There were several dahi handis, in blue, green and yellow, strung together across a lake. A woman stared at the handis for a while, picked up a rifle and took aim.
In Vangani, a village near Badlapur, breaking the dahi handis was not about human pyramids, it was a shooting session for women. Bharat Shelar, president of Yuvak Mandal, which organised this unusual event, said: “We want to inculcate the spirit of sports in women.
We hope that, in the future, a girl from our village will become a shooter just like Tejaswini Sawant [who recently won gold at the World Shooting Championships in the 50-metre rifle prone event].” Across the city, mandals organised special dahi handis, be it for the differently-abled, transgenders or senior citizens.
Every section of society found a place in the event on Thursday. At Ghatkopar’s Gangawadi Maidan, the most-cheered were not the towering human pyramids vying for the Rs 31 lakh prize money, but a group of differently-abled children from a nearby special school.
After putting in hours of practice, the children built a two-tier pyramid and broke a curd-filled handi. Later, with DJ music thumping in the background, a govinda group from the transgender community in Vikhroli built its own pyramid. While the Ghatkopar students overcame their challenges, in Navi Mumbai, the Yuvak Mandal created an artificial challenge for children.
The children were blindfolded, given sticks and asked to follow their instinct to find and break handis. More than 5,000 members of different mandals pledged to donate their eyes after death.