‘Orphaned’ hockey turf used as doormats, carpets in Rajasthan village
The turf in Dausa village now serves as doormats outside classrooms after lying for a year in a cleared ground where it was meant to be laid.india Updated: Aug 09, 2017 20:29 IST
Pieces of what would have been Rajasthan’s third hockey turf — usually known as Astro Turf after the name of the brand that makes the synthetic turfs — are being used as doormats and carpets in Jatwara, a village in Rajasthan’s Dausa.
Jaipur and Ajmer are the only other places with hockey turfs in the state.
The turf in the village has been lying for a year in a cleared ground, set in the foothills among lush green fields, where it was meant to be laid. The half-cemented ground, secured by a broken fence, is dotted with rusting goalposts and littered with dung.
The field was orphaned recently after Andrea Thumshirn, a primary league hockey player from Germany who bought the field and was teaching the kids in the village for three years, left Rajasthan. The 42-year-old Thumshirn, who also taught in another village for three years, said she was cheated in both cases.
Thumshirn was working with a travel agency and her adventure with village kids started when she stopped at Garh Himmat Singh village in 2010 with some other German tourists on the route from Jaipur to Agra.
She left the village in 2014 and shifted to Jatwara after she discovered that her local partner was siphoning off the money meant for the children.
In a private school in Jatwara, where Thumshirn stayed, pieces of the turf serve as doormats outside rooms. Varsha Sharma, the hockey player’s once close friend and wife of the school owner, said the pieces came as samples when Thumshirn was living there. But Thumshirn denied the claim, saying there were no samples as the turf was an old one.
“It lay behind their house for a long time. They must have cut the pieces from there,” she said. The second-hand turf came from Germany in 2013 and was initially to be laid out at a government school in Mandawar, near Jatwara. The day the work was to begin, about 300 people gathered at the spot and sang “freedom-fighter songs”, stalling the work, Thumshirn said.
“They gave a 14-page objection letter too. One of the reasons was that their annual fair was held in the school ground,” she said.
The turf was then shifted to Garh Himmat Singh village and later to the Sharmas’ house, where it lay for two-and-a-half years. It was later sent to the hockey ground in the village a year ago, following Thumshirn’s falling out with the Sharmas.
Once the turf was out in the ground, people cut pieces from it and used it as doormats and carpets in their houses. “If you asked them why they cut it, they would say others were doing the same,” Thumshirn added.
Manohar Meena, a resident of the village and former owner of the hockey ground, too said the villagers had taken pieces of the turf.
Meanwhile, Thumshirn has moved to Coorg in Karnataka to start a new chapter in her hockey training files.