Frisbee sessions, yoga music and art enthral all

Written By Unknown on Senin, 02 Maret 2015 | 22.23

The last time I played frisbee was at least a decade ago," said Pradip Agarwal, laughing as he prepared to toss the disc to his son Ayush, on a stretch along Bandra's Linking Road on Sunday. Agarwal, who lives in Khar, said it was a revelation to find the street free of the traffic chaos that plagues it on weekdays.

Since its launch in November 2014, the Equal Streets movement has provided a much-needed weekly breather to the Agarwals and about 50,000 other Mumbaikars. Brought to the city by NGOs, think-tanks, citizens' associations and cycling groups, and supported by the BMC, Mumbai police and the Times of India, the initiative involves closing a 6.5-km stretch to motorized vehicles from 7am to 11am every Sunday. The route extends from Bandra's HP junction down Linking Road before looping back to the junction via SV Road.

The stretch is overrun with people of all ages taking part in net football, dance aerobics or yoga sessions, making street art or simply wandering about listening to the street musicians, without needing to dodge a maze of vehicles. While those living in the neighbourhood are now accustomed to stopping by for a quick game of badminton or frisbee before brunch, many have made it a point to visit from as far as Borivli.

On Sunday's roster were workshops on growing plants indoors, on-the-spot cartoon drawing, archery, net football, pickle ball, as well as sessions on first aid. Yoga and aerobics had been organized by teams from Reebok Fitness, Santacruz's Yoga Institute and Gold's Gym. There was also a session by Capoeira India on the Brazilian martial arts form that incorporates music and dance, and one on Falun Dafa, a Chinese spiritual discipline.

For those looking to try their hand at crafts, there was origami, painting, and even graffiti-drawing. The frisbee sessions by the Storm Chasers gang were a hit with all ages. "My favourite part of Equal Streets is the group of musicians (from the National Streets for Performing Arts)," said banker Sameer Vyas. "I usually pass this stretch on my way to work, and it's a relief hearing something other than constant honking. Makes me feel like I'm on vacation."

With the city caught by surprise by a drizzle on Saturday evening, visitors made the most of the cool weather. "It'd be great to drop by every Sunday," said Kritika Nachani, whose daughter Bhumi (6) nodded in approval. "I want to do skating and dancing next time," she chimed in.

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