Khali in jail, asks all to avoid shortcuts in life
There are hands in Tihar that have stolen, burgled and, in many cases, even murdered. On Monday, all these hands and more found themselves lost in the grip of a man who is seven feet and three inches tall and weighs 190 kg, reports Abhishek Sharan.delhi Updated: Nov 23, 2009 23:48 IST
There are hands in Tihar that have stolen, burgled and, in many cases, even murdered. On Monday, all these hands and more found themselves lost in the grip of a man who is seven feet and three inches tall and weighs 190 kg.
The Great Khali is no criminal, but his presence in India's biggest prison had little to do with crime.
Spotting the 37-year-old commercial wrestling star The Great Khali, mobbed as he was by hundreds of fans at Tihar jail, as he delivered a pep talk to lift the spirits of young inmates on Monday was easy.
Born as Dilip Singh Rana in 1972 at Dhirana in Himachal Pradesh, India's most famous export to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the US spoke in a Hindi laced with a thick Punjabi accent.
He asked the inmates to "desist from taking short cuts in life."
"We can all make a mistake," he said, "but don't make any more after the first. Always, take the path of truth. Always," Khali said. He was speaking impromptu and looked unhurried.
He received the loudest applause when he addressed the inmates as 'hum (we)' and warned them to "stay away from politicians who use and then throw away people like us."
Clad in a blue jacket, a sky blue shirt and cream trousers, Khali enjoyed the performance of a Bhangra troupe at the start of the function.
Sporting dark sunglasses, he sat erect on a sofa with his legs crossed.
He didn't waste any time before scribbling 'Khali' on the yellow 'post-its' carried by his young under-14 fans and the children of jail officials.
HT asked Khali on whether his fan following in India overwhelmed him?
"For my bachche log (kids) in India, I am setting up a school in Jalandhar dedicated to the teaching of professional wrestling," he replied in his husky voice.
On being asked if he was now at peace with his WWE rival the Undertaker, a character performed by Mark Callaway, Khali said, "Kabhi dosti, kabhi dushmani, chalti hai (at times friendship, enmity at other times, it goes on)."
Khali walked with a limp in his custom-made black hiking boots sized 18. "I got injured, but I am not getting time to recuperate," he said.
A picture of calm inside Tihar, the 190 kg Khali got riled just once when a scrawny, old inmate challenged him.
"They say professional wrestlers are fake, when battered they still get up," the inmate said flashing a toothy grin. "That's incorrect. The one who falls, will get up eventually," Khali said, his face red.