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Breaking handis and records

They are the official record setters for govindas in the city. They made the first six-tier human pyramid and went on to make the first nine-tier pyramid in 2008. Aarefa Johari reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 03, 2010 01:04 IST
Aarefa Johari

They are the official record setters for govindas in the city. They made the first six-tier human pyramid and went on to make the first nine-tier pyramid in 2008.

No wonder, then, every time the govindas of Mazagaon Tadwadi go to break a dahi handi, they are welcomed by the organisers and hooting applause from the crowds.

On Thursday, the 700 govindas of the mandal toured the city in their bright yellow T-shirts, building eight-tier pyramids, with a confidence that reflected in the stability of their towers.

They had preserved their nine-tier magnum opus for Thane's Sanskruti mandal, where they won Rs 11 lakh in 2008.

"Fifteen years ago, we were the first group to make six-tier pyramids in the city. We also made the first seven- and eight-tier pyramids," said mandal president and Shiv Sena deputy leader Yashwant Jadhav, while giving pep talks to his govindas at the start of their journey.

The group began at 9 am at Mazagaon, building a warm-up pyramid on homeground before setting out in trucks, buses and bikes to their first big field, Sankalp Pratishthan in Worli.

Waiting for their turn in the maidan was long and anxious, as other groups tried for eight and even nine tiers before them. But few of them made it to eight — none in their first attempt.

So when the Tadwadi boys rose high from the ground, and six-year-old Sneha stood up on the eighth-level and raised her hand, the jubilation was contagious. "The ground was slippery with all the water they were spraying, but we had practiced hard and knew we'd do it in one shot," said Jitu Kadam, a sturdy govinda who was at the base of the pyramid.

The exit was quick, and by late afternoon the govindas had repeated the feat at four other grounds in the city before they moved north to Thane.

"In the history of our mandal, there have never been any serious injuries. All our govindas are fed on milk and multivitamin tablets," said Jadhav.

However, despite all the confidence and eager anticipation, the heroes of Mazagaon Tadwadi failed to recreate their towering nine-tier pyramid at Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik's Sanskruti mandal at night.

They ended their day with yet another eight-tier pyramid.