Sitting on the bench, Dinesh thought to himself about how, after all these years, somethings were still the same here – the wooden benches, the swings & the slides for children to play, the open playground, the cement stage at the end of the ground – which was used by the town’s amateur theatre group. Dinesh went back to his school days – the cricket matches played on this ground, the annual Fair that used to be held here every Diwali, the plays staged by the local youths on clear December nights. He still clearly remembered the many summer afternoons that he spent lazing on the wooden benches under the big old shed, with his favourite comic-books for company. Those days, he could see his house from his vantage point on the bench. And his mother would always call out from the kitchen window, when it was time for him to go home.

Then, there were not many houses or buildings around. Now, the open plot of land was surrounded by new constructions on all sides. On one side was a group of  mansions. The other sides had multi-storey apartment complexes, with their high balconies looking down on the ground.

The only reason this plot had not been grabbed by any of the builders was because it was still at the centre of a legal dispute between the Desai family and the State Government. Both claimed ownership of the land, and their battle had been moving around from court to court – without any end in sight. The case had originally been filed by the Government against Maneklal Desai, when he had tried to sell the piece of land to a builder. Now, after his death, his son Vinesh was fighting to get back what he believed belonged to his father.

Dad, who threw the ball higher ? Didn’t my throw go higher than Sumod’s ? You have to decide now
Dinesh was brought back to the present by Pramod’s question. His seven year old twins were playing catch in the grass. He and his family had come down from Bangalore for two weeks, as the children had their summer vacations.

Since his mother was not keeping well, Dinesh did not want her to live alone any more. He had convinced her to come & live with them in Bangalore. Once his mother moved in with them, he was not sure when he would come back again, to visit his old home.

In the last 38 years, this playground had not changed at all. Dinesh hoped that the next time he came here, it would still be the same. He had so many wonderful childhood memories here.

He did not want to see a multi-storey apartment complex built on top of his memories.

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