It pays to stop and stare.
And it pays at least 9.5% more if you do it when you can make time to do this.
Perhaps when you are getting back home after a good day's work.
I do it off and on.
If I am in the Taramani area, I drop anchor at the cricket ground in the sprawling Central Polytechnic campus and watch a few overs of play between school cricket teams. From outside the boundary.
If I am in the Foreshore Estate area, I slow down as I approach Quibble Island. You will catch dozens and dozens of birds looking for feed at high noon, tolerating the stink and the waste that we allow to spill into this unique natural heritage of the Adyar river which once buoyed a few islands in this neighbourhood.
If I am on the other side of the road, the road they still call Brodies Road, the stop over is to catch a few minutes of a frenzied football match played by the members of the neighbourhood football team.
On weekends, I have seen these young players kick and dribble the ball well past dusk, the brooding lighting of the street lamps barely enough to support the enthusiasm of the players.
On weekends though, there are hundreds of young boys on this Corporation playground, with some teams playing cricket matches across each other!
Last week, some thing else was going on at this playground.
The gates were being pulled down, the ground was dug up in places and lorryloads of mud were being dumped on the fringes.
I took it to be a timely renovation of a popular playground.
Two nights later, girders went up into the sky; metal plates were flung across and flood lights were being fitted on a row of pillars.
The walls were getting a fresh coat of white wash and greenery seemed to pop up in the corners.
The ground had been 'taken over'.
'Taken over' for a function in which the Chief Minister was to participate.
And I certainly did not feel good about the 'take over'.
If there were rules to play by for all of us who wish to make use of common playgrounds, parks, beaches and leisure spots, then the state too should respect these rules.
Yes, there could be exceptions.
Perhaps in emergencies like a fire, a tsunami or a disaster of any kind.
But why does the state want to host its mela-like function on a neighbourhood playground?
Open spaces mean little to us, it seems. What is your opinion?