We are all familiar with Delhi’s infamous road rage. North India’s scorching summer adds to this aggression. Experts call it Intermittent Explosive Disorder or IED, blaming it on natural inbuilt aggression with roots in fast-paced city life and stressful working conditions. But there are solutions for those of us with a short fuse — and fortunately, some of them are of the sport variety.
Shooting — limited to either professional shooters or those in the armed forces — is gaining popularity. With the opening of SportzCraft, a 10-metre shooting range in East Patel Nagar, the NCR now boasts of four shooting ranges open to the public.
Besides being a sport which tests precision, it is also a good way to channel energy. Says clinical psychologist Pulkit Sharma of VIMHANS: “Stress is a result of supressed anger, primarily seen in adolescents. You need to channelise that aggression into a creative sport like shooting. Even though considered violent this sport actually helps in expressing anger in a raw manner.”
“It definitely calms you down,” says MS Goindi, administrator of Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. “It requires immense concentration and discipline. Parents have come back to me saying their kids don’t have problems concentrating anymore and that too after a few sessions.”
While the constitution has restrictions on the possession of firearms, all the shooting facilities in NCR provide air-pistols and air-rifles to train with. So you don’t necessarily need a license to shoot pellets at paper targets which can even have your bosses face on it.
Shooting is not limited to any age group. It’s not unusual to see a ten-year-old child shooting a pistol or competing at the state level. “Jaspal Rana started when he was 12. If a child has a decent fitness level and a keen interest, we take them in,” says Shakun Bhugra, coach at Tughlaqabad shooting range.
The equipment is expensive and can burn a massive hole into a common man’s pocket. A .177 bore air-rifle or pistol from commonly used Feinwerkbau or Walther falls in the range of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. And if you’re thinking of shooting some clay pigeons you might as well get ready to spend thousands per session apart from procuring a licensed 12-bore shotgun.
Sangeeta Jamwal accompanies her 14-year-old daughter daily to the range at Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad. “We didn’t want to get these expensive guns unless our daughter was sure. Now when she is, we’re building her a shooting kit.”
Sameer Vig of SportzCraft Inc, set to promote the sport with the National Rifles Association of India, says of the East Patel Nagar shooting range: “There are two kinds of shooters here, those who come for leisure and the others who want to be professionals.”
“After a shooting session, a sense of calm overcomes you,” says Anita Deswal, a nurse at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital who wants to take it up as a serious profession. “The game is very addictive. It gives you a high.”