Photo courtesy of www.indianveterans.com
Today, August 15th 2009, India celebrates it’s 62nd Independence Day from the 350-year British rule. India is the world’s largest democracy (I call it a ‘Democrazy’!) and has the second largest population in the world. In spite of our large numbers we do miserably in the summer Olympics and are non-existent in the winter Olympics (India being a tropical country and all…that’s our excuse and we are sticking to it!). We are a nation known for it’s brain drain of math geniuses and computer geeks, not athletes. Indian parents push their kids to be doctors, engineers or businessman, not swimmers, trampoline jumpers or track athletes. The mostly vegetarian diet doesn’t help either.
My theory is that we are just such a unique nation with a distinctive culture that normal sports like gymnastics, long jump and synchronized swimming are just not our cup of chai 🙂 However, I do think there are some “sports” that we could give the Chinese and Americans a run for medals at the next Olympics. I have a few suggestions for sports to be added to the summer Olympic roster that I am sure a lot of other Asian countries can relate to and be excited about as well:
- Holding your pee during a day of shopping (finding a clean public bathroom should be some sort of a treasure hunt as well).
- Eating street food (and not getting sick).
- Riding all day in an auto-rickshaw without puking (also applicable in the adventure sport category).
- Putting on trousers in the bathroom without getting the bottoms soaked in the water that you just bathed with (there is no concept of a shower stall or bath tub in India, everything happens in one space).
- Riding in an auto-rickshaw. Do you like roller-coasters? Bungee-jumping? Do you like the feeling of your stomach jumping up to into your mouth and back again? Do you like the feeling of feeling of terror like your life is about to end, your loved one’s faces flash before your eyes and then feeling a huge sense of temporary relief? Then riding an auto-rickshaw could be the sport for you!
- Driving in Delhi. As crazy as riding an auto-rickshaw except that you are behind the wheel and (hopefully) there are doors that protect you from falling out.
- Driving a scooter in Delhi. God bless and God speed! This is not for the faint of heart!
- Crossing the road (it’s sort of like that video game Frogger, but much much much more dangerous and nerve-racking).
So there you have it, some sports that I think India can make it’s mark in to take home a respectable number of medals in 2012. In a true democracy where have as much a right of way as vehicles do, I think it’s expected that the choice of sport be a bit unorthodox 🙂