Thursday, March 30, 2006


My early exposure to Faridabad (and there hasn't been much since) was to its industrial side. It was an industrial development area, just outside Delhi, and its numbering scheme for its "sectors" marked it permanently as a strange space, parceled out into neat blocks. I knew my uncle's textile mill was in Sector 15, my Dad's new manufacturing unit was in some other sector XX, and the house that he was building for our family was in yet another. Faridabad's landscape was marked by empty plots, construction sites, and the odd factory shed showing signs of useful production. Faridabad boasted a few markets, rudimentary shopping centers, and some beer shops and picnic venues. But by and large, Faridabad was industrial. Our house didn't remain ours for too long (Dad sold it for a net loss), our factory closed down, and my uncles moved their unit elsewhere. The boom that came to Faridabad came later. Now, real estate prices soar (industrial and domestic), sports stadiums exist, and shopping centers are numerous, perhaps ubiquitous. Some things apparently haven't changed, like poor infrastructure. In my childhood, it used to be the electricity supply as desperate factory owners begged, borrowed and stole. Now it seems to be traffic.

But not all memories associated with Faridabad are industrial. Some have to do with cricket - albeit in industrial settings. For instance, my uncles kept a television set in their office, and we watched live telecasts there (but somehow my most vivid memory from those days is that of a Davis Cup tennis match between Shashi Menon and John Alexander!). And we played cricket in their backyard, in a narrow space bounded on one end by the detritus from their factory: waste thread, rusted looms, empty spindles and the like, and on the other, by brick walls. My elder uncle bowled left-arm and batted right; he was by far the most serious of all. My younger uncle, clowned around a bit more; and hence was my favorite. Batting and bowling in that narrow space in the winter sunshine, with lunch waiting in the little garden out front, while noisy textile looms clanked away in the cavernous sheds behind us, is definitely a cricketing memory associated with Faridabad. Its a long haul from that to what will transpire tonight when India takes on England but I'll be connected: my uncles back home will be watching, and I know what they'll be thinking, "Gee, never thought they'd be be playing international cricket in Faridabad!".


Anonymous Rolla said...

Thanks Samir - I felt as though I knew the place from your description. It's always good to know more about where a match is being played, beyond the boundary and into the streets, otherwise it becomes just another ground on the TV screen. Back to the live action.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Nagraj said...

Thanks samir for ur info about faridabad.
India won again.

10:51 AM  

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