“So, how are you feeling after moving to Goa?”
“Are you happy with your decision to move to Goa?”
“How’s Goa coming along for you? Are you satisfied?”
“I do know you like being in Goa, but let’s chat more about how you really feel about the day-to-day experience.”
These are the type of questions, inquiries that come our way these days from family members, close friends, casual friends, former colleagues. They all are basically curious about how it’s going for us here in Goa. Some are curious because they see a possibility of moving in the near/far future. Some are just plain curious (even astonished) that we should take such an extreme step – of suddenly abandoning the years of life and living that we made in Delhi and move over-night!
Our response has always been in the positive. We came to Goa for the clean air, natural spaces, thriving bird life, flora fauna and to live a slow-paced life and we have found all of this exactly as we wanted. Some feel satisfied with the answer. Some don’t.
The truth is, those answers are right for me. It may not be for someone else. Because, those are my priorities, big ones – clean air, natural spaces, desire to live a slow life.
And, the biggest of them all – spaces where my children can immerse themselves in free play, creative and imaginative play. And, living in a city like Delhi where neither the weather nor the spaces, the atmosphere or the resources allowed us to do so.
Even the attitudes of the people was not encouraging for children to be able to play. The gated communities (residential complexes) flaunt manicured lawns – where children are not allowed. The spaces within these complexes are chock-a-block with cars. Children can’t play for they may be run over in those so-called safe, gated spaces. Actually, they won’t be allowed to play for they may damage the cars – when playing with balls, running, cycling. In those ‘safe’ spaces, children and elderly can’t co-exist, for running and playing children are a threat to the aged folks.
In today’s world, children’s free play is being seen as nuisance. Their play has become an adult affair – managed and directed by an adult. Only when their play is structured and programmed, is it seen valuable and contributing to their learning process. I’m sorry, but I really don’t agree.
So, Goa works for us because it allows my children to be children. They can play in puddles, get their hands dirty in sand and water, be dazzled by glow worms, comb the beach for shells and stones and drift wood. There is vitamin D3 from the sun that gives us company all 365 days of the year – no need to rely on the sun pills. We can walk, cycle, swim. We can join the musicians from around the world playing on the beaches; we can lend a helping hand to the fisher men on the beach pulling their boat ashore. We’re not confined within four walls cooled by air conditioners and warmed by blowers and oil heaters and such.
And yet, we tried to create an environment for Free Play in our Delhi apartment – by creating a mud pie kitchen on the balcony; by creating a water-play space with an indoor fountain; by giving ample sensory play material to Pari – stuff like cloud dough, home-made play dough, nature sensory boxes.
My children can learn by playing. Is that not how children learn naturally?
In this epic article titled, “The Play Defecit” Peter Gray writes:
“You can’t teach creativity; all you can do is let it blossom, and it blossoms in play.”