Mumbai diary: Sunday Shorts

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Iron men
With Mumbai’s bodybuilders on the edge at the prospect of the World Bodybuilding Championships coming up in early December in the city, abs, pecs, biceps and triceps will soon be in focus. One saw Madhukar Talwalkar of the Talwalkars chain of gyms fame, at a couple of press meetings held to promote and create awareness about the Championships.

Staying strong: Madhukar Talwalkar

We hear that there is some talk about a book on Madhukar Talwalkar’s life, and the 80-plus body builder, who is a walking, talking advertisement for why you should weight train, is looking for a writer. “But do you think anybody would be interested in reading the book?” asked Talwalkar with genuine surprise. Given the growing legion of body builders in India, the crowds at gyms and overall obsession with sculpted bodies, one is sure that we would see well-toned arms, many with Popeye-like biceps, reaching out to pluck the book off the shelves.

The highs and lows of Geoff Boycott
Genial is not a word you would associate former England cricket captain and batting great Geoff Boycott with. But they say, he has changed and you better believe it.

Now, Boycott (74) has an official website and going through is rewarding. He provides tips to young cricketers, talks about his experiences, slams who deserve to be slammed and one is impressed with the amount of gyaan he has to offer.

Geoffrey Boycott at a press conference in Leeds, England.  Pic/Getty images

The ‘Wit and Wisdom’ section ends with what he endured in his battle against cancer. It’s depressing, but true and also inspirational. Read on:

‘It’s horrific. It’s the sort of treatment that reduces strong men to tears. And it did me. Many a time I was so full of morphine I kept falling asleep. And then, when I woke up, the relentless pain was still there. But in the end there are just two of you in that match: you and the bloody cancer’.

‘I would count my treatments the way I once counted my runs. I had to have 35 laser sessions. Just get to 18, I’d will myself, then you’ll be on the home run. You have to be mentally strong to keep the crying and the depression at bay. And all the time, through all this pain and fog, there is this nagging question at the back of your mind: Will
it work?’

‘I used to think cricket was everything. But staying alive is everything. Surviving cancer changes your perspective. You get a second chance and you don’t waste it’.

We salute you, Sir. 

Picking up lessons
Sometimes, all it takes to teach someone a lesson is one simple act.

Recently, as this diarist was on his way back home, a banana peel landed a few yards ahead of us. Anyway, we looked up at the building, as anybody who believes in God and miracles would. And right there it was — on the second floor was a home with its window open and a tubelight flickering inside. It was patent that the banana skin came from there. Outraged, our instinct was to simply throw the peel back into the house, but we changed our mind. Instead, we opened the gate and walked up the stairs, rather ambiguous about what we planned to do.

A tall man dressed in only a lungi opened the door. Before he could ask us anything, we said, “This must be yours. You left it downstairs,” and handed him the banana skin. Of course, by then we were prepared for denial and outrage.

However, much to our surprise, the man simply took the banana skin, looked over at his window and made a face. We were itching to add, “Padhe likhe log aisa karenge toh anpadon se kya ummeed karein (If the educated act like you have, what could one expect of those who aren’t as privileged)?” But there was no need for it.

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