In a city eternally focused on education – the highly commercialized version of it, if I might add – the United Club stands as a stark example of just where we might be headed. Sandwiched between two heavily congested roads – a few measly feet of sand and stone in the middle of nowhere – the club could well be mistaken for a traffic island. The United Club cries out desperately for salvation, as a disparaging society looks on.
The club was started in 1969 as an avenue for encouragement of the budding talent of the Malkajgiri area. All that is left of that legacy now is a dilapidated old shack of a building – which for most part is dangerously close to collapse – and just enough space for one ball badminton court. And that is all that they play. Ball Badminton. Every evening at 5:00pm. And they are pretty good at it too. Quite a few national-level players, notably A Kavitha and G Kalyan. A lot of others have risen all the way to the top and represented our country in this sport.
The club also has summer coaching camps for about 2 months. It runs on charity, and doesn't take any fees from the students. Even as urban chaos reigns outside its confines, the club tries to provide some measure of variety in the otherwise drab lives of people there. The pressures of persistent development are evident in the chipping away of the club area on all sides, and it shouldn't be long before the entire club just disappears in a haze of macadam and smoke.