Have you ever seen this person before? Well, get used to him because according to the Times Online, this is the Great Khali and he’s very famous in India. For what? You see, he’s the reason why Indians (who “take [their] sport very seriously” the article informs us) “have become hooked on the melodrama and gladiatorial antics of American pro-wrestling”.
Really? Well, i guess my childhood must have been one long clairvoyant nightmare then, with all the kids going crazy about giant, bulked up men bouncing off ropes in their underwear to land on other sweaty men. Ew. I’m all for hot men on men action, but the men have to be “hot” in something more than the literal sense, you know?
They even had trading cards full of useless trivia like the height and weight and bicep size of people like… er… um… was the The Rock a pro-wrestler or a footballer? Wrestler, right? He had that strange cooking phrase he liked to use and he’d also raise his eyebrow? I remember a friend of mine annoying me with that shit way past its funniness expiration date and into college.
Although, I think my problems with those cards are to do with my dislike of trading cards in general. I mean, they’re so incredibly lame. I remember trying to get into it as a child and reading out the stats to see if I could “beat” the other person with my cunning knowledge of the person whose card I held – and as young as I was, I knew this was a bullshit scam dreamed up by some genius who wanted more of my parents’ money. The only good thing about trading cards is that there are enough rich morons out there to make the rare ones incredibly valuable. You can buy me some of those if you like.
But that’s not the point. Even Khali and his bogus job isn’t what grabs my attention. No, what I really love is this article in the Times. Consider, for example:
Khali is a monster of a man: 7ft3in (2.2m) and 30st (190kg), he is the first Indian to be signed up by World Wrestling Entertainment. “This enormous monster has walked the jungles of India, unafraid of pythons, and wrestled white Bengal tigers,” says the WWE website, possibly giving in to hyperbole. Now, eight years after his debut, Khali has had a spell as world number one and has returned to India for a holiday, and to shoot a documentary about his remarkable life. Thousands have turned out to greet him, and the President has told him that he is the pride of the nation.
I love the fact that it’s totally acceptable for the WWE to describe this guy as a jungle monster and get a Rupert Murdoch publication to excuse it because that’s what fake fighting is all about. I also love the fact that the crowd that watches the WWE in the United States is now even more confused about India: a technology behemoth that’s stealing jobs via computers located in dense forests where tigers roam and snakes hiss? Whoa!
More, I find it hilarious that you can go on “leave” from the Punjab police for over ten years, take up residence in another country, sign on to another job and still draw a salary from the Punjab government. Also entertaining is the idea that by turning the K to a Kh, he’s suddenly made the very feminine Kali (as in the Goddess) into a male.
And I think it’s perfect that our President, who is a little old lady who trundles around with the saree wrapped around her like a de facto burqa, thinks a guy who fake-wrestles in his underwear is the “pride of the nation”.
I am, however, sad that the Undertaker (a name I recognize from my childhood) is still fighting and getting trounced by newbies like Khali. That’s no way to spend your golden years. We need to start a retirement fund.
I’m sure somebody out there will soon turn my tears into joy though, when they proudly name their newborn infant Giant Singh in honor of the Great Khali. You know you want to! Don’t lie. You wish your kid could grow up like that hunk of manmeat!
But seriously, no trashing the guy himself – I can’t imagine going from a Himachali kid with little education whose big career option was to move cattle around for his neighbors, to getting written up in the international press as a star. That speaks more of cojones than all the giant talk.