Play­ing by the rules

In­spired by the sport in Harry Pot­ter, mug­gle quid­ditch has be­come a a global sport, finds Jayadev Cala­mur

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

Agar­wal’s pic­tures ap­pear as if a real game of quid­ditch is be­ing played; a few tricks were used to give them a mag­i­cal feel Much like wiz­ard quid­ditch, mug­gle quid­ditch has a team of seven play­ers: three chasers, two beat­ers, a keeper and a seeker. The chasers, who would throw the quaf­fle ( a spher­i­cal ob­ject) into hoops in the orig­i­nal game, now throw a vol­ley­ball into hula hoops that act as goal­posts.

Bel­sole re­calls his time as a chaser with his team. “They would call me ‘ bullet’,” he pro­claims, adding that the ini­tial bit of bal­anc­ing a broom and throw­ing a ball into a hula hoops was tough, at first. “Ob­vi­ously, we can­not fly, so we run with the broom be­tween our legs.” Much like the orig­i­nal game, the keeper stands in front of the hoops to pre­vent the ball from en­ter­ing.

While the chasers score, the beat­ers aim to throw a ball, called the bludger, at you. In wizard­ing quid­ditch, beat­ers would use a bat to smack the bludger in the di­rec­tion of the chaser or the seeker in or­der to dis­tract them. But in the mug­gle vari­ant of the game, beat­ers throw dodge balls at their op­po­nents.

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Af­ter all, su­per­heroes tend to be cen­tred on real- life in­ci­dents. Take, for ex­am­ple, XMen: First Class, which ex­plains the rise and fall of the friend­ship be­tween Charles Xavier and Erik Lehn­sh­err ( who even­tu­ally be­comes Mag­neto) and high­lights his­tor­i­cal events like the Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis dur­ing the height of the Cold War.

The Smith­so­nian pro­gramme, men­toredd by Stan Lee, the brain be­hind iconic char­ac­ters such as Spi­der­man, the X- Men, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Iron n Man and the Hulk, , traces the his­tory y and ori­gins of the he first su­per­heroes es and comic books, ks, and how they ey changed over time.me. In ad­di­tion, stu­dents nts also learn how gloglob­al­i­sa­tion and the di­ver­sity of next gen­er­a­tion su­per­heroes im­pacts sto­ry­telling.

Stu­dents learn that su­per­heroes have been part of cul­ture for al­most as long as civil­i­sa­tion it­self, says course pro­fes­sor Michael Us­lan. “Peo­ple need en­ter­tain­ment, mo­ral guid­ance, and in­spi­ra­tion. These sto­ries, whether they are about Moses, Be­owulf, Odysseus or Her­cules, ful­fil that in­her­ent need. By un­der­stand­ing our mytholo­gies of the present and past, we gain in­sight into our­selves as set within the con­text of time and place glob­ally,” he says in an email in­ter­view.

In fact, the Smith­so­nian can do a sec­ond course on the range of sto­ry­telling that emerges from ev­ery cul­ture. “It is won­der­ful to see some of these come to light in new, more di­verse su­per­heroes,” Us­lan adds.

The great­est ex­am­ple of a su­per­hero aris­ing due to a his­tor­i­cal event was Cap­tain Amer­ica, in re­sponse to Hitler and the rise of Nazism. “Jerry Robin­son’s Atoman was cre­ated as a di­rect re­ac­tion to the drop­ping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Na­gasaki in 1945,” he says. ter­na­tional to pro­mote the course, says Jatin Varma, founder of ComicCon In­dia, adding that In­dia has an ad­van­tage be­cause of its mytho­log­i­cal his­tory. “I think in In­dia, his­tory and mythol­ogy in­flu­ence lit­er­a­ture. Ab­hi­jeet Kini’s An­gry Maushi tril­ogy re­leased around the same time as Anna Hazare be­gan his In­dia Against Cor­rup­tion campaign,” he says.

Mum­bai res­i­dent Donato Pavri, among those who has signed up for the pro­gramme, says he wants to know more about char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment, plots and set­tings. “I had done a course from the Univer­sity of Colorado where they taught us us h how to build a comic­com book: how manyma strips go in­toint mak­ing the fi­nalfin story, how manym writ­ers an­dan de­sign­ers sitsi in a frame. This will be a r e f r e s h e r cour­sec along with new el­e­ments,” he says.

US res­i­dent dent Emma Jezek, who signed up three months ago, says she sat through the course a sec­ond time be­cause she en­joyed it the first time around. “The ex­pe­ri­ence was dif­fer­ent both times. It’s helped me de­velop char­ac­ters for my own comic book se­ries. If you’re look­ing for a course to help with char­ac­ter de­sign and de­vel­op­ment or are just look­ing to fol­low the his­tory of comics and their char­ac­ters, I’d rec­om­mend this one,” she says.

Jayadev. cala­mur@ dnain­dia. net @ NotJDSalinger

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