The Great Khali

alright I know I only just discovered this guy and he’s been around for a while- but if you haven’t seen him- check out the size of this Punju! He makes Hulk Hogan look like a dwarf. And if you shaved his head and beard he’s Sabu in the flesh, complete with sexy bondage wrist cuffs:

image from link

Dalip Singh Rana[3] (born August 27, 1972) better known by his ring name “The Great Khali”, (and previously “Giant Singh” ) is an Indian professional wrestler, actor and former powerlifter who won Mr. India in 1995 and 1996. He is currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestling on its SmackDown! brand. Before embarking on his professional wrestling career, he was an officer in the Punjab state police; he was also a labourer.

from wiki

Like many WWE stars – such as The Rock, aka Dwayne Douglas Johnson – Rana has done a few odd Hollywood roles, including a 2005 film called The Longest Yard.

On the set of another film, called Get Smart, the wrestler surprised Hollywood actor Steve Carell.

“Literally, you shake his hand and you are shaking the inner part of his palm. He could put his hand over your entire head and crush you,” Carell told a reporter later.

Now Rana says he will be “choosy” about doing roles in Bollywood.

Clearly, the wrestler has come a long way since he was breaking rocks on road building projects. In his spare time, he picked up two body building titles.

When he was not working, women in his village of Dhirana would often call him to do what they call heavy duty work: lifting cattle from one barn to another.

WWE scriptwriters racked their brains for an appropriate nickname: Rana first proposed Big Bhima, a character from the Indian epic Mahabharata, but the name did not find much appeal. “Giant Singh” also found no takers.

Someone recommended Lord Shiva but it was rejected on fears that it might offend Indian sentiments.

Rana then proposed the Indian Goddess, Kali, and spoke about her destructive powers.

It clicked instantly. The rest is history.

Rana says he is a vegetarian and abhors alcohol and tobacco. He says he lives a “simple life” with his homemaker wife Harminder Kaur .

from bbcnews

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Indian Mr. Universe 1985…Mr. Prem Chand

wow. This guy looks exactly like my He Man action figurine. So cute! And useful too. If you ever got stranded on a small desert island with him you could club him over the head and barbecue him….I think that should last for a good month and a half…

Take the ENDURANCE RICKSHAW RALLYING challenge 2008

They call it “an amazing race for the clinically insane” This is actually pretty cool and if I had the dosh I’d love to take this cross-country joy ride. I’ve always wanted to be in the driver’s seat in one of these babies. Plus its for a good cause. Anyway, the 2007 Rally has finished but there’s time to sign up for next year. Check out the details at Indian Autorikshaw Challenge

Your course will lead you along awesome coastlines, flooded streets, gorgeous mountains, exquisite valleys, and the omnipresent Indian population. Whilst travelling through fascinating, intriguing places you will be set physical and intellectual tasks. Complete them all and you can be crowned the Mumbai Xpress Autorickshaw Rally 2008 World Champion! The competition for the crown is always fun and fierce, but it’s the adventure itself that brings all the participants from around the world together.

Check out the promo clip for more.

Desi Monkeys inspire Parkour; a sport that rages against the walls

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image from grooveking

Hanuman is the guy you ask for help when you need to get out of an impossible situation. He’s an ideas man/monkey and he knows the fastest way between two points often involves a bit of swinging from branches and scaling up buildings. “What idiot invented stairs anyway?” he says, “ Must have been a bureaucrat.” Hanuman has always been one of my favorite Gods. He occupies the liminal space between man and monkey, and as such, manages to solve problems without many of the constraints that human’s face. He is innovative (can’t find the right herb to save Laxman’s life? Why not bring him the whole mountain), mischievous (set my tail on fire? I’ll set your city on fire suckers), and the best of friends (sure I’ll fly over and find your woman, calm her down and tell her you’re coming to get her). So it isn’t all that surprising to discover that he’s the one (or rather his descendants) who inspired David Belle, an French guy “finding himself” in India, to invent a revolutionary sport called parkour.

hanuman.jpg
image from here

Parkour, a made-up word, cousin to the French parcours, which means “route,” is a quasi commando system of leaps, vaults, rolls, and landings designed to help a person avoid or surmount whatever lies in his path—a vocabulary, that is, to be employed in finding one’s way among obstacles. Parkour goes over walls, not around them; it takes the stair rail, not the stairs. (I found a lot of references from the Great Ganesha. So check his site to read more)

It’s becoming a huge fad sport internationally, and has the appeal of being something that anyone, of any economic class can practice, given some patience and a good set of running shoes. A number of Indian kids are putting up clips on youtube and though some of their moves are a bit basic, they require a lot of strength to do and its cool that they’re starting out. A Desi Parkour group called “Team Mutants” has actually begun to master some more difficult moves and is worth checking out.

You can use trees, buildings, shopping mall interiors; basically any space you can get away with transforming into a gymnastic jungle. It appeals to me for reasons that and have to do with a crazy taxi cab driver I once knew in Pennsylvania, named Jimmy. Jimmy was actually a bit of a loon but like most loons he actually spoke a fair bit of sense if you could interpret his metaphors. He had become obsessed with traffic signals, signs, painted zebra crossings and codes of traffic conduct. He would say to me “You see that? See that? Its all about staying in the lines! The lines, man!” And for him, every u-turn, every highway, every instance on the road was a metaphor for how “the man” controls your movements through space.

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image from road rage

Years later, standing in line at a multiplex cinema in Mumbai, I lean against a rail while waiting for a movie to start. A security guard swiftly approaches me waggling his finger “no. you aren’t allowed to lean on rails surrounding trees.” So I look for another perch; perhaps the cement space between two shop display windows. He chases me again “nope. Not allowed to lean there either.” Eventually I get so tired that I find a spot out of the way and squat on my haunches, like a good fisher-woman. “Nope!” comes the waggling finger. “You aren’t allowed to squat like a fisher-woman in upper middle class zones.” Hmmm…

Suddenly I’m feeling a bit less relaxed and a little more hostile towards the cinema. I pay good money to come to see a movie and yet not only do they expect my cash, fail to provide me with a place to sit and wait, but also hire this guy to chase me around in case I should happen to lean against their precious cement walls or rails. I feel kind of bad for the guard, in any case. It’s a job for him. And I can’t blame him for working for “the man.” I work for “the man” as well. And he must have to deal with a lot of irritated people every day, who always take out their anger on the messenger of the law.

But I digress. So I find something really appealing about the idea of a bunch of kids getting together to just jump over railings, do somersaults off of cement walls and scale multiplexes…because they can and because they’re fast enough to get away with it. It’s a sort of spatial revolt against the bureaucrat. It’s the body claiming space for itself and resisting becoming square shaped, like the little cement boxes that house us. Me likes.

Here’s an inspiring video of David Belle, the inventor of Parkour. He knows no gravity.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with David Belle-talking about monkey inspiration. The rest is here.

I asked David why he had gone to India, and he said that he had friends there.
“How did you pass the time?”
“I just kept training,” he said. “I was training in the trees.” Jeff handed me a scrapbook with a photograph of David leaping from the limb of one tree to another. He was stretched flat out, horizontal to the ground, like Superman.
“I was at a waterfall one day,” David went on, “and there were huge trees all around, and in the trees were monkeys. There were fences and barriers around them, so they couldn’t get out, but I went around the barriers and played with the monkeys. After that, I watched them all the time, learning how they climbed. All the techniques in parkour are from watching the monkeys.”
He then showed us, on a computer, a documentary called “Warriors of the Monkey God.” It was about a tribe of monkeys who live on the rooftops of Jodhpur. The people regard the monkeys as holy. We watched them leaping from rooftop to rooftop and through the trees. The scene that made David smile was one in which numbers of them leaped onto, then off, a piece of corrugated tin that was loosely attached as a roof to some stakes. Their landings made the tin shake. Some of the monkeys were leaping from the ground, turning on their sides in the air, landing on the stakes and shoving off from them—a tic-tac.
Watching the movie, which was about forty-five minutes long, took only about fifteen minutes, because David kept advancing it to scenes of the monkeys in flight, looking exactly like traceurs. When it was finished, he said that after coming home he had just continued perfecting what he had learned from the monkeys. He had plans, he said, to make a movie with them.

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image from accidentalblogger
I suppose what’s interesting is that the monkeys who live on rooftops in Jodhpur are respected as living incarnations of Hanuman, so perhaps they are given a little bit of space to swing their tails. In Delhi, although monkeys are the living gargoyles that populated old monuments and ruins, they are getting slowly chased out of parts of town where they used to hang from the trees and people used to drive by with bananas for them. I guess India “shining” doesn’t envisage a world with monkeys hanging about. We’ll have to dispose of the monkeys, the slums, the street vendors, etc., until one day we all wake up in glistening high rise buildings with glass exteriors and temperature controlled rooms filled with robot servants, pets, children and spouses. Ultimately humans will become a totally outdated phenomenon; a creature that was really far better suited to living in trees. Just a bunch of monkeys who forgot to jump, and who became inevitably outsourced by robots with better hygiene.
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image of monkey toy robot from hasbro.com
But I really have nothing against robots, especially monkey robots, or robots that do kung fu or Parkour. Anyway, I’m probably completely romanticizing the whole phenomenon and its just like some kind of time pass that guys use to show off their skills to chicks. Or perhaps its the real deal. Either way, I like to daydream of small ruptures and revolts in monkey form.

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image from air massive

SREESANTH SUNDARAM- Dirty Dancing on the Cricket Pitch

He Hits Nell for a Sixer and gets jiggy with it…

Shake what your mama gave ya!