A year has passed since Thane celebrated its first Happy Streets and yet there seems to be no dip in people's enthusiasm for the weekly event. The lake city's Happy Streets of 2016 witnessed hundreds of people sacrificing their Sunday morning sleep to welcome the New Year with zeal. Thane-ites' fervour was on full display on Sunday, yet again, just three days after the New Year's Eve bash.
Sunday's Happy Streets was special to people of the City of Lakes in one more way. It was for the first time that the event was being conducted adjacent to a lake! Given the popularity and acceptance of the event, the earlier venue, Vasant Vihar Junction, had to be changed for its inability to accommodate the huge crowd. 2016's Happy Streets gift to the Thane-ites was its new venue near Lake Upvan, already famous for hosting the Sanskruti Arts Festival, the Upvan Arts Festival, etc.
Thane's Happy Streets is an initiative of Maharashtra Police, Thane Traffic Police, and Thane Municipal Corporation, supported by the Times of India and a few other private organizations.
Both young and old alike were seen enthusiastically riding cycles available for rent, in the street. There were over ten temporary badminton nets placed on the road and quite a few fitness equipment which all had a long queue of people, only proving people's passion for fitness. Also present were stalls of music academies where young kids were trying their hands at keyboards, drums, music pads, and guitars. Local bands were performing famous music numbers to which others could also sing if they wished to. There was also a Takeda martial art training stall. For kids, there was an art stall where they were being taught mask-making.
The most interesting stall was that of the Mumbai Police where rifles, AK-47s and pistols were kept for display. The selfie-mania was in full swing with people holding these armaments and continuously clicking pictures. A few people were also keenly conversing with the police personnel asking about the specifications, firing range, etc. Mahindra Marksman, Mumbai police's armoured, bullet-proof vehicle was also kept on display. Another stall that saw many people was Baba Ramdev's Patangali Yoga, where exercises for diabetes prevention was the week's class.
However, what attracted the maximum crowd was the Zumba exercise-cum-dance session, which alone had over 200 people from all age groups dancing to the racy tunes of latest English and Hindi songs. An elevated stage was erected for Zumba trainers to show the steps to the crowd, but the excitement was so high that most people were following their own steps.
What was evident all through the street was people's unending enthusiasm and longing for fun. More excitement is in store for Thane-ites as the Upvan Arts Festival is scheduled for the coming weekend.