22 June, 2021

The Subcontinental Menu

Why members of India's archery squad are required to visit crematoria at night to Bombay High Court's 'Baywatch' reference on need to adopt modern means. Read this and much more in this week's The Subcontinental Menu.

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
The Subcontinental Menu

Be Very Still, My Beating Heart

Necromancy? Perhaps not. But members of India’s arch­ery squad are seeking help from beyond the grave through a training regimen that requires them to visit crematoria in the dead of night and commune with imagined ghosts, or retrieve some object left there. This seems unorthodox, but it’s a tried and tested method to improve archers’ mental conditioning—heartbeats are controlled and nerves calmed (another exercise pre­­­s­­­­cribed by the Indian coach includes jumping into a pool from a height of 10 metres). The South Koreans, paragons of the sport with 15 Olympic gold to their credit, have been doing these since the late 1980s. Their repertoire also inc­­ludes handling snakes, cleaning sewage and going into ‘haunted’ houses where they are waylaid by actors dressed as ghosts.

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