Andhra Pradesh

Where there’s muck, there’s brass!

Aftertaste will linger for a long time after festival, say participants

Aftertaste will linger for a long time after festival, say participants   | Photo Credit: V RAJU

319 complete obstacle course, take part in fun activities at mud festival

Muck-sodden, with clothes and shoes bespattered with mud, Haritha Korrapati shoots for the next obstacle — a seven-foot-high wall made of tyres strung together. She climbs up deftly and lands on a boggy patch with a splash.

“I am just having fun,” she says, “bruises? Allergies? We’ll take care of that later.”

On a 2-acre swathe at Kanuru here, Ms. Korrapati, along with her MBBS classmates Samhitha Valugula, Akshaya Nagelli and Harshitha Bandaru, has completed each of the 10 obstacles set on a 920-metre winding track as part of the mud festival on Sunday. “We’ve never done an obstacle course. Some were difficult, but we overcame them after trying again and again,” say the girls in unison, brandishing their certificates feverishly.

First in State

Organised by the Hyderabad-based Zero Gravity Adventure Club and the Red Ninja Warriors for the first time in the State, the festival saw participation of 319 people, says Shravan Koneru, Chairman of the club.

“We organised the first edition in Hyderabad where the course was 2-k.m.-long and the obstacles more difficult. Since the concept is new here, we’ve kept it simple,” he says, adding that it took 10 days and six tractors of black mud, cleared of pebbles, to set up the arena. Water was sourced from a borewell.

Spotting the new spectacle, motorists slow down and farmers break their afternoon saunter to squat on the roadside beside the arena to gaze in wonder at the participants.

“I have seen such action only in the movie Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India. It’s amazing to see a challenge akin to combat training right in my neighbourhood,” says E. Saibabu, a farmer, peering over the arena, surrounded by paddy fields.

Zumba as warm up

The course, non-competitive and taken up in batches, begins with a zumba session as warm up. Skittish children of the Hope for Humanity shelter home shake a leg to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’s toe-tapping Maston Ka Jhund as a zumba instructor blithely performs easy-peasy steps for them to follow.

The pack of children then dashes for the first obstacle, a wobbly seesaw plank. With a taut gut, unwavering gaze and hands apart, some tread cautiously a couple of steps over a thin, rickety strip over a mud pool, but lose balance and plunge sideways with a slush.

Sploshing ahead, with squeaking, spongy shoes and and soiled clothes, is a group of gymmates, clearing effortlessly one after the other obstacle. Ducking under ropes stretched over a pool, climbing a hurdle made of tyres and crawling through pipes slushed with mire, they reach the final challenge — mud kabaddi.

“I thought the festival would be like Devil’s Circuit, which is much more tougher. The obstacles here were a cake walk for us,” says Ashraf Shaik, 20, part of the group.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. a steady stream of mostly young adults thronged the arena, set up at a cost of ₹1.9 lakh. “Next, we plan to organise a Mr. Andhra bodybuilding contest in summer and then intra college fitness contests in the city,” says Mr. Koneru.

The festival was sponsored by Decathlon, Radio Mirchi, Royal Enfield, Vespa, Aprilia, Bajaj, KTM, Chocolate Room, Capital Hospitals, Bamboo and Biryani, Le Story and The League Sports Bar.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:46:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/where-theres-muck-theres-brass/article26231663.ece

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