Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The new grapple

At 57 kilos, Sandeep Tomar is one of the slighter athletes in the akhada, but has earned respect by throwing Commonwealth Games gold medallist Amit Dahiya in the World Championship trials last year. Noticing his ears, I ask, “Did you have an accident or were you born this way?”

Other boys cackle while Dhaka, smiling a wattage of 30 years’experience in the sport, enlightens me: “Broken ears are a wrestler’s pride.”

The 55-year-old explains how broken blood vessels from hands or knees smashing into the side of a wrestler’s head harden into a sort of floret. Dhaka invites me to touch Sandeep’s ears, saying, “They’re hard now, like stone. But when the ears first break, you want to scream if they’re touched even by a strong breeze.”

This was a story I did for GQ India about wrestling, one of the most ancient sports in the world, and one of the most popular forms of public sporting entertainment in India even today. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.gqindia.com/get-smart/pop-culture/can-kushti-be-cool-again/

And here 

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