‘Happy you -happy me makes a happy street!’. Emblazed in colour was the street of Nashik. The stretch from Big Bazaar to D’Souza colony marked the happy street. An initiative by Times of India that aims to promote community bonding and healthy lifestyle for the people of Nashik. The objective is to reclaim a stretch of road space from auto mobiles and opening them to the public every Sunday to create a whole new healthy, sustainable & vibrant city street experience. The event is organised on Sundays for four consecutive Sundays between 7.30 A.M to 9.30A.M
17th February, marked the first Sunday of Happy Streets and it turned out to be a wonderful morning as Nashikites marched ahead to witness a visual treat reliving the memories of a totally pollution-free city that Nashik was a few years down the line. College Road, which is otherwise ruled by errant drivers and unruly traffic, was reclaimed for two-and-a-half hours and thronged by hundreds of residents, who enjoyed fun-filled activities.
A concept launched across the country including: Pune, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Kolkata and Lucknow. Nashik saw two-hours of action-packed Sunday morning fun and frolic with participants getting a chance to roam around freely, play, dance, sing…the list is long. If you have the talent display it! Entertain the masses and spread happiness around. Many came with their own sports equipment, cycles, rangoli, painting with friends and family members to walk, dance, explore and see the excitement on the streets.
Neither the Saturday night showers nor the Sunday morning cloud cover could keep Nashikites indoors as they reached College Road in droves, drawn by the spirits of Happy Streets.
Reema More, a homemaker said she was all excited to be a part of the event but woke up with apprehensions if the event was called off because of the bad weather. “But the moment I heard the sound of music on the street on Sunday morning, I realised that the event was on and I came out will my family. I was happy.”
After a break on February 22 following a bandh called in the wake of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare’s death, the event returned this Sunday with all its charms. Though the event saw a beginning on 1st March two hours late than the schedule because of the weather conditions, the road, otherwise ruled by unruly traffic, was reclaimed by hundreds of Nashikites in no time. After all, there was no dearth of attractions —badminton, hula hoops, the good old marbles, zumba, dance, musical bands, cycling, skating, rangoli competition, face painting. The fresh additions included a fashion show by young children, as well as magic mehendi and art work by children. Another feature that was a smash hit was a competition of social messages — the most popular being the one-or two-liners on environment and the need to stop use of plastic.
“I strongly believe that no pollutants should be released into river water and turn it into a nullah. The river water is as pure as holy water and that is what I have tried to propagate through my message,” said Shobha Pahade, who inscribed a message on the wall for a pollution-free Godavari.
Sachin Sandip, who teachers at a private institute, said he got his students to display their art work like paper bags and eco-friendly items such as earrings made of cloth ,face-painting and nail art. “People’s response was overwhelming. It was nice for the students to understand the products accepted in the market, what are the choices and how to deal with potential customers,” he said.
Face-painting, live sketching, zumba, and music band were among the most sought after events serving as crowd pullers.