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This is not the history that a historian narrates. This is not history that you will find in the history books. This is not the story of mining and power generation. This is not the story of how industry developed in Neyveli.

This is a history from the point of view of someone who has been seeing this township evolve over the last 50 years. This is the story from the perspective of someone who has seen the township from its early moorings to its present day.

Neyveli was and is a paradox. A lovely paradox. On one side, there were the explosives going off, earth dug out, giant bucketwheel machines mining out lignite, the brown coal from the depths of earth, the roar of the machines, the periodic deafening roar of the steam being let off…and on another side, the township reminescent of the lovely quaint Malgudi picked out right from the imagination of R.K. Narayan.

The Neyveli of the sixties and seventies was the charming land of Gods…..plenty of trees, rows of houses, neat roads, sweet water, a quintessential Amaravathi cinema theatre, a stadium, an indoor-outdoor Auditorium, a handful of lovely schools, little dispensaries which had the perfect medicine for all, a scary Big Hospital, a uniquely designed curved arc of shops at the Main Bazaar, a Pay Day Bazaar, two shandies for vegetables, three or four hotels with tasty food items, two clubs for games, a large banyan tree, three to four old temples, a stately church, a pleasant library, a bus stand and a splendid, imposing Arch Gate. Life creeped at snail’s pace on cycles, some scooters and a rare motor car or two.

Neighbours were largely friendly, everybody knew everybody. I distinctly remember the typical scene mid-morning when I did not go to school and stayed at home. The swishy sound of washing cloths at some house, the cry of a vendor proclaiming his wares, the sound of an occasional scooter passing by and just sile

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