Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy Indeed!


Happy 2016!

I wondered for a while what to post for the new year and then finally decided on Happiness. While walking backing home after a Sunday mass, I came across a Happy street in Aundh. True to its name, everyone from kids to adults found on the streets were full of smile and joy. Happy indeed! Streets gave a festive mood with variety of activities like walking, playing football, badminton, cycling, zumba classes, Yoga taking place on streets.

It is a concept that promotes  people friendly streets with vehicle free roads and promotes usage of non motorized transport. It also helps people connect with others in the neighborhood. It is a good way to spend their Sundays on outdoor activities and not wasting time infront of TV or videogames, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle.  It is like an every Sunday fest on the streets!

Happy streets is an initiative by TOI with support from Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune Police and Embarq. It was initially held in Aundh and later extended to Kalyaninagar as well. It is a simple concept of demarcating  certain roads as happy streets and gets closed for automobiles. Only pedestrians and cyclists are allowed. This event is successfully held in other cities like Coimbatore, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Navi Mumbai , Kolkatta etc. It has managed to draw thousands of citizens from across the city with unique concept of combining fitness with fun. It offers a Sunday outing for the family on vehicle free roads. People  meet, talk, share, do yoga,zumba gets rejuvenated before starting their next week. Makes people healthy, happy and fit.

Happy streets is modeled on Ciclovia festival of Colombia, South America. Ciclovia is a Spanish term that means cycleway- either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians.  Each Sunday and public holiday from 7 am to 2 pm, certain main streets of Bogota, Cali and Medellin and other municipalities are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters, and bicyclists. At the same time, stages are set up in city parks, aerobics instructors , yoga teachers and musicians lead people through various performances. Bogota’ s weekly ciclovias are used by approximately 2 million people (about 30% of the population) on over 120 km of car free streets. The inspiration for Ciclovias is credited to Bogota with events having taken place since December 1974 . The Ciclovia was awarded under the II International Competition 2005 Active Cities Healthy Cities for its contribution to the development of an alternative and efficient physical activity in the city.  Like India, many other countries have taken up this initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle.


Happy streets is held every Sunday 7-11 am on ITI and DP road, Aundh. All activities are free of cost. Do drop by!

Anu Kuncheria
anukuncheria@gmail.com