Friday, November 05, 2004

Retesh Bhalla...Desi Wrestler

The Washington Post has run an interesting piece on Retesh Bhalla, aka Sonjay Dhatt, the professional wrestler (yes WWF style) whose name-tag is "The Original Playa from the Himalaya," or more specifically from Northern Virginia. Retesh, a young desi, a student at Northern Virginia's George Mason University, wears jeans and sneakers by day, next to unsuspecting classmates, but by night, and most weekends, for that matter, he is Sonjay Dutt, "The Original Playa from Himalaya," a guy who flings himself off the ropes of pro-wrestling rings, performs dazzling twists and flips, and then lands -- with theatrical impact -- onto, well, big guys wearing spandex pants and too much baby oil.

"From India . . . " screams the announcer, as Dutt bursts out of the tunnel, struts down the ramp, then leaps onto the ropes, whipping the crowd into fierce applause. Dutt, now 22, was still pretty young when he got hooked. On Saturdays, he and his father would watch wrestling on television all afternoon. Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan. Dusty Rhodes. He taped the shows, bought the magazines, begged for the action figures. Then decided he wanted to grow up to be a wrestler, just like other little boys grew up wanting to be John Elway or Michael Jordan. At first, his parents thought it was amusing. Saw it as a phase. Assumed he'd grow out of it. Certainly didn't take it seriously. "My parents?" says Dutt, as he prefers to be known. "They laughed in my face, of course. They had the same idea that every Indian parent has for their child. Being a doctor or lawyer or something to that effect. I chose totally the opposite."
Click here to read the full article, you really should.


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