Tuesday, June 9, 2015


MallaKhamb, a combination of two words in Marathi, that meant wrestler and pole respectively, were probably the earliest gyms, in Maharashtra , if not India. You did not need fancy contraptions, complicated clothes , and electricity to simulate your walking on a road.

You had fixed pole, moving pole and rope varieties of Mallakhaamb, and it was a Mr Deodhar during the reign of the Peshwas in Maharashtra, who reintroduced this art to the public as a fitness and training thing, in the face of some very British sports with balls, bats,rackets,pavillions, sandwiches and drinks.

My friend Mukta Atrey, captured a dragonfly doing a similar exercise.  On a campus full of assorted  large quadrupeds and where much of the games that the British introduced, are still played.

The aforementioned Mr. Deodhar ,  had a tough time getting it all together, and today , this sport is looking for its place in the pantheon of world sports.

The dragonfly had it much easier.  It just wandered around Mukta's garden and got clicked.  

I so wish it was a damselfly. Then one  could have said #despitebeingawoman    ....   

Whacked balls,
raised bats,
flying shuttles,

running kicks,
throwing spears,
leaping over poles,
and going round and round
all just to
fling a metal ball
as far as you can;
the sport of Malkhaamb
never stood a chance
in the face of it all,
its tough postures,
amazing balance
its shining oily grace.

So it is
with a sense of wonder
that you capture,
in a land
populated with bovine folks,
barking dudes,
swinging simians,
slithering reptiles,
and roaring kings,
the dainty dragonfly
the moving pole Malkhaamb
its body slathered
with the nectar
just imbibed.

It took one of the Deodhars
of the Peshwas
to bring to light
the beauty
and discipline of the Malkhamb,
in the face of
the British games.

Mukta Atrey
just managed it in a click here....

1 comment:

  1. Great capture and wonderful words as always!! Hope you are well!!