have seen boys doing smart street dance stunts, like somersaults, pivoting on their heads, walking on their hands (meaning upside down), etc. I don’t know what you call it, hip hop dance may be.
The play equipments seem in very good condition. There are separate toddlers’ swings and slides. You can see mothers ploping babies from one ride to the other on demand. Well what can the kiddies do, its just so tempting. She wiggles and wants to swing so I stand patiently in the queue and when I seat her, she wants to slide and when I put her on that she wants to see-saw. When no one’s interested in the see-saw I get my biceps worked. Adjacent to it is a decent sized sand pit area where you can catch kids making mud houses and cooking with their beach set.
Towards the left of the entrance there’s an amphitheater which encircles a roofed stage. We were once lucky to catch a rock concert on a weekend. There are no special walking tracks here but right across the road there is the shivaji park maidan which circumferences a nice stoned track.
This place is always buzzing. Its fun to do some people watching here, just sit on one of the steps and catch some breath. You will find laborers relaxing or taking a quick nap. Teenage couples holding hands shyly and a few who don’t care, you have to shy away from. Office goers taking a break and seated with their laptops on the side. Girls seated on the grass, gossiping gaily with their books on their laps. Senior citizens walking their way to good health.
If you are interested in venturing out a bit more then just off the wall of the garden you can take a horse ride by the shore. Merely walking on the sand can liberate you from the ever congested city, even though momentarily. And a treat of sev puri by the seaside would spice up your evening.
It is a very well kept garden. Because of the sea front the whole place feels spacious and breezy.