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Marbles In India

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300travels: A Streetside Game of Marbles

The long "about" section from youtube

Uploaded on Jan 18, 2010

Video from my novice days: Impromptu; No scripting: At one place I say " This is a Circular Circle :D :D).. ENJOY ;-)

Delhi is a North Indian migrant labourer's dream, with Madhya Pradesh standing eighth in the top ten contributors' list. These Children playing marbles live in the migrant labourers' shacks next to my house in Ghaziabad, NCR (National Capital Region). They have come from the Sagar District of MP & have left behind their aging parents, small land holdings, cattle, relatives, friends & enemies. The men work as Rickshaw pullers, Brick Kiln labourers & subcontractors and the womenfolk as housemaids in up to five houses per day. An enterprising middle aged lady has opened up a tea stall next to the Local Electric Sub Station. The electricity supply to the shacks is hooked from the sub station supply lines above. Nobody complains. In the evening men return from work & after dinner- they always find time to sing their folk song for hours despite having a TV set & cable connection in each shack.

Most of the kids, sadly, do not go to school, they play all day. Elder one's assist their parents or find their own work by the age of 10-12.

These Kids playing marbles reminded me of my childhood days when we would fight tooth & nail to extract our victory spoils & sometimes return with a missing tooth but our marble treasure right in place. This didn't work in reverse though- I still owe my friend Ashish about 1,54,000 marbles (bet in an impulse match) which he teases me about whenever we meet in our village :-)


20th October 2011:

These Kids do not play Marbles or stay there anymore. The Shacks were razed to make way for the road so that the Ansals (Housing Project Giant) Masterplan, so far lying unfinished, could be completed. The road is complete, and the place does bear a clean surgical look but there is no welcome sound of folk singing in the evening. No gaiety, No children squabbling for Marbles, No entertaining midnight brawls.

More than half of the shack dwellers, I learnt, returned back to their village in District Sagar, MP. Some of these went to Delhi and some to NOIDA. Varsha's Parents (the cute little girl in the video) made another shack, next to an under-construction building approximately 500 yards from my house. In exchange of this favour of getting a shelter, Her father has become a watchman in the same building, foregoing his earlier occupation of rickshaw-pulling, which was considerably more paying.

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