Thursday, October 16, 2008

When Volleyball ruled Singtam!!

Much before Ravangla was claimed 'the home of volleyball in Sikkim', it was Singtam that had its synonyms with the game of volleyball.

Singtam is a major business 'power-house' town in the state of Sikkim and also the gateway to the other three districts of Sikkim. Once known in and across the state for its volleyball skills Sikkim of today lies a crowded bazaar. Every small spaces in Singtam is filled with household buildings and shopping complexes. Old folks still talk about the golden days of the volleyball matches that were played here and how the small town of Singtam then had its own dignity and supremacy.

Looking back at those bygone days when volleyball was not only a game but a religion, it is nothing more of a nostalgia. The people of Singtam have always been great admirer of sports, be it cricket, football and, of course, volleyball. The Orchid Club of Singtam is now a part of Singtam folklore. When people talk of Singtam, it would always veer around volleyball. The Orchid Club of Singtam was one of the best in Sikkim and had won many laurels.

Each year on the occasion of the Independence Day , a volleyball tournament used to be held at Singtam ground (opposite Personality Tailor, where now a shopping plaza has been set up) that brought the crowds to their feet. There was a time when people of Singtam used to keenly await Independence Day, as much for the celebration of the struggle for freedom as for the sake of the volleyball tourneys. Many teams from within the state, the country and even from Nepal had some of their wonderful moments here. But volleyball in Singtam has had a sudden decline and is now almost a part of the Singtam folklore.

Today, the ground has been replaced by a shopping center and the loud cheers during that competition are long lost, but memories are still fresh in the minds of the people. Gupta daju, Tshering daju, Rai Kumar daju, Bhuwan daju, Kailash daju, Unarayan Daju, to name a few, are now a part of golden history of Singtam volleyball clubs. During those days, the wait for the clock to strike two used to seem endless and even the fury of the afternoon heat wasn’t a matter of any concern were there to be a volleyball match. People of all colours and costumes, be it small children or elderly citizens, everyone enjoyed the game.

Ladies’ voices could be heard all over the ground. From the screaming of a girl to the laughter of the women, it was all possible when the Orchid Club were in a duel with any other opponent. The school dress of black and white usually circled the playing ground. Throughout the month of August, volleyball would be the talk of the town. All this has become a part of history kept and read in old memories!!