His palms are sweaty,
knees weak, arms are heavy
but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs…
Finally, the D-Day happened. Mumbai Mizo Association annual Sports Day, 2014. The last time I attended our Sports event was back in 2011 - MMA Sports 2011
Unlike Mizo Associations of other metros like Delhi, B’lore etc, there aren’t that many Mizos residing here in Mumbai. And so we usually divide ourselves into just two houses for Sports Day - Red and Blue. The strengths of both houses are equally divided, and siblings, couples and family members are usually placed in separate houses.
This year, days before the actual Sports Day, members of both houses were already pitting against each other on social media, cheering their respective houses and jeering the opposition. Rants and slogans with photoshop images flew across here and there, which was a great way to build up momentum for the main event. Everything became a RED versus BLUE banter.
Click on all photos to enlarge on a new tab. Below photos taken from my mobile, Fela’s FB album, Bee’s FB album and MMA FB album.
BLUE versus RED, with leaders of the two houses Pu Zaithanmawia and Pu Lalmalsawma Pachuau.
On off banters between Red and Blue house...
They have motivation. We have Photoshop :D
And so on 22nd November, I woke up at 10 AM (which was a huge feat for me because I got back from work at 4 AM the very same morning) and quickly got ready. I reached the venue - Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, a good half an hour early.
MMA had hired the entire grounds for the day, and it was a truly a peaceful and beautiful place. Here’s a panoramic view of the football field, scaled down to a height of 600 pixels (contact me if you want the high resolution version).
Blue House immediately got to work, trapping the Reds :D
There was this other banner hanging above from a previous function, which was kinda ruining our MMA banner.
We Mizos have a disadvantage of being short, so none of us could reach the banner. But we have the advantage of being athletic (you know, from all those activities of climbing trees and swinging from branches to branches as we travel from one tree house to the other… haha just kidding, but yeah sadly, that was one of the stereotype people had about us back in school and college).
It didn’t take long to find a volunteer to remove the banner.
Those who arrived early immediately got to work setting up the place. Here are some of the volunteers arduously marking the boundary line of the football field.
Meanwhile, at the other end other early arrivals were setting up the banners and sound arrangements.
Soon it was time to start the function…
The coveted trophies, donated by Maria and Andrew.
After the opening ceremony, people got down to hair sprays and war paints, showing their support for the respective houses.
We started off easy, with a water filling contest between the two houses. The aim of the game was to see who could fill up a plastic cup with water the fastest, using just their hands.
And as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a million :D
Blue won naturally :)
The next event after that was Tug-of-war, with 5 male and female participants each from both houses. As you can see from the photos below, Blue was clearly the much stronger team.
And then guess what happened? The rope broke! Conspiracy theorists believed Red team sabotaged the rope so that it would result in a draw, hence awarding points to both houses instead of just Blue house. Below is a candid AV recording obtained by our Blue sleuth team the next day…
The next event after that was Penalty shoot-outs. Blue house won at the women’s section, and so the organizers (Red house members) announced it was a “best of 3” competition! And so our Blue women sportingly played the made-up second round and won that too :)
When it was the Men’s turn, we lost the first round by one goal to Red, and suddenly that was it. No second round of "Best of three". Red won! :D
Other events were held after this, like Poison ball, 100m race, walking race etc.
(In the above video, I don’t have the part when it was Blue’s turn to be inside the circle because I received a call while I was filming that and ended up losing everything, grrrrr)
Soon, we all moved to the basketball and volleyball court area. The kids too had a great time, competing with each other. Red house won a bulk of their points from the children’s division.
Women’s volleyball too was exciting to watch. While this was going on, the free throw competition was simultaneously conducted. Watch the two combined videos below.
Other games like Men’s volleyball and basketball were held in quick succession…
The women too competed against each other for this game called “inkawibah” which is a Mizo traditional game. For my non-Mizo visitors, watch the video to know how it’s played.
Here are some of the more awesome shots captured during this game :)
A little bit of Photoshop on the above pics and one can have a set of really funny pics… but then, I am not that evil. I don’t edit other people’s photographs. That is so mean :)
Lunch was provided by Pi Maliani and Pi Zoni Margaret, and though I couldn’t eat due to exhaustion (after participating in basketball and volleyball), people said it was awesome. Much thanks to them for their selfless donation.
My body not only took a heavy beating, my shoe also suffered. The front sole of my right shoe and back sole of my left show came off. Bye bye shoes. Those were some great years we spent together.
Soon after everybody relaxed, we headed back to the football ground for the main event - Men's football. We cheered and shouted for our respective houses, and it was a highly contested match.
Even though Red team scored a goal that looked pretty much like an offside, the match ended with a 2-2 draw and it went to penalty.
After the football match that Blue house won, Red house was still trailing, so the organizers again conducted on-the-spot events like 100m race, 2x100m race, 4x100m race, 50+50m race etc just because they had some fast runners.
Here is Maria giving it her best shot and then falling to the ground during her race. Sportingly, she got up and finished the race.
More races were conducted…
Overall, Blue House seemed to dominate in most of the main events. It was like Goliath pummeling David to the ground. This photo pretty much sums up the difference in strengths between the two houses.
And all Red could do was react to our victories…
But the overall championship went to Red house in spite of Blue winning most of the main events…
Yeah, like I said, too many kids events :P
Overall, everybody had a great time. The main purpose of such an event was not to compete or win, but rather to come together and catch up with friends that we otherwise hardly get to meet (because of our respective busy Mumbai life) and have fun. And Sports Day achieved just that. Kudos to the organizers and hoping to see you all next year too!
Ps. Here’s a secret. One week before the Sports Day, I started exercising on our treadmill (that had been lying unused for many months and covered with cobwebs) and that made things a bit easier for me :)