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Updated: June 27, 2012 10:00 IST

A 'tyre trick' that went awry

Staff Reporter
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An acrobatic show in front of the
Secretariat on Tuesday turned into an agonising
experience for the duo who got stuck in a rubber
tube midway through their act. Photo: S. Gopakumar
An acrobatic show in front of the Secretariat on Tuesday turned into an agonising experience for the duo who got stuck in a rubber tube midway through their act. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Protest against garbage problem ends mid-way, literally

Two middle-aged men spent an agonising hour trapped inside a rubber tyre after their ill-conceived acrobatic street act to highlight the garbage menace came unstuck in front of the Secretariat here on Tuesday.

The police had to summon the Fire and Rescue Services personnel to cut the steel-fibre reinforced car tyre in which the men found themselves trapped on their own volition.

Dancer Thampi, a choreographer and self-styled champion of public causes, and an associate of his, accompanied by a video cameraman, arrived in front of the Secretariat with a bedspread and a rubber tyre at 11.30 a.m.

Thampi’s associate imitated actor Rajnikanth and did some sleight of hand tricks and juggling acts popularised by the star on screen. Soon, both of them removed their shirts and flaunted the rubber tyre in front of the pedestrians, policemen and news photographers who had gathered around to watch their act.

Thampi and his associate crouched on all fours, one on top of the other, and tried to slither their torsos through the tyre simultaneously. The act went on smoothly till the contraption reached the abdominal part of the slightly portly men.

Despite their best efforts, twists, turns, heaves, squirms, wiggles and grunts included, the tyre would not move an inch down from their bellies. The entertainers had no stage-men to assist their act, except for their cameraman who went about his business nonchalantly.

The cameraman, like the rest of the witnesses, was initially unsure whether the struggles of the men were real or part of the act.

Then Thampi swore loudly at the cameraman, asked him to chuck his equipment and fetch the hacksaw blade he had kept inside his bag. “Cut me out,” he groaned.

The policemen, kept their shields and baton aside, and joined the civic effort to help the men out of the tyre. They took turns wielding the flimsy blade which soon lost its edge against the steel-fibred “radial” tyre.

Finally, the police called in the Fire and Rescue Service personnel who used a long-handled heavy duty cable cutter to sever the “restricting” contraption.

The police let off Thampi with a warning not to pull acts that potentially endangered his life and caused nuisance. Last week, Thampi had turned up in front of the Secretariat decked up in slaughter waste (wearing an intestine around the neck and poultry feathers on his head) to protest against the garbage menace.

A mediaperson who knew Thampi up close said the “irrepressible entertainer” would soon be back with another “brilliantly clumsy” street act.

Keywords: human interest

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