It has been in existence from thousands of years, but it seems the modern Mumbaikar has perfected the art of kabaddi, not because he has a deep knowledge about the sport, but because he indulges in kabaddi-like situations every single working day. Don’t get it? Read on...
1. The Breathless Brouhaha
From the moment he wakes up, sends his child to school, gets ready, travels by public transport to work and returns by the end of the day only to crash and recharge for another ‘round’, the Mumbaikar is often breathless. Kabaddi then is a 40-minute version of this day, complete with breathless bouts and tension. The next time you are running down the stairs to make sure you reach work before your boss does, try saying ‘kabaddi.. kabaddi’ to boost your chances of taking up this sport! Brouhaha, by the way, refers to ‘organised chaos’.
2. The Sprints to Glory
Taking off from the above point, the root cause of the breathlessness is also the running that the Mumbaikar is pushed to do. From behind the child’s school bus to that elusive 8.11 Churchgate local to a good seat in the office canteen. If not literal running, there’s always the perennial ‘chase’ of a better life, a fatter salary, a bigger home... the list is endless! Sprinting is one of the critical ways to build core strength in a kabaddi player’s fitness regimen. And if he happens to be a Mumbaikar, he exactly knows what this is about.
3. ‘Raiding’ the opponent
Let’s just say this – you knowingly step into a new zone at your workplace with a plan (usually armed with a directive or an idea). You are aware your ‘opponents’ will not take this smoothly, and in fact attack you from all directions. Your motive is to ‘raid’ this team, plant this idea a la ‘Cobb’ in Inception and victoriously return to your base. Sounds like a round of kabaddi right? Hell, yes! Ask anyone scurrying for a seat on an evening local or a bus for more details! And in the end, even in Mumbai, many things wind up to being ‘touch-and- go’.
4. Matters of Defence
On the other hand, the ‘attack is the best form of defence’ strategy works for all Mumbaikars – whether playing office politics or kitchen economics or fending off competitors for a film role or pundits on a news show! The kabaddi mantra of hand-holding, splitting into pairs or threes and executing a perfect defence strategy finds its metaphors in many battles outside the kabaddi ground. Wait, did we even mention court room battles?
5. Drawing the Lines
Territorialism has been human nature from time immemorial, and finds many takers in megacities such as Mumbai. We like to draw our lines in the unending matters of property and real estate, in issues over water and electricity and in the daily chase of a ‘good parking spot.’ In other perspectives, the lines – for war or peace – are often drawn within joint families, whether of the industrialist type or otherwise. The Mumbaikar is prompt to draw a line with ease when it comes to matters of finances, territory or professional work. That said, there are ‘happier’ lines we like to draw too, i.e. to make ‘stumps’ on neighbourhood walls for playing a round of cricket!