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Stupidity Or Talented

Some sections of society here in India seem to have a rather cavalier attitude towards life, bordering on a reckless disregard for their own lives. More often than not it tends to be young men from the poorer communities, but I’ve also seen young men on motorbikes weaving dangerously through traffic, skipping stop signs, playing chicken with buses and trucks – the list goes on.

Whether it’s misplaced bravery or a complete lack of imagination of the consequences of their actions I don’t know. I guess parallels could be drawn with some adrenaline sports like bungie jumping or skydiving, but at least there is an element of safety with these sports although maybe there is no excuse for the absurdity of tombstoning which involves throwing oneself off a very high cliff in to water which could be deep or could have rocks below the surface, let’s just jump on in and find out, eh?!

Anyway, in the same vein of the asininity of tombstoning, a video has recently surfaced in India which shows a bunch of young lads performing death defying stunts on a commuter train in Mumbai in what has been referred to as free style train surfing. Rather alarmingly, while the media here along with the vast majority of people who watch it condemn the stupidity of youths, there is a minority that actually praise and comment how talented and skillful you must be to perform such stunts…

this guy deserve AWARD!!! we all every stunt is risky but riding on wall with urs legs with matching urs walk speed with train speed was simply OUTSTANDING THANKS for sharing video link god bless you stuntboy 🙂 james bond sucks urs d**k!!!

These guys are very daring, pick them up, give trainning, give them job in police or defence. We must utilize such talent and use them for our country

I’ve never seen anyone doing anything as insane as the train surfing stunt below, but I have seen school kids who stand on the station platform and run alongside the train and jump on at the last minute, or who do a similar thing with the buses and hang precariously on to the sides just feet from certain death if they fall. And to think my mother used to get worried when I climbed trees when I was a kid!

In actual fact, one American blog has a whole different angle on the video: India is the new king of viral videos.

Girl On Wire

When you never went to school or have got no place to call home, you’ve got to make money anyway you can and in India one of the ways families make money is by putting their daughter up on a tightrope and asking her to balance precariously 2 metres above ground with only the concrete below to cushion her impact should she fall.

One of the travelling tightrope families stopped outside my apartment in July 2011, they set up their show by knocking two bloody great big nails in to the road (there are so many potholes any way, two more don’t matter) and then securing a rope to them. As you will see, it’s quite the attraction with everyone stopping to watch for a few minutes before the mother goes around with a dish to collect some money. By my calculations they collect Rs 100 – 150 (about $2.25 – $2.50) each time.

Is it exploitative for the young girl? I don’t know, probably, but she almost certainly doesn’t go to school or get any kind of education and her parents probably can’t get jobs but you’ve still got to survive right? And it certainly beats begging at the traffic lights!