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Pocket Hercules and a different century

other Updated: Mar 17, 2012 23:25 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
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Much before fitness became a fad and Arnold Schwarzenegger posters adorned our walls, he had wowed the world with his physique. So, when Manohar Aich, adjudged Mr Universe in 1952, refers to Schwarzenegger as 'that kid' you believe him.

It was the year wrestler Khashaba Jadhav became independent India's first individual Olympic medal winner.

On Saturday, Aich completed 99 Indian summers. It's a life that made him a globetrotter from what is now Bangladesh, took him to the sooty interiors of London's train companies where he worked while preparing for the Mr Universe competition and included a brief, unsuccessful dalliance with politics.

Aich said he has no regrets. Talk about stepping into his 100th year and Aich breaks into an endearing toothless smile. "People compare me with Sachin Tendulkar. It's funny," he said one day before the Little Master reached his ton of tons.