Today it was time to talk story to my children and did not have story. As their exams were over, I started to share with them how I spend my summer holidays. It was nostalgic and it involved explaining them new things and I have to remind myself. When they went to sleep, I decided to pull from my memory and blog them here.
Still summer holidays seems to fresh in memory except that it is 25 years old story. These were days were there was much TV programs, computer was less prevalent and no kindles. But Neyveli provided some interesting experiences which we thought was boring and which you find to be expensive today and not existing in cities of today.
Mud mountain: Neyveli has mud mountain and water streams that originated from mines. It was fun to climb the same, go across to other side and eat in mines canteen and then climb back to reach home and that was a one day exercise. Looks like we really had adventure, climbing small mountains and crossing water canals our-self.
Park Club. I remember visiting park club and viewing movies on Saturday evening. I feel the place special as they had projector to show movie on large screen. They had one open place where they used to put screen and project movie providing a open air theater effect. We had this experience free. My father was not a member and used to go tagged along with my friend A.KarthiKeyan (Commander in Air Force today). It was interesting to observe employees(fathers) coming at 6 pm to play cards and caroms at park cub. How do I explain Park Club to my children when my apartment club house is empty most evening except for family function.
Library Neyveli had large library with well stocked books. My children pick books to read regularly from TailorBird library every week and can connect to library.
- Children’s corner which I was member from my 5th standard to 10th standard
- All books corner, where I read philosophy and Tamil books and learnt stuff to question Brahmanism customs of my house.
- Technical corner with technical books including engineering books, where even wards who went to outstation college came to pick books those days.
Cricket : We used to play cricket on road opposite to our houses. Some times, it was on common play ground. All play was under scorching sun. No one cribbed out the sun and standing on heated ground, some time without slippers to bowl or bat. Cricket stumps were sticks. Why stumps, there was not even proper cricket bats. Bats were either coconut tree stumps or some wooden piece carved as bat. Rare to see people wearing gloves or knee pads or shoes till my senior years at school. No one carried water bottles. On being thirsty, you asked house auntie near ground, who gave water to quench your thirst
My kids play in closed environment of their school or apartment or their tennis academy. They fear/hesitate to ride cycle on the road. I rarely see children play in the sun even in summer holidays in Bangalore. Now, every one has all right gears from shoes, water bottles and gears for the sports they play. They get dropped and picked when they visit a sports place.
I am not able to make kids experience that Neyveli has well planned township with a rectangular layout,as they have not visited Neyveli yet and township is made of blocks and most blocks are rectangular in shape. Till I take them to Neyveli, I found and bookmarked blog that lists maps of every blocks in Neyveli township. (Copied Block-17 map). Also book marking official map on Neyveli corporation site..
Once I saw these maps, I was reminded of even more places.
Neyveli Hospital: amazing structure that offers affordable heath care for employees and also public present around Neyveli at affordable prices. They had clinics or dispensaries spread across township so people did not travel far for common illness.
Sports Stadium : I still remember sitting at large stadium to watch National level hockey matches and foot ball matches used to happen in late 80s and early 90s. kids have never visited a stadium.
Swimming pool : Though I am not swimmer, I remember large swimming pool where my sister used to visit and national level selection used to happen.
Tennis Courts: Tennis courts came free for paying coaching fees. Today I have got my children to learn to play tennis( costs lots of money for sure). I never played.
Cinema theaters : In era of no TV or few TV programs, 2 or 3 cinema theaters in township were source of entertainment.
Town Bus: The maximum cost for local bus was Rs 1 in 2000 when we left Neyveli. It costs for shorter distance Rs 80 in Volvo bus in local Bangalore. We were well connected to travel to places as far as Bangalore and Trivandrum. This blog post provides more bus inputs of today.
Hearing Stories: Summer times will have Krupananda Variar or Pulavar Keeran’s Villi Bharatham who shared story of Ramayana and Mahabharata and other epics. I have heard their programs multiple times and their programs were in evening, from 6: 30 pm to 9 : 00 pm. Better source that reminds in my memory than books that I have read as I have heard them say similar stories multiple times. No one would believe that some days I used to carry food during their stay from my home, along with my father. A different way of treating guests, compared to today. Experience my kids will miss in modern days of today.
Main Bazzar: In era of malls, main bazzar gets reminded as set of shops in row, setup like today’s malls. The main bazzar was outer circle and inner part of circle was 4 parks filled with trees. While parents shopped, the children can play in parks with swings and slides. Remember punctured whole body with iron fence around park trying to attempt short cut jumping fence in my first outing. Kids have not seen mall this way till now.
Santhai: In era of buying veggies and fruits from super markets or chain stores, vegetable market is something unique. Something to show my kids.
Villudayanpattu Murugan temple : I still remember ten day Panguni Uthiram” festival. The crowd was the highest on the chariot day followed by the kavadi day, a local holiday. How did families connect with relatives in crowd on the chariot day near temple, when there was no mobile phones? Next interesting was practice to provide pilgrims with free jaggery water, butter milk and also food on Kavadi days. At our home too, we placed mud pots with water and stainless tumbler at gate. Do “Thannir panthal” still exists in festival days of today where trend is to buy mineral water bottles to drink? Also experience of constructing kavadi and getting it ready for pligrims Something to show my kids.
Feel free to add more places to list as part of comments & also links to latest photos.