Recently By Anjali Nayar

Apologies and farewell from Delhi

Delhi, India - OK, so I have to make an apology. As my family well knows, I don't always admit when I'm wrong, but I think it's unavoidable in this case.

I started this blog by writing:

 "I don't generally associate India with raging athletic prowess. Besides the country's cricket team, a handful of wrestlers and a couple wealthy shooters (with their own private shooting ranges), India rarely makes an impact on the international level."

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Down and dirty: Mud wrestling in India

My muddy adventure started in Amritsar, in the province of Punjab and one of the hotspots for wrestlers in India.

I soon learned that the game actually has no rules or time limit. It's just one on one, heaving, grunting and grabbing until one wrestler ends up literally in the mud. In the olden days, wrestlers could even fight until death.

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'Friendly' rivalry during India/Pakistan match

In the floodlights of central Delhi's Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday, the air was thick with nationalism (and grasshoppers).


Among the crowd were little old ladies with their faces painted and young boys zipping around with orange, white and green Indian flags.

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Pole dancing, Indian style

I was in Mumbai's Shivaji Park for a game of kho kho (Indian tag) when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a strange multi-limbed goddess beckoning me forward.

"That's mallakhamb," a passerby told me, noticing my hypnotic fixation on the horizon. I had never heard the word. "Indian traditional pole gymnastics," he explained.

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A tale of change through sport

India is a sensory overload that hits you as soon as you arrive. There is the clash of traffic and the spicy foods, the brightly-coloured saris and the beguiling music.

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I'm definitely in Delhi

DELHI, INDIA - I jumped into the back of a rickshaw.

The driver, named Raj, turned back towards me with a smile "Welcome to Delhi, this is great city."

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Digging into India's religious controversies (and sport)

LOTHAL, GUJARAT - The Commonwealth Games disappeared from the headlines yesterday to make way for a ruling in one of India's longest and most impassioned legal, political, historical and socio-religious debates.

In short, Hindus and Muslims have been fighting in India for hundreds of years. And the Indian city of Ayodhya, northeast of the capital Delhi, has come to embody this ongoing conflict.

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A smoking gun to my (non) Indian-ness

I loaded the rifle. It was smooth and cool to the touch, a combination of metal and carbon that felt solid in my hands.

I propped the butt of the gun in my armpit and focused on my target. Through the magnified viewfinder, the black dot ten meters away was still only a few millimeters wide. And with every heartbeat, my crosshairs did figure eights along the wall around it.

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The original Fight Club

MUMBAI, INDIA - My last posting was about extremes, and this posting about finding Kalaripayattu, one of the world's oldest martial arts, in one of Mumbai's newest and most exclusive neighbourhoods, follows suit.

The glistening towers of Hiranandani Gardens, made famous by the Slumdog Millionaire movie, are surrounded by neatly trimmed parks and lofty palm trees. It seems hardly the place to take a dip into India's ancient past.

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Don't judge India on Delhi debacle

I see India in extremes. The food here can rival the best in the world and also land you in a hospital bed. Rice paddies surround world-class business complexes, the highways are shared by both BMWs and donkey carts, and McDonalds restaurants pop up around the most revered old shrines.

The rich and the poor. The urban and the rural. The corrupt and the idealistic. You get modern and middle age within a kilometre, within a block, within a sentence. And fittingly, you either love India or you hate it.

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