Manoranjan Nagari

The experience of an Amusement Park is easy to explain. It’s just like Diwali! Lots of brightly lit structures, joyous cheers of children and parents, tired of running behind their joyous children. It’s just like Diwali! Everything that seems fun is dangerous, everything that tastes delicious will end up giving you diarrhea and every little thing is suddenly expensive. It’s just like Diwali!

There is this travelling amusement park called ‘Manoranjan Nagari’ that travels through India and halts at various cities for 5-6 weeks. One of their destinations happens to be Pune. I had been desperately waiting for them when one fine day I saw their advertisement in the local paper and decided to grab the opportunity. So there I was, one Sunday evening, with a borrowed camera and no intention of going on any ride, standing in middle of jam packed park with no idea of where to start.

It does take a few minutes, couple of smiles and a lot of fake answers to the question, ‘For which newspaper do you work?’, before you really blend in and get a couple of pictures. But once you get started, the possibilities are unlimited. You see a lot of children having the time of their lives, and lot of parents enjoying along or annoyed with their kids and of course a lot of tired grandparents. Young couples have started to flood these Parks too since sitting on the Z-Bridge has become too mainstream!

But my attention was caught by the most neglected and ironically, most detached breed of humans – The Amusement Park workers. Working in the very epicenter of Mirth, they had not a smile on their weary faces. These people come from various parts of India, travel along with the group, stay in small shanties and get unimaginably low pay. My heart goes out to them. But I’m proud of such people who hard work over beggary. It’s a bold choice and I respect them for that.

Moving back to the happy things - the Manoranjan Nagari is a ‘Color and Light’ bonanza. Brightly lit rides yielding colorful patterns are a treat to the eyes and the thrilling swivelling motion patterns, a treat for the brave hearted. It is great place where the Grown-ups can rekindle with their childhood and the girls can fulfill their secret desire – to yell on top of their voices! It is a place where time will fly by and the kids will never have had enough.

Yet people resent from going there because they think it’s too cheap. It is a place we deserve, but not the one we need right now. So we’ll criticize it because it can take it. Because it’s just not an amusement park. It is a silent guardian of childhood, a watchful protector of emotions. A Dark Knight!!!

Camera: Nikon D5100 with Nikorr 18-105

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