Rasslin’, the way the it was meant to be

I could barely restrain my glee yesterday when I switched on the TV during the day, and found myself witnessing the 15th Asian Games in Doha. Why, you may wonder? Because I found myself watching (wait for it)…international, competitive, kabaddi.
Kabaddi.jpg

One of the more eclectic sports, and for people such as myself who know nothing about the game other than its featuring scantily-clad, oiled-up men chanting, kabbadi is played by two seven-player teams, which take turns raiding each other’s side of the court. One scores points either touching an opposing player and returning to your own side, or by an opposing team managing to prevent a raider from returning to his side.

I mean, I sort of know what it’s all about, but my experience with kabaddi was limited to having heard about it, seen the occasional match while channel-surfing at 4:00 a.m., and once or twice, driving past Clifton Beach in Karachi on a Sunday evening and seeing what I was informed was a match in progress. I certainly had no idea that kabaddi had hit an international level, and even less aware was I that Japan and Iran are also into the sport. I also had no idea that (a) this existed, and (b) that there were some hotties involved in the game: Am I just clueless about this, or did I somehow miss the (re?)surgence of kabaddi? Best of all though, I can’t help but feel somewhat vindicated by this image. On behalf of all brown men everywhere who enjoy getting oiled up and tussling with other oiled-up men in skimpy clothing, I say carry on my brothers! We shall overcome!

48 thoughts on “Rasslin’, the way the it was meant to be

  1. India play Pakistan tomorrow; the streets are abuzz with unbridled excitement;)

  2. Photos you’ve posted are of “Punjab style” or “Circle” Kabbadi, whereas Asian Games feature National style Kabbadi. Punjab style is more one-on-one game and national style is more of a team game.

  3. I should let you fellas know that I used to (and I am pretty sure that most schools back home still do) play kabbadi. There is no oiling up or taking the shirt off, but it still used to be a lot of fun. The thing about kabbadi is that you need so much energy and honestly, I am yet to play another game that requires that kind of energy and the funny part was that I was thinking about this a few days ago.

    Good to know that they have an international competition.

  4. These guys are some of the biggest Indians you will see anywhere. And as I mentioned once before, they get those results with time-tested, age-old traditional work-out techniques and diet (apart from having the right genes which obviously is very necessary too). I think kabbadi is much less rough of a game outside Punjab/Haryana (and Pakistan).

  5. Seriously, I can’t have been the only person who saw the last photo above and thought it resembled this cover shot from Saturday Night Fever, can I? Crap! Now I have the BeeGees stuck in my head…;-)

    I wrestled in high school and sometimes wish that I had played rugby in college instead of other sports. Kabbaddi, unfortunately, wasn’t an option, but had it been offered, I probably would have played. Wow, kabaddi looks intense; it would be cool to see a match sometime.

    Desi Nole

    Try water polo. I have yet to encounter a more demanding sport.

  6. Ennis, I’m too worried. It could lead to some embarrassing moments for my team as I positively demand to be tagged and buried under a pile of squirming, sweaty men. I’m fairly certain that my side would lose, at least if the other team happens to comprise hot Irani men.

  7. as far as i know, women don’t really play– but my mom was a big koko player back in her high school days… anybody else have any koko ties?

  8. Desi Nole, you’re right on the money (#8). Also, count me in, if you’re missing a team member for KhoKho, kabaddi or volleyball.

    Amitabh, speed and solid grip are more important than size. My tiny friends regularly clowned big boys at state level championships. Breath control is big. Refs throw you out if they think you’re cheating. It’s quite rough outside Punjab as well. I have been kicked and tossed around like a ragdoll.

    Vishnavi, Women’s kabaddi is big in Mumbai. Naigaum, Lalbag, Parel etc. (former mill areas) have produced some fine players and continue to do so.

  9. Frankly, this game is not worth it. You often end up with a broken, disfigured nose, and cauliflower ears. Why ruin your looks over this? Yes I know some of these guys earn more money this way than they could doing something else. What I do respect are the balanced physiques, and the effective workouts. Maybe someone could market and promote the ‘kabbadi workout’.

  10. Oh, I don’t know. We had some good old times. Crazy adrenaline rush. Economics plays big part. Small space and no equipment. Perfect for low income areas in space-cramped Mumbai. Ruining looks was not exactly an issue with our silly mugs.

    We had a few Japanese demo games. They were fast but relatively safe.

  11. Yeah, I know…I’m talking more about these hard-core, professional-level players who have made a career out of it. Some of them make a lot of tax-free cash money which I guess is why they do it (as well as the fact that they are held in a lot of esteem by their fans). But I see your point about the low-cost aspects and the adrenaline rush, and just having fun.

  12. Sure I played lots of Kabaddi while at school. And Kho too :) Lots of bruises to prove it :)

  13. Sin, Kabbadi has been part of the asian games since 1982 (when the games were held in Delhi). Since 1986 it has been a medal sport and India have always won the gold since then and Pakistan always the silver. In fact in 1990 Asian games the only gold medal Indian won was in kabbadi.

    In fact saw the highlights of Pakistan/Japan and India/Bangladesh match yesterday. And Sin, the guys were neither in chaddis nor oiled up!!!

  14. sorry to single out the women as non-kabaddi players, i didn’t know about the thriving leagues! you learn a new thing everyday. curious to know, are there any female kabaddi players in the south? my family’s from the south and from the stories i heard growing up, kabaddi was a guy’s game.

  15. Vaishnavi:

    Let me kinda rephrase myself, Girl teams in abundance. At least in my high school, we were divided into 4 group and each group had to put up two teams (boys team and a girls team) for various events, one of them being Kabbadi.

  16. I’m fairly certain that my side would lose, at least if the other team happens to comprise hot Irani men.

    Sin..everything you write or comment is suffused with ‘gay’ness. Is it something reflective of an inherent insecure feeling or just that, you think it can be shoved down one’s throat??? Writing about ‘issues’ is fine. But ‘unsolicited’ blatant public display/advertisement of you being ‘gay’ leaves quite a few…’uneasy’. Not cool bro!

  17. But ‘unsolicited’ blatant public display/advertisement of you being ‘gay’ leaves quite a few…’uneasy’. Not cool bro!

    Oh Suraj. Get over it. He’s gay. BIG deal. He’s not hitting on you, and if you don’t like his writing that much, you don’t have to read his posts. But what you can’t do is ask him to “censor” himself for talking about himself.

  18. Suraj says,

    everything you write or comment is suffused with ‘gay’ness…you think it can be shoved down one’s throat???

    Sin, I set the line up for you.

  19. “[...]at least if the other team happens to comprise hot Irani men.”

    sin-

    we should be friends,

    fullstop.

    :)

  20. Suraj, dude, this is an adult blog, try and shake off your prehistoric ideals on what’s acceptable and let me just add that 95% of the female/gay/bisexual crowd think the Iranians (Hello John Abrahams, call me) are hot. Sin, your next post should be about ‘How to please a man, using the Kama Sutra in the McDonald Century’, that will definitely get some people jazzed enough to call a fatwa on your head, plus I think it will educational. :)

  21. 95% of the female/gay/bisexual crowd think the Iranians (Hello John Abrahams, call me) are hot.

    Why can’t the straight guys too?

  22. I think we should have a fan club for desis who like to:

    a)pretend they are… b)prefer to date… c)crush primarily on… d)would like to include in the definition of “desi” (so dating them falls within our stupid norms)…

    Persians.

    total tongue-in-cheek posit, don’t start going identity politics on my tuchchus

  23. Sin..everything you write or comment is suffused with ‘gay’ness. Is it something reflective of an inherent insecure feeling or just that, you think it can be shoved down one’s throat??? Writing about ‘issues’ is fine. But ‘unsolicited’ blatant public display/advertisement of you being ‘gay’ leaves quite a few…’uneasy’. Not cool bro!

    God, how I want to verbally assault you.

    Instead, I’m going to say, please grow up. If hetero people can write about finding the opposite sex attractive, there’s no reason for Sin not to write about whom he and countless others reading this blog find attractive.

    If you’re ‘uneasy’ with it, maybe you need to check yourself first.

  24. Suraj, dude, this is an adult blog, try and shake off your prehistoric ideals on whatÂ’s acceptable and let me just add that 95% of the female/gay/bisexual crowd think the Iranians (Hello John Abrahams, call me) are hot. Sin, your next post shou
    God, how I want to verbally assault you.

    ah. the righteous mr. magoos roar back in unison.

  25. bad day at the office for yeti

    it could be worse. you cold be sitting in the foodcourt in peachtree mall listening to walking in a winter wonderland for the thousandth time.

  26. But ‘unsolicited’ blatant public display/advertisement of you being ‘gay’ leaves quite a few…’uneasy’.

    Ahhh so now you have an inkling as to how queers feel about the constant display of hetrosexuality that we have been suject to for our entire life. One gay voice on this blog and your freaking out, remember, the remaining voices are all straight. And, if Sin refrences his sexuality in his posts, how is this different from talking about having kids, seeking a girlfriend, or a girl fighiting off unwanted advances from men?

    Anyways, with that out of the way, I can return to oggling researching kabadi players. What a wonderfully educational post! Men in just gitch engaged in combat has always intrested me, for those with similar interest I direct you to: Yagli Gures otherwise known as Turkish oil wrestling.

  27. Sin..everything you write or comment is suffused with ‘gay’ness. Is it something reflective of an inherent insecure feeling or just that, you think it can be shoved down one’s throat??? Writing about ‘issues’ is fine. But ‘unsolicited’ blatant public display/advertisement of you being ‘gay’ leaves quite a few…’uneasy’. Not cool bro!

    Suraj, the fact that you find yourself so concerned about my “gay”ness, as you put it, do you think that’s reflective of an inherent insecurity in your perspective on life, or your own identity, or just that you think it’s something I should keep completely and utterly to myself because it somehow disturbs you? I could say the same thing about “unsolicited” and “blatant” public displays of heterosexuality that make me feel “uneasy”, but I suck it up and deal because I don’t particularly find it disturbing or offensive, and more importantly, it’s none of my damn’ business; when it makes me that uncomfortable, I just ignore or avoid it. I’m certainly happy to hear from the few folk that you mention, but (a) please don’t call me “bro” because that’s an endorsement of a heterocentric discourse that discomfits me immensely, what with its straight-frat-boy connotations, and if you don’t like my saying “gay” stuff, then I have no problem pointing out the many “straight” things you may have written that make me uncomfortable; (b) feel free to completely avoid my posts if the mention of my homosexuality somehow leads to your curling up in the foetal position, overcome with angst; and (c) it was a joke, and if you simply can’t see beyond my sexuality with regards to that, really not my issue.

  28. India beat Pakistan, and I was there! Well, I left at half-time as there were too many Desis there and the place turned really smelly:D

  29. I like the frugality of third world sports. It demands no monetary outlay, in some cases not even clothes. If you have ever had a son in ice hockey in America, you know what I mean.

  30. ..and yes they have done it again. India-beat Pakistan for the kabbadi.. Gold! ki lonaa.. ki SOna.. Chak de phate!!!!