This time round, we aren’t jump­ing the WR-V nor are we drift­ing it (well, not en­tirely true) but we go out to meet a cou­ple of guys who can jump up and over not just the WR-V but build­ings. This is park­our, baby!

Evo India - - CONTENTS -

We aren’t ven­tur­ing too far away from the city in our WR-V to get our dose of ad­ven­ture. It’s time for park­our

FIT­NESS IS EV­ERY­WHERE. EV­ERY TOM, Dick and Harry is on a Keto diet. Ev­ery school kid is bench press­ing 200 pounds. Don’t like lift­ing weights or find it mo­not­o­nous? Then there’s Cross­fit for you. But what if you want to take the work­out out­doors and not limit your­self to the con­fines of four walls? Out­doors does not mean driv­ing 100km away from the city but just out­side your apart­ment! If you are Ja­son Bourne you’d al­ready know what we are talk­ing about. Yes, park­our is here and we are on an ur­ban ad­ven­ture. I might not have the cor­rect gear or skills (yet) but I do have the per­fect set of wheels to go hunt­ing for some park­our spe­cial­ists.

Over the past few months we have taken the Honda WR-V ca­noe­ing to an eco vil­lage and also raced a down­hill cy­clist down a moun­tain. The WR-V is an ur­ban SUV which is nim­ble enough to zip around in traf­fic dur­ing rush hours and tackle your favourite moun­tain roads dur­ing the week­end. It may just be the per­fect car to not only ferry our park­our bud­dies around, along with their kit bags. But first, let us delve into the sport that we have only wit­nessed in Hol­ly­wood flicks, TV se­ries and Red Bull TV.

When I first met the guys from team MYOW, we were wait­ing out­side a 12-sto­ried build­ing. While photo boss Gau­rav and I were chalk­ing out the plan for the day, Deepak, Mayur and Todo were dis­cussing climb­ing to the roof of the build­ing. Not via the stairs, but scram­bling up the pipes, win­dows and bal­conies! Todo even said that it’d be a lot of fun com­ing down. I ask if he’s se­ri­ous, and he is. I mean this is Spi­der Man stuff right here. They’re ready to scram­ble be­fore Gau­rav calls a time out. He’s the sen­si­ble kind. These guys might be pro­fes­sional park­our artists fea­tur­ing in a lot



of Bol­ly­wood flicks and tele­vi­sion soaps (Google ‘Aladdin Park­our’ if you are in­ter­ested) but our Gau­rav has no in­ter­est in deal­ing with his neigh­bours scream­ing at the sight of three guys climb­ing up their walls. Be­fore they sneak off, or up, Gau­rav packs them into the WR-V in search of our ur­ban ad­ven­ture.

You see, seat­ing five adults in a reg­u­lar com­pact SUV is a tough task. But the Honda, with its wide bench and Man Max­i­mum Ma­chine Min­i­mum phi­los­o­phy can eas­ily ac­com­mo­date three adults with­out their el­bows hit­ting each other. Todo im­me­di­ately asked me if the WR-V comes with Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity. Thanks to the user friendly UI, he con­nected the phone within no time and the ex­cel­lent sound sys­tem started play­ing a Jackie Chan track. “These guys seem to be pretty hard­core.”, Gau­rav whis­pers into my ear. Todo was al­ready flesh­ing out a plan to jump out through the sun roof be­fore we strapped him with the seat­belt. So much en­ergy! Where does it come from, I ask Deepak.

Park­our it is, he says. De­rived from a French word, park­our in­cor­po­rates mil­i­tary train­ing meth­ods to tackle ob­sta­cles, with­out us­ing any­thing other than your own body in the fastest way pos­si­ble. You may jump, run, roll over, crawl or move around how­ever pos­si­ble. It is not just lim­ited to phys­i­cal abil­i­ties though. Park­our makes you think log­i­cally through a maze and pushes you to be­lieve in your body’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Deepak says that jump­ing and back flip­ping at ground zero is no prob­lem but jump­ing off build­ings takes courage. The ba­sic idea is to learn the Art of Dis­place­ment to get from point A to B quickly, and with­out hurt­ing your­self. And the best part is, you can prac­tice it any­where and ev­ery­where, be it foot­paths, pave­ments, pub­lic parks, moun­tains or even a foot­ball field. But does it have enough fol­low­ers in In­dia? We thought we’d let Deepak shed some light on the sit­u­a­tion.

Deepak Mali is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind most of the park­our artists in the coun­try to­day. His In­sta­gram posts are flooded with com­ments filled with key­words such as Su­per­man, sur­real, un­real and wow. Deepak has been prac­tic­ing the art of park­our for the last 16 years. Mak­ing a hu­man flag by hang­ing side­ways on a wall while be­neath your feet is noth­ing but a 500 foot drop, jump­ing off build­ings, back flip­ping over wa­ter tankers, jump­ing over boul­ders at Na­ri­man Point in Mum­bai, Deepak has done it all and done it in style. In fact, Mayur and Todo are his stu­dents and call him ‘sir’. Mayur tells me that af­ter his stud­ies, he left ev­ery­thing and headed straight to Pune to learn park­our from Deepak. Deepak too is a soft­ware en­gi­neer but has left his well paid job to fol­low his pas­sion. And it has been a great jour­ney, he tells me. In the early days, peo­ple were scep­ti­cal about the sport. Things how­ever have changed for the bet­ter and now al­most ev­ery metropoli­tan city has a park­our group. In a coun­try that is ob­sessed with cricket, it is still dif­fi­cult to make peo­ple un­der­stand that jump­ing off build­ings and foot­paths can be termed a sport. But Deepak is find­ing out ways to ac­ti­vate park­our as much pos­si­ble. What if they don’t let you, I ask him. “We al­ways find our ways. Some­times we say that we are set­ting up Wi-Fi in a build­ing. Some­times we say that there is main­te­nance work

to be car­ried out,” he says. How­ever, hav­ing trained NSG com­man­dos and even cops, Deepak is well re­spected in the forces and that sce­nario hardly ever arises.

45 min­utes in the com­fort­able cabin of the Honda and we are at the shoot lo­ca­tion. Gau­rav asks Todo to show what can be done with the WR-V. Todo sim­ply runs a few me­tres, take his stance, asks Gau­rav and video boss Alameen if they’re ready. Once they give a go, he runs like a chee­tah, pounces over the hood of the WR-V, and sim­ply rolls away, per­form­ing a back­flip mid air! We are spell­bound and he has only just started. You see, the bunch of us at evo In­dia have seen cal­is­then­ics be­ing per­formed by cars. But hu­man bod­ies? Never. Es­pe­cially with our lim­ited abil­i­ties, skilled only in us­ing the right foot. Next up is a wall flip. Deepak is up for it and within a sec­ond, he has jumped over seven feet, per­form­ing a dol­phin like ma­noeu­vre in air, his body ex­plod­ing en­ergy like a tightly wound spring. Wow! This is some­thing that can­not re­ally be ex­pressed in words and you must watch it live (or on our YouTube chan­nel) to un­der­stand what the hu­man body is ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing. All this while, the WR-V is equally awestruck let­ting the artists do their job. Sus­pen­sion ar­tic­u­la­tion shot re­quired? No prob­lem. Tak­ing a sharp U-turn? Done. Af­ter an hour of vault­ing and arm jump­ing, my dear­est col­leagues chal­lenge my fit­ness abil­i­ties. With my 84kg frame, I can barely move, for­get flip­ping mid air. Deepak says that a hand stand is some­thing I shall be able to man­age. I do give it a go, only to no­tice Alameen point­ing and laugh­ing at me. My world turns up­side down but not for long. Be­fore I re­alise, I’m back on earth and it’s time for re­venge.

I sug­gest that we go for a drive with Alameen sit­ting in the pas­sen­ger seat and MYOW boys at the rear. Seat belts strapped on and sun roof opened, we park the WR-V and wait for the traf­fic to pass. I slot the slick shift­ing box into first, let go of the light­weight clutch and put my right foot all the way down! The WR-V moves, and it moves quickly. The 1.2-litre petrol mo­tor, like all Honda mo­tors, is rev happy and quickly gets to the red­line at around 7000rpm. Shift­ing through the cogs, we have al­ready reached 100kmph. We are on our favourite road which leads to Lavasa and cor­ners here are plen­ti­ful. The nicely weighted steer­ing wheel gives enough feed­back and we are slic­ing away through cor­ners like no­body’s busi­ness. The front-end is darty which helps me change direc­tions quickly and the high ground clear­ance of 188mm al­lows me to go flat out over ruts and pot­holes. While all this is hap­pen­ing, ev­ery­body is sit­ting with their eyes wide open. There is no mu­sic play­ing. All we can hear is the squeal­ing of tyres. And the pas­sen­gers you ask? No­body ut­ters a word.

While we, the evo In­dia team ex­pe­ri­enced the art of park­our, our friends from MYOW got a taste of what is ul­ti­mately the Thrill of Driv­ing, or be­ing driven around in a thrilling fash­ion to be pre­cise. And that is what this is all about. To find ad­ven­ture, you don’t re­ally need to step out into the wilder­ness. It’s just around the cor­ner. Or maybe, right in the mid­dle of the cor­ner. ⌧


These stunts are per­formed by trained park­our artists in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment.Please do not try to do these stunts or repli­cate their art at home or with­out proper train­ing of su­per­vi­sion.DIS­CLAIMER:

Above: Back­flip as they call it, re­quires a lot of syn­chro­ni­sa­tion. This im­age: Todo is able to jump across the WR-V, thanks to its car-like pro­por­tions

Top: Hand­stand on a car’s door? Checked. Above: The Honda is fun round cor­ners de­spite be­ing a com­pact SUV

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