It was 7:30am Sunday. The early morning sun flickered through the green leaves of trees of various shades, colours and sizes. The city was waking up from deep slumber.
I dropped my daughter to school and waited outside for her exam to finish. As I needed to spend two hours from then on, I decided to take a stroll in nearby Bahadur Shah Park, formerly known as Victoria Park, in the capital.
As I entered the park, I was surprised to see the park already buzzing with morning walkers, joggers and even body builders of different age. Some of them were walking with long steps while others were stretching and swinging their arms.
The trees around the park seemed to protect them from the sun that was getting warmer with every passing minute.
Walkers say more than 2,000 people, including women, children and the elderly, come to the park in the morning and in the afternoon every day. Most of them are between the age of 30 and 60.
Two trained health workers sit at the two entrances and provide primary health check-ups, including blood pressure and blood sugar. They said many of those who come for walk are diabetic.
According to International Diabetes Federation, there were 7.1 million cases of diabetes in Bangladesh in 2015. And, exercise is necessary for a diabetic to control blood sugar.
The park serves as an ideal place for people to come and make the best use of it.
Sadly, parks in the city are disappearing fast.
There are five voluntary organisations centring the park. Suprovat Sangha is one of them.
The club was formed in 2002 with the people who visit the park. Now it has 250 members, said Anowar Hossain, president of Suprovat Sangha.
As I was strolling along, I stumbled upon a nurse, Din Mohammad Rumon, sitting beside one of the entrances to the park.
Rumon and another nurse sit at the park for a few hours twice every day. About 100 people come to them to check blood sugar, blood pressure and to measure weight. They charge Tk 30 for the check-ups.
“If we find some in bad health, we advise them to go to the National Hospital, just a few metres from here,” he added.