There are two towns that have developed a particular connection with me which keeps taking me back to them repeatedly. Bangalore, now known as Bengaluru and Tirupur. Last week, I had to visit both the places as I had to attend to some business as well as some crisis management in a close friend’s family matter.
Since reservations on convenient trains were difficult to come by, I flew to Bengaluru, spent a night there while attending to some business during the day and took an afternoon train for a six hour journey to Tirupur the next day. I took a train again last Saturday afternoon from Tirupur and after a 26 hour journey, came back to Pune on Sunday evening. I had traveled 1800 Kms by train during this trip.
Tirupur is a name very well known in the specialized world of ready made garments, particularly in cotton knits. You can learn a lot about it here. My first visit to the place was in 1969 when it was little more than a slightly overgrown village. Subsequently, I had a lot more to do with the town between 1974 and 1977 with very frequent visits, during one of which, I had the first hand experience with our emergency excesses.
I then had nothing to do with Tirupur till 1987, but visited it a few times till early 1990. From 1990 till early 2002 however, Tirupur has been on my regularly visited towns for the very obvious reason that I had a lot of business dealings there and on two separate occasions, employed there.
Naturally, I have made many friends there and have very close relationships with some of them. I have known many rag to riches stories there as well riches to rags stories. Throughout my experience there though, I have had nothing but great affection and excellent hospitality from the locals. I have a soft corner to the town and its people.
My visit to Tirupur after over eight years was indeed a nostalgic one. I was not disappointed with the warmth and the hospitality of the people there and caught up with a number of my friends there and successfully managed the crisis at my friend’s home as well.
In the last eight years, Tirupur has changed a great deal. It is now a district head quarters for a separate district. Roads have been widened and new fly overs have been built as well as many old thoroughfares converted into one way roads. New construction everywhere made it difficult to recognize some old familiar areas.
Being heavily dependent on the export market to the USA and Europe, economic activity is subdued and there have been many closures of units. The units focused on the Indian market are thriving but it is sad to see many exporting units struggling.
My friends would like me to come back and make my residence there. Who knows? May be that will happen too, once again!