Kids' Ways to Change Mumbai


Pandit Nehru believed that the children of India will shape its future. What would the children of Mumbai do to change their city? Shreyashi DasGupta finds outů


Children's Day marks the birthday of India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Pandit Nehru was very fond of kids and his birthday is celebrated in recognition of his lifelong passion and work for kids. For the kids it's just another day of pampering and gifting. But, on a more serious note, there are those who wish their voice would be heard at least on this day.

Says Arnaz Singh, a 12-year-old who associates the day with a lot of warmth, affection and goodies, "I celebrate it as a day specially dedicated to me and I hope that we children can shape and change our city for the better. We all have dreams but what's missing is the means to shape those dreams. I would want to be a person the youngsters could reach out to, to achieve their goals. I think that would make Mumbai the city of dreams."

Others are a lot more vociferous in their demand and need for a clean, green and peaceful city to live in. "I want my city to be clean and pollution free," says Aishwarya Sariya, a 12-year-old from Villa Teresa School adding, "I would like to plant more trees and take this initiative further." Not surprisingly, the Mumbai cleanup drive is close to her heart.

Pollution, traffic and population are words that come rolling out when the future of the city is spoken about. Another factor that's taking a toll on young minds is the peace and sanity of the city.

Priya Saha says, "The traffic, over-crowded trains and buses could be cleaned out. May be the Bandra - Nariman Point sea link will be completed in the next few years and that will bring about a much needed change." For 7-year-old Sonia Thakur the most important thing is, "A disciplined and quiet place to live in."

Bina Rajesh on the other hand hopes her magician friend can gift all her classmates a magic wand on this special day. "Maybe that will keep the city clean," she quips. She also wishes one of the big corporates would gift garbage bins to the city to help ensure cleanliness.

With bomb blasts, attacks and riots bringing the city to a stand still, 12-year-old Pradeep Kakkar from St. Mary's School points out that, "Violence should have no space in our system, I dream of a peaceful city."

"Can't we add magic around us like in the Harry Potter books? I want free space where kids like us can play, have fun and breathe fresh air," dreams Tanya Mehta, an 11-year-old from Bright Start School. In fact many kids wish to see the city grow into something like the cities abroad with underground trains, parks, greenery and calm and peaceful surroundings.

There is a common thread that binds all these wishes together..."United we stand, divided we fall" were Priya Saha's closing words. We would like to borrow the young girl's quote and hope Mumbai can complete the dreams of these little ones.

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