Fragments of historic achievements meld with a bittersweet taste, like an impromptu playground of memories cleaved together from a salvage yard. For an outsider, it is an intriguing dream landscape, with stories of heroic feats, all brought together under the roof of house No. 1067 at Sector 36 in Chandigarh.

Of the eight gold medals that India has won in field hockey at the Olympics, three are here. This was the residence of Balbir Singh Sr, one of Indian hockey’s greatest players who died of multiple health issues in Chandigarh on May 25 last year. He was 95.

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But just a few months earlier, on a brisk Chandigarh morning, we cosied up to Balbir’s warm memories from the 1948 Olympics. India was a British colony when it won gold at Amsterdam in 1928, Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936, so the 1948 one was special. “At…

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