Saturday, 4 July 2009

TOMCO, Ernakulam

TOMCO, Ernakulam
What you see in this sketch was once a prosperous soap factory in Kerala, a very picturesque state on the south-west coast of India. My father worked here for many years.
When I was very young, which was more than half a century ago, we lived right next door to this place. A huge amount of my time was spent watching the workers enter and leave the factory. Very few people owned cars then. Most of them either walked, cycled, or rowed to work. Yes, Kerala is ridden with canals and backwaters, and even today the waterways are in popular use.
The long tiled shed to the right of the factory entrance was the cycle shed. The factory and staff housing was flanked by the backwaters on two of its sides, and these had several jetties (piers). The employees who rowed to work would leave their canoes tied to one of the jetties and pick them up again at the end of their work shift.
By the standards of those days, there were excellent support and recreational facilities for both the workers and the residents. My memories of the place and those years are therefore very pleasant.
Unfortunately, this tiny bit of paradise did not survive into the twenty-first century. A few years ago the entire property was sold to a multinational giant who seem to have bought it only for its real estate value. When I last heard, the factory was idle, the staff quarters were lying vacant, and the entire property wore the look of a ghost town.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Balaji
    I was trying to locate Tatapuram in GOOGLE and I came across this blog.I was also a resident of TATAPURAM and my father used work there till 1962.
    I am disspointed to know that TATAPURAM has become ghost town.It was fantstic that you remember TOMCO and I am sure you know me.